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Callenge No.2 – the end

February 7, 2010

Let me tell you, this week’s challenge – „Learn how to use pastels!“ – was not an easy one.


I would never have started with this one if I wouldn’t have come across the pastel art from Astrid Volquardson. Before I had no idea that someone can be able to use pastels in that way.

I guess attending a workshop at her studio could be a new wish on my wishlist.

What did I learn?

Before I took the pastels out of the box, I read through two books about pastel painting for beginners. And after three pages I knew I should have read those books before officially starting the challenge because there were some major problems ahead.

First and most important: you should have at least 36 colours. In opposite to almost every other media I’ve tried so far you should not mix colours to get a new colour. Pastels don’t work like that. You can mix them but the colour you’ll get will not be what you were looking for.

At that point I was a little frustrated but started anyway.

testing pastels

With my first real painting (with only 12 colours available) I realised another problem. My desk was too small. Even though I worked in a small size.

first painting

So the day after this first painting I reorganized my room, luckily my desk is extendable.

new working space

Next to all colours, paper and blending tools you might also need a wet towel to be able to clean your fingers. Pastel painting is a dirty business.

dirty fingers

After borrowing 48 pastels from a flatmate (I’m a lucky girl!) and buying paper in a larger size as well as a fixatif, I was finally ready to start.

more colours

What did I do?

I just tried. Having the right colour available is really important. I used photos of my own as references.

process 1

process 2


morning sky

outside my window

My conclusion

Pastels have a great potential, especially for motifs like clouds and waves. What I also like very much about pastels is the fact that one can work very fast with them. As a lover of watercolours I prefer artistic media which can and often have to be used quickly.

However one week is not nearly long enough to really get a feeling for pastels. But it was long enough to make me curious. So in conclusion: I’m pretty sure pastels will be back again on this blog!

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