Hello there and welcome back to my ‘Festive Pastel’


I’ve used Deep Green Tint 5 (AP0135) to strengthen the darkest shadows cast by the overhang of the berries, blending the colour out towards the lighter shadows caused by the leaves natural planes. I’ve highlighted the leaf edges using the SAA’s new Pearlescent Silver (AP049) and added a little Phthalo Blue 7 (AP0647) here and there because although this blue doesn’t exist in the original image, I feel it should be there. A little ‘artistic licence’ if you like!

To complete the berries I’ve used Orange 5 (AP0235) to enhance the glorious red colour and Pearl Copper (AP050) to add extra lustre.

I’ve used Light Yellow 5 (AP2265) on the ‘pointy ends’ of the leaves. I used the hard edge to achieve a fine line along the spine of the leaves right down to the points, taking the pastel off at the very end, to achieve a very thin prickly bit.

Now for the background. Sadly I’m one of those ‘mucky pastel artists’ who finds it nigh on impossible to work cleanly. I always have to tidy up my backgrounds to get rid of, or cover up, the various smudges I’ve caused whilst working on the main painting.

For the background I’ve used Cobalt Blue Tint 9 (AP1179), one of my favourite colours. I generally tackle the fiddly bits first so I used the pastel edges carefully to get into any nooks and crannies. Then I applied bolder, broader strokes and blended them away from the picture itself to avoid causing any more smudges. It’s worth mentioning here that if you have large fingers and struggle to get into the small spaces, the SAA offers a number of tools to help overcome this difficulty (e.g. paper torchons, etc).

I took one last look before I decided the painting was finished and I’m glad I did because it occurred to me that I needed to add some extra touches of colour here and there. For example the lovely red holly berries would probably reflect a little of their colour onto the waxy, shiny holly leaves (and vice-versa) and so I applied some Perm Red Deep 5 (AP2315) to the leaves under the berries and little Perm Green Deep 3 (AP1563) on several of the curves of the berries hung above the holly leaves. Again I couldn’t see these coloured reflections in the original image but I felt sure they should be there. I’m pretty sure I was right. What do you think?

It just remains for me to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to 2017 when I’ll be showing you how I paint a dragon’s head in my next Blog. Well I am Welsh after all !!!