Let’s Sharpen Up!

Painting flowers using pastel pencils and a touch of water

Professional artist Vivien Walters uses Derwent’s versatile pastel pencil range to paint the summer blooms of this lovely hydrangea.

The light falling on the flowers of a blue hydrangea in my garden cast many abstract shadows, a scene which seemed to typify the endless days of summer. For this exercise I once again found Derwent’s pastel pencils invaluable for the techniques I used, while the Rubber Shaper from their Essential Drawing Tools Set was ideal when it came to blending the pastel.

Tip: To avoid smudging the detailed initial drawing you can cover it with a lint free cloth and spray this with water to fix the drawing before moving on.

1 Once I had completed an accurate white line drawing, I began by working on the petals on the main flower at the lower right, carefully identifying the light areas with a White pastel and gradually adding more pastel to depict the lightest areas. I carried on working my way across the main bloom until I had completed that before working in the same way on the bloom which is just showing in the bottom left corner.

2 Laying the drawing flat on a table I covered it with a soft lint free cloth. I then sprayed this with water before carefully removing it and leaving the drawing to dry. Once dry the drawing was sufficiently fixed to allow me to work on the image without the risk of smudging it or rubbing it off.

My next move was to apply Indigo to areas of the background, along with touches of Zinc Yellow to suggest areas of leaves. Working on one flower at a time now I began to strengthen the lightest areas using White, as dampening the image had caused the White pastel previously applied to lose some of its intensity.

Next I started adding colour to this flower by gently working over the lightest areas with Pale Ultramarine, Pale Pink and Red Violet, then worked in the darker areas using Ultramarine, Violet and Cobalt Blue. I also added touches of Coral where I needed a touch of warmer pink. Where necessary I let the colours mix to create a new colour, allowing the pencil strokes to blend into each other rather than using a blender.

3I then moved on to the next flower and worked on this in the same way using the same colours, gradually working along the lower two lines of flowers.

I carried on working on the main bloom using the same colours and techniques before working on the flowers of the bloom in the bottom left hand corner, again using the same method and colours. I also added further Indigo to the background.

4 I now gently worked over each petal very carefully using a rubber shaper, keeping the blending to a minimum. Then I strengthened the colours of the blooms where necessary, applying more of the colours which I had previously used plus a touch of Lavender. The leaves in the background needed to be worked on now using Zinc Yellow, and in some areas of the background I applied a touch more Indigo.

I then gently blended these areas working the Yellow into the Indigo before applying touches of this Yellow to the centres of the individual flowers of the blooms.

I used the Indigo pastel next to sharpen up one or two of the edges of the petals and also in the dark centres of some of the petals. As a final touch I softened and warmed up the background by hatching on touches of Spectrum Orange and Lavender and blending these colours into the Indigo.

Vivien Walters is a PA and published artist, and runs painting courses from her studio in North Devon. These courses (including specialist courses on pet portraiture) are also available by email. Visit http://www.vivienwalters.co.uk/


Let’s Sharpen Up!

Painting flowers using pastel pencils and a touch of water

Professional artist Vivien Walters uses Derwent’s versatile pastel pencil range to paint the summer blooms of this lovely hydrangea.

The light falling on the flowers of a blue hydrangea in my garden cast many abstract shadows, a scene which seemed to typify the endless days of summer. For this exercise I once again found Derwent’s pastel pencils invaluable for the techniques I used, while the Rubber Shaper from their Essential Drawing Tools Set was ideal when it came to blending the pastel.

Tip: To avoid smudging the detailed initial drawing you can cover it with a lint free cloth and spray this with water to fix the drawing before moving on.

1 Once I had completed an accurate white line drawing, I began by working on the petals on the main flower at the lower right, carefully identifying the light areas with a White pastel and gradually adding more pastel to depict the lightest areas. I carried on working my way across the main bloom until I had completed that before working in the same way on the bloom which is just showing in the bottom left corner.

Materials For all Surface: Colourfix Paper Deep Ultra

Derwent pastel pencils:



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