Pastel Step by Step - Dappled Light
'Summer Beauty' is a pastel painting I did recently as a demo at the Toledo Art Walk over Labor Day weekend. The image was from a photo shoot I had done with this lovely young lady over the summer. She had never modeled before but she was a natural. I just fell in love with her innocent expression, the dappled summer light and her universal beauty. 

So here is how it became 'Summer Beauty' (12 x 16)

Step 1: After drawing out the image on sanded pastel paper I laid in large shapes of color with soft pastels. Next I took a brush lightly dipped into Gamsol (mineral spirits) and laid it over the pastels in sections. The result is a darkened wash of color.

Step 2: The wash dries quickly and lighter in value. I then focused on her face and skin tones. I started building up layers with my soft and hard pastels and blending the colors with  pastel pencils. Her face is my center of interest and I knew if I captured her look I would have a successful painting. 

Step 3: Unfortunately when I get going I often forget to stop and take photos so there is a big leap from step 2 to step 3. What I have done here is continue building up layers with hard and soft pastels, Because I had a nice dark background I could lay in my lights and get the feeling of the dappled light quickly. And on her skirt, my under painting allowed me to easily start creating the lovely pattern. 

From Step 3 to the finished painting: I refined some shapes and brought the background together, including the bottom right corner which repeated the dappled light pattern. At this stage I have to decide how much to put in and how much to leave out. There was more of edges to keep the focus on her face.
'Summer Beauty' sold the minute I finished it! She never even made it home with me to Portland. 


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