Using chalk pastels can seem intimidating and scary. Once you lay it down, it feels like there is no backing out. Plus, how do you blend them without ending up with mud? Patience and careful application is key.
I use chalk often for broad applications of color and quick drawings. They do smear, but they don’t try out or stain the way paint does. They are a very portable medium and great for studies and drawing practice. There is an immediacy and vibrancy to them.
Quality matters. Lower quality chalk has less pigment, so the colors will not be as rich. This may be an asset if you are timid about color. At some point however you will want a strong application of color.
I really like the Stabilo brand of chalk pastels. There are many brands, so the best way to find what you like is to experiment. Visit a local art supply store and try different ones, or buy the same single color from different brands.
You don’t need a lot of colors. I mostly use a blue, red, green, orange, and white. Below you can see a recent figure study I created using only three chalk pastel colors and three acrylic markers. This gave a more vibrant, expressive result. While you can rub a thin layer of charcoal or chalk pastel onto paper first as long as it is well absorbed, for best results use chalk pastel last. You can also use layers of mediums and fixatives to rework areas for special effects.
I’m thrilled to be showing my work in two locations in July. One in Cherokee County, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta and the second in Atlanta at Ponce City Market. Both shows feature free receptions where you can meet the artists and other art lovers.
July 1 – 26th: Cherokee Members Art Show
Reception: July 7, 6-8pm
July 7 – 27th : Binders Ponce City Market
Reception: July 23rd, 3-5pm
What art will I be showing?
The Cherokee Members Art Show will feature several new paintings in including “Mischief”, “High Energy Jack” and “Shelby Dreams”.
Here is a preview of the pieces that will be in the show:
Binder’s Ponce City Market will be featuring work from the Friday Painters group at the Atlanta Artist Center including three paintings by me. Here is a preview of them:
I recently finished the painting of Sgt. Stubby, part of the Real Dog Heroes Series. This is a new series of paintings and drawings based on real dog heroes from search and rescue organizations, every day dogs being heroic and dogs who protected soldiers. The series was inspired while writing one morning about different canines who have done amazing things against what sometimes seemed to be impossible odds. I researched for the series by reading books from different sources and various news sites online.
Stubby was the only dog to be awarded the rank of “sergeant” during World War I. He was smuggled overseas to France by his owner after he was found on the Yale campus. This loyal American Pit Bull Terrier mix saved lives and kept up the morale of soldiers by providing warnings about poison gas attacks and serving in multiple battles and actions. It was his soulful and alert expression that caught me.
Materials used: Watercolor and Prismacolor watercolor pencils and Staedler watercolor crayons on 140# watercolor paper. Size: 11 inches by 15 inches. Price: $175 for the original painting.
I’m continuing my series of colorful dog portraits with this friendly Boston Terrier. He was inspired by a conversation I had with a fellow designer at a conference. He was talking about how Boston Terriers are the ultimate pet for designers. They are a cute, quirky and visually appealing breed. They pack a lot of personality into a tiny body.
This piece was made on high quality 140lb watercolor paper using watercolor washes and ink washes with layers of Derwent inktense block art sticks layered on top. And layered again. And again. There were a few chalk pastels used here and there, but yeah who uses ink medium for textured layers? It’s fun to experiment like this and not use art materials the way the were intended. I get a thrilling zing in my belly. Does this make me an art rebel? Cool! I always am careful to create make sure my work is well made and durable. Inks are very durable and long lasting and these are pigment rich.
I’m launching a new project where I post a drawing or painting with a dog as the subject on Instagram for 365 days. Why? One reason is it’s a way for me to practice my skills as an artist. Another reason is I want to build a daily habit and find that posting the results on social media help me with accountability. Third, it’s fun! There is something very satisfying about sharing what I create with others.
Every day I will post a sketch or painting of a dog. The goal is to experiment with different media and practice my skills as an artist while documenting the journey.
I’ve added my first subject, a sketch of my dog Molly here in this post and on Instagram. If you have any questions about the project, please get in touch!