10 Reasons to Love Pastel: Texture!

Reason #7 to love pastel: You can get great texture effects with it!
"Fishin', Hopin', Prayin"
8 x 12 inch Mixed Media on Paper
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I always enjoy using a palette knife to create heavily textured paintings, but I enjoy the process even more when I finish the piece with a couple of layers of pastel (oil or soft pastel work great, but they each have different effects).

Click here to view a tutorial on Empty Easel featuring the technique I used for this piece!

For the piece above, I started with some photos I had taken on a cold afternoon at a crowded beach.  I wanted to capture the cold feeling of the day, so I used cool tones to create the water, painting in the strokes with a palette knife. 

Once the acrylic dries, it's ready for the pastel, which can be scraped lightly over heavily textured parts or layered in as you would normally use pastel for the smoother areas of the piece. 

Combining acrylic with pastel is a bit of an experiment each time, but I really enjoy seeing the piece come to life once I get the final layers of pastel over the acrylic.  I never know how it's going to look when I combine the raised acrylic texture with the bright strokes of pastel, so it's exciting to see the end result each time I make one of these textured mixed media paintings.

Here are a few more of my pieces in which I combined acrylic palette knife paintings with layers of chalk pastel:
"Harbor Alley"
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"Harbor Reflections"
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"Big Pitcher, Little Pitcher"
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The acrylic/ pastel combination works on both paper and flat canvas, I currently prefer paper as it's easier to frame and photograph.  Whether on canvas or paper, the final painting definitely needs to be framed under glass because of the pastel.

If you like these pieces and want to see more, check out my Textured Mixed Media gallery!

If you teach art, try some of my free lessons on Bright Hub:

Paint with your Senses

Still Life: My History, My Future

Wildlife Art: Create a Friendship Painting

Portraiture: Paint Yourself, Paint a Friend

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