Sunday 29 December 2013


I hope you are enjoying the holidays and like me getting some quite time for creating art.


Just recently, I came across this soft pastel study I did when I was in my late teens of Georgia O'Keeffe's artwork "Mule Deer Skull and Flowers". I remember I painted the desert too deep and therefore had to shorten the length of the skull. There are a couple of things I would like to go back in and start fixing but at the same time I appreciate those mistakes and acknowledge them, if I am to grow as an artist.

I decided to revisit soft pastels, this time using soft pastel pencils, painting the polar opposite of the desert, water. I have always been attracted to the surreal, quirky and different in art. Over the years, shades of orange, fish or water often make an appearance in my art. Being a Pisces might have something to do with it!

I used a photo reference for the female, I knew I wanted to do something in her hair but I did not know what. A flower of some sort with butterflies maybe? Then suddenly water lilies popped into my head, possibly my love of the artist Monet. This triggered a chain reaction of thoughts of a fish with the water dripping from the water lilies creating rings of water.

I had forgotten how easily the soft pastels smudge, I believe many soft pastel artists use a workable fixative for this purpose. A kneadable eraser helped and I also used it for blending. Building up the soft pastels in light layers made them easier to blend. I found the soft pastel pencils are good for adding detail. I think I have only started to scratch the surface with this medium. As with all art mediums, they come with their own rewards and challenges.

A word of caution, I used a soft sketching pencil for adding definition around the water droplets, the white pastel would not grip over the pencil so easily to give me nice bright highlights.

A white poster paint sharpie gave me the effect I was looking for.

Have you worked in soft pastels? What are your experiences and have you learnt any tips along the way?

Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Until next time, happy creating and see you in 2014!


  1. What a delightful page Serena, I love everything you did here.

    1. Thanks Louise, overall I am very happy with it. Maybe I should have thought more about the placement of the water drops and varying the size of them though. All part of the learning curve I guess! x