April 2021: Zoom PastelPortrait demo with Rob Wareing https://www.robwareing.com
Rob's career spans over 40 years and he has painted portraits of people of all nationalities and many dignitaries . He has also written articles for various art publications including The Artist His mediums are oil and pastel and he has just published a book titled ' Painting Portraits in Oils ' which covers the basic principles of portraiture
For us Rob built up a pastel portrait of musician Faye Oakes working from an earlier oil painting
Rob worked on umber pastel paper and spends time early on getting the angles as accurate as possible, thereafter staying faithful to the angles and the central line. He notes that values [accurately observed light and dark] are much more important than colour.
As regards his various types of pastels [technical details can be found at the end of this page] he notes that a set of just 6 tubes of oil is enough to get going whereas it is near impossible to blend pastel pigments. He likes to add pastel pigments without rubbing till late on, using thick pastel sticks for larger areas [Unison are excellent and come in hundreds of shades] and thinner sticks for details such as in the eyes.
He feels that hyper-realism, while technically impressive, doesn't convey as much of an emotional response. Working a portrait too far risks losing that elusive charm inherent in a sketch.
A useful tip, he suggests, is to use a mirror from time to time in order to see the picture afresh, the better to spot what needs further work. You can't beat a fresh eye.
Rob dislikes fixative, observing that it both darkens and dulls a picture. He prefers to put a pastel portrait behind glass to keep it fresh.
John Singer Sargent's "Lady Agnew Of Locknaw" (below) was one of the paintings that particularly inspired Rob to become a portrait painter
The artist at work
The end picture in the demo
Rob's methods of working can be seen in action on YouTube, for example at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd6-kiwRtIM
The box of delights!
Using a walking stick as a marlstick!
Other examples of Rob's work in pastels
Materials used by Rob Wareing for his Pastel Portrait Sketches
Canson Mi-Tientes: Gris Fume (warm grey), Pearl or Pearl Grey (warm grey was the colour used for the demo. Rob uses the smooth side of the paper for portraits.
Initial construction drawing:
Nitram B charcoal or Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils (colours Sanguine & Dark Sepia) . For the demo Rob used Nitram B charcoal then Dark Sepia pastel pencil.
For initial blocking in of tones :
Mainly Prismacolour NuPastels
For refining & building up pastel on the paper:
Unison soft pastels are added to the palette along with Rembrandt soft pastels & certain Rowney soft pastels (the old range). The dark sepia pastel pencil & NuPastels are still used in certain areas.
Highlights & final touches:
the softest pastels are used especially from the Schminke range.