Q: You have spoken about your pastel technique, which involves layering pigments on top of each other, up to 25 to 30 layers. When you do this are you putting the same colors on top of each other?
A: I do layer Rembrandt black soft pastels on top of each other to achieve the dark backgrounds in my “Black Paintings” and “Bolivianos” series. Black Rembrandts are the pastels I use most so I order them several dozen at a time. The 400 or 500 grit sandpaper requires at least four layers of pastel just to achieve even coverage. Over the next few months I add many more layers of black pastel to achieve the final rich look.
The figures and shapes in each pastel painting are a different story. Were you to x-ray them, you’d see many different colors underneath the final one. Sometimes subsequent colors are closely related to earlier ones. With each additional layer, I correct, refine, and strengthen my drawing so the objects depicted become more solid and/or three-dimensional.
In addition to the thousands of pastels I have to choose from, I mix and blend new colors directly on the sandpaper. As I proceed, I am searching for the ‘best’ colors, those that make the overall painting more resonant, more alive, and more exciting to look at. Of course, this is wholly subjective.
Comments are welcome!