Loose Landscape – Sennelier Pastel Sticks

by Wendi OBrien


Today, I will be demonstrating how I used Sennelier Pastel Sticks to create this looser style landscape.

This is a bit out of the box for me as I normally don’t draw as loose as this. So not only was this an experiment, but also first time I used the Sennelier Pastel Sticks.

If you would like to see the real time video of this, and a loose ballerina I created on an art supply unboxing live stream. Check out the Live Stream video below. You can view that video here: https://youtu.be/lHT7xOZx250

Supplies used:

Pastelmat Sennelier

Soft Pastel Sticks

Pastel Pencils

Creating the Loose Fall Tree

Today, I am going to take you through how I completed this fall scene using only pastel sticks and a few pencils for details.

I recently received some sennelier Pastels I wanted to try out.  This was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at a looser style since my focus was only using pastel half sticks.

I did complete this project as well as a ballerina on an unboxing live stream and you can check it out in the Live Stream video below.

Choosing the Paper

Used Pastelmat, as I haven’t really given it a go with stick pastels before.  I have used it with Panpastels, pastel pencils and colored pencils, but thought stick pastels would be a nice change.

Creating the Background

Once I began laying in color for the background I immediately noticed how different this paper was with the sticks. 

Once I started blending the colors didn’t smudge as far as they do on other pastel papers I have tried, especially the Canson Mi-Tientes paper. 

Adjusting Technique

Since I wasn’t prepared for that, I quickly had to adjust my technique and determine the best way to handle this small stumbling block.

I decided that using my fingers to blend would help to move the pigment around the page a bit further.  I also found that I needed to place more pigment on and each color a bit closer together unlike the canson paper.

I found the pastelmat to take quite a few layers, but also needed to be mindful to not fill in the texture of the paper too soon to be able to put as many layers as I needed to get the look I wanted.

Beginning the Tree

Once the background was in, I started on the tree.  First starting with the trunk and then using the edge of my pastels to create varying marks for the leaves.

The cool thing about creating like this, is that no two marks will be the same because you are solely relying on the shape of the edge of the pastel.  Since each time you make a mark it changes the edge of the pastel and is easy to create varying mark shapes without a lot of effort.

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

If you have watched me create any of my work, you know this whole process is completely out of my comfort zone as my pieces are a bit more tight and precise.

It was a freeing experience to create something a bit looser and not focusing on every exact detail.

Thoughts on the Sennelier Pastel Sticks

Now, as far as the pastels, well they really speak for themselves.  They are pretty soft, but spread wonderfully. The one thing that completely took me by surprise was the vibrancy of the colors.  They are so rich in saturation and many of the colors give an electrifying appearance and really bring an artwork to life.

If you check out the livestream, the first piece I did was a ballerina and I used more muted colors, but even those muted colors just seemed to pop and bit more than the usual pastel sticks I have used in the past.

Pastel Pencils for Finer Details

I finished up using some pastel pencils near the end just to give a bit more detail and didn’t really have any problems laying them over the stick pastels.

Share Your Experiences

Do you have an art supply you tried and just took you completely by surprise?  Let me know your experience in the comments below.

Until next time…keep on arting!

Unboxing Live Stream

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