Forsythia and Copper Canister, work in progress.

Forsythia and Copper Canister, pastel on Wallis paper, by Jeffrey Smith
Forsythia and Copper Canister, pastel on Wallis paper, by Jeffrey Smith

Today I thought it would be great to have another dose of spring.  I have loved forsythia since I was a kid.  I have some great memories of a forsythia bush that we had in our backyard that you could actually crawl inside of.  It was like being surrounded by sunshine!

This is a work in progress shot of a pastel still life that I started today.  I began with a 18×24″ sheet of museum grade Wallis paper mounted on to a sheet of 4 ply mat board.  I used a large round bistel brush and toned the paper with a very, very thin wash of oil paint.  If you are going to use oil paint as an underpainting, it is important to use a good quality thinner, I use Gamsol by Gamblin. Another must for oil underpainting sucess is to keep the oil paint thin.  It should look and feel a little like tea.  Think watercolor as you are painting.  Let the white of the paper show through for anything white in your set-up

Once the paint had dried, which took very little time because of all the Gamsol, I blocked  in the pastel painting with Nupastels and Rembrants.  Jumping in with pastels, I did a couple rounds just looking at the big pattern of shapes and values to refine the image left by the oil underpainting.  I always like to start with the darks and build up to the lights.