The process for creating my pastel/acrylic work starts with painting a very loose acrylic underpainting on a wet-media friendly pastel paper. The pastel paper chosen for “Going Coastal” is Clairfontaine PastelMat. The acrylic underpainting is based on a photograph I took while visiting the north coast of Brittany, France in the Spring of 2016. Careful attention to colour and value are observed, even at this stage of the painting. Cooler, lighter values in the distance, warmer and darker values in the foreground, All edges are kept soft at this stage. Liquid acrylic works best for the underpainting as you can achieve an strong intensity of colour without filling the tooth of the paper too much.

I usually leave the painting overnight to make sure it has totally dried. Once the acrylic underpainting is dry, I then begin the process of adding colour with pastel. If you feel that you have filled too much of the tooth with the painting process, you can give your painting a light spray of fixative for extra tooth. I prefer the DaVinci brand as it’s totally non-toxic and safe to spray in your studio space.

Working from the background of the landscape to the foreground I apply pastel. I generally paint the sky last as I enjoy cutting in and negative space painting into the landscape. Below is my pastel palette for “Going Coastal”.


The pastels I use are a combination of Terry Ludwig, Dianne Townsend, Great American, Unison and Sennelier.

Below are close up detail photos of “Going Coastal” and the finished painting.




“Going Coastal” by Sharon Fox Cranston – pastel/acrylic on Clairfontaine PastelMat – 24″w x 10″h – Available at Cranston Gallery on Main.