Bare Bones – Pastel on an acrylic underpainting – 20″w x 24″h

As I wanted to frame the finished work with ArtGlass and no mat, I started this piece by mounting pastel paper, Clairfontaine PastelMat, to an acid free foam board for stability.


I then painted a very loose underpainting with liquid acrylic. Colours were chosen with the finished piece in mind, working off a photo I took north of Kingston, ON in the Rideau.


I leave the painting overnight to dry, but on examination the next day, I decided to darken some areas of the underpainting for more impact. The foreground water area and the mid-ground greens were increased in value. Once the second layering of acrylic underpainting was dry, I sprayed the entire surface of the underpainting with a thin application of Pastel Fixative. I use Spectra Fix, by Degas, as it’s totally non-toxic, which makes it great for studio use. The fixative drys within minutes.


The photo above shows the first stages of pastel application. Greens and Blues were layered behind the tree trunks, and the beginning of the shoreline was established.


I wanted to show the “Artist’s Hand” with bold marks, so began the layering on of colour. Once the background was fairly established I then worked on the tree trunks, keeping in mind the direction of the light source.


Pastel palette for Bare Bones above. I put any pastels I use while working on a painting in an old tin lid to keep the palette separate. This makes it much easier to find colours I have used in the work. This painting was done using mostly Terry Ludwig pastels. I also used Unison Darks, and a couple of Great American.

Below are some detail photos from Bare Bones to show pastel marks and colours used up close.




Bare Bones – pastel/acrylic on Clairfontaine PastelMat – 20″w x 24″h – by Sharon Fox Cranston, SCA, MPAC, PSA – available at Cranston Gallery on Main, Bloomfield, ON