June 14, 2018

When things go wrong (alternatives to save your pastel painting).

A todos nos ha pasado que en la mitad de una pintura nos damos cuenta que algo va mal, que no nos gusta del todo, que los colores no funcionan, o que el diseño no están bien…en fin, vamos encontrando razones para bajarla del atril y ponerla en la pila de pinturas «de poca esperanza» o directo al basurero si la cosa realmente es grave… pero lo cierto es que el pastel ofrece muchas posibilidades para salvar una pintura debido a sus cualidades. Si somos conscientes de estas cualidades y de las diversas opciones de «salvamento» que existen, veremos que nuestro porcentaje de pinturas exitosas será cada vez mayor. Estas son algunas ideas para poner en práctica:

1. If you are painting on a rigid support like hardboard or foamboard, try brushing off the pastel in the areas that require correction. For this, use brushes of medium rigidity. In most cases, this process will effectively lift up enough pastel from the surface to re-do what you didn’t like before without leaving visible traces of the correction. If the support is paper or cardboard, this process may work as well, but you need to be more careful not to damage the surface of the paper when brushing off the unwanted pastel, perhaps using a more delicate brush.

2. If you just want to start over on all of the surface, you can use the same process described before, or alternatively (or in addition), apply alcohol with a soft brush to the entire surface. This will not get rid of the pastel you previously applied, but it will help the pastel dilute/blend on the surface of the support and give a new tone to it, and you will be able to start new work on it (being mindful of the new tone, of course). You can control the tone further by adding colors to the surface when applying alcohol. At least, with this method you may be able to save your support, which oftentimes can be expensive, like gatorfoam.

3. Sometimes what you don’t like about your painting may be “fixed” by changing the stroke style of the painting, lo cual en muchos casos hace que el cambio de apariencia de la imagen sea significativa, e incluso abra la posibilidad a nuevos juegos de color que son más fácilmente controlables en ciertos estilos. Por ejemplo, el «hatching» o «cross-hatching», que es básicamente el desarrollo de la imagen a base de marcas como son líneas paralelas o cruzadas, puede ser una buena solución para darle una textura más interesante y menos definida a un diseño.

4. Along the same lines as recommendation number 3 above, a painting that begins with a realist or semi-realist look that we don’t quite like, may be saved by changing it into something more impressionistic, where there would be more freedom in the use of color and form. You could try applying more layers of pastel over your image in a more painterly style. Of course, if the pastel tooth is too full, this system may not work too well, unless you lift up sufficient pastel first with a brush.

5. Otra forma de salvar un pastel es salvar solo la parte que sí nos gusta. En esto consiste el «cropping»This is literally cutting the part of the image that works to finish it or frame it. This method is interesting because it allows us to focus on the essence of what we initially wanted to accomplish with our painting. Very often this “essence” is in the painting, in a smaller area of the work. If we find it and we like it, we can just crop it and get rid of everything else. The photo of the painting in this blog post is the cropped image of a larger painting that was not working for me.

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