How to paint lace in pastel. I paint a lot of portraits, but I’ve been immersed in fabric painting for the past few years. Silk, cotton, and velvet, but above all lace, offer me a seemingly endless source of inspiration. I come from a family with always fabric; my grandmother and mother kept piles of cloth in chests, cupboards, and boxes. They enjoyed making our family’s clothes. It seems to be following in their footsteps because I love and cover myself with fabrics. So my interest in texture painting seems to fit my life perfectly. Here I am going to share with you how to paint lace in pastel.
A great challenge
Painting the textures of the fabrics and the folds of the curtains is a huge challenge; it is a topic that artists have dealt with for centuries. There is a lot of inspiration in old master paintings, but I try to find my way around and show the beauty of the fabrics alone or draped over a pattern.
In Flowerbed, for example, I folded some fabrics and arranged them in a pile, and painted the simple beauty that such a still life can evoke. I enjoyed the challenge of painting the seams on the green fabric, so it looked embroidered rather than printed, and making sure the fine antique lace on top looked delicate and sophisticated. Layering my pastel strokes provided the details and textures we wanted and made sure I showed the surface of the rougher green fabric and the softer, velvety feel of the cream-colored fabric. Because I’m so involved in and work with many ancient or old materials, particularly lace, I chose to paint an elaborate lace to show on the following pages.
My painting is based on a reference from a recent photoshoot. In addition to highlighting the beauty of the antique fabric, my goal is to bring the figure into the 21st century through my presentation. Therefore I leave out parts of the original costume, jewelry, and other accessories. I isolate the object that I want to focus on and remove it from its historical context. In this case, I’ve left out all redundant clothing and accessories in the photo and added dark underwear to show the intricate nature of the lace. They originally have been fastened with small buttons at the back, but they were missing. I could have added a lot.
Instead, I decided to leave the back open to create some interesting flounces. I had already imagined the composition in my head before the photoshoot. But this particular section came to mind while working on the photo on my computer. I use the computer a lot to improve my reference material. I can change the lighting or contrast, adjust the light color, and find the perfect section to create the most interesting pictures.
I’m making rough drawing ideas on Art Spectrum Colourfix Aubergine Cardstock. While working with some Unisons and some Schminckes, I do most of my early pastel work with Rembrandts.
The drawing becomes more refined and detailed. It’s like drawing a map: put all the landmarks in the right place to avoid getting lost. I roughly draw the lace pattern of the ribbon, creating dark and light areas to help guide me.
I block the main elements and look for strong lights and shadows. From time to time, I turn the picture over and look at it in the mirror to check for any errors in the proportions.
As soon as I am satisfied with the difficult stages, I start adding color. Warm and cold colors find their place. Chroma doesn’t bother me that much: it’s better to have too much than too little. Here is my hatching technique (see Hatching and Staggering below) as I add shade to the figure’s chops.
I add more features using a cutting edge of a bright pastel. The tip is predominantly painted pale yellow. If necessary, the color is changed with cool and warm colors and left transparent, wherever it was possible to use the underlying eggplant carrier color as a shade.
It is the only time I use my only pastel indicator to improve the black areas inside, reinforce the sharp points, and finish off the white threads that hold the ribbon together.
I work through the change the colors as I move from the shady back to the light front. So I use warm oranges for the shadows on the back and move to the gray-blue near the front where a cool light comes in. I tone down the colors with their additions above or next to the signs.
Next, I lightly mix the pastel on the model’s face with my thumb to produce variation in the characters between the skin. I consider mingling a dangerous business; I tend not to blur at all because it often tarnishes the image and makes it look dull and three-dimensional. The skin is usually much more interesting when it is textured with no shading, but in this case, the face is less important, so the softening enhances the crisp lace effect. Next, I draw the hair with a sharp-edged colored pencil.
I finish the shadows and highlights to emphasize the roundness of the arm and the texture of the tip in lace lines.
On pastel pencils
While I like hard pastels like Rembrandt, I never got along so well with pastel pencils. I’ve seen many pastel pencil artists create fairly realistic and detailed effects, but for some reason, I’ve never found a good use for them. They’re tough, and I usually scrape off the softer pastel that’s already been applied instead of leaving marks. I currently own a black pastel pencil that came in a box of graphite drawing materials; Ironically, I used it quite a lot for this demonstration – unusual! I usually use my Rembrandt colored pencils for details and hard edges and find a sharp edge or create one by breaking off a piece. Layer markings can also be used to develop fine lines and surface details.
About slipping and stumbling
I paint in small hatches or doodles. The layering reveals the underlying colors, creates visual color mixes and adds depth and variety. I developed my hatching technique by working with pastel colors, and it is an integral part of my oil work. Even with the brush and oil paints, I hatch and run to mix the colors on the medium instead of the palette, as if I were working with pastel colors.
Also Read: Match Colors in Drawing