I painted this plum demo for my show that was in January. There are 4 different paintings, from the sketch to the final piece. It was more difficult than I anticipated. I had to be aware of my process, which is usually guided by muscle memory, to repeat the steps.
Working upright on an easel, I first draw a rough sketch defining the basic shapes and composition with a neutral colored pastel pencil on sanded pastel paper.
The sanded paper has enough tooth to hold many layers of pastel.
I then choose a few different pastel colors in different values to better define the shapes and block in the background.
I work back and forth from one area to another from mid-tone darks to mid-tone lights building up the image in my preliminary base colors.
Now that my drawing is relatively accurate and I know where I want my values to be, I start adding more color and varying light. I’ve finished my basic blocking of the plum and have blended some areas with my fingers laying lighter hues over the darker ones and bring in greater detail.
I also vary the pressure of my pastel sticks.
At this point in the painting I have made more subtle changes in value. I blended most of the colors saving highlights for the end. The highlights are applied with the side of my pastel using light pressure over the surface.
I finish by defining details and adding the whitest whites to provide a strong expression of light.