Making a picture from a simple collection of breakfast items.
I used white Colourfix card as a support [ this has a pumice and acrylic surface which accepts water as well as having a tooth for pastel ]. A light blue watercolour wash was brushed on and the positions of the main masses indicated in a mix of indigo and alizarin watercolour paint.
Dark areas were strengthened with stronger washes and the shadows and smaller shapes – cutlery, label on marmalade jar defined. This underpainting gives cohesion to the painting and establishes darks, which are sometimes difficult to make strongly with pastels alone. The under painted stage was completed by sharpening up some of the drawn edges on the cutlery, the egg cup and the jug with pastel pencil and a first indication of the striped pattern of the tablecloth. With the underpainting now dry the first blocks of colour were drifted in using the sides of the pastel sticks aiming for a palette that contrasts the cool blues with complementary warm oranges and browns.
The colour was gradually built up with pastels – careful attention to tonal values helped define individual objects – the egg the toast the butter and the nectarine. Flat surfaces of the milk and tea were achieved by rubbing the pastel with one finger. The dotted pattern was added to the plate and lastly the egg spoon.
The final process is one of detailed refining , including adding the reflections to the tea and milk and highlights on the spoon. Shadows link the separate items providing a rhythm for the composition. There is contrast of texture between areas which are smoothly rubbed in and the free raw mark making elsewhere.
Cropping the image can help the final composition – you’re in charge !