Pastel artist Nancie King Mertz shares how she created a recent landscape with a unique composition in this painting step-by-step demonstration.
Painting Step-by-Step: “Passing Fancy”
By Nancie King Mertz (nanciekingmertz.com)
My painting “Passing Fancy” was inspired by three photos I took in NYC after my husband and I stepped onto the tram platform near the East River. I work from 4×6 photos if I’m not painting en plein air, and this design has elements from each of those three photos.
Step 1: As always, I begin with a vine charcoal “tick-mark-map” to determine layout and perspective. My map is simply quick directional lines to create the design, rather than a “drawing” — I want to get started!! Immediately I swipe in the darks with the side of a pastel stick or with the new Richeson dark squares. When out in the field or doing demos, I always use denatured alcohol to wash-in the darks with a #6 Richeson fan brush, and I consider it my full-size Notan. However, when in my studio very recently, I have been experimenting by spraying that first layer with Spectrafix to connect the darks using the fan brush, before layering mid to light values on the dried surface.
Step 2: Now that the Spectrafix is dry, I can begin layering color over the darks. I find UART #400 is such a durable paper for my methods, and I dry-mount it using archival tissue onto Gatorboard or 8-ply rag board to prevent curling or warping when the wet alcohol or Spectrafix is introduced. To avoid smearing as I work on larger pieces in my studio, my tendency is to work top-to-bottom, developing the painting in that sequence.
Step 3: Adding more definition, pigment, and “cleaning-up” as I move down the surface in Step 3
Step 4: Getting closer to completion in Step 4 as I refine the bikers and develop the street signs. I continue to layer color to create better color relationships and push the values.
Step 5: In this final step, I touch up the darks, add the street tiles, and breathe a sigh of relief: I’m happy with it!
Take a deeper look at the steps shown here at https://spark.adobe.com/page/IvLwCZataNHI8/.
Watch a preview of “Urban Pastel Painting” with Nancie King Mertz here:
Upcoming travel and art events with Streamline Publishing:
- May 2-6, 2020: The 9th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo
- June 7-14, 2020: Publisher’s Invitational: Paint Adirondacks
- October 12-19, 2020: Publisher’s Invitational: Fall Color Week in New Hampshire’s White Mountains