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Mist Story

Posted by Peter Senesac on 10th Jun 2021

I hope you love the way this small painting in pastel and charcoal came out as much as I do. It has such a mysterious mood that might remind you of a day in the wild. You can almost feel the atmosphere and smell the woods.

I started with this simple sketch with looking out the window at the shrubby trees in the neighbors back yard. I was interested in the shadow patterns and scribbled them down. After that I just looked at the drawing to see what it held. Eight times I thought it was done and later went back in to add and change things. Here are some of the steps.

I used charcoal and brown hard pastel and chalk by Cretacolor. These are very similar to Conti Crayons but they are round and fit in a holder. They are basically hard pastels in sepia and sienna. The black and white are charcoal and chalk. I'm drawing on an 9x6 piece of 90 lb Fabriano using a 5x7 mat to crop the picture for the photos and to get the sense of the composition.

It ended up matted to 8 x 6

This was the initial sketch. I thought it was done.

Here I started to add some darks to the middle. Each time I took a picture I thought I was done.

I added more sepia to the middle ground

More charcoal was added to the left trees and background. I used water to blend some of that to push the distance back. The line of trees drops down at the right, leading the eye out of the painting. I felt like the right hand side was sliding off the picture so I added the foreground tall bush. I also added more warm colors to foreground. I'm also using an 8x6 mat at this point.

I was still feeling like the picture was sliding down to the right so I leveled up the background a little bit

I added more darks and lights to the middle foreground

Slight change, added more white to the top of the far right foreground bush and shifted the mat to the right revealing more of that bush. The final iteration added some whites to the middle ground between the little trees and on the field in the back. I tried to make that the focal point. Between each time I added more chalk I sprayed it lightly with Kamar varnish/fixitive.