Some years ago we took a short break in Dartmoor, and spent one glorious afternoon at a local beauty spot in Postbridge. Famous for its clapper bridge, this is truly one of the most idyllic English scenes you could wish for. Our son made a new friend, who had brought a fishing net, and they spent a happy hour looking for minnows in the shallow water. (If you do take a look at the link above, you’ll see a photo of the stones they were standing on to fish, in front of the bridge). We were lucky enough to capture this moment as a photo, which brings back fond memories.

Now back to recent days. My painting buddy Andy and I were seeking a new ‘challenge’ to paint, and had decided on water as the theme. In the pile of images for consideration was this one. Daunting, but interesting. We decided that we should raise our game and have a go at it – facing up not just to water, but figures too.

Andy made a stonking first study in pen and wash, which deterred me from doing the same. Therefore I plumped for having a bash at the same subject in pastels, which would still let me try out the colours and composition in preparation for making an acrylic painting next week. I used Rembrandt pastels (kindly lent to me by my mum), on mountboard, which I quite like for its smooth texture.


Overall, I’m reasonably happy with how this one worked out. I may alter the cropping slightly when I make the painting, but this study did let me get my eyes and hands around the figures and have a good look at the reflections in the water and how I might treat them. Hardest this time for me were the skin tones, dark water tones, and the boys’ faces, the latter mainly due to the chunky nature of the pastels I was using. Getting the features in needed to be a matter of suggestion rather than explicit detail. I suspect the same will be an issue with the painting. We shall soon see!


22 thoughts on “Tiddlers

  1. I think this came out nicely, Rebecca! Especially the water in the foreground. I know what you are saying about skin tones and feeling the need for more facial detail and I would say here that maybe you’re doing what I like to do and add just a tad too much white and maybe touch of yellow or cream might warm things up a little. And I would also say that the facial features work well as just suggestions and you did well to not develop them further. Excellent work, I really like this one, can’t wait to see the painting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement Hilda. I’m glad you think that the faces work currently. And yes, white, always hard not to give in, plus the camera definitely makes it worse by bumping up the values…Let’s just hope I can pull off the painting! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like it Michael – it measures about 12 x 14 ins, so it’s biggish. The faces were nevertheless incredibly tricky…fortunately some of the pastels I used had small shards broken off, so I mainly used these when trying to suggest detail. My eyes were a bit crossed by the end! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that place looks enchanting….i want to go there!
    Another lovely pic. It is indeed difficult to get too much detail in with pastels. I always found them a bit frustrating for this reason! So thick and clunky! Although, it does make you think about how best to *suggest* features, as you say, so it’s probably a really helpful medium through which to develop new skills. I really love the light on the water, especially in front of where the boys are playing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Siddie, the water in that area was what the picture was all about really. It was a special place, made twice so as the sun was shining!
      Not being a very experienced pasteller, I too was frustrated by the imprecision. I suspect that the trick is to choose your subject so that you can make the most of the traits of the medium. Here it was fine for the water, but not so easy where small boys are concerned. πŸ˜‰ It’s funny how what started as a study sketch tried to turn itself into a picture in its own right. Plain wilful! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Nice drawing! There is a nice tension in this and the eyes follow the stones to the subjects in the middle… ! I used Rembrandt too, found out depending on the subject , Schminke did even better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! Interesting to hear your thoughts about Schminke, as I’ve been considering investing in a few – maybe I’ll go ahead and give them a try. πŸ™‚


      • Schminke is even more soft compared with Rembrandt, though yes, it costs a little bit more. I wish you good luck with it!


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