These are the main Sections of the Site

These are the other Topics within this section



In hard pastel and pastel pencils


The next stage is to work the windows and shutters on the white building right of centre.

This is slightly away from the main focus of interest so the detail will be less pronounced and the contrast in tones also lower.

The other matter to bring up here is the essential of keeping a fine point on the pastel pencil and turning the point regularly as you work. This keeps a good sharp point for fine detail

In the next image we can see the roof line completed.

The working daylight was different here with more sunlight and thus warmer colours, but I haven’t adjusted the photo.

I have included a detail of the windows and shadows on those upper levels so that you can see that the pastel  is effective even though the line is not as sharp as you would get with a wax coloured pencil.  This doesn't matter, as this part of the picture is away from the main focus and we just need to give a valid impression of the architecture.

Now to consider the problems of perspective

If you look again at the original photographic reference you will see that the eye level was about 1.75 metres above the pavement – natural eye height

I have, however, changed the foreground and brought the railings round in a wider curve. The position of the railings, as they now show in the picture, are well below the previous level and we now have an assumed eye level of about 3 metres or more.

For this reason, I have changed the perspective in the nearest building on the right and our eye level is now much higher – the top of the window blinds need to have a different angle and we are now looking from a point nearly level with the first floor of the buildings.

This will also give me a better opportunity to compose the detail of tables etc. outside the cafés.

I think the changed view will also suit the picture better.

In the first step of this part of the picture I decided to colour the first sunshade green to enable it to provide a sharp colour contrast with the red blind above.  This worked too well !  The effect was to bring the focus of the picture sharply over to the blinds from the arch of the bridge, which is not what I wanted.

I lifted the green pastel using a block of tacky putty and replaced the colour with blue as you now see.

The effect is still too pronounced and I may well darken the blue before I finish.  See a detail of the working of this area below.

I will leave the lower edge of the blue sunshade incomplete for the present as I may want to make some changes later

I have now carried on working round the pathway area in front of the buildings and included a couple of people walking away from the camera.  I have limited the detail here as I don’t want to too precise and attract too much attention to this area.

I have also blocked in the shapes of the flowers on the railing so that I can begin to get a feel for the way the final picture composition will work.

Yes, it is starting to come together.

The area in front of the railings in the bottom right hand corner is a little bare, but I don’t want to include any more people - that would divert attention from the main picture focus.  

The final picture may well be cropped off on the right and made narrower, so there may not be too much open space to worry about.  I will develop the tables and restaurant detail a little more and also develop the flowers on the curved railing,  and then make a further decision on the bottom right hand corner

I have included some white boards - they might be advertising or they might be pictures on display by one of the many artists working along this pathway.  If they are kept subdued they may help to keep up the interest in the area without producing too much diversion. They will also enable me to introduce some shadow across the pathway to confirm the flatness of the path and the strength of the sunshine.

A little more work in this area and I can make a start on the water and the reflections.

Remember that there is still a major stage to come once all the details are in place, to balance the lights and darks  and  get the appearance of the picture right.  The pastel will then need fixing lightly and the highlights put back in after the fixing spray has darkened everything.

With the overall details now in place and the reflections in the water starting to be established, we can see the picture coming together.

It is essential to work from the actual picture itself to put in the reflections as the original reference has been varied as the picture has been worked.  

All reflections have to be exactly vertical to the elements they represent so a constant comparison has to be made between the picture above the water and the reflections - to make sure they match.

Some more work is going to be needed on the flowers and railings as well as the water surface incorporating more shadow.  

We must also remember that many features which are reflected in the water will be much darker than the originals as the view seen in the water surface is effectively that from a much lower level (about 3 metres under the water ) and more shadowed elements will feature in the building facias.

The latest stage of the work may not appear to show much result, but among the areas worked on have been :

1/the left hand building which has had some darkening and detail in the lower part of the wall alongside the river

2/ There has been work to the flowers along the rail with areas of shadow inserted.  

3/The railing has been defined and shadow applied to the footpath on the lower right.  

4/The advertising boards have been completed,

5/The sky re-worked to bring in darker blues both in the sky and in the reflection in the water and

6/ The reflection of the buildings and the river wall in the water have been almost completed.  Further work will be done to reflections and ripples in the the water after fixing.

There is one more step to be taken before fixing the picture, the roof-lines will need to be re-defined where the blue pastel has been worked too close to existing edges.

I have cropped the photo of the picture back to get an idea of the final proportions of the work.

I think that the reduction on the right hand side is about correct and the darker footpath surface now provides a better base for the composition of the picture with the reds on that side balancing the blue of the reflected sky in the water. It is now more inviting to take a walk down that path !

I am still undecided about the light area under the bridge arch. It does what I intended in providing a focus, but is it the best option ?     A solution may be to work up an alternative to the light area under the bridge on a piece of card, cut it out and lay it  on the artwork surface under the bridge to see what the effect would be..........

Time to apply the first level of fixative.

This is a light varnish spray which is designed to hold down the loose powder of pastels, though pastel worked on a grit paper is fairly secure anyway.

The problem with fixative is that it tends to darken the colours of the pastel.

In this case the pastel has darkened

very little between the two images

shown here.

The lower one has been fixed



The image you see has had some final working after the fixative has been applied.  The left hand side windows have been re-worked, more detail has been applied to the water and the reflections in the water and some further shadows have been included to highlight the effect of the sunshine.  A stronger blue has been added to the immediate foreground water to highlight the contrast between the reflected sky blue and the shadowed flowers and greenery along the railing.

We now have a triangle of focal points between the arch of the bridge, the reds and blues of the blinds on the cafes and the foreground flowers/water.

Completed commissioned picture

29th November 2011

Notes © Peter Weatherill  2011

The finished work copyright is owned by the commissioner, Caran d’Ache.

Next Page