Today we are going to paint a very simple scene but with a new technique. It will be a “less is more” technique. Once you get the idea, you can use it again and again with other scenes! We are not going to DRAW clouds, but use our pastels AROUND the clouds to make cloud shapes. So let’s get started with chalk pastels less is more.
Chalk Pastels Less is More
Turn your paper vertically. You will need the following pastel colors: aqua, medium blue and light blue for your sky and the little river that flows through the landscape. For the grasses, the colors are rusty red, yellow, light green and purple!
Begin by getting your horizon line down. Please do NOT put your horizon in the middle of the page, dividing the landscape into two halves! No, this is a “big sky” painting. For those of you that live in the Southwest states, you can imagine a vista of flowing prairie grass, and for those of us that live elsewhere, these could be marsh grasses! So, come a bit over halfway down the page and using your light green pastel draw your horizon straight across the paper.
Next, get your stream or river in with your aqua pastel. The stream flows down from the right side of your paper to the left. Getting the river or any water into your painting is easier if you remember what I learned years ago about rivers and lakes: draw the BANKS of the river and not the river itself! Just get your water on the page twisting gently down the page and then pick up your rusty red pastel and draw the banks or edges of the stream. If you can remember to start your stream very small then just a bit bigger as you draw down the page, the stream will be more pleasing to the eye.
Now let’s get this big sky in. Read this first then try it on your own. Because a white pastel cannot help you make a very good cloud, then you will use your technique of drawing the banks of the river in your sky! That is right, you are not going to draw clouds, but put in the sky AROUND the sky to make clouds.
Use your pale blue or aqua pastel to draw some cloud shapes, but do NOT fill in the middle of the clouds, leave the paper white. You will get a more natural-looking cloud by filling in the blue sky around the clouds! Remember, the sky is more deep blue high in the sky and nearer to the ground it is paler. Your fingers can be a paintbrush as you smooth in your blues, but remember to leave the cloud area white. If you look closely at my painting, I had some of the grass color on my fingers and it was added to the sky color a little bit and didn’t ruin the painting at all!
Going back to your grasses, use your light green and a bit of the rusty red to make smooth grasses. This landscape is seen from a distance and you don’t need to draw every blade of grass. Your yellow can give a bit of a look of sunshine in the distance. Your purple can add an impression of mountains in the distance. Use your fingers to smooth the colors to your liking.
All that is left is to sign your name in the corner and flip the painting over and name it and date it. Be sure that you share your art with your family and friends and explain your new technique of clouds and the water in your painting. Wow! You have done a great job! Your colors are beautiful and I love your clouds!
More Chalk Pastel Art Resources
- 100+ Free Art Lessons for All Ages
- The Very Few Must Have Chalk Pastel Supplies (hint – just add chalk pastels and paper!)
- Chalk Pastel Cleaning and Storage
- How to Plan Simple Afternoon Art Projects
- How to Do Art in 5-10 Minutes
- How to Start Art with Young Children
- How to Deal with the Chalk Pastel Mess
Always remember, you ARE an artist!! Good work!
-originally published August 2015