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Deborah CrossmanDeborah Crossman  
Pastel, Animal Portraiture, Avian Art

The following is a condensed version of how a piece evolves. There's so much more that goes into a drawing that can't be seen, from the countless days spent in the field acquiring reference to the mental anguish that develops when either the hand, eye, or materials refuse to cooperate. Each is a labor of love.

I begin with a very simple contour line drawing in either black or white charcoal depending on the color of the support. I prefer to sketch with charcoal pencils because they can be sharpened to a very fine point, yield a nice line quality, and they're compatible with pastel.

Once an outline has been established, I begin layering and building the pastel in small sections around the picture's focal point. Unlike most pastel artists who layer the entire piece simultaneously, I always finish a section before moving on.

I continue working outward from the focal point using NuPastels for the base, Derwent pastel pencils for details and Rembrant pastels for highlights.

As I progress, I continue to build up the pastel and add details. I also go back and rework areas that I am not totally satisfied with.

I continue layering and adding details.

As completion nears, I set aside my reference and focus on unifying the piece. I strengthen highlights, add contrast, introduce more color to shadow regions, and attempt to resolve any problem areas.

Once completed, the piece is framed. I don't use any fixatives in my process because they tend to change the color and reflective properties of the pastel. Framing ensures protection of the piece.

Direct Correspondence to:Deborah Crossman
Deborah Crossman
c/o Crossman Studios
1 Buck Trail
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
  Artists for Conservation Group
Email: deborahjcrossman@hotmail.com
Deborah Crossman Deborah Crossman

All rights reserved. All images and text © Copyright  Deborah Crossman
Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.