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Rooster Page

Georgia's Process for Rendering a Pastel Painting
(AKA - The Rooster Page)

I get my ideas while driving, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilet, doing dishes, etc. I decided I wanted to paint a colourful, showy rooster that would contrast against a drab background and I wanted him sitting on a fence post with broken barbed wires. Then I had to hunt for my subject to collect photographic reference to draw from.

After scouring the countryside of Central Alberta I never saw a rooster that was sitting on a fence post but I did spot a colourful guy running around the barnyard of a total stranger. I jumped out of the truck and quickly snapped dozens of pictures. He never slowed down for a minute but that's okay; I can draw him in a still pose. I just needed to see his texture and shape. My husband had to explain to the farmer's wife why I was chasing her rooster around. He says that sometimes it's embarrassing to be married to me.

I sketch my subject scribbly at first and tighten up as I rework it several times. I deliberately drew him out of proportion. His head needed to be smaller and his tail feathers bigger. Somehow, this added an element of humor -he's not intelligent enough to know how magnificent he is.

1.) I start with a base coat of pastel in the background.
2.) I add detail and texture to the background with chalk pastel pencils.


3.) When I render the fence post I decide which side my light source is
coming from to determine the shadow on the post, behind the post and under the barbed wire.


4.) I render the feathers that are tucked in behind other feathers.


5.) I continue working on one section of feathers at a time, always laying
down broad vivid stokes of pastel at first and adding the detail over top in pastel pencil.


6.) I add the over lapping sections of feathers last.

I think I'll call him "Rodney". He reminds me of a guy I went to art college with, who had that name.

If you would like any further information, or have any questions or comments,
please email me at


Click here to email Georgia Graham