Paving Roads with Pan Pastels

As I had suggested back in April, after attending the Ontario Narrow Gauge Show and taking part in a hands on clinic with Pan Pastels, I was looking for opportunities to experiment with them and add them to my painting and weathering toolkit.

My first Pan Pastel attempt, a strip of brick for the sidewalk.  I started trying to get grey into the lines, then covering with a red tone.  It didn’t quite work as I’d wanted, but i was able to go back and get the grey into the grooves and for some texture after.

As part of the diorama I am building, I have three different types of payment tone and colour to create, Asphalt, Concrete and Brick.  There are even variations in colour and type within these.  When I was out last weekend I made a stop at Curry’s Artists’ Materials, a southern Ontario chain of art supply stores, and picked up four Pan Pastel colours and some different applicator brushes.  I didn’t want to go crazy on my first purchase until I’ve been able to play around and see how they work.  I picked up a Red Iron Oxide Shade; Neutral Grey, Paynes Grey Tint; and Black.  These should give me enough tones to do most of the pavement.  Pan Pastels come in four levels for most colours, Dark, Shade, Pure colour and Tint.  The Tint is pre mixed with white to lighten the colour to be more of an accent.  The Shade is the colour mixed with black to darken it, and the Dark is the colour with more black than the Shade to really darken it.  Pan Pastels website explains this with colour samples far better than I can. If this works, my intention is to use the Pan Pastels on the brickwork of the building for the diorama as well, but starting with the pavement was a good place for me.

First coat of colour on the roads, taking the blank slate of the drywall compound asphalt and styrene concrete to a dark grey, using an old jar of Trueline Trains CPR Steam Locomotive Grey to get a pavementy dark surface.

For the base, I am starting with what I know, and applying a base coat of paint to the surfaces.  This gives me a starting point, and lets me then work with the Pan Pastels to add tone and highlights, rather than relying on a product I’m not familiar with for all the colour.  For the brick areas (a strip of square bricks along one street, and an interlocking patio area), I am going to try to use Pan Pastels only, but for the asphalt and concrete, it just feels safer to start with what I know.

Using a Sofft sponge brush to add different colours of Pan Pastel pigment to lighten the road from the dark base coat.

The Pan Pastels can be used as solo colours, or blended, I chose to work with the colours individually, which meant they blended as I worked them onto the surface.  If you’ve ever looked at a road, the pavement is a lot of different colours as it wears differently with use by vehicles, water, freeze/thaw, and any number of other factors.  I was trying to capture this by blending the two grey tones onto the dark grey surface from the paint for the asphalt.

Creating dark lines along the expansion joints in a concrete cross walk by using black Pan Pastel then wiping away the excess.

For the cross walk, the concrete paint was blended with the greys, but also with black for the expansion joints in the concrete.  Using a moldable eraser, and by carefully wiping with a paper towel, excess pigment from the surface can be removed while leaving it in the grooves I’d carved in the pavement.

After I stepped back and looked at my first go round, I decided the pavement had gotten too light (in the photos above).  To combat this, I applied a heavier coat of the darker grey Pan Pastel to bring the tone back, once I had reached a happier stage, I overcoated the road with dullcote to seal the pigment down and create the road surface.  The finished roadway can be seen below.

Finished Pan Pastel asphalt, concrete sidewalk and brick insert.  The road surface has a really nice texture and varying tonality, just like a real road.  I’m quite pleased with how my first use of Pan Pastels has gone so far.

Next up is the rest of the sidewalk and patio paving.  I am using sheet styrene for the concrete sidewalk, and interlocking brick sheet for the patio areas.  Once the styrene is cut, I have to lay out and scribe the expansion lines in it, then paint and weather it with the Pan Pastels.  My Shapeways order with the windows and doors for the building has shipped, so I am very much working towards having the base ready to at least start mocking up the building in for when my order arrives.

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