It was an amazing day. It was such a pleasure to teach these talented participants. It will always fascinate me how our uniqueness shines through. Although we were all working from the same reference and even using the same colours; Every single painting is different!! I love that!
Many thanks to Great American Artworks for providing the bulk of the pastels to complete these paintings. Thanks also to Rembrandt, Schmincke and Unison for providing samples.
Some Notes from the workshop
Pastels (called Soft Pastels, or Dry Pastels) are made from the same pigment used in other fine art mediums (oil, acrylic, watercolours, coloured pencils, etc) This ground pigment is mixed with a binder (usually gum tragacanth (expensive) or methyl cellulose; 2/3 Calcium Carbonate and 1/3 Talc to for form sticks. Some are rolled by hand and some my machine. It does not change colour after application like other mediums do (watercolours lighten, acrylics darken) .
Pastels come in varying degrees of hardness based on the amount of filler; softest are pure pigment. If you see ‘chalk pastels’ in your local craft store; they are that: chalks: made from limestone and coloured with dyes…they not of artist quality.
Historically pastels date back to the 16th century. Some historical masters include Davinci, and Degas. Todays masters include Richard McKinley, Sally Strand, Daniel Greene, Liz Haywood-Sullivan. Canadian masters include Dave Beckett, Andrew McDermott, Horace Champagne, Glenn Bernabe, Dianna Ponting and Michael Chesley Johnson (to name a few)
Elements of a good Landscape painting
- Light source
- Straight horizon line (Very Important) & not through the middle of the page
- Perspective-foreground, middle ground, ackground
- Gradation of sky
- Atmosphere: Grayer, lighter in distance
- Different textures – sky, land, water
- Value masses most important – notice your painting from across a room)
- Focal point – can have more than one. Flow is important. Create intention of how you want eye to go
- Usually enter a landscape from the bottom.
Use darks in shadows: blue, burgundy and purple in place of /over green
Green in warm sunlight: use yellow, orange, warm red and pink
Greens in distance are bluer and paler
Greens in shade – cool – use blues, purples, magenta’s and cool reds.
- DO NOT BLOW on your pastel paintings as you will be breathing in the dust you stir up. Pastel dust may include toxic substances. Loosely tap the back of the painting instead.
- If extremely sensitive to dust; wear a mask.
- when not framed, store drawings flat with glassine paper in between. Glassine is a very thin translucent smooth paper that is air and water resistant, and ph balanced.
- squint, squint, squint.
- Turn painting upside down, sideways and look at it through a mirror to get a different perspective.
- Force yourself to think about value before color
- Think about the temperature of colours
Pastel Papers that I most often use