Class notes – Pastel Landscapes 2/4/09

February 5, 2009
pastel demo, 5x7" on LaCarte paper

pastel demo, 5x7" on LaCarte paper

Concepts presented:

  • choose paper color that is medium value grey or a color that is either predominant in the landscape or the compliment of the predominant color
  • begin with hard pastels (NuPastels), on sanded paper, it is possible to do the entire painting with hard pastels
  • select the colors you plan to use upfront, try and limit your selection to 10 colors or less, this will keep your color harmony consistent and ensure that the colors relate to one another throughout the composition
  • sketch in a value study with charcoal before you begin in pastel, this enables you to work out values before you move into color
  • begin adding color from dark to light, avoid black if you can, burnt umber and dark ultramarine make a nice dark with some color variation, dark green and violet work nicely as well–find a combination that suits the mood of your painting and works harmoniously with the medium and light value colors you plan to use
  • after mapping in your darks, add the medium value colors, your painting may look a bit flat at this stage, this is normal and you should not attempt to get too light to soon, the darks will make the brightest areas seem brighter once they have been applied
  • add the highlight and brightest colors last, this will give your painting a 3 dimensional quality
  • make sure that all of your colors are used throughout the composition, don’t have a single spot of one color not used anywhere else
  • work the entire composition to the same level of detail throughout the process, don’t finish one area and leave another undone, cover the entire sheet of paper with pastel early on for a cohesive look

Note to my Wed. a.m. pastel students at NJ Visual Arts Center – next week (Feb. 11) I maybe a few minutes late, I have an appointment that can’t be cancelled at 8 a.m. that I made before I was asked to teach this class. I will likely be on time, but if I’m not, just get started and I’ll be there within a few minutes, sorry for the inconvenience. Best, Anne