Pastel Landscape Study

Landscape study in pastel, 12x12 in.

This is a demo from my pastels class on landscape painting. Most of the time, my subject is more urban and contains architectural  elements. I like to take a break from that now and then and focus on landscapes that are a bit more organic.

The trees of course are a key element in this type of work, I like to think of them as masses of leaves to be boldly blocked in with color. Of course, just as with any other painting, I start out with a value study as an underpainting. This is what gives the piece depth and get s the dark values placed, which is critical when working with pastel. I always choose my colors at the beginning of a pastel, this ensures that the palette will be harmonious and that no colors will be fighting with one another for attention.

Another key aspect to working with pastels is to avoid blending. Let the colos mix optically on the paper rather than blending them together, blending can cause mud, especially if you have many colors layered on top of one another which is typical with pastel.

I think pastel is a great medium for working out ideas for future paintings, or for doing quick studies such as this. I rarely work with it large because pastels are difficult and expensive to frame, plus most galleries prefer work on canvas that is not behind glass. Still, no reason to abandon the medium, instead I use it in the manner described above and will sometimes sell my pastel drawings unframed. This provides an alt3ernative way for collectors who cannot afford an original oil painting to acquire my work since I do not sell prints.

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