Sunday, 5 April 2009


sorry this first image is blurred but gives you the full range of subjects
Sorry long time since I posted anything - many reasons. We had our pastel workshop yesterday in the village and the above shows the many colourful subjects I brought in for the members to choose from for their main work in the afternoon. In the morning we did our usual thing of practicing different techniques and ways to use the media from lovely Unison and Sminke soft pastels to the harder squared edge sticks and pastel pencils. We discussed the various types of pastel and grounds one can purchase and the application of blocking in with varied pressure, layering, blending, mixing colours and fine detail.
Here you can see some exceptional competent work for first timers to pastel and the main words I heard throughout the day were 'immediacy' and 'messy'. Everyone shared what they had brought in and the search for the right colour was contrasted with the mixing of colours by layering to create tone. Finally we discussed the need to 'fix' but leave the last touch of highlights until afterwards to ensure they stayed bright.
This is the early stages on a coloured pastel paper ground, which was finally covered in a very light blue using the side of a soft pastel to enhance the finished colours and tones of the subjects. Note this artist was brave enough to add the copper jug still to be blocked in here.
The high colours of the fruit bowl seemed to attract most of the members and here you can see the early blocking in stages on cream pastel paper. Helen kept her colours very pure and the background very light in application and colour.
Here are two other pieces of artwork at the end of the day
one with a very different viewpoint including the bronze cat, where a deeper blue was added to the soft blue pastel paper at the end of the day:

This is the end of day's work of our only gentleman, with its vibrancy and strong shapes.
Since last Spring we have covered drawing and tonal skills in both graphite and ink, composition and perspective, colour theory and water colour techniques, pen and wash, watercolour pencil, acrylic and now pastel. Not bad in just over a year. Such a pity my numbers are dwiddling, but I have had to move venues to the village hall and now have a web page advertising my workshops on the parish council website, so hopefully may improve.


RHCarpenter said...

Joan, have you ever thought about an online class? I've never had anyone teach me anything about pastels and I really like the look of them - although I hate the dust and mess. I do hope things pick up - it sounds like you've taught them a lot of good things!

debwardart said...

It's hard to get students, even harder to keep them - I feel your pain. I had no idea you worked in so many venues, I am truly impressed!
p.s. I "tagged" you for an award, you will have to go to my blog to check it out!

Angela said...

I wish I lived close enough to take a class from you! I used to love working with pastels, but for some reason now I can't handle how the dust feels on my skin. I suppose a person could wear gloves couldn't they?

Anyway, you're students are very lucky to have a teacher who knows so much about so many different mediums!

Robert A Vollrath said...

I use to do pastel portraits at nightclubs and carnivals.

Pity I don't any of those to post on my blog as I sold every one of those drawings.

Using all my skills of late, oil, pastels and watercolors. Your blog always inspires me to go back and dust off old skills:)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Sorry not to have responded sooner to all your lovely comments. I do appreciate you taking such trouble on my different posts. I really look forward to hearing from you all. Pastel has taken a back seat burner over a number of years, so it was good to have to get my mind round the technique to pass on to workshop members. We all had fun.