A New (Ad)venture

After searching for a venue in the Central Mass. area, I found a room at  The New Braintree Historical Society where I can hold morning art classes for adults. I have taught before in various campgrounds when I was on the road so I know I enjoy this sort of thing. I love to see people discover they can put down on paper, something that looks like what it is supposed to. I like having people learn to see what they are looking at. I like working with pastels for this sort of workshop because right away it is colorful and budding artists can get right into it and moosh it around and layer color on top of color with out having to wait for it to dry or bleed into other areas. They can work fast or slowly. It is forgiving, it is very portable but it can be messy on hands and clothes so old duds are important and hands are soap and water wash up. Pastels are portable to take into ‘the field’ on a trip or just to have on hand if you have a little time to kill and you want to record a location.  This is an old medium used by the old Renaissance artists and the modern Impressionists. It is rapidly gaining in popularity.   Good pastels are nearly entirely all pigment with just enough binder to hold the powder together in a stick. Cheap pastels usually have more filler like chalk and are discouraging to use because you don’t get the intensity of color you may be looking for.  By cheap i don’t mean ‘on sale’. Some great brands go on sale from time to time.  Good brands include Rembrandt($$), Sennelier, Schminke, Daniel Smith and the cheaper but good-Faber/Castell. Art supply house brands can be good like Dick Blick and Utrecht and I will try Walmarts house brand and let you know. Pastels come in round crayon type shapes or square which I like for achieving sharp edges. They come in roughly 3″ sticks or half sticks. Half sticks are fine. Two types  are called soft and hard.  We will use soft. There are pastel pencils which I like for fine detail work. They are hard.  Pastels can be in powder form in little tubs with an applicator or a fine sponge. Brand name Pan Pastels.  All this is soap and water wash up for hands but some colors stain clothes. Be advised. Some professionals use disposable gloves. I like to rub it around to work it into the paper. I haven’t used gloves but I’m thinking about it.

Pastel still life

This is an excerpt from DanielSmith – making pastels website. You might enjoy the entire article.
Blacks are reliable permanent pigments that are inexpensive and make nice pastels. Having said that, I advise you to rarely use them if you desire clean, bright-colored pastels. I only use Ivory Black if I want to produce a very deep-colored pastel. Without the black, these very dark values are difficult to achieve. If my aim is to produce intentionally grayed neutral tones, I also use a bit of black. My palette reflects my style of using color. Only a fraction of the pastels in my landscape set are grayed neutrals made with black pigment; neutral grays made by mixing complementary colors are far more varied and interesting. Cutting out black immediately perks up your palette and boost the color in your paintings.”

Papers? You want something with a ‘tooth’ to it. Least expensive, Canson Mi Tientes. More $$, sanded papers like Wallis, Ampersand, Art Spectrum Colorfix and others. You can apply upwards of 20+ layers on the sanded papers. Check online at Dick Blick or Jerry’s Artarama, or Cheap Joes. Locally in Worcester at C.C. Lowell’s on Park Ave or in a pinch Michaels and A.C. Moore. Also you will need a piece of masonite or heavy foam core or sturdy cardboard to clip you paper to, and clips or masking tape. Painters tape doesn’t perform well.
Check out WetCanvas.com. Also, borrow a magazine on pastel painting to see if you get anything from it. Artists Magazine has articles.
I always use fresh fruit, vegetables and or flowers for a still life. You can’t make a vibrant exciting still life with plastic or silk stuff– my opinion. I usually include a piece of fabric and a piece of glass or metal. Later, we work on an animal portrait-a pet, perhaps, from a photo you have taken or have permission to use.

Border Collie

Never copy someone’s work without permission. It is against the law. 

I will make this course material as inexpensive as I can but keep in mind, art supplies are not cheap.
Here’s a chance to exersize the non logical side of your brain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s