A Step-by-Step Sunset

Just today on the Pastel Pointers blog, artist Richard McKinley talked about those images that are almost too dazzling to work as a painting. Fall foliage was one example, and sunsets another. “These
spectacular subjects, unless finessed properly, become a postcard,” McKinley writes. “To
make them work, we need to step back from the high drama of the moment
and allow the viewer a little more to anticipate, engaging their
imagination in how beautiful the subject matter might become.”

It was funny that, minutes after reading this, I came upon this new video demonstration on the PanPastel website with pastel artist (and Pastel Journal contributing writer) Deborah Secor, in which she walks viewers step by step through the painting of a dramatic sunset sky. Not only will you see how Secor uses the pan-format pastels and applicators, but you’ll also see a good example of a sunset painting that does work—for exactly the reasons described by McKinley. Secor avoids the danger of an overdone result by carefully composing the painting to offer just a hint of the spectacular color—and leaving some of the drama to our own memories of blazing skies.


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