Pastel Painting, From Dark to Light

Pastel landscape artist Stacie Seuberling withdraws into herself to record her encounters with the natural world—with simple sticks of pastel and white sheets of paper. Her pastel landscapes are featured in The Artist’s Magazine, (October 2011) including the following demonstration of Autumn Surprise (below; pastel, 11×12).

Autumn Surprise (pastel, 11x12) by Stacie Seuberling

Autumn Surprise (pastel, 11×12) by Stacie Seuberling


From Darkness to Light
by Stacie Seuberling

landscape sketch for pastel painting

1. I often work on a wall covered with a plastic painter’s drop cloth rolled at the bottom to catch the pastel dust. I tape off my paper and pin it to the wall on top of the plastic. Using a No. 2 pencil, I sketch loosely, starting with the horizon and the large shapes. Next I block in my darks, using Diane Townsend Terrage pastels, which are the darkest darks I’ve found. They contain pumice that helps to open the paper and allow for many layers. I blend the darks with a paper towel.


structural elements of a landscape painting

2. Now I switch to my Great American pastels, supported by a few favorite Unison colors. I put the sky in, then the structural elements of the landscape—adding the background, trees and any other shapes. I’m mindful of negative spaces that lead the viewer into the painting.


focal point, pastel landscape painting

Autumn Surprise (pastel, 11×12) by Stacie Seuberling

3. I begin to work around and out of the focal point, in this case the yellow shrub hit by the setting sun. Softly blending, I progress with light layers of pastel. Still working dark to light, I try to have the piece evolve evenly by not finishing one area before any other. This tactic helped me keep the values correct in Autumn Surprise (pastel, 11×12).

Read the full article about Seuberling’s pastel landscapes in The Artist’s Magazine, (October 2011).

Related Articles
Studio Organization and Business Advice by Stacie Seuberling
Stacie Seuberling | Seasonal Landscapes in Pastel


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