Pastel Pick of the Week | An Introduction to Pastel Painting with Michael Chesley Johnson

Artist Michael Chesley Johnson , a plein air painter, workshop instructor and longtime contributor to Pastel Journal, was recently invited to give a presentation in Sedona, Ariz., introducing the basics of pastel. The talk was part of a panel discussion, “Three Masters Speak,” presented in conjunction with the Sedona Area Guild of Artists (SAGA) Exhibition “SAGA: Visions of Fine Art.” Johnson posted a video of the presentation, “The Fine Art of Pastel,” along with the accompanying slideshow on his website.


michael chesley johnson pastel


If you’re a newcomer to the pastel medium, or if you often find yourself in a position of wanting to educate others on the basic workings of pastel, this is a terrific introduction to the medium. The slideshow includes two demonstrations, one in which he begins a painting with dry pastel and an alcohol wash, and the other which begins with a watercolor underpainting. In the final minutes of the video, Johnson pulls out his plein air kit, and sets up his tripod and pastel palette, offering a peek at a professional pastel artist’s plein air palette, which is always fun.




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