Richard McKinley’s Pastel Pointers Blog

Richard McKinley offers weekly advice for pastel artists, covering plein air painting tips, art design ideas, information on landscape painting and must-know pastel techniques.

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From the Archive | Paint Like Leonardo

During the Italian Renaissance there was a contentious debate as to which was a nobler art form: painting or sculpting. Painters claimed that they had the harder task because they had to invent the illusion of everything within the scene, including the light. Sculptors claimed it was they who had the greater challenge, because...

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From the Archives: The Power of Art

Since prehistoric times, humans have manifested the desire to express emotion and thought through artistic forms. Often this is done solely for personal enjoyment, but frequently it serves a bigger purpose by communicating personal feelings to other human beings. This desire to be heard, and hopefully understood, has led to the formation of language,...

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Practicing Intuition | 9 Underpainting Exercises

Whenever I'm demonstrating an underpainting technique, someone—at some point—will ask: Why did you put that color/value in that area? It's a tough question to answer since so much of what I'm doing is responding to the current painting situation with an anticipation of what will be done with the over-layers of pastel to come.

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What Is Impasto Painting?

One of the great advantages of oil paint, beyond its inherent richness of value and color depth due the pigment's suspension in oil, is the ability to apply it thickly--to create an impasto surface effect. The term impasto originates from the Italian word pasta, which means "paste." When associated to painting, it signifies a...

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Breaking Out of a Creative Rut

It's human nature for artist to look for answers—the so-called right way of doing things. When we see another artist’s successful paintings, we think that artist has a secret, and that if we had the same products and applied them in the same fashion, we too would produce masterful outcomes. While there's a degree...

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An Incremental Approach to Pastel Painting

As any artist that has worked with pastel can attest, pastel is an extremely versatile painting/drawing medium. The techniques used for its application are unlimited and easily reflect the personalities of those working with it. There are three major external components that affect application and appearance: surface tooth (how easily the surface grabs the...

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Organizing Pastels

The more pastels we acquire the more difficult it can become to keep track of them, especially once they are removed from original packaging and labels have been removed. Initially I tried to keep copious records of which pastels made up various working palettes. When there were only a couple of brands of pastels...