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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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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A Valentine to Pastel

In honor of Valentine's Day, find out some of the reasons that pastel artists are such passionate devotees of the medium.

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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...

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A Season of Introspection | Painting the Winter Season in Pastel

Having easy access to the irrigation canals that still honeycomb the valley in southern Oregon where I live allows me to visit them throughout the year. Even when there is no time for a quick drawing or field sketch painting, I will take a drive past them for inspiration and often stop for a...

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The Legacy of Henri Roché Pastels

The World War I-era song, “How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm? (After They’ve Seen Paree),” could also describe how many of us felt after first using pastels manufactured by the legendary brands of France: Sennelier, Girault and Henri Roché. By the 18th century in Europe, pastel was very much in fashion...

IAPS 2015

You’re Invited to a Pastel Family Reunion: IAPS 2015

On Monday, November 17, at 12pm EST (9am PST), registration will open for the 2015 International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) Convention. This marks the eleventh biennial convention to unite member pastel societies from around the country and around the globe for a celebration of all things pastel. The 2015 event will be hosted again...

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A Visit to The Met, Part 2 | The Manet Effect

The name Edgar Degas is forever synonymous with pastel, but he was not the only French Impressionist to be utilizing the medium. Édouard Manet, whom Degas first meets while copying a Velazquez painting at the Louvre, did a considerable amount of work in pastel. Some of the best examples are on display alongside Degas...