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Top Art Techniques & Tips
The general purpose of beginning a pastel painting with an underpainting is to create a setup in advance of the application of pastel. It is the cake, so to speak, to the icing. An underpainting is particularly useful when surface tone is vastly different than what is being portrayed. This can be especially bothersome in dark passages where major amounts of pastel would have to be applied, making subsequent pastel application difficult.
Claudia Nice understands how to convey the feeling of being in a landscape in person, and how to translate that to a work of art. Today, I’m happy to share with you this brief excerpt from her book, Creating Textured Landscapes with Pen, Ink and Watercolor.
Today’s message comes from Mark Mehaffey, who wrote the following for Watercolor Artist (February 2013). He says that “when it comes to painting, most of us want to pick up our brushes and dive right in. That way of working is fun, but only occasionally will it result in a great painting. If you want your paintings to reach their full potential…
The “Pastel Pointers” column in the current issue of Pastel Journal discusses three methods that plein air pastelists can use to find inspiration in the studio when winter forces them indoors. However, the landscape artist still faces the challenge of being denied access to the literal scene, something the still life and portrait/figurative painter doesn’t have to contend with forced indoors. There are two approaches I use to deal with this situation.
Anyone familiar with Pastel Journal and the Pastel Pointers Blog knows that Richard McKinley is a generous and inspiring teacher and a consistent champion of both pastel and plein air painting. If you’d like a collection of some of the artist’s best advice on working en plein air, you’ll want to check out a new magazine download available now at www.northlightshop.com.
Richard McKinley is world-famous for not only his pastel landscape paintings, but also for his teaching of art. He’s been a long-time contributor to Pastel Journal, The Artist’s Magazine, and ArtistsNetwork, sharing his “pastel pointers” and more for artists of all backgrounds. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring you an exclusive e-magazine that you can only get here: Richard McKinley: Painting Pastels en Plein Air is hot off the screen.
Before I begin, I position my canvas next to my subject and, with the palette positioned on my arm, I step to a viewing position about 8 feet back. I start by squinting as I look at my subject, which helps me blur my view and reduce the detail of the subject so I see a simplified version of darks and lights. From this vantage point, I make a decision about the mark I’m going to place on the canvas and walk forward to apply the paint.