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Pastel Art Techniques Painting Landscapes & More
Workshops afford us the ability to get an insight into the painting concepts and habits of many of our pastel heroes. Admiring finished paintings is one thing, but having the ability to watch a hand in action is priceless. Having had experience with both workshop taking and workshop giving, I have a few observations that may help ready you for your next workshop adventure.
Pastel is unique among fine art media, because it doesn’t have an inherent binder to hold it onto a surface like all other forms of painting. This difference is one of the reasons it gets classified as a drawing medium in some circles. Pastelists, though, most often associate their intent with the act of painting. While the end result of painting with pastel may visually resemble binder-based paints, it does rely on one component that they do not. It requires enough tooth and surface density for adhesion.
The interaction between a painting medium and surface plays an integral part in an artist’s painting technique and the final appearance of the artwork. This is especially true with pastel. While wet media, such as watercolor and oil, are applied with a brush that is capable of pushing pigment into a porous surface, pastel is applied dry, relying on the textural nature of the surface for adequate adhesion.
Even when the ingredients for bravura in painting are present, there is an ironic side-effect that can occur from all the training: It can lead to painting motor skills that consistently produce over-rendered subject matter, producing finished paintings that appear tight. If you struggle with this and wish for a looser painterly appearing outcome in your work, there are a few things you can try …
It’s helpful to remember that everything we see is due to light. Without it, nothing visually exists. Painting is a representation of that light and is incapable of exact duplication. We are restrained by the limitations of the products we employ. We only create an illusion.