Tales from the Pastel Classroom

In the April 2013 issue of Pastel Journal, we asked well-known pastel instructors to tell us about some of their most memorable workshop experiences. They generously shared their tales of painting breakthroughs, unexpected triumphs and the kind of memorable trials that make us smile in retrospect. Here are two more workshop tales:


Weather or Not

Frank Federico recalls a time he was in Maine doing a demonstration in a large room overlooking the Port Clyde harbor. “A policeman came in to say that we had to evacuate immediately, as a hurricane was coming our way, but no one wanted to leave, so I kept painting,” he says. “The wind was rising, and there was growing agitation in the classroom. The students were keeping an eye on what I was painting and also craning their necks to watch as the fishermen hauled in their boats and battened everything down.” Finally the group was moved to a safer location.

“I never did get to finish what could have been my storm series,” Federico laughs.

Frank Frederico, Afternoon Light

Frank Frederico, Afternoon Light

Muddy Work

One of Stan Sperlak’s most challenging workshop experiences took place in the Maryland wetlands near Assateague Bay. Before the workshop, he’d warned his students to be careful to stay on the road because of the marshy conditions. “The last car to arrive pulled off a little too far and sank in the marsh,” he recalls. “When I tried to help pull it out, my car got stuck, too.”

The workshop locale was so far out that AAA came reluctantly, Sperlak says. “After towing out those cars, two other students, oblivious to what was going on, drove around the tow truck, and their cars also got stuck in the mud,” he says. “The tow truck wound up pulling four cars out of the mud that evening!”

Although the cars were muddy, Sperlak notes that the paintings done that day were not.


Stan Sperlak, This Evening

For more tales from the classroom, see the April 2013 issue of Pastel Journal.


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