Painting with Pastels All Summer Long
Tap into your creativity and get out of your comfort zone! Summer is the time to set yourself free from old habits, embrace new horizons, and see with a keen painter’s eye. The June 2017 issue of Pastel Journal can be your companion in all of these exciting endeavors. Find tried-and-true tips for painting with pastels in a loose and free way. Get sound advice for getting out of your own way. Embrace portrait insights for creating an emotional punch as well as composition techniques from a trio of artists for building successful landscapes.
Painting with Pastels: Building Landscapes
Rolling hills. Winding roads. A freshly plowed field. A rustic barn. There’s a lot to love about the countryside as a subject for painting. Kim Lordier, Helen Kleczynski and Marc R. Hanson are three artists who’ve taken that excitement and turned it into compelling rural landscape paintings in pastel.
We asked these artists to share a few of the lessons they’ve learned along the way about painting the rural subject.
Kim Lordier: The Importance of Edges
“Edges play a tremendous part in making a barn or barn-like structure feel integrated into the scene—not just plastered on. By that, I mean, using a lot of soft edges. I realize this may sound like the opposite of what one might think, since structures are hard; however, if one uses all crisp edges, it’s likely the building will feel as if it’s popping off the surface.”
Marc Hanson: Dealing With Age
“One challenge is what to do if the structures in a scene are falling victim to age and gravity, and are beginning to lean and wane—out of plumb. Sometimes you have to straighten up a vertical or horizontal so that it doesn’t look like you didn’t understand the perspective. On the other hand, sometimes it’s good to break a roof beam or create some rot in the eaves—to add some age to break up the newness, if it helps the painting’s idea.”
Helen Kleczynski: Allowing for Texture
“I rarely blend the pastel, preferring to let the marks show. If I add too much pigment to the paper, the pastels will blend together, losing the appearance of rough texture. If I do need to regain texture, I use a fan watercolor brush to remove some pigment.”
When Color Isn’t As Crucial As Light
Pastelist Penelope Milner puts the darks center stage in her tonal paintings of rich, mood-filled figures and cityscapes.
As a tonal artist, she’s always looking for darks—”I tend to think with darks,” she says—and in particular, she protests that there are never enough browns. As for achieving those tones, she says, “I love that it’s like a child’s trick, making something look three-dimensional. To create three dimensions by the simple work of value is a fascinating process. It’s enough to paint a path disappearing into a landscape that carries the spectator into a magical and imaginary space. The colors only accentuate this illusion. I scrutinize my subject and analyze the hues. The more unexpected they are, such as a green in the face or an orange in the light, the more I exaggerate them. Then, by playing with the complements and opposing cool and warm colors, I make them all work together.
“The color is the vehicle of my sentiments; it translates what I feel,” Milner continues. “Color isn’t, however, as important as light. I’ve always been more interested in value than in color, and I always clearly separate the two.”
To learn more about Milner’s process, and to see more of her works, check out the June 2017 issue of Pastel Journal.
- Melissa Breault, cover
- Tony Allain
- Kate Bergquist
- Dawn Emerson
- Marc R. Hanson
- Helen Kleczynski
- Kim Lordier
- Penelope Milner
- Susan Ogilvie
- Brian Sauerland
Get your copy of the June issue of Pastel Journal while you can!