I am delighted to announce that my book “Painting with Pastels” which had been out of print for a few months has now been re-issued in a new edition entitled “Start to Paint with Pastels“.
Painting with Pastels received some great reviews on Amazon and Artbookreview.net. but one of the few criticisms – that some of the step by step images were too small to see in detail – has been addressed in this new edition by adding 16 more pages and enlarging many of the stages. Students will really benefit from the colour chart which now shows the precise colour references.
Start to Paint with Pastels brings you a wide range of landscapes with a strong emphasis on creating interesting moods and lighting effects. It is more than just a guide to producing a copy of what is in front of you, or a photograph. Injecting strong colours really makes your paintings sing and you will learn a lot more methods to improve your paintings from these pages. You will also find many useful tips on painting flowers.
If you are starting with pastel or feel you need to refresh your skills you will find this new book will inspire you try a range of exciting techniques for painting landscapes and flowers in pastel.
Quotes from reviews of the new edition:
‘With pastel books being thin on the ground, any new edition is welcome and this is a rather excellent look at what the medium can do as well as a well-thought out manual on how to do it.'” Review of the previous edition by Artbookreview.net
Publishers review:- “The new edition of Jenny Keal’s popular book Painting with Pastels is an inspiring and creative introduction to painting in this medium. Focusing on soft (chalk) pastels, this clear, simple-to-understand book encourages you to explore the materials and methods needed to get started with pastels. Jenny begins by introducing you to a variety of techniques, and looks at sketchbooks and photographs as a way of gathering source material. There are then five stunning step-by-step projects for the reader to choose from, covering a range of subjects from flowers to landscapes and coastal scenes, and designed to build on the basic skills covered in the earlier sections of the book. Here you will learn about creating atmosphere, colour, tone, composition and perspective, and before you realise it you will have all the skills you need to create your own beautiful pastel paintings.”
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a completely different approach to a painting. I normally start by painting the sky, background hills and trees and then painting the focal point, finishing with the foreground. There are practical reasons for this, as it is easy to smudge a focal point that you are pleased with when painting the area above it.
However, in the case of the painting illustrated here, a cottage in the Preseli hills, Pembrokshire, I began with the focal point, then painted the sky and trees ending with the foreground. The surface I am using is Fisher 400 art paper which has been tinted with a purple ink wash. This gave me a dark background and allowed me to leave some of the surface unpainted giving a unity to the work.
By adopting this order of working I found myself working in a much looser way, for example adding the light between the branches of the trees instead of the other way around, and painting the trees around the buildings rather than painting the building over the trees.
So experiment with your approach to a painting and see what happens.
I will be running a Pastel Workshop in the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough on 4th August, 2016. If you are interested in enrolling please contact Edwina Pearce on 01672 512071.at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough.
David and I have just returned from a trip to Kent where David did a demonstration for Hythe Art Society at the stunningly beautiful Lympne Castle, overlooking Romney Marsh, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. We were made very welcome by this warm and friendly art group and shared their celebration tea with them after the demonstration.
We took the opportunity whilst in this beautiful corner of England to explore Dover Castle, Folkstone Harbour and St Margaret’s at Cliffe, which yielded numerous sketching subjects. The weather was beautiful as we sketched the White Cliffs of Dover in the hazy sunshine.
White Cliffs of Dover, St Margaret’s at Cliffe, sketch by Jenny Keal
I know I’ve said it before but I can’t emphasis enough how important sketching out of doors is to improve your painting. The watercolour sketch above only took about 30 minutes to complete. Working in a hardback cartridge paper sketchbook, with a slight breeze to dry the washes, I was aiming to capture the freshness of the morning and the delicate quality of the light. Leaving out lots of foreground detail to retain the freshness I was aiming for.
Photograph, St Margaret’s at Cliffe
So often a sketch can capture something that is lacking in a finished painting, and working purely from a photograph can rarely portray the magic of a place. When I look at the sketch I can smell the sea, but not when I look at the photograph.
Learning how to create atmosphere and recession in a landscape painting is an essential skill for a landscape artist. Artists will have their own techniques to achieve this effect but in my new DVD Pastel Demonstration Lingcove Bridge, I explain my methods. I like to give a painting a sense of space and a strong feeling of atmosphere.
My favourite techniques for creating recession are through the use of colour, tone and detail. Cooler, paler colours in the distance: warmer, darker colours as you progress towards the foreground. Less detail in the background and more in the foreground, especially around the focal point. The relative sizes of objects in the landscape is also a consideration. Trees in the distance, even if they are larger than foreground trees, need to be depicted as smaller. As Father Ted says, “this cow is small but those are far away”
Atmosphere is something that becomes easier to understand if you sketch outdoors, in front of your subject. There is nothing like getting out in the countryside to give authenticity to your landscape paintings.
These are not new ideas, the old masters excelled at giving a sense of depth through these methods. You almost certainly have heard these tips before, but it can’t be said too often.
The new DVD is 1 hour 23 minutes long and is filmed in close detail so you can see every mark I make, with a running commentary about my thought process. There is an excerpt on You Tube
Here is just a fraction of David’s many sketchbooks
I recently had an email inquiring about which sketchbooks I recommend. I thought other artists would find this useful too, so I am sharing this information here.
David and I both have a large collections of sketchbooks, The UK ones are dedicated to certain counties, or regions such as Mid Wales, Lake District, Yorkshire etc. and the overseas ones are illustrated daily journals of the trip, with text and drawings and paintings.
A page from my Egypt sketchbook
We have used a number of different brands over the years, some of which are no longer available but the ones we currently use are Daler Rowney Ebony Hardback Sketchbooks in either A5 or A4 sizes. Many of the UK ones and all of the overseas ones are in casebound hardback sketchbooks with cartridge paper, either A4 or A5. Casebound books are more durable than ring bound ones and have the advantage that you can write on the spine and then organise them on a bookshelf.
A page from my Crete sketchbook
The other advantage of a casebound book is that you can extend the sketch over a double page spread and with an A4 sketchbook that means you have an area A3 in size. The paper weight is also important if you intend to use watercolour in your sketches. I would say that 150 gsm cartridge paper is the minimum weight to look for. There are a number of casebound sketchbooks coming onto the market and not always in art shops, some stationery shops now seem to stock plain cartridge paper casebound books. but check the paper weight carefully before you buy.
David and I strongly believe that sketching out of doors is the best way to improve your artwork, and if you paint in watercolour then sketching in watercolour out of doors is a truly liberating and exciting experience and will almost certainly improve your studio watercolours.
I hope you can discover the pleasure of working out of doors in front of nature.