Pastel in Serbian, French and Italian

Pastel in Serbian, French & Italian
Great excitement this morning – my book, Painting with Pastels, has just been released in Italian, French and Serbian. From time to time I’ve been asked if there was a version in French or Italian and even once for a Serbian edition. So for those of you who speak one of those three languages and would like a copy in your own language, just let me know.
During these cold, drab winter months, getting out to sketch and paint in the countryside can be an effort. How much nicer to stay in the warm and work on a painting indoors. However, occasionally we are lucky enough to get a bright sunny day in the depths of winter and then there is no excuse, even if it is freezing cold, time to break out those hats and gloves.
Wye Valley
 Winter sunshine seems somehow cleaner and crisper than the summer sun and winter colours are much more interesting than the ubiquitous green of summer.
This photograph of Aberedw rocks, just above where we live was taken a few days ago on a bright sunny afternoon. The climb up the hill to get here soon warmed me up and I was able to sit and sketch for half an hour before the cold penetrated. Sitting in the sun rather than the shade helped to extend the time available.
The mist kept coming and going but the low sun on the trees and the warm colour of the bracken really enlived the scene. Compare the blue of the distant hill with the warmth of the nearer slope. A good example of recession.


Little Langdale

Little Langdale

To painters, atmosphere has two meanings; the emotions conjured up by the image you are creating or the effect of the weather on the scene.

In this painting of Little Langdale the esoteric atmosphere I was trying to create was of an isolated farmhouse, surrounded by the mountains, abandoned and slowly decaying, there are no animals, the roof is beginning to sag and the wilderness is returning to the fields. All is not lost though, the roof is intact. Perhaps someone will make it a home once again.

The other meaning of the word atmosphere in this painting is created by the use of colour, tone, and detail. These are the three essential ingredients to help you create a sense of recession in your painting, and I make no apology for referring to them time and time again. Keep the distant features cooler in colour, lighter in tone and with less detail than the foreground and middle distance features and you will be well on your way to inviting your viewer into the picture,

You can read more about this aspect of painting and many other tips in my book, Painting with Pastels, published by Search Press. There is also a DVD of the same name to accompany the book and a special offer on the two together.

Getting out of a rut – Misty marsh in Pan Pastel

Misty marsh in Pan Pastel

Misty marsh in Pan Pastel

The inspiration for a painting can come in many shapes and forms but most frequently it is a combination of atmosphere and light that sparks the fire.

The sparkle of light on water and a gauze of mist lends enchantment to almost any scene.

In this painting the misty effect was achieved with Pan Pastels on a sheet of white Clairefontaine Pastel Mat paper.

The method of applying the Pan Pastel colour with sponges naturally lends itself to soft edges. The water is mainly the paper left untouched but the highlights on the clouds were created with a small Sofft

tm tool which looks like a plastic palette knife with a sponge sleeve and is very effective for smaller areas.

The challenge of working with Pan Pastels, which does not lend itself readily to creating sharp edges, has made me re-evaluate the amount of fine detail I include in a painting and has ‘loosened up’ my recent work. Working with different methods of applying colour is a stimulus that can get you out of a rut.

Go on try something new.

I will be running a pastel painting course in Cheddar next autumn if you would like to learn more about my methods of working.