Getting Started – Pastel Demo in Melbourne for the PSV

Our Grand Painting Tour began with a “Ta Da” on Monday night in Melbourne at the monthly meeting of the Pastel Society of Victoria. Having been asked to give a pastel painting demonstration focusing on painting silver and lace, we turned up early in our Yellow Bus and waited with all the gear at the front door as people began to arrive.

We got off to a bit of a slow start for the evening as we all stood outside the venue in the freezing cold waiting for the key to arrive. What a lovely opportunity this afforded to chat with the charming and enthusiastic pastelists of Victoria and get to know some of them. Nothing like a bit of shared adversity to make friends!

There was a good crowd of eager pastel-a-holics gathered for the event and while the monthly business was transacted I managed to hastily set up my demo.

I chose to do something a bit different for the pastel demo. I had prepared a piece of MDF with a coat of SpakFilla to create a textured surface like an old plaster wall, and then gave it a coat of white Art Spectrum Pastel Primer. I have used this platform for a pastel painting before and I love the stark reflective whiteness of the plaster as the painting surface. The subject was a hanging bunch of pinky- red camelias and a silver jug and some white lace sitting in a little recess in the wall. I made the prop for the still-life set up, including the recess in the wall, out of a piece of foamcore the same size as the MDF board so that I could work sight-size.

I also talked to the group during the demo about what I see as the need to continually try to develop more than just a technical facility as a painter, but to clearly establish purpose, concept and poetic content in my work…the most challenging part of painting, and the difference between just painting, and art. This is a never ending quest!

developing the subject starting from a simple 2 value statement…using value 4 dark and value 2 light. I set up my value/colour checker beside the painting to show the way that colour and value work.
pastel chat…
I described my painting process, beginning with the gesture, the angular porportional drawing, then a simple two value/colour block-in, and then moving to value 3 halftones, to create form, then moving to the darkest dark and the lightest light to create edges and choose the areas of detail.
We set off from the Concrete Jungle of Melbourne… into the wild!
Heading first to Bunnings, then along the Great Ocean Road…Yellow Bus packed with art gear, and some other essentials!