Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Your Mark

Springtime Marsh, pastel, 5x7

This morning I was working with some students who are new to pastel, and demonstrating one of my typical minimal stroke exercises. I've learned that it's important to explain to newer students some mark-making particulars that experienced pastel artists tend to take for granted. However, some experienced artists often still become frustrated when they SHOULD be addressing these particulars (myself included!).

How are you holding the pastel stick? Do you need to use the entire broad side, just the skinny edge, or a portion of the broad side? How much pressure should you apply for the specific mark you need to make? Do you need to vary the pressure along one particular stroke? Should the mark you're making have a hard edge or a soft edge. Yes, lots of questions before you even touch the pastel to the paper.

Keeping some scrap paper handy (ideally the same paper/surface on which you're working) allows you to test out the particular stroke you need, especially if you need to place it in a conspicuous area of your painting. A painting quickly becomes overworked when you test your strokes right ON your painting rather than on something else first.

100-stroke pastel study, 5x7
The 100-stroke study shown directly above is one of two demos of the same marsh scene I did for my class this morning. The second one (at the top of this post...Springtime Marsh) is the one that I chose to finish up with a few minutes of touch-up time, still trying to keep the freshness of the initial strokes.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Barbara,
    I love your work! I've been viewing it on Daily Paint Works. Do you ever teach a workshop in the New York City area? I love the economy of stroke lesson.
    Thank You,