Featured Pastel Artist: Dianna Ponting

If you are a soft pastel artist it is very unlikely that you haven’t come across Dianna Ponting. Dianna is an award winning Canadian artist and lecturer who excels in soft pastels. She is an elected member of the Pastel Society of America and holds Senior Signature status in the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Dianna’s use of light, shadow and her ability to denote texture results in nothing less than a stunning art.
Dianna is an international artist and pastel instructor with students and patrons in both North America and Europe. If she comes close to your place don’t miss her. The list of workshops can be found on her website and you can join her Facebook fan page.
Dianna is a regular contributor to Wet Canvas and the first time I saw her work I was overwhelmed. Her ability to make realistic paintings is hard to match. You can try out her licorice candies lecture on Wetcanvas.

Newsletter: The Pastel Scribbler, Jan 2010

The Pastel Scribbler

Pan European pastel society The Pastel Guild of Europe is publishing free monthly newsletter. You can find old issues here and if you like it you can subscribe at the bottom of the home page. The newsletter has some society specific articles but in general it is a good read for all pastel artists. In the latest issue you can read about:

– Pastel framing by Marie France Oosterhof
– Trip to France with Alan Flattmann
– How to use PanPastels for detailed work
– Meet the artist Gary Regnier, Cecilia Watson
– Pastel gallery…

    How to Use Golden Ratio to Improve Composition

    Soft Pastel - Susan Ogilvie - Tulips and Poplars
    Susan Ogilvie "Tulips and Poplars"

    Some artists are proportioning their works to approximate the Golden ratio. Special form of the golden ratio is golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio. It has been said that the Golden Rectangle is the most visually satisfying of all geometric forms. The strange thing is that we don’t know why human eye likes it.
    The internet is full of explanation about the Golden ratio and it is easy to find many references by simple search. One explanation I like is by Dianne Mize on emptyeasel.com.
    Very good example how to compose a good landscape using the Golden ratio is this painting by Suzan Ogilvie. Susan is a well known pastel artist and a lecturer.  Her works attracts me in ways I can’t describe.  Maybe I ‘ve just found the reason :). Take a look at her blog to experience it yourself part 1 and part 2.

    How to make Canson Paper More Lightfast

    Marsha Hamby Savage - Much Gold
    Marsha Hamby Savage "Much Gold"

    Many artists complain that Canson Mi-Teintes paper is not lightfast enough – meaning that the color would eventually fade when the paper is exposed to sunlight for some time. The pastelist Marsha Hamby Savage who mainly uses this paper for her soft pastel paintings is explaining in her blog how to prepare Canson paper to endure more light. Marsha is an expert in using this paper while the great deal of the soft pastel artists, including me, are having nightmares where they are left with no sanded paper in sight.

    Alcohol Wash Underpainting

    Paula Ann Ford
    Paula Ann Ford "Winterscape"

    Tennessee based artist Paula Ann Ford, who specialized in beautiful soft pastel landscapes, shares her process of doing pastel underpainting followed by the alcohol wash.

    “I normally use a dark value of blue at the top of the sky, then in the middle sky a medium (lighter than the dark) value, and then at closest to the horizon or in this case tops of the trees with the lightest value of blue. It almost looks like 3 stripes.
    Then I block in the darkest value for all of the trees in the background. In this painting, I used a Mount Vision extremely dark navy blue.
    Then in the foreground I use the same blues as the sky for the snow, but in reverse order. The lightest will be the farthest away; the medium will be in the middle; and the darkest will be in the foreground.
    That covers all of the board and I’ve only used 4 colors…” read more on Paula’s blog

    More on Signing Your Artwork

    Liz Haywood-Sullivan Cityscape 4
    Liz Haywood-Sullivan "Cityscape 4"

    Liz Haywood-Sullivan is giving some nice tips on how to sign your pastel work.

    “This may seem simple but be sure to sign your artwork – redundantly. Sign your painting on both the front, AND the back. And on the back please write the name of your painting. And this is why…
    I just finished hanging a show. As we went to label the show we ran into an issue. An artist had two paintings accepted into the show but we couldn’t figure out which piece was which so we couldn’t place the labels. The titles of the works didn’t give us a clue and there was no writing on the back of the paintings. The problem was that one piece was for sale and the other was NFS. We wound up making a guess based upon the titles but hope we haven’t made a mistake in case the wrong one sells! This may seem like a small detail, but to folks hanging a show it can become a problem and the issue could get lost in the confusion of prepping for an opening…”  Liz Haywood-Sullivan blog

    PanPastel video by Deborah Secore

    Deborah Secor "Dancing Sky"
    Deborah Secor "Dancing Sky"

    Great demo on youtube by Deborah Secor where you can see how Deborah is using PanPastels. You can also see it in the pastel video section on top-right of this page.

    “This is the painting I did in the new video demonstration that PanPastels has produced. You can take a look at it here.
    In the video I use PanPastels on my favorite paper, Pastelmat. You get to watch over my shoulder for a half hour as I paint and talk. I share a lot of techniques you can use with the Pans and a bit about painting the landscape, too.
    So grab a cup of coffee and take a bit of time to watch me paint. I hope you enjoy it!” Deborah Secor blog

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