It's wonderful to be an artist. Experimentation is encouraged, failure can be embraced, and doesn't have to be public. Artists are such a supportive group. That's how I felt on Sunday, leaving the 3 day pastel workshop with Tony Allain, put on by the Connecticut Pastel Society. Tony is a wonderful British artist, who's spent the last 9 years in New Zealand. He's a really fast painter, with a very recognizable style, and is a wonderful teacher. Even for an oil painter like me, it was magic. And when I needed basic pastel advice, there were lots of experienced artists who willingly shared their expertise. Here are some examples of exercises that we did with Tony.
Tony's got a great exercise for getting artists comfortable with figures. You use a marker (yes, on the pastel paper!) to build the bulk, add heads, then legs, and then use the pastels to complete the figures. I enjoyed looking at the marker result and trying to figure out which ones were moving forwards, backwards, wearing skirts, etc. The marks told me what to do. Isn't it fun when they do that?
Another exercise that I loved, was to paint a difficult subject upside down, so that you could paint the shapes without knowing what they represented. Tony suggested a portrait would give us the best for this exercise, so I went for it. I've done a few portraits before, but this was much easier! I'll never tell whose picture I chose...
My final painting is at the top, worked up from photos and sketches on our recent trip to France.
This was a great workshop. If you ever get the chance to take one with Tony, jump on it!