Kath, Cynthia – Pastel Landscape


Understanding Pastels

Pure pigment:
Good pastels are alive, and do not have binding agents.

Gloves, Artguard Barrier Cream, Mask Techniques of Masters

Techniques of Masters

  • Look at photos and copies of Master paintings.
  • Learn to see balance, unity, variety/interest and contrast.
    • See how Masters use limited tonal values
    • and how they simplify values by squinting
    • Learn what’s dynamic and what’s static. (The more you look at an area the more you will want to work on it.)
    • Notice contrast of scale, angles and shapes.
    • Learn to frequently get back from your work
  • Only studying art history will not make you a good painter!
  • Only copy masters to learn medium and color.Key components in Master Techniques
    • Choices
    • In how artist moves the eye
    • Create excitement, moving eye through with line.
    • Cadence, in which eye moves through painting quickly, than slowly; the more changes, the more the eye engages.


  • Value relationships: creates form; creates difference of space. Reality is created by value. i.e., distance looses yellow, creates space. Create coolness by adding blue.
  • Keep subject in focus, everything else must relate to it, BUT KEEP SUBJECT IN ITS PLACE. (Focus on something and notice blur surrounding it.)
  • Composition: unity, variety, contrast, and balance.
    • Explain something, is it complicated? Simplify it.
    • Ask question, do I need it? Does it help out the painting?
  • Choices: We are always confronted with choices: emotional, design, theme, story, likeness, character.
  • Your Own Style: You can only convey what you feel. If painting could talk, what would it say? Explain motive. No one will care if I don’t care!
    • What Clicks!
    • Personal brush stroke/mark. Different angles. Your mark is your signature and opinion.
    • Have the courage to make a decision.
    • Trust yourself. The painting will tell you what it needs.
    • Making something look real does not make it worthy of being seen.
    • Learn what you have to say: “How do I feel about it?” “What is mine?” The more I feel about it, the better it becomes. Paint with love.
    • Corot:” It is better to do a poor version of self, than to copy someone else.”
    • Others have already cut the trail. You will never get out of it what they put into it.  Every decision made already. Finite/end. Its like getting the answers to the test.
    • Do not try to control your entire world in a painting, loosen up!
    • Put down your own pure idea; quickly, capture how light falls across things,
    • Hierarchy; you do not need to clarify everything!
  • Color, traditionally, intense color is closer and the less intense move into distance. (example: Distance looses yellow, creates space; create coolness by adding blue.)
    • Group values/color, keep it simple.
    • Clarify your “effect of light”; light is light and shadow is shadow.
    • That is, group lights and group darks. Squint!
  • Luminosity is created by the way value and color comes back to the eye.


Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson (available from Amazon)
Read Chapters 3, 4 and 5.
Visit Link in Amazon

Supply List

  • Bring three photos to first class that you would be interested in painting. Look for pictures with contrast. Photos with both dark shade and sunlight.
  • Note Book!
  • Pastel Paper:
    There are many types available. I prefer sanded papers like Uart #400 or #500 and Premier. I also prefer lighter colors. They may be ordered from Dakota Arts Supply in Seattle Washington www.dakotaartstores.com. These papers are popular and handle water well:

    • LaCarte is good for soft pastels only (hard pastels dent).
    • Some people like Canson paper but it does not handle many layers.
  • Artist tape or drafting tape
  • Workable matte fixative spray
  • Pastel ground: Liquitex Clear Gesso for pastels or sanded paper.
  • Glassine, Wax paper or Freezer paper for transporting art work
  • Gloves or Artguard Barrier Cream

Any pastels you have will be a good place to begin.

Hard Pastels

Nu pastels (Set of 96 colors is good!) This product is now made outside of the USA and the quantity has diminished. This is a great set for teaching and learning color. I’m also using some similar colored pastels by Rembrandt (Listed below.)

  • 2 239 Warm Gray
  • 2 279 Cold Medium Gray
  • 1 209 Dark Gray
  • 1 245 Light Turquoise
  • 1 228 Hookers Green (Upright sunshine)*
  • 1 278 Dark Green (Flat plane shade)*
  • 2 298 Bottle Green (Darkest Green, Upright shade)**
  • 1 208 Sap Green (Flat Plane Sunshine)*
  • 1 258 Viridian Green*
  • 1 408 Fern Green*
  • 1 248 Olive Green*
  • 1 308 Palm Green*
  • 1 408 Fern Green*
  • 1 204 Sandalwood*
  • 1 353 Cordovan
  • 1 286 Madder Pink
  • 1 266 Scarlet
  • 2 366 Shell **1 212 Orange
  • 1 207 Chrome Yellow
  • 1 247 Light Naples Yellow*
  • 1 267 Corn Yellow
  • 1 217 Lemon Yellow
  • 1 257 Cad Yellow Deep
  • 1 243 Light Ochre
  • 2 211 White*
  • 2 277 Ivory*
  • 1 233 Raw Siena
  • 1 345 Harbor Blue **
  • 2 244 Dark Purple (darkest dark) **
  • 2 235 Light Sky blue*
  • 2 265 Ultramarine Blue *
  • 1 275 Deep Blue

** needed colors
* Great Colors


Hard pastels, better

  • Ultramarine Light 505.5, 505.8 and 505.10
  • Ultramarine Deep 506.5, 506.7, 506.9
  • Madder Lake deep 506.7, 331.9
  • Perm red 372.10
  • Violet 536.9
  • Purple 548.3
  • Orange 235.5
  • light Orange 236.7, 236.3
  • Cinnabar Green Deep 627.5, 627.7
  • Phthalo green 675.3
  • Perm green light 618.3, 618.5
  • Perm green deep 619.3
  • Light yellow 205.3
  • Deep Yellow 202.3

Some super ‘Soft Pastels’ are great.

Soft Pastels: Schminke, Unison, Girault, Sennelier, Terry Ludwig

  • Natural colors (as found in nature)
  • Vibrant colors i.e. Hot Pink, Turquoise or whatever you like.
  • White and Off White


Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson (available from Amazon, Cheap). Carlson is considered the “bible” of landscape painting by most contemporary landscape painters. Read Chapters 3, 4 and 5

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Posted on

June 12, 2019