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Planning Retirement Online

Art Masterclass   

                          May 2009


Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.   

Art masterclass      

from The Artist, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;  


This Month:

Step-by-step pastel landscape

Jane Ward takes us through her suggested working methods for the finished painting of Abbotts Bay, a previous project..




Fisher400 Art Paper 20x14in. (51x35.5cm)

Soft pastels

Here are the sorts of colours you should be looking for:

Cobalt blue
Pale pinks
Dark pinks

Abbotts BayLilacs
Pale cream
Pale blue
CeruleanPale grey
Light yellow/green
Dark green
Dark purple/grey

Charcoal willow stick

An old watercolour brush to take off excess pastel

An easel (I always work very upright)



Step 1Step 1

1. On Fisher400 paper attached to a board, make a light sketch using a charcoal stick. Not too much detail is needed as this will soon be covered.

2. Beginning with shades of cobalt blue, pale pinks and lilacs, block in the sky. Cover the entire paper, lightening the sky towards the mountains. When the paper is covered, blend the entire sky with the palm of a clean hand.

3. Next, begin to paint some of the clouds using very pale cream and shades of mauve then lightly blend with your little finger to achieve softness in the clouds.

4. With the edge of a pale blue pastel, negatively paint touches back into the sky to show the shape of the clouds.



No 5


5.  Use cerulean at the bottom of the sky to help show the effect of recession.





Step 2Step 2

1. Moving onto the fells, use pale grey/mauve pastel to block in the shape of Blencathra mountain.

2. Using ochre, lightly blend over the top to show the direction of the light and fells.

3. With a blue/green pastel, paint the tree shapes. With a light yellow/ green, show the fields in front.


Step 3

1. Use mauve to paint behind the island and the darker tree shapes on the shoreline, and pale cream to show the shoreline.

2. Next, paint the background water. To do this, block in the colours of the trees using diagonal strokes then use the fell colours, finishing with the pale cloud colour. These should all be blended downwards with the side of a little finger.

3. With the sharp edge of a pale blue pastel, paint ripples to show the movement of water.



Step 5Step 4

1. With an old watercolour brush, lightly take out the area where the foreground trees will be. By doing this, the colours will stay pure, making the tree shapes more defined.

2. Block dark greens to show leaves then, with a dark purple/grey, paint the tree bark and thin branches.

3. Stroke pale cream gently on top to show light on the tree trunk and some branches.

4. With a hard turning movement, paint lighter shades of green on top of the darker green. Again, think about the direction of the light and keep plenty of gaps for the birds to fly in and out of!

5. To paint the heather around the bed of the tree, put a darker pink down first and lighter pink on top. Add a few stones using shades of cream and pale grey. Again check the direction of light.


Step 5Step 5

Paint the reflections of the island using diagonal marks painted roughly into the water and the colours of the trees and heather. Blend these marks downwards. Paint th ripples in the foreground water with stronger shades of cobalt blue. Use pale cream directly under the island and on some of the stones.



Abbots Bay

Abbotts Bay, Blencathra, pastel,
            14x20in. (35.5x51cm)

This article was taken from the May 2009 issue of Leisure Painter.




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