The pastel demonstration which follows was written by Maggie Price. She is the author of two popular books on pastel techniques: Painting with Pastels: Easy Techniques to Master the Medium as well as Painting Sunlight and Shadow with Pastels: Essential Techniques for Brilliant Effects.
Step One:  
Working on Ampersand Pastelbord, I sketched in the composition lightly with a pastel pencil. Then I blocked it in with a thin watercolor wash. This allowed me to check my composition, and to some extent the values, although they are by no means accurate at this stage.
Step Two:  
Working from the top down, I established the sky, mountain and water values and colors. Because the position of the castle is critical to the composition, and because it needed to remain dark, I worked carefully around it with soft pastels. I used a combination of Townsend, Artworks and Unison pastels for these areas.
Step Three:  
The closer hills across the water are painted with Artworks and Unison pastels. I used a Faber Castel Polychromos soft pastel for blending the values of the trees and land. The reflection of the castle is created, and then the castle itself. Because it is backlit, it remains entirely in shadow except for a few touches of light on top edges.
Step Four:  
I decide to eliminate the bush at the lower left and keep the hillside relatively unobtrusive so the eye will go across it to the castle. The grasses and plants are multi-colored, and a single blade of grass may range from dark green at its base to orange at the tip. While the colors all need to be present, they must remain muted or they will dominate the painting. Final corrections and finishing touches, and Away from It All, 18"x21", is complete.
© 2000, Maggie Price | Artist Interviews and Demonstrations

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