|Pomegranates in Pastels|
produced using Dianna's techniques
from my own reference photo
I've never sought to emulate the pastel style of Dianna (mainly because I never thought I'd have the patience!) but am always interested to learn new things and wanted to know how she produces the pin point realism of her pastels.
Being largely a self-taught pastellist, I learned a huge amount of practical information about Dianna's approach to pastels in terms of:
- working with La Carte pastel board (what you can and can't do with it) - an abrasive surface which I'd only used once or twice before
- transfer and registration of an image on the support
- particular tools used to help achieve her 'look'
- how to transfer a planned image on to an abrasive and coloured support media
- how to keep a pastel work in good condition while working on it
- how to get saturated colours and good contrast
- the benefits of using General Pencil's white charcoal pencil
- how to get really ace DARK darks - and which pastels work best for this
- how much pastel is needed before blending can be truly effective
- how to use blending and erasing tools (you'd be amazed!)
- the best sharpener for pastel pencils (I subsequently bought one!)
- how to simplify and exaggerate the reference image while retaining a sense of detailed realism.
All the workshop students were able to produce really good work from the reference image during the weekend using very different pastel sets plus a selection of the dark pastels used by Dianna and the tools on her supplies list. All were slightly different - but all demonstrated how they'd built on the lessons learned in the class.
Style wise, I'm still not going to try and emulate Dianna - not least because our colour signatures are completely different. However, I'm sure I'm going to be able to use the lessons learned within my particular approach to pastel. I tried to do this on the second day with the pomegranate work at the top of this post - it's a combination of the way I normally work and some of the things I learned during Dianna's workshop.
I'd highly recommend a pastel workshop of the sort I attended for those who have found their feet with pastels and want to progress to producing highly finished work of a realist nature. However, I'm sure any artist interested in pastels pastellist will learn something new and of value at one of Dianna's workshops. She is also a well organised and enormously patient and helpful teacher - even with a workshop which has sold out!
|Participants in Dianna Ponting's workshop at|
the San Clemente Art Supply Store (July 2006)
For an alternative perspective, see Louise's take on the workshop in "A Ponting Class". I'm also going to finish with an image of the work she did from Dianna's reference image during the workshop. Bear in mind that Louise doesn't normally work in pastels, learned lots of new ways to work and that I photographed this the next day straight from the workshop - with no final tidying up done as yet!
- Dianna Ponting website
- Dianna Ponting workshops - North America (note they get full fast!)
- Dianna Ponting workshops - UK (details of completed workshops for 2006 only)
- Federation of Canadian Artists
- Pastel Society of Canada
- Pastel Artists Canada
- Wet Canvas - Soft Pastels Studio
- Wet Canvas - Pastel Talk