Lyn Diefenbach, "Counterpoint," Sept 2017, Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord, 24 x 24 in. Available.

Lyn Diefenbach – Revealing The Complexity Of The Natural World

I met Lyn Diefenbach at this year’s IAPS convention. I had featured her self-portrait in one of my monthly roundups and admired the detailed complexity of her work for some time so I looked forward to meeting her. And you know what? She’s as delightful in person as you could hope! She’s also a great storyteller and she had me laughing much of the time!

After creating a short interview video with her (see the end of this post), I knew she would have much to say to you so asked her to be a guest blogger. And yay – she said yes!!

Here’s a teaser in case you don’t know her work.

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work in a series: collaged image

Work In A Series – Some Lessons Learnt During The 31-Pastels-in-31-Days Challenge

October is Challenge month at HowToPastel. In the 31 days available this month, participants attempt to pastel every single day (posting in the HowToPastel Facebook group). One of the things I decided to do during the challenge was to work in a series. There are some subjects I’ve yearned to paint and the Challenge is an opportunity to dig into a couple of these themes. One of these is laundry on a clothesline.

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September's Splendid Pastels: collage

September’s Splendid Pastels

I’m back from teaching my workshop in Croatia and so can now settle back into taking the time to collect, review, select, and write something about pastel paintings seen over the previous month. And so here is September’s collection of ten splendid pastels!

Each painting we look at is not only about the artist’s intentions but also what we as a viewer bring to it – our memories, experiences, biases. I say this as a reminder that the paintings I choose and what I say about them is personal and subjective (unlike judging a show!).

So let’s get going on this month’s splendid pastels!

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Painting Holiday workshop: Student work on the theme of dominance

10 Reasons To Go On A Painting Holiday Workshop

A year and a half ago, Mario Vukelic invited me to lead a painting holiday workshop with Pastel Workshops Croatia. And early this September, it happened! I had an amazing group of six students who were dedicated in their pursuit of pastel painting knowledge. There were times of concentrated silence and times of uncontrolled laughter – all of which filled my heart. And as an instructor, there’s nothing like hearing  ‘Aha!’ exclamations!

Happily, although the weather was sometimes iffy, we had a spacious studio in which to work. The weather prevented us from going on the Istrian tour (boo hoo) but on the bright side, it gave the students more learning time from me in the studio and I was happy to share more!

The Hotel Villa Gloria is small and beautiful, rooms are comfy and clean, staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating, food is plentiful and delicious, and there’s a gorgeous pool for swimming or just contemplating life with book and cocktail in hand at the end of a hard painting day. Perfect!

 

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Sandra Burshell, "Rest," 2016, Pastel on UArt 500 grade sanded pastel paper toned orange and mounted to acid-free foam core, 25x23 in

Sandra Burshell – The Beauty Of Colour, Light, And Atmosphere In Her Roomscapes

It’s my great pleasure to have Sandra Burshell as guest blogger. I’ve featured Burshell’s work twice in my monthly round-ups – the first time was a figure (click here to see it), and this past June, I included her interior, “What Could Have Been.”

I’ve always been intrigued by the way Sandra Burshell applies pastel, with her marks coalescing into a readable form, one filled with light and colour and atmosphere. You’re in for a treat as she shares many images, and also takes us through the progression of “Rest,” a painting that just received the President’s Award at the current Pastel Society of America’s annual exhibition.

 

In case you don’t know her work, here’s a taste:

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Detail of final pastel painting

Improve Your Paintings With The Power Of Negative Space

I’m writing this sitting in Frankfurt airport as I travel home from my 7-day Croatia workshop. Teaching this workshop got me thinking a lot about negative space – both its power as a visual device and as a tool to aid in the creation of a painting. My demo and lesson on the last day touched on the use of negative space.

Here’s my demo:

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Paint Like No One’s Watching (Or Cares About What You Are Doing)

You know that saying, dance like no one’s watching? Well I think you could also say, paint like no one’s watching!

I’m in Croatia to teach a 7-day workshop (very excited about that!). And it’s time to write a blog for you. I was going to pastel some landscape or townscape. A good plan until I suddenly realized that within an hour I was to hand over my pastels to Mario, the workshop organizer. (He’d bring them with him when he drove to Istria for the workshop. Cam and I were trying to relieve ourselves of a lot of luggage so as to travel light over next few days before the workshop.) But this meant I had to paint something in an hour!

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Tweaking my plein air painting in the studio: Gail Sibley, "Shepherd Hills Hideaway," Great American pastels on Wallis Belgian Mist mounted paper, 9 x 12 in. Available.

Tweaking My Plein Air Painting In The Studio – How I Did It

A couple days ago I was on Salt Spring Island visiting my parents and one of the things I really wanted to do while there was to work en plein air. It’s been awhile since I’ve painted on location and as I’m preparing for my workshop in Croatia, this was on the to-do list. It was a perfect day for painting and although I went through the angst of I-can’t-remember-how-to-paint during the process, I was quite happy with the result. Of course the outcome wasn’t as important as the doing of it but still, it’s nice to have some success. This post reveals my thoughts on tweaking my plein air painting back in the studio as well as the progress of the painting on location.

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July's uncommon pastel paintings: collage of details of eight of the paintings

July’s 10 Uncommon Pastel Paintings

We are well into August but still not too late for my roundup of ten uncommon pastel paintings selected from all the work collected over the month of July.

Each choice brings with it some thoughts as I examine and ponder the paintings. As always, you’ll find a range of styles and subjects. And remember, these are truly personal and subjective picks, paintings that move me or capture my attention in some way. I select many paintings through the month. In the days leading up to this post, I slowly whittle the choice down to ten. This time I got to about 16 picks and was stuck. A couple of pieces were by artists I had recently featured so I let go of those and then thirteen were left. After writing notes and seeing which I could really speak about, I determined the final ten uncommon pastel paintings.

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From Stumbling spread for DK's Artist's Drawing Techniques

DK’s Book – Artist’s Drawing Techniques – It’s Here!

The postman delivered a very special package yesterday – two brand new, hot-off-the-press copies of DK’s Artist’s Drawing Techniques. The pastel section of this book is filled with my pastel paintings as well as my words about the techniques and about my beliefs around working in pastels.

Before reading further, refresh your memory about this project by clicking here to read my blog about how it came about and the work I’d done for it in January.

I worked on this project for the first three months of this year – intense but rewarding days of painting, writing, editing, emailing. It was wonderful but I sure couldn’t keep up for that pace for many months! The project required completion by the end of March (hence the intensity) so there was no Mexico winter getaway for us this year 🙁

But when I opened this gorgeous book, I knew that all the work and the sacrifice of other projects and travel were worth it!

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