Category Archives: Workshops & live demos

Announcements of onsite demos and of workshops (presented by myself or others), reviews of workshops taken, and various other topics related to workshops

From Gail Sibley's post 'Get the most out of a workshop': My demo

14 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Workshop

Are you going to take a workshop anytime soon? I recently taught my workshop, Ramp Up Your Colour, to a small group of students on Salt Spring Island. Their focus and willingness to follow where I led was so rewarding. They really were the ideal students! Seeing their dedication to learning inspired me to write this post about ways to get the most out of a workshop.

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Why Go To Pastel Conferences? Let Me Count The Reasons

I’m slowly settling back into normal life after my trip to Ontario at the end of May where I taught three workshops for Pastel Artists Canada at the ICAN Pastel Conference in Aurora. While there, I was reminded why I love going to pastel conferences! Let me count them.

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Pastel Workshops: Gail Sibley, "Gordes," pastel on Pastelcard, 9 x 12 in

Pastel Workshops Coming Up!

Many subscribers have been asking me, “When are your next pastel workshops?!” So I’m pleased to tell you about a number of them that are coming up.

First there’s the three I’ll be teaching at the Pastel Artists Canada Conference, then two pastel workshops on Salt Spring Island in August, and then there’s the potential one next year in France (but I’ll need your help to make that happen!). There’s also a teaser…..

 

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The Trouble with Workshops: Demoing thumbnails. Photos by P. Calvert

The Trouble With Workshops

Recently I taught a one-day workshop to 15 artists from the Salt Spring Island Painters Guild. As always when I teach, I had a marvellous time. It seemed the same was true for most of the participants going by the feedback on the evaluation forms. Having said that however, I want to talk about about the trouble with workshops.

First, a little background info. My workshops are generally geared towards beginners and in fact, it turned out that half the class had never used pastels before. As I’m often frustrated (and then so are the students!) by the low quality of the pastels brought by participants, I insisted the students come with a few GOOD pastels, which included some light, middle, and dark values, Continue reading

Painting dried roses – step-by-step

Pastel of Dried Roses

My plan for this post was to show a step-by-step progression of my pastel of dried roses in a vase. The roses were a gift from my honey for my birthday in August but it wasn’t until well into September that I painted them. They were beautiful when fresh and still beautiful once they had dried.

When it came time to put this blog post together I realized that, silly me, I had only videoed the process ie I’d taken no stills. I also hadn’t taken a photo of the set-up. Argh. Since I had my heart set on sharing this pastel and since I couldn’t think of an alternative, I decided to go through the videos and take a few screen shots. This I did. The only thing is, because the camera isn’t facing the pastel straight on, the photos are slightly skewed and not as clear as I’d like them to be. Nevertheless, I think you’ll get the picture.

First off, here’s the final piece (taken with my camera not the camcorder).

 

Gail Sibley, "Still Beautiful," pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in - a pastel of dried roses in a vase

Gail Sibley, “Still Beautiful,” pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in.

Starting at the beginning….

1. Thumbnail of dried roses done with biro, 3 x 1 1/2 in. Pretty sketchy but still showing areas of three values.

1. Thumbnail of dried roses done with biro, 3 x 1 1/2 in. Pretty sketchy but still showing areas of three values.

 

2. Charcoal sketch complete of the dried roses in the vase.

2. Charcoal sketch completed of the dried roses in the vase.

 

3. Beginning to apply pastel

3. Beginning to apply pastel. Massing in the main shapes.

 

4. First layer of pastel lightly applied and then rubbed with a paper towel to create an 'underpainting'. This way, I get rid of a lot of the white of the paper.

4. First layer of pastel lightly applied and then rubbed with a paper towel to create an ‘underpainting’. This way, I get rid of a lot of the white of the paper.

 

5. Beginning to re-state the original pastel colours - creating a more saturated base to work over. You can see this particularly in the flowers and leaves of the dried roses.

5. Beginning to re-state the original pastel colours – creating a more saturated base to work over. You can see this particularly in the flowers and leaves of the dried roses.

 

6. Starting to add more pastel and delineate the shapes, particularly the flower heads.

6. Starting to add more pastel and delineate the shapes, particularly the flower heads.

 

7. Beginning to describe the leaves and the spaces between.

7. Beginning to describe the leaves and the spaces between.

 

8. Background worked on, dried roses evident (flower heads, leaves, stems), vase made visible. Close to finishing.

8. Background worked on, dried roses evident (flower heads, leaves, stems), vase made visible. Close to finishing.

 

Gail Sibley, "Still Beautiful," pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in - a pastel of dried roses in a vase

Gail Sibley, “Still Beautiful,” pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. Available unframed $825

 

Here are a few close-ups of the finished pastel:

Gail Sibley, "Still Beautiful," pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in - detail of dried roses

Gail Sibley, “Still Beautiful,” pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in – detail of the pink roses and leaves. Pretty much life size

 

Gail Sibley, "Still Beautiful," pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in - detail #2. Pretty much life size dried roses

Gail Sibley, “Still Beautiful,” pastel on Wallis paper, 17 1/2 x 9 1/4 in – detail of the red dried roses. Pretty much life size

 

And here are the Great American pastels I used:

Great American pastels right after finishing.

Great American pastels right after finishing.

Great American pastels I used but now all cleaned up. Anyone notice anything??

Great American pastels I used but now all cleaned up. Anyone notice anything?? – Have a look at the previous image

Hope that was helpful. I’d love to hear any feedback!

 

Demo at Opus!!

I also wanted to tell you about a demo I am doing in December. It’s going to be at Opus Art Supplies here in Victoria on Sunday 7th December, 11am-1pm. It’s called “Colourful Still Life in Pastel” and I’ll be demoing a small pastel with a limited palette using Schminke’s box set of 20 pastels. Click here to learn more.

I’m prrrreeeetttty excited to be doing this. It’s my first time demoing with Opus. It’s free but you’ll need to register in advance by calling them at 250 386 8133 or going into the store.

 

And thaaaaaaat’s it for this time. Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend.

Until next week,

~ Gail

 

PS. If you looked closely at both photos showing the pastels I used, you will have noticed I forgot to include the darkest pastel in my cleaned up photo. Mea culpe.

PPS. Here’s a photo of the roses in my bedroom when they were fresh!

Fresh roses rather than dried roses!

Fresh roses!

PPPS. The Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago – 9 November 1989!! Do you remember when that happened? I do. I also remember when I was in Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie 32 years ago, looking over at the grim buildings in East Germany and imagining the people walking on the other side of the wall. Wow – what a change when the wall came down. I can hardly believe it’s been 25 years ….

The Berlin Wall comesdown http://youtu.be/zmRPP2WXX0U

Click to watch

Then go check out this amazing art installation!!

 

Moving Towards Abstraction – An Upcoming Workshop!

 

This is a quickie as I’m almost out the door as I write this! We are off to join my Mum and Dad on an Alaska cruise with siblings and their spouses – eight couples in all. It should be a heap of fun!!! And no internet – how great is that?? Well, mostly great but I’ll have to wean myself…

Before I left however, I wanted to tell you about an upcoming workshop. I am super excited about it as it really relates to the work I am doing now. It will take place on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada 27-28 September at ArtSpring. As it will be in the Guild room, there will only be room for 6 participants. The price is $225. The focus will be working in pastel but you’re welcome to bring other media. (I will have a supply list when you register.)

 

Gail Sibley, "Glimpses," pastel, 18 x 12 in, Peninsula Gallery

Gail Sibley, “Glimpses,” pastel, 18 x 12 in, Peninsula Gallery

Moving Towards Abstraction – a two-day workshop in pastels

Do you feel a pull to make your work more abstracted?

Are you feeling like you are in a rut with your paintings?

Are you searching for a way to move your work forward?

Are you interested in the creative process, in the journey?

Do you ever feel like you want to go beyond, deeper into, the representational pastel work you are doing now?

Then come to this workshop! We will take old work you are unhappy with and push it towards abstraction. We’ll also do plenty of exercises to unleash the intuitive part of you and create work from scratch.

But abstraction isn’t just about splashing on the pastel. It’s about looking at what you have created with an artistic eye, taking into account how the composition works, how the colours work, how the textures work, how the edges work, how the shapes work, how the values work. Is the whole unified with a path through it? Are the principles of dominance and repetition followed? Does it evoke a mood? Does it evoke an emotion? Does it say something to the viewer? Does it say something to you? These are some of the questions we will explore in this two-day workshop.

We’ll also begin to look carefully at the world and be inspired by seemingly innocuous objects, patterns, and arrangements. All these will feed into your creative soul and re-emerge from your creative hand, moving towards abstraction.

So come prepared to have fun, take risks, and blow caution to the wind!

How does that sound???

 

Plein air painting in pastels video

I am making progress on my videos on plein air painting. Since I still haven’t done the voiceover and I will be away for a week, this is YOUR opportunity to tell me what you want to know about plein air painting in pastels. Anyone who gives input on this topic will be entered into a draw for a free copy when it comes out!!! So come on, tell me all your frustrations, ask all your questions. When I get back I will be focused on getting it finished. So don’t delay!!

 

By the way, when you respond, I won’t reply right away because I will be away from internet (you see? it’s gonna be hard for me!!).

 

That’s it! I’ll talk to you when I get back.

Until then,

~ Gail

PS. Please feel free to share this information with anyone who you think might benefit from it 🙂