“Dreamy Drifting at Malibu Creek” – 11 x 14 – pastel on board
Today I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with master pastellist Bruce Trentham, and this was the result. I had missed a demo by him several months ago, so this was a good opportunity to see him at work.
It was surprisingly similar to working in oil – much more than watercolor. The pigment is formed into sticks rather than being applied with a brush, but the manner of working – from dark to light and using opaque layers in a series of refinements and corrections – felt very familiar.
I think that I will be exploring pastel more – not to the exclusion of oil and watercolor, of course – but as a way to treat a subject quickly and in a painterly way.
When it comes right down to it, most of painting is about composition, value, shape, color and so forth. Whether one uses a brush or a pastel stick is not the main thing – and the principles of painting are the same for all color media that I’ve experienced so far.
For this painting I used a variety of different brands of pastel – from hard square ones to extremely soft and buttery ones. Pastel pencils helped with ome of the fine line work of the branches.
And yes, a pastel work is generally called a painting, not a drawing!