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Friday, March 28, 2014

Pastels Step-by-Step with Graham Oliver

Graham Oliver introduced Totton Art Society to the art of using soft pastels at the February demonstration. His step-by-step approach was clear, precise and intelligible to those unfamiliar with the medium. He even demonstrated how to vary the marks on the paper.

He uses artists quality Unison, Sennelier or Daler Rowney pastels on Canson paper or abrasive sandpaper.
Graham outlined the five steps that he uses for his landscapes.

Composing the scene with the aid of an A4 size photograph and a sketch.
Drawing guidelines one third from the edges identifying possible focal points.
Then a simple outline with grey pastel or pastel pencil.Insert the light and shadow including the sky.

Step 2
Chose a selection of colours that go well together and place them in a separate container. This is your palette for the painting.

Step 3
Block in the areas of colour with a thin layer of pastel (if using sandpaper otherwise, on a less textured support, keep the number of layers to a minimum).

Step 4
Finishing some areas of colour by rubbing - not too hard. Dragging the sky down through the mountains creates a soft sky.

Step 5
"Orchestration" to emphasise parts of the scene i.e. fine detail in and around the focal point, 'lost' and 'found' edges throughout the painting.

Mistakes may be correctedby brushing and shaking.

Artist Mary Austin, who is experienced in using pastels, was one of many who expressed interest after the demonstration.

Graham has produced a demonstration DVD which is obtainable from him @ £12 plus postage.
Tel: 01722 503610
See more of his work at:
Graham Oliver Gallery
97A Brown Street
Open Tuesday and Friday 10-1pm and 2-5pm.
or on his website:

Posted by Di Alexander March 2014