Dry Hills in Malibu


Yesterday I started an 8 week course in pastels. Already I am in love with the medium! Add to this, the teacher is a real teacher – she is a professional who teaches full time in an elementary classroom. She is organized, states what she expects, interacts, demonstrates, and all the things that are so important in learning something new. Some teachers just say “have at it” and you stumble along, not knowing what you are doing. Yes, experience is a good teacher, but explanations and clarity really help one understand what is going on. I am looking forward to more classes!

Here is a picture from the Malibu Creek State Park near where I live. We all had a copy of a photograph to use, and then she explained the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Mean, and explained how she changed the composition of the photo to meet the needs of the Rule of Thirds. Value studies, too, were done before even picking up a color.

We used Nupastels, made by Prismacolor. Inexpensive but very nice. I have some Rembrandt soft pastels that I will use later on, or in conjunction with the ones we have in the classroom. As I love colors and drawing, this is a perfect combination of “things” – and these pictures are not “drawings” but “paintings” in the lexicon of the teacher.  I never considered a pastel a painting.

I have not been this excited about a class in a very, very long time.

2 comments on “Dry Hills in Malibu”

  1. I love it! I think the contrast between the mass of raw sienna and dabs of violet is so attractive. I at one time thought that using pastels was considered drawing too. It made more sense to me to call it drawing, since I wasn’t using paint. But I learned later on in school that it was actually considered painting. Pastel isn’t a medium that I love but your painting is inspiring. It’s simple, but beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I am really touched by your kind words. And your detail in your description – I really like hearing what works for a person in a painting. When I did this, a few hints from the instructor was to make the foreground darker and the mid to distant areas lighter. From there, I tried to work with warm / cool and complementary colors. FYI, it was painted on an orangish paper. So much fun!


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