Monday, September 14, 2015

September and October Meeting Notes

Texas Pastel Member meeting
October 5, 2015

The October Texas Pastel Society Meeting was held at the Coppini Art Academy. 16 members and 2 guests were in attendance.
Cindy started the meeting by introducing the Board and having each attendee introduce themselves. Jerry then introduced our demonstrator, Enid Wood. Enid has her studio in Bastrop.
“She studied still life and portrait painting at Westminster College in Salt Lake City with Don Doxey. Her subsequent career as a violin teacher took her to Berkeley, New Haven, London, Pittsburgh, and Bastrop, TX. Ten years ago, inspired by the beautiful paintings and places seen during her travels, she joined Albert Handell’s mentorship program in New Mexico and became a full time painter.  She has also studied pastel painting with Linda Wallen, Doug Dawson, Terri Ford, Duane Wakeham, Fred Somers, Dina Gregory, Rita Kirkman, Richard McKinley, Elizabeth Castonguay, Judy Mattei, Dawn Emerson, Clayton Beck, Mike Beeman, Sally Strand, and Suchitra Bhosle. “
Enid described the pastels she uses and how she began first using Pan Pastels. These first came in “stacks”, but someone invented a tray (like a shallow muffin tin) that would hold and protect the individual colors. In addition to standard colors, these pastels also come in metallic and pearlescent colors.
She normally uses stick pastels (of varying softness) on top of the Pan Pastels. She applies the pastels with a variety of soft foam tools made for this purpose, but often uses cheaper foam cosmetic sponges. She touches a color two or three times before applying the pastel to the surface. For the demonstration she used pre-mounted UART 400.
Enid normally does not start with a drawing, particularly when painting in Plein Aire. The pastels will work on a variety of surfaces, including Canson. The Pan Pastels go on really fast. In general soft pastels such as Terry Ludwig and Schminke will go on top of the Pan Pastels, but pastel pencils are problematic.
The Pan Pastels can be blended, hence there is no need to purchase different values of each color. This is accomplished by dabbing the sponge on several colors (such as blue and white to get a lower value of the blue). Enid demonstrated the use of two or three complementary colors to easily obtain the desired shade of New Mexico soil. She used paper towels to clean the surface of the Pan Pastels.
Edges can be achieved by using pencils or vine charcoal, or by using sponges with sharp corners. Plastic palette knives fitted with foam covers can also be used for details. She finished (at least 85%) the picture using Terry Ludwig pastels to add “pops of color”.
The meeting was adjourned for lunch. After lunch Enid conducted a workshop.

Texas Pastel Member meeting
September 12, 2015

The September Texas Pastel Society Meeting was held at the Coppini Art Academy. 19 members and 2 guests were in attendance.
Jerry Henkener started off the meeting circulating 3 sign up sheets for Kay Brooks. 1) the attendance list, 2) a sign up sheet for the October 3rd Enid Wood workshop, and, 3) a sign up sheet for those interested in hanging their art in several San Antonio locales.
The meeting continued with an introduction of our officers and our guests. News from the floor included Cindy Morawski’s appointment as artist for the Mitchell Lake Audobon Center, Mary Lopez’s new classes at the San Antonio Jerry’s Artarama and Georgia Stok’s classes.

Upcoming events include the October 3rd meeting (starting at 10:30) that will feature a demonstration of pan Pastels by Enid Wood. From 1:00 to 4:00 Enid will conduct a workshop. The demo is free to all members. The workshop will be $50 for members and $60.00 for non-members.

November will feature our all members show at the Coppini. Details are still being arranged. Gaye Sekula will judge the show. She is an oil painter and pastelist, teaching at the NBAL in both media. She is featured in a number of galleries in the southwest and was recently selected as ambassador to the various Texas portrait painting societies. There will be a reception and an entry fee to cover prizes.

Next meeting will be in February. Currently, Jeannette Cuevas is scheduled to be the demonstrator, showing her landscape painting techniques. For March, we are considering a paintout at one or more of the San Antonio Missions, an opportunity to paint San Antonio’s new world heritage site.

Our demonstration was by Libby Peters. She is a nationally recognized portrait artist whose work is included in the collections of legislators and families across America and England. She is a signature member of the pastel Society of America, the Pastel Society of the Southwest and a member of the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America, the Degas Pastel Society and Past President, Exhibition Chair and Webmaster of the Austin Pastel Society. She has been published in a number of journals and books and won numerous awards.

Libby demonstrated her techniques, painting from an iPad, using an Artist Grid app. She had prepared ahead of time several stages of her work, which allowed her to demonstrate what is a meticulous process. As she pointed out, a recognizable likeness requires getting tiny differences right.
She selected a fixed reference point (the most prominent feature) and a fixed reference measurement, typically the inside and outside of an eye. Everything is then carefully positioned and measured from this point. In order to accurately locate the portrait, especially if it is her preferred ¾ length, she will divide the paper into squares, with either the vertical or horizontal being in halves, in order to ensure fit.

Libby then concentrated on the reference point and proceeded to lay out the pupil and work her way out, layering pastel (or, as she called it, chipping away”) to correct the shape. She spends more time on the first eye than anything else, often taking 3 hours or more to get the effect she wants. She used pastel pencils (or sometimes a broken pastel to blend and get the small details.
She then turned the picture upside down and proceeded to correct any details that did not seem right. Then, still working upside down, proceeded to expand outward from the eye, working, blending and correcting as she went along. She indicated that she typically finishes the nose and mouth last, as these tend to move as the subject moves.

At one point, she added some background (in this case a dark green, since the background was shrubs), but no detail. She noted that this was necessary in order to assure that the correct values and colors were selected as the portrait proceeded. Turning the picture right side up, Libby began adding hair, using long brush like strokes and starting with the darker highlights.
Libby used a variety of pastels, harder Giraults for their ability to hold an edge, American, and other softer pastels with a lighter touch as the portrait progressed.

The meeting ended with a brief question and answer session and many thanks to Libby for presenting a very difficult subject an informative and entertaining manner.

Roger W. Snyder

Thank you Libby!

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