A group of about ten SASA members joined us on Saturday 15 May for a wonderful pastel workshop with Val Watt. Starting with the declaration “There are no rules, only options”, Val very generously shared all her experience and expertise with us, never prescriptive, but letting us find our own way, gently guiding us if we got lost.
Val first discussed the materials we’d be using – soft, medium and hard pastels; the various papers available and new textural and innovative ways of making our own supports. As she explained and demonstrated the pastels, ground and supports, we tried them out too, feeling and seeing the differences for ourselves, at times even drawing a line on our arm to test for softness and density of pigment.
Val demonstrated a seascape with two figures on the rocks. We began by drawing in the horizon line, while Val described how to check the size, proportion and placement of the figures.
Selecting our lightest, medium and darkest colours, we began to put all we’d learnt that morning into practice. Starting with a watercolour sky and using hard pastel, we drew in the rocks and sea, which we then washed with alcohol to get wonderful textures, splashes and drips.
It was lovely to see all the different interpretations of the scene, each artist bringing her own special touch. We all enjoyed the workshop tremendously and learned an enormous amount. Thank you Val for a truly inspiring day! Thanks as well to Irene for organising it – and the photos – for us and to Mary McMillan for the words. Looking forward to Val’s demo at the SASA members’ meeting next week.