3 Days of Pastel Realism and More

Enjoy a recap of the realism segments of the 3rd Annual Pastel Live, an unforgettable event for artists of all levels of painting with pastels. Pastel Live is a virtual art conference that took place August 17-19, but don’t worry – you can catch the replays at PastelLive.com now!

Pastel Live 2023 Realism Highlights

What are values? What is hue? And saturation? Jessica Masters explained the qualities and characteristics of color, its role in your work, and how to assign a value to a color – especially if it’s really bright.

Pastel Live
“My hope is to touch on subjects and experiences that bring forth a memory or a feeling that will connect you with the image,” says Jessica Masters.
“This has been the best explanation of value – it makes so much better sense to me now. I will test this with my watercolor, too. Thank you.” ~ Katherine M.

Corey Pitkin walked us through his technique for “capturing a likeness” in a realistic portrait painting. He used a medium-toned paper, which he prefers for portraits after having studied Rembrandt’s work.

Corey Pitkin has also been featured here at RealismToday.com, with his article “Set the Mood with Bold Color and Intentional Edges”
Corey Pitkin has also been featured here at RealismToday.com, with his article “Set the Mood with Bold Color and Intentional Edges”

In “The Magic of Mark Making,” which is how you apply pastel to paper, Vianna Szabo shared her methods for applying pastels. She explained how to make it easy to draw shapes, mix and blend colors, control edges, and correct mistakes along the way.

realism still life how-to
Vianna Szabo believes painting is a journey of creative study and encourages her students to learn the fundamentals so they express their own artistic voice.

Floral artist Stephie Clark welcomed us to her happy place – her art studio, that is – with her “dusty little friends” to recreate the beauty that she sees in nature. In this paint-along, she worked from back to front, dark to light, guided by a photo reference she took of fuchsias while in Singapore.

how to paint with pastels
Stephie Clark is a “soft pastel obsessed” artist from Australia working mostly in her country studio at home in Armidale.

Wendy Shalen gave us a demo on a French drawing technique called “aux trois crayons,” which is black and white charcoal on sanguine Conté. She explained, “I believe the value of this is excellent for both beginners as well as advanced artists, so one can distinguish between black and white value; a dark, a middle, and a light; and color values.”

how to paint portraits in pastel
Working both abstractly and realistically in multiple media, Wendy Shalen creates large handmade pigmented pulp landscapes and small, vibrant glass panels from representational plein air pastel and oil paintings, and watercolor portrait studies.

Tip: Wear a vinyl glove to protect your hand when you’re working on a sanded surface. Bill Schneider shared this and much more in his lesson on how to start a portrait from a photo reference, building in the coolness of the Caucasian model’s face with layers of light blue, orange, and pink. Bill shared that he created the reference photo using a program called Midjourney AI, which has free and paid versions.

“My life drawing teacher, Bill Parks, always used to say ‘You’re the artist; you’re in charge of quality control,’” Bill said in the chat. “We need to make our paintings look good…not necessarily perfectly accurate to the reference.”

Pastel Live
Bill Schneider has a variety of art video workshops available through PaintTube.tv, including Pastel Painting Secrets; and Design Secrets of the Masters.

We closed each night with our famous Cocktail Hour and Paint Along, where we chatted over Zoom while many painted from a shared reference photo; and there was an ongoing art auction with paintings from our faculty – an unbelievable opportunity to own a contemporary masterwork.

“Pastel Live is beyond incredible!!!” ~ Marilyn C.

In addition to the pastel painting demonstrations, we heard a major announcement about the next Streamline-sponsored epic online art event: Realism Live, taking place November 9-11, 2023 (with an Essentials Techniques day on November 8 and a new art auction!). You don’t want to miss it!

We’d like to thank every single one of our attendees and sponsors for being a part of this event – you are the ones who help us keep going, as we all continue to inspire each other to grow, learn, and connect in this incredible world of art. We hope to see you at Realism Live, along with more incredible teachers that we’re bringing to you.