Ten members of the Burlington Fine Arts Association (BFAA) spent the day with me
(right, above, with Gail Forbes past president) for an Oil Pastel workshop, held in the wonderful facilities at the Burlington Art Centre. Oil Pastels are a very liberating medium to use: they’re so portable, durable and stable. They appeal especially to people who love to draw and love colour. Using them reminds me of the fun I had as a child when I first made pictures.
It is important to understand how colours work together when you’re working in pastel, because you need to blend them and know how to adjust values to get a full range from each hue. So we spent a little time at the beginning reviewing these relationships and weaving additional hues by hatching and feathering, adding black and white, and by blending complementary colours. The process gave everyone an opportunity to use their new pastels and try out different approaches to mark-making. We worked on masonite panels that were coated with Golden Acrylic Pastel Ground.
The subject for the day’s work was a simplified adaptation of this drawing by A.J. Casson. The youngest member of Canada’s famous Group of Seven painters, Casson spent some of his formative years in Guelph and Hamilton where he took art classes at the Hamilton Technical School. This prolific artist had a particular affection for Southern Ontario villages that could be reached easily on weekend drives from Toronto.
Everyone transferred the drawing of this house on a hillside to their panel – with some lovely results. At the end of the day, we had a look at the pastel paintings our group produced. It is always fascinating to see how artists express their own personality to produce unique variations on a theme. Many thanks to BFAA for this invitation and the very warm welcome the members extended.