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One Short of 2,000 Pastel Strokes

"Parting the Way" is my latest pastel and YouTube video lesson. Join in and see the creation of a 9x12 pastel painting from initial composition sketch to the last (2000th) stroke of a pastel.

"Parting the Way" was inspired by a visit to Prairie Park behind Pittsfield Township Hall near Ann Arbor, MI. A late afternoon in early May with abundant sunshine and my impatient studio assistant (Cosmo, my dog), while I photographed a swampy area recovering from the turmoil of a long Michigan winter.

As an artist, I ask myself "What is it that compelled me to paint this scene?" I was impressed with the drama of the grasses, the effect of the late day sunlight, and the bold orange and blues of the landscape. The other feature dealt with angles. The angles of the grasses forming a diagonal structure from right down to left, the angles of the water reflecting the bright blue sky, and the angle of the clouds at the horizon.

Excitement and tension filled this landscape, and those are features I strived to convey in this pastel.

So visit the YouTube lesson and see the angular compositional technique, the acrylic and watercolor under painting, and the lighting impacts applied to this piece. The video is over one and a half hours long, can be very boring at times, and comprises approximately 2,000 pastel strokes. Speed up the video and skip around. Feel free to contact me for the reference photo, and you can paint along!

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