Tuesday, 13 March 2018

ICAN National pastel conference

The Pastel Artist of Canada are hosting their third national conference for Pastel artists.
 I am proud to say I taught at the first two, and will be teaching at the third as well, this coming 
May 28th- June 1st. It's being held at the Aurora Cultural Centre
handy for GTA, and accessible to everyone. I really recommend this conference. Aurora is a sweet little town, with many old buildings surrounding our venue. The size of the centre is not too big, just perfect for the pastel Artist of Canada. There'll also be a national Juried show, held right at the convention, to offer participants another educational opportunity as well as enjoying seeing pastel work from all over Canada. 
While there will be teachers offering interesting workshops from all over Canada, I have two themes for my workshops that I think are relevant for my students. 

Pastel Minis                Monday May 28th, 9-12

                                           Grounded and graceful, pastel, 4.5" X 6.5" 2009

In 2009, I took a sabbatical from teaching for 9 months. The "painting a day" movement was just coming on strong in the States. My friend Margaret Dyer suggested I do one miniature a day during that time, first thing in the morning. The thinking being, that you can have a finished piece pretty early in the day. The psychological benefits of having a piece under your belt before 9 am. was not lost on me, and a huge series was born.

From that time on, I have understood the benefits of working small, as in Grounded and Graceful, one of 100 pieces executed in 2009, in pastel,  all miniature. Not just psychological benefits either :

-working small has helped me really hone my compositional skills. You have no choice but to see    how every stroke affects the entire picture plane.
- the ease of working out ideas in small format to gage their viability for larger work
- simplify your composing skills, paring down to the most necessary elements only.
- accumulate work produced and feel good about this accomplishment.
- appreciate the charm of small work

Barbs' Koi pond, pastel, 5" X 10", 2017 

One of the greatest things I really appreciate is all my Ottawa students who get together and paint every Thursday, plein air. I join them when I can. This is a scene at Barb Dicksons' place. Thanks for the lovely scenery Barb!

Musical Whimsy, pastel 4" X 8"

I work small on location wherever I go, for practical purposes. This was done at a music festival, where this beautiful woman wore scarves on her body and a feather boa in her hair. Whimsy. 

Stone at Serrania , pastel, 4" X 9"
Since 2008, I have conducted almost 18 international painting trips. Working small is a wonderful thing when you have many ideas to work through. This was a stone pillar on Mallorca, Spain. I wanted to try and capture the feel of flagstone, while the late afternoon light gave some definition and good split to the picture place. I've been taking students on painting trips for 10 years now: France, Italy, Costa Rica, Spain, Peru, and coming up in 2019: Guatemala, March 2019, and Portugal, November 2019. 

Working small whenever I am lacking direction is a regular part of my creative practise. This winter, I made many small studies, letting these give me direction about what I want to paint next. 
To register for this class, just go to pastelartists.ca and follow the links to the conference. 
Hope to see you there!

Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will be about another challenge many people face: staying creative, organizing your ideas, and never being out of the groove. 

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