Maryland Pastel Society events


January Challenge

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to the MPS Monthly Drawing Challenge. Would you like to brush up on your drawing skills? Please join us as we continue to learn and practice important drawing techniques that are essential to creating a successful work of art.

The idea is to start out slowly using basic still life set ups that can easily be arranged in your own studio setting. Month by month we'll build on the knowledge gained from the previous challenge.

First Challenge, December: The Three Spheres!
Please visit the MPS Blog to review the results.

Second Challenge, January: Freshly Produced!

In our first challenge we focused on creating round objects using perfectly round spheres as subjects. In our second challenge we will expand on this a bit more. You will need to make a trip to your local food market, a rich source for organic still life subjects! Select three rounded vegetables or fruits. They do not have to be perfectly round as in the first challenge but rounded in some way, for example, pears, apples, squash, eggplant, peppers…to name a few! You may vary the subjects, your choice but if you do please consider how the colors of the different produce relate to one another.

The challenge is to once again create the illusion of a "rounded" object in perspective however, this time place more focus on the background and the surface that the subject is resting on. These surrounding areas are very important in supporting the center of interest and should be given careful consideration. The edges of your objects "butt" up against the background and surface plane and the relationship between the object and the surrounding space is key in showing perspective. SQUINT, SQUINT AND SQUINT SOME MORE to see the relationship between one object and another and the space around them. When you look at the top edge of your fruit or vegetable what is the value of the background area that butts up against it? At one point there may be an obvious contrast in value while in other areas the shadow side of the fruit or vegetable and the background may become very close in value…so close that the edge seems to merge into the background. This control of the edge will really help you achieve a representational and interesting painting as the edges weave in and out of focus.

The shadow areas underneath your objects anchor the object to the surface while at the same time describe the intensity and direction of the light source, the shape of the object and the vantage point of the viewer. Remember, as the shadow moves away from the object the shadow will become lighter and the edges of the shadow will appear softer. The color of the shadow will usually contain some of the color from the object as well as the surface the object is sitting on. Look for these subtle nuances to bring life to your painting. It's all about relationships!

Please send a JPG image of your results to by February 1, 2009 to be posted on the MPS Blog Site and Web Album.

Thank you Everyone!
Lisa Mitchell