Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Fall 2012 Members Meeting

Fall 2012 Members Meeting

Joyce Demonstrates

We were treated to a figure demonstration by MPS Signature member Joyce Lister at our Fall meeting on October 20, 2012. Joyce used a photo of a grouping of her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren as the subject for her pastel demonstration. It was a particularly tender scene and not the easiest to execute. “I'd be crazy to choose this photo for the demo - but I am a little crazy!” she explained with a laugh. She listed factors to consider when choosing the figure as the subject:

  • Placement – i.e. the viewer’s eye should not be led off the page
  • Light – is it correct and consistent throughout the painting?
  • Scale – is it consistent throughout the painting?

“You may want to take one figure from one photo, another from a second photo to create a grouping of your choice,” she suggested.

“Drawing skills are particularly important when working with the figure,” explained Joyce. “Unlike drawing a tree, where you can put a limb wherever you’d like, the human body requires exact proportions according to age.”

As a time saver, Joyce completed the sketch before starting her demo. At the start of the demo she selected pastels for their harmonious colors, achieving “simultaneous contrast,” to use Richard McKinley’s term. “If the palette is selected ahead of time,” she explained, “there’s less opportunity for mistakes along the way.” Joyce readily took color selection suggestions from her audience.

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As Joyce began applying pastels, she worked from larger to smaller shapes. She used the broad side of the pastel and blended by layering, not rubbing. Joyce adjusted the pressure of the pastel stroke to achieve the intensity she wanted.

The painting was almost finished by the end of the demo. The audience was very appreciative of the result and of Joyce’s willingness throughout the demo to take questions and suggestions with ease and humor while painting. Joyce will bring the finished painting to the January 26 general meeting and be available to talk about it during the break.