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woodenpalette
01-15-2014, 12:16 PM
I am an art teacher and I am busy creating a Book that focuses primarily on teaching landscape pastel painting.

What information are you looking for in a good pastel book...topics you want to explore?

Lots of great artists on this forum and your input will help a lot.

Thank you!
Henk

Studio-1-F
01-15-2014, 04:08 PM
Henk, I assume you mean a book on how to DO pastel landascape pastel painting. Not a book on how to TEACH others how to do pastel landscape painting. Right?

Regardless, Deb Secor's is the best one I have seen so far: http://landscapesinpastel.blogspot.com

Jan

DAK723
01-15-2014, 05:37 PM
I think most books that are medium specific have the dilemma of how much info is general in nature and how much of the material focuses on the medium - in this case pastels.

If the major area of focus is landscape painting, then the topics that I would focus most on are:

1) Composition based on working from large to small starting with large value shapes.

2) Studying how light affects color - both in light and shadow areas.

3) Atmospheric perspective.

And then try to figure out some pastel specific techniques that are used.

If the focus is more on pastel specific techniques, then I would concentrate on the differences in papers, soft, medium and harder pastels and how they relate to painting the landscape. How to layer, possible use of fixative versus no fixative, working back to front and negative painting techniques.

Or, of course, try to cover both landscape painting and pastel specific techniques.

Don

sketchZ1ol
01-15-2014, 09:17 PM
hello
uh , the question is your project .

what is your point of view , +
outline/subsets/etc. ?

it is nice that you ask from folks here , however ,
there is a ton of web/net info out there ...
- show us your ' picture ' ... :)

Ed

woodenpalette
01-16-2014, 01:27 PM
Thanks Don - good info pointing me in the right direction.

SAS Designs
01-16-2014, 06:03 PM
Anything by Maggie Price.

woodenpalette
01-16-2014, 06:34 PM
Anything by Maggie Price.

I agree - I have one of Maggie's books and I love it.

sketchZ1ol
01-16-2014, 09:33 PM
hello
interesting question .
- what are your thoughts ?

Ed

keepingpure
01-16-2014, 09:49 PM
Hmmm, that's a good question. I agree with Don's points. You certainly want to cover compensation, lighting, and perspective.

I personally benefit with several "Work in Progress" pictures to explain certain techniques and tips. Pictures going step-by-step to explain a process.

I didn't know how hard water DIDN'T HAVE TO BE until I saw someone putting a water painting together step by step. Once I saw HOW they layered them, I realized I could do the same thing! Now I use the same technique to layer other things that I'm painting in pastel.

Just a thought from me! :-D

chewie
01-17-2014, 12:40 AM
and maybe some on working with photos. like how cameras lie, how to improve it with your own sketches. many ppl wind up using photos at least part of the time, and I've found seeing the photo, how it was not 'right', and the way it was then used in a painting, was very helpful to me.

that was also something I then was able to use plein air as well.

pastel65
01-17-2014, 01:11 AM
I would ask "what do you have new or different to offer as compared to all the other pastel books available?".

I have to say I have seen many landscapes well done with values right and great depth but I felt there was nothing special about the scene (some pretty boring ones to be honest). Luckily I have a pastel teacher showing the class how to make them "pop". How would you advise artist to make the paintings pop?

If I pick up a pastel book and a significant amount of the beginning of the book is dedicated to the basics like hard vs soft, supports, I don't buy the book or take home from library. Not many of us want the same beginning chapters in a lot of books we own. if you are doing a "beginners book" state as such. If more advanced just focus on what pastels and supports you recommend and state why. Also include any tips you have learned.

Just a few thoughts. Pam

jackiesimmonds
01-18-2014, 10:19 AM
Subject specific books need to focus on what makes the painting special in relation to the subject. I have written two general pastels books,both now out of print, and was forced by the publishers to begin with techniques. However, the kinds of techniques applicable, for instance, to water, or skies, might not be so helpful to someone working solely with still life. I also wrote a book on gardens in pastels, and found I needed to explain things relative to gardens specifically. So...I would suggest you look at some of the other excellent books in various mediums! which focus on landscape only, and see how they differ from other subject specific art instruction books.

ejo
01-19-2014, 10:06 AM
I have read numerous books on both pastel and 'paint' painting and I agree with all suggestions above however... there is something that is missing in so many books and it drives me crazy. A step-by-step to me is a great tool but oftentimes the book does not present a) enough steps - I want to know exactly how the artist got from picture 1 to picture 2 to picture 3 and so on and b) why the chosen colors were chosen.

Frequently you'll read the author say "I used ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, naples yellow, cadium red, blah, blah, blah" but they never say WHY they chose those colors. Call me dense but it isn't always obvious to the neophyte why the artist chose the colors s/he chose. It is such basic and critical information for the reader and yet so often the artist leaves it out. It is beyond my comprehension that this is so but I come across it all the time.

Please remember to include this very important piece of information no matter what your book ends up looking like.

If you're book is geared towards the beginner assume they know NOTHING because usually they know very little or nothing.

woodenpalette
01-20-2014, 12:15 PM
I have read numerous books on both pastel and 'paint' painting and I agree with all suggestions above however... there is something that is missing in so many books and it drives me crazy. A step-by-step to me is a great tool but oftentimes the book does not present a) enough steps - I want to know exactly how the artist got from picture 1 to picture 2 to picture 3 and so on and b) why the chosen colors were chosen.

Frequently you'll read the author say "I used ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, naples yellow, cadium red, blah, blah, blah" but they never say WHY they chose those colors. Call me dense but it isn't always obvious to the neophyte why the artist chose the colors s/he chose. It is such basic and critical information for the reader and yet so often the artist leaves it out. It is beyond my comprehension that this is so but I come across it all the time.

Please remember to include this very important piece of information no matter what your book ends up looking like.

If you're book is geared towards the beginner assume they know NOTHING because usually they know very little or nothing.

EJO - very good points on color choices and steps. I will keep this in mind!

woodenpalette
01-20-2014, 12:16 PM
Thank you Pam AND Jackie for the good advice.

jackiesimmonds
01-23-2014, 06:28 AM
Re colour choices, and steps.

If your book is to be self published, you will have the option to include as many steps as you wish. A publisher will often only allow you a certain number of steps because they will only give you x no of pages. But NO artist can show every single step, and thought process, along the way except perhaps in a video, and not even then, really. This is because much of painting is almost meditative....little tiny decisions sometimes; at other times, a bit of trial and error! All you can do, as a teacher or demonstrator, is give a general guide, and try to point out important decisions and explain why you made those decisions. Every artist has their own "handwriting" and every student needs to find their own handwriting too.

As for colour choices, yes, it is a good idea to explain why certain colours have been selected, but even then, it is always a personal choice and it should be emphasised that just because you chose THAT colour for that object, it does not mean that this is the only colour the student should use. Better to explain the theory than give the precise name of the stick. I have demonstrated at big shows, and it frustrates me when people ask exactly what make and colour I am using. I will only answer "this is a warm yellows green because I want it to represent sunlit grass" because I know that otherwise that person will rush off to buy a schmincke green xxx to paint grass, and will never use anything else or think things through properly. They need to learn that grass can be many kinds of green, and it all depends on the quality of the light. In other words they need to learn about tone values, and colour theory.
Beginners fall into the trap of thinking that if they follow your every step and buy all the same colours that you have, they will paint just like you. This will never happen, and they need to understand this and accept it. Teachers are guides, only.

woodenpalette
01-27-2014, 03:25 PM
Re colour choices, and steps.

If your book is to be self published, you will have the option to include as many steps as you wish. A publisher will often only allow you a certain number of steps because they will only give you x no of pages. But NO artist can show every single step, and thought process, along the way except perhaps in a video, and not even then, really. This is because much of painting is almost meditative....little tiny decisions sometimes; at other times, a bit of trial and error! All you can do, as a teacher or demonstrator, is give a general guide, and try to point out important decisions and explain why you made those decisions. Every artist has their own "handwriting" and every student needs to find their own handwriting too.

As for colour choices, yes, it is a good idea to explain why certain colours have been selected, but even then, it is always a personal choice and it should be emphasised that just because you chose THAT colour for that object, it does not mean that this is the only colour the student should use. Better to explain the theory than give the precise name of the stick. I have demonstrated at big shows, and it frustrates me when people ask exactly what make and colour I am using. I will only answer "this is a warm yellows green because I want it to represent sunlit grass" because I know that otherwise that person will rush off to buy a schmincke green xxx to paint grass, and will never use anything else or think things through properly. They need to learn that grass can be many kinds of green, and it all depends on the quality of the light. In other words they need to learn about tone values, and colour theory.
Beginners fall into the trap of thinking that if they follow your every step and buy all the same colours that you have, they will paint just like you. This will never happen, and they need to understand this and accept it. Teachers are guides, only.

Jackie - I totally agree with you on the color portion. even IF you give exact brands and color codes...the way you apply your technique and how you use color...differs from person to person...and between different light conditions. Good points.

Katherine T
02-03-2014, 06:14 AM
I've been reflecting on what makes a good art instruction book while writing my first book (on drawing and sketching - with a section on pastels!)

Although I've been given a very precise brief by the publisher, I naturally wanted to remind myself what makes a great instruction book.

Here's some random thoughts on the topic:

Best sellers are always absolutely PACKED with good information (Think chart-toppers Betty Edwards "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and James Gurney "Color and Light"). They're a marked contrast to books which are big on pics and light on both content and words.
A book which is accessible and easy to read has a good flow in terms of the introduction of concepts and techniques - and then in terms of the way each topic is written
Chunking up topics into bite-size easily digestible thoughts is helpful - long paragraphs are not.
Illustrations are good and varied (ie different artists) and illustrate the points well - and don't under-estimate how many you will need.

Whether your book is self-published or being pitched to a publisher you need to start with a flatplan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatplan - which is an initial plan of all the pages and double page spreads - listing what goes on which page. This enables you to see how much you need to write on different topics and then enables you to move things around to get the right order.

In general you want to aim for one topic per double page spread.

Hope this helps!

robertsloan2
02-05-2014, 12:18 PM
I'd suggest that you have a look at "Capturing Radiant Light and Color in Oils and Pastels" by Susan Sarback. I bought it from North Light Books but don't know if it's available any more, it is on Amazon even if it's not at North Light. I love that book and it's the basis for Colorix's style.

Also for free, right here on WetCanvas, in the Soft Pastel Learning Center, (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=439) Charlie's class, Still Life the Colourful Way (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=527268) will help a lot with understanding color and being able to choose the right colors for what you're doing. It completely changed the way I view and handle color in pastels. If you do any of the exercises and projects from the class, sometimes Charlie will comment and so will many alumni of the class.

This really fills the gap on how to choose colors when you're looking at how to get from Step 3 to Step 4 on one of those step by step demos. They may list the colors used but they don't always show where or how or with what pressure and types of strokes.

The book is helpful too. The book seriously augmented the class for me and contains most of the same material, also the book has it worked out for oil painting too if you have any interest in that.

But the color material is very clear in the Pastel Learning Center class and it made a huge difference for me. It also helped me to handle limited palettes either and to build a full palette with fewer sticks.

What I found in general with pastels is the more the merrier - different brands, colors, values, textures, the more of them I have, the more expressive my pastels are. However, past a certain point I'm not using them all in every painting. I'm adapting the palette to the painting I work on and may have the same exact color - value, temperature, hue, chroma - in several different textures of which one of those sticks is just right for what I'm doing. I was able to improvise easier with Colorix's class and if you don't have a giant collection, it's possible to get all the colors needed in forty sticks or less.

I found my comfort level overall when I had over a thousand sticks total. I was very close to it when a friend sent me about 150 pieces and nubs to help me get over the top, for which I'm forever grateful.

Another thing about the Colourful Way method of organizing color - the spectrum colors, tints and shades are essentials, while neutral colors and muted colors are treated as conveniences. Some manufacturers create their muted colors the same way Colorix or I would, by mixing complementary pigments rather than choosing grayish pure pigments. It's a different approach to color and it has incredibly vibrant results. It can also be refined into a painting where the final colors are extremely natural and include a full range of neutrals and muted colors. But you start with a garish, almost silly looking beginning and proceed by modifying those spectrum brights. If you don't have tints, expect to use up multiple white sticks creating them.

That last carves the palette down smaller than Colorix's palette, but allows me to do hard pastel sketching with quite small 12 color sets of various hard or semi-hard pastels.