View Full Version : Review: Plein Air with Pastels by Greg Biolchini

11-14-2005, 12:00 PM
Karl Kelly, of Mt. Vision Pastels, kindly loaned me a DVD of Greg Biolchini's "Plein Air with Pastel". This was a great painting video- very helpful to me. He laid down initial blocks of pastel, explaining the squinting business (that I have a hard time reading about and getting), and then showed how to use alcohol to create a wash with the initial pastel. He also explains how to make your own pastel board. After the wash, he goes over it with dry pastel again, with a lot of discussion that I could really understand since I could see him doing it on pressure, blending, etc. And for us junkies, a lot of nice pics of his equipment, pastels, pastel box, etc. Really nice and helpful. I have not had the opportunity to go to classes, and this was (to me) much better- to see step by step exactly what he did and why. Really nice backgraound birdsong too. I hope to get some of his DVD's for myself- but thought the alcohol wash and how he went about it was extremely helpful and rather unusual. He makes it look easy- I need to find my tripod and get outdoors now. He discusses framing at the end, which is also helpful- also he had a picture on the dvd of a beautiful rock formation. His website is:

11-14-2005, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the review, Linda! I have been curious about this one myself. You may have just convinced me to pick it up (that and his other one too - they are such good prices for painting videos. I wonder how Santa would feel about putting those under my treee...lol.

11-14-2005, 01:12 PM
Cori- I want his first one too- in fact, on his website is a picture called "Sandstone Majesty" now if I could paint canyons just like that- I would do rock and canyon landscapes only for the rest of my life- that is exactly what I would like mine to look like, and they seldom do! But hopefully Sandy Claws (my cat's version of Santa) will bring his DVD's (and a DVD player since I have to borrow one LOL).... and I have had yet another computer go belly up.....

11-14-2005, 05:31 PM

The use of alcohol has the advantage of fast evaporation, opposite to water.
This is usefull if one is using a paper that doesn't support too much wetness, for inteance.



11-14-2005, 06:17 PM
Thanks Jose- he was using a pumice board that he made- and think the instant drying was what he was after. I taped up a piece of Wallis and tried the technique with water- works well too, but the Wallis paper has buckled in places- it was a large sheet- I had been thinking of doing watercolor underpaintings but this is even better, since you can use exactly the shades that you use on top if you want to.... anyway, he is really great at explaining why and how he does almost every stroke...

11-14-2005, 10:04 PM
i got this video a couple weeks ago, and also found it to be really a good one. (i had posted something to this effect in a past thread) i also love the way he really lets that camera get in there, seeing what he does up close. and the price was amazing!! i think its a great bargin, and i don't plan to let mine outta my site too often!!

Deborah Secor
11-14-2005, 11:50 PM
I sure wish you had put Biolchini Video Review in the title of this thread! I think there are a lot who would want to read it... you might ask one of our mods to change it, if you think it's a good idea! Just use the red exclamation point in the upper right hand corner, if you want to change it. That goes direct to Kat and Kate. --It's up to you, of course!


11-14-2005, 11:56 PM
I use an emory board for my pastels and then dip the paint brush in alcohol for my effects. Alcohol with its quick drying is great for a lot of pastel/ paint mediums. I even use it with inks so i can spray them for my desired effect. Just my FYI....... Your work is beautiful! I am extremely amatuer / curious crafter at best....... My husband has some talent though

11-15-2005, 09:58 AM
Deborah- I should have put the video title instead- you are welcome to change it- I love to share what I have learned about neat things, but did not want it to sound like an advertisement or something- please ask for it to be changed and it is fine by me....

11-15-2005, 10:44 AM
Margaritas and underpainting. :eek:

Oh, not that kind of alcohol?

I keep alcohol in a small Holbein spray bottle. This works great.


11-15-2005, 10:49 AM
Well, we were out of rubbing alcohol yesterday, and I started to use the cheap boxed white wine my hubby buys- but since I was not doing a French landscape I did not think I should use the wine... (apologies to the French, but you might agree that American boxed wine should be used for art, not drinking)- margs would give it a green tint and be too sticky- and I hate to share them with a paintbrush LOL