Pamela Pretty ~ Pastel Demo

Pamela began her demonstration by pinning photos of Venice on a board adjacent to her easel. Pamela generally works from photos, using them mainly as a colour and atmosphere reference, and composes her painting by roughing out a sketch that combines various elements from these photos. The aim is to create a unified, evocative and vibrant impression of the scene that is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

The underpainting was blocked in with broad strokes of colour, being careful to contrast the darks and lights so as to make each appear more vivid.

Pamela Pretty pastel demo reference photos

Reference photos

A broad flat brush was used to wash over the work with water, which was then dried with a hairdryer. When the paper was dry the lightest colours were put in first using the pastels both vertically and horizontally to give depth and texture.

Pamela Pretty pastel demo - underpainting

Rough underpainting focusing on tonal shapes.

Two figures were added to the foreground and Pamela explained how important it was to get the body language right to set the mood of the painting. This couple were happily leaning in towards each other and the whole painting began to take shape immediately.

Greys and both bright and subtle shades of pink lightened both the sky and the water. Deep greys and purples brought the buildings into focus and a contrast of light colours on the rooftops echoed the colours of the skies above.

The finished work glowed with light and the happy couple looked over a Venetian landscape lit by a fiery sunset.

Thank you Pamela.

Ruth Quinn
Workshop & Demo Coordinator

Pamela Pretthy with finished pastel painting of a sunset in Venice.