It’s Worth It!

worth_it_sketchLast week I started a new session of weekly pastel classes. Some of my students are returning after a summer break. Others are brand new to the medium. It is always a challenge to ensure that each student gets what they need. Some are seasoned pastelists, interested in trying new techniques and finding their own voice. And the newbies still cringe at the thought of breaking their perfect colorful pastel sticks in half.

The one activity that I ALWAYS have all my students do is value notans. When I demo the “value” of doing value studies, some eyes roll. But they learn the drill and know I will ask them to pull out the notan if I don’t see it in view, especially if a painting is not coming together like they had hoped.

Students have a choice of about 15 still life set ups from which to work. We explore tonal range, how to change the composition to enhance the linking of value masses, and we try different formats and vantage points.

As I was working with each student down the line, I heard a seasoned painter whisper to a new student who earlier had been reluctant to take the time for the preliminary notans, “It’s worth it.” Now that’s gratifying!

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2 Responses to “It’s Worth It!”

  1. kseverny Says:

    thats pretty cool, i bought some pastel years ago and for the same reason as you stated didn’t touch them for six months

    • Marianne Post Says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Kevin. My original set of Rembrandts, a wooden box of 12 or 18 (bought in the early 90s) sat idle for years because I had no idea how to use them. Why would anyone think to break them in half and take off the wrappers?

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