Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Friday, November 9, 2012


Pastels have always intrigued me. A good friend of mine switched over to pastels several years ago, so I have been able to see what is possible with them. But, I always think they are too messy for me – and they probably are!

However, I attended a pastel workshop last weekend with Cindy Haase a WONDERFUL instructor. I was the only person in class who had never done pastels, and to say I was intimidated is putting it mildly! And then, when Cindy said she doesn’t paint florals, or fabric, or a lot of details (G U L P) I thought about packing up and leaving! But I hung in there and, boy, am I glad I did.

Cindy gave us specific photos to paint from and on day one we painted up to a point, then Cindy would tell us when we were ready for the next step. We painted pears in a chiaroscuro manner, and at the end of the day we put them all up along the wall and Cindy gave us each a critique. Her critiques were to the point, but all began with what she liked about our paintings. I was happy that mine held its place with the others!

Here are some photos of the workshop - Day 1 - The Pear:

Look - a pear!

Cindy's demo.

The pear critique.

At the beginning of day two Cindy went around the group and asked what we had learned on the first day. I could honestly say – Everything! Having never done pastels before it was all new to me, but with her instruction and direction I had been able to produce a good painting. One thing that did amaze me was how easy the pastels were to blend.

Also on day two we began a similar style painting of a tomato – but then Cindy said we were “on our own” after watching her demo.


I began the same way she did, and then began layering my pastels. The only thing that kind of throws me off is the idea of dark to light, just the opposite of our watercolors. I ended the day very happy with my two paintings!

Day 2 - the tomato!  Here are several of the paintings during critique.

While I have no plans to suddenly make pastel my medium of choice, I would certainly feel competent to take them outside and attempt some landscapes!

The beginning of my very first pastel!  I quickly learned not to leave so much white showing.
The completed pear.

The beginning of the tomato!

The completed tomato.
Sometimes during the workshop it sounded like I was listening to myself! Cindy told us to:
-  only compare our work to our own work and never compare ourselves to others;
-  incorporate what we learn in a workshop into our own style of painting, not to copy the style of the instructor;
-  keep on working on the painting when we think we have failed – after all, what have we got to lose! – and we will learn from that experience;
-  paint what we love!

For you pastelists out there, I would definitely recommend Cindy’s workshop.

She also works in oils and colored pencil and is the current President of the Colored Pencil Society of America!

A very talented (and kind and good natured) artist!


martinealison said...

Votre publication est très intéressante... J'ai aimé votre ténacité à vouloir apprendre...
le résultat est sous nos yeux... Il n'y a pas à en rougir (comme une tomate!)!!! (sourire)...

Il est bon d'apprendre...
Gros bisous

RH Carpenter said...

What Deb didn't tell you all is that she was using "clown colors" from a small set of NuPastels! And she still got two beautiful pastel paintings from them!!! I say she should ask for a nice set of pastels for Christmas and add these to her repertoire - cause she's great with them.

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Deb - happened upon your blog. Looks like a wonderful workshop and also that you caught on to the pastels quite quickly. Your pear and tomato turned out lovely. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great week-end.

debwardart said...

Martine said: Your post is very interesting ... I loved your tenacity to want to learn ...
the result is before our eyes ... There is no reason to blush (like a tomato!)! (smile) ...
It is good to learn ...
Yes, Martine, it is good to learn - or try anyway!
Rhonda is always too kind (well, sometimes too kind!!!!!)
Debbie, glad you stopped by - I love your blog, especially your drawings.