Alain Picard Fall 2022 Workshop Summary
In early November 2022, the Maryland Pastel Society hosted Alain Piccard for a 3-day workshop in Columbia, Maryland. The theme was The Painterly Workshop. Alain designed the course to provide a roadmap to not only pull artists out of a creative rut, but also to help the artist to break through to new levels of freedom and impact in their work. The workshop guided students through a plan and essential techniques intended to lead toward bolder, looser paintings in pastel and unlock the artist’s unique creative voice.
During the morning hours Alain demonstrated a painterly approach to the landscape, focusing on a unique subject and approach. He introduced attendees to a four-step plan to guide them through the pastel painting process. The plan Alain introduced to the students was to break the painting process into the following steps:
- Value study
- Color study
- Main painting
Each day, his demonstrations built on these steps.
On the first day, he began with small value studies, discussing gray-scale values and composition. Then he did a quick color study, also small-scale, approximately 6x8”. The next day, he built on the theme, exploring color schemes. He chose an alternative color palette on the same subject matter. Again, it was a color study. These studies would help him make decisions for developing the painting at a larger scale. Subsequently, he explained how he would use the value and color studies to make decisions before starting on the main painting.
After the morning demonstrations, the students set to work on their own landscapes, applying the techniques Alain taught them. He gave them feedback as they worked through each step of the planning process.
The students were enthusiastic about the workshop.
“Alain Piccard is the number one reason I took this class. He is a great instructor,” noted Linda Adams. She found it challenging to paint loosely and more abstractly. She learned the importance of doing a value sketch, then doing a color study with local color and pushing the limits with complimentary colors.
Paul Demmitt took the workshop seeking inspiration. His biggest challenge was learning to be disciplined and thoughtful about color choices and mark-making. He found that doing value and color studies to be especially useful. Likewise, Helen Wood appreciated Alain’s emphasis on the importance of thumbnails and small color studies. She plans to incorporate these techniques in her own work.
Kathy Davis, took this workshop to learn new skills and was excited to observe a Alain’s painting techniques in person. Her big take-away was the transformation from the thumbnail sketch to a fully blown painting. She learned the importance of planning out paintings and will incorporate that into her future work.
Jeanette Dowling noted that Alain’s approach to painting with lost and found edges and his bold mark making was particularly useful to her. Why did Cheryl Clymer take the workshop? She admired Alain’s work. She found it challenging to break things down into steps, but she looks forward to that challenge and will apply Alain’s steps in her future work.
Walt Hayes also wanted to expand his knowledge of pastel techniques. He noted that during the workshop, “I had a breakthrough in using sanded paper with a more expressive, looser expressionistic style.” He plans to blend the techniques he learned into his future pastel paintings. Working more loosely was Catherine Nickel’s goal. She learned to push color in her paintings.
On the final day of the workshop, the students shared their artwork as part of a final critique. The artists were inspired to incorporate what they learned into their own work. Jeannette Dowling summed it up well, “I’m going to use what I learned to continue developing my own style of pastel painting.”