Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Winter January 2009 Member's Meeting with Daniel Wise

Daniel Wise
Those of you who attended the January general meeting will agree that it was highly informative and entertaining. Daniel Wise treated us all to a demonstration of his painting process and techniques, starting with the gray-scale thumbnails he does before starting each painting. Daniel is not only a strong advocate of using thumbnails to arrive at a good composition, but also urges artists to develop a habit of sketching every day, to keep the eye and hand in tune. Daniel, a Colorado native who studied at the Pratt Institute and the University of Denver, paints almost daily (despite having a full-time job), primarily in pastel, but occasionally in oil and watercolor.
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For his demo painting, Daniel incorporated elements from three different photographs, so using a thumbnail to nail down the composition was essential, especially since he had to decide the direction from which the light would be coming. Once he was happy with his composition, he began by marking a simple grid of thirds on his surface and then laid in his darks with NuPastels. Using Turpenoid, he washed in the NuPastels, creating an underpainting, and let it dry before he began adding color. His favorites pastels are Terry Ludwig and Unisons, and he saves the broken bits and little end pieces to be ground up, wet with distilled water, rolled out, and dried into new pastels. He also makes his own surfaces, adding extra texture to Wallis paper, for example, or to Ampersand's Gessobord. He maintains a sketchbook filled with pastel color swatches, identified as to manufacturer and color, so he knows how to replace pastels he's running out of. Working quickly and surely while he answered questions, Daniel produced a lovely piece that was promptly purchased by one of our quicker members!
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You can see more of Daniel's work on his website,, or at his solo show, "383: Viewing the Potomac", running from March 5 to April 6 at the Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory.