Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Winter Member's Meeting

Former MPS President Jack Pardue gave us all a great demo at the January 29th meeting. A highly popular workshop teacher and accomplished plein air painter, Jack, as we’ve come to expect, offered his usual excellent advice on creating successful paintings and his expert tips on materials and technique, all mixed with his special brand of self-deprecating humor and artistic insight. It was a relaxed and informative demo that kept us all engaged and in awe. Using a photo from one of his trips to Utah as his starting inspiration, Jack began by blocking in large areas of color in middle values range to establish an underpainting intended to set up the painting for the final vibrant color harmonies for which he is best known. His preference, he says, is to save the darkest darks, the lightest lights, and the most intense color for the final stages of the painting, a process he likens to saving the “dessert for last.” Working over the whole surface to keep all areas of the painting at the same relative state of completion, he stressed in particular the painterly effects a pastelist can achieve using the side of the pastel, rather than the tip, and the versatility of strokes that can be achieved this way, when combined with sensitivity to variations in pressure and gesture. This technique does not include blending: Jack contends that the pastel artist should allow his or her individual marks to show. Not only are these a crucial part of what constitutes a pastel artist’s individual style, but it also allows the viewer to “see the adventure.”
We’re grateful that Jack was willing and able to step in on short notice and do this demo – it was all we hoped for and more! And speaking of “more”: if you’re interested, Jack’s workshop schedule can be found on his website, at

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A Good Start

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Making Progress

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Adding Those Finishing Touches