Mastering Pastel

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Mastering Pastel.jpg
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Mastering Pastel


In this new addition to the Artist's Library series, talented master artist, Alain Picard, guides the reader through an exploration of this unique medium and its myriad uses. After an introduction to tools and materials, readers will learn how to use various pastel techniques, including hatching, crosshatching, and stippling, to create depth and dimension in their artwork. Readers will also find basic information on color theory and how to use color to elicit emotion, portray mood or time of day, and suggest depth and distance. Throughout the course of the book, aspiring pastel artists will learn how to use soft and hard pastels to achieve art that is bold and intense or delicate and soft. Easy step-by-step lessons cover a variety of subject matter, including landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. Artist tips and tricks demonstrate how to blend and layer colors and create reflection, shadow, and soft and hard edges. With its breadth of professional instruction and variety of subjects to paint, Mastering Pastel is the perfect resource to start building artist proficiency in this enthralling and versatile medium.

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Customer Reviews

I strongly recommend this book to any aspiring pastel artist

As someone who has painted with pastels for 30+ years I was eager to read Alain Picard's "Mastering Pastel" book and I found it everything I had hoped for and more. Alain has written the complete pastel instruction book as he provides extremely helpful explanation and advice on everything from the tools and materials; to ways to incorporate various under-painting techniques; and even a primer on color and pigment application.

The author's step-by-step illustrations and examples in landscape, portraits, and still life each include a wealth of tips and insights to help any pastel artist to enhance and grow their own technique and style. I strongly recommend this book to any aspiring pastel artist.

Dick McEvoy
Former President of Connecticut Pastel Society

Excellent pastel primer: a must-read for the beginner, a treat for the experienced.

In very compact form, Alain Picard distills years of experience in clear approachable language with lots of helpful tips. Any artist looking to up their pastel game should check out this book, which packs a tremendous amount of information into its relatively brief space. Picard starts with an all-encompassing introduction to the medium, which will bring the beginner up to speed as simply as possible without being overwhelming. The section on pastel techniques, covering everything from stroke direction to pressure to blending effects is the most specific and helpful that I have seen anywhere.
Throughout the book, Picard excels at combining specific, clear explanations with images to illustrate his points. Mastering Pastel also has a lot to offer the more experienced artist: useful observations, hard-won tips and interesting approaches appear on every page. Following the beginning section, the book consists of a series of step by step demonstrations of one lovely painting after another: portrait, still life, landscape, using a variety of underpainting techniques (watercolor, toned paper, dark, etc.) Each demo is valuable not just for the developing progress with each image, but for the artistic journey the artist shares as he creates each painting. Picard takes us through his plans, improvisations, assessments and corrections as he moves through the painting process. As an experienced painter, this look into the creative process of another artist was most interesting to me.

Jeanne Rosier Smith

Learn from a Master

Just by taking a quick flip through the pages of Alain Picard’s new book, you can instantly see that he is a tremendously gifted artist. For someone to balance the ability to paint portraits, and capture the essence of a person so well, with the ability to paint beautiful landscapes, is true talent. He has the eye to capture the most intimate details of a person’s face, but also the ability to create a broad brushed scene that sets a mood and provides a connection to nature. His beautiful use of color is beyond reproach.

With this book, aspiring and established artists are lucky to have access to a master’s artful approach - that lies out the steps, the thought process and collaborative approach to the art style that defines his success. This book is a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to improve their approach to pastel painting. A must buy!

Anne Engel

"Mastering Pastel" by Alain Picard is an excellent resource that comprehensively addresses the complexity of the medium

"Mastering Pastel" by Alain Picard is an excellent resource that comprehensively addresses the complexity of the medium. Beginning with a review of materials and technique, it progresses to a more elaborate but easy to follow description of Alain's methods and thought processes. "Mastering Pastel" is abundant with helpful pictures and photographs throughout.
I will most definitely recommend this book to my students, beginners and advanced alike!

Karen Israel,PSA-MP;IAPS/MC;Connecticut Pastel Society Signature Member and President

My New Favorite Book on Pastel Painting

This book is simply one of the best instructional books about art. It goes straight from the simplest things like how to choose and maintain your pastels and what paper to use through underpainting, execution, and finishing techniques. If you’ve never done pastel, or if you have experience and simply want to learn how to explore the breadth of the medium, this book is for you.

As a pastel artist who is still at the early stages of learning, I found so much of this book both supports what I already know and goes far beyond it. As an arts blogger, I have interviewed many artists and also taken instruction, and few painters can communicate technique as effectively as Alain Picard. The book is actually so dense with information, that you are not likely to read it in one sitting. You’ll just keep learning every time you pick it up again.

And finally, there are the examples from his own work, which are not only helpful, but lovely and inspiring. I plan to keep this book near my easel, as I know I will refer to it often.

Linda Peckel

Wonderful book for growth as a pastel artist

It was fascinating to read about the process of one of my favorite artists, Alain Picard. In his latest book, Mastering Pastel, he clearly discusses materials, reference photographs, mounting methods, under paintings, pastel application and techniques, doing commissioned work, organizing your color palette and much more.

I loved to hear how much thought, planning and consideration goes into each pastel that he does. Normally we have the pleasure of taking in the finished product of his astonishingly beautiful work, with its confident, dramatic strokes, whether it is a portrait, still life or landscape. In this book, Alain takes us, the artists, through the process from initial thumbnail, to under painting, to first marks, all the way to the glorious finished painting. He shows us the process within all three genres, even indicating some correction he does of the piece at the end. Throughout the book, Alain also generously gives the reader helpful artist's tips.

I thoroughly enjoyed Alain Picard's book, Mastering Pastel, and, as a pastel artist myself, I would certainly recommend it for the aspiring artist to take your pastel work to the next level.

Adrian Giuliani, PSA

Mr. Picard has been an fabulous inspiration to me. I have always worked in acrylics however, fell in love with pastels because of his books that I purchased. I am now, because of him, venturing out to portraits and light studies...
He is truly amazing!!

Juanita D.