Just back from Caloundra on the beautiful Sunshine Coast where I attended Australia’s inaugural Pastel Expo with 200 other pastellists from all around Australia (and with a special guest/speaker all the way from the US). What an experience. Was able to attend workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions and learnt so much. Picked up some really great tips and tricks. The experience has really taken me out of my conservative comfort zone in relation to pastels and inspired me to be far more creative and innovative! Have some wonderful ideas for backgrounds including collages with tissue papers.

I absolutely loved the trade show and left with more pastels, including the new extra soft pastels from Art Spectrum in the metallics range.  Drooled when I saw a massive set of pastels in a wooden display box for a mere $2,500. The wide range of different mediums for pastels was also of great interest.

Went to several workshops on animal portraits with Maxine Thompson from New Zealand and Sandra Temple from Australia.  Loved their techniques and approach to art. Have new respect for my Faber Castell Pitt pencils and the Pastelmat medium. Also attended a great bird portraiture workshop by Joanne Barby from Pan Pastels.  I now know what to do with my impressive 80 pan set that I acquired some time ago.

Also attended a brilliant human portraiture class with Louise Cork called “Less is More!” where we learnt a lot about the importance of backgrounds and underpainting as well as mood/atmosphere and the importance of the focal point, soft edges, fading out and losing less important features! Louise also did a fabulous demonstration on creating impressive backgrounds  using plastic garbage bags, tissue paper, inks, acrylics and shaving foam!

Also attended a great demonstration on creating dramatic clouds. This really demonstrated the importance of the underpainting (which is created with the use of rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits). The concept of values was stressed throughout the entire demonstration.

The exhibitions by the Master Pastellists and other attendees were jaw dropping in their beauty and diversity.

The organising committee are volunteers are to be commended on an excellent event.  It was such a great networking opportunity as well.

Bumped into Jasmine the orange Macaw at the Sunday markets in Caloundra. Hope to paint her very soon.

Have so much to talk about so watch this space.