Maryland Pastel Society Spring Issue 2008
JACK GIVES BACK ó ONE DAY CLASS MARCH 8, 2008
Jack Pardue, one of our own, a past Maryland Pastel Society president and now a national workshop instructor, offered his teaching skills to sixteen fortunate Maryland Pastel Society Artists on March 8 at the Howard Co. Art Center for a one day FREE class. The class was entitled, How to Turn your Photos into Works of Art.
It took some doing but we managed to fit all 16 artists in the classroom and they were set up and ready to work by 9:30!
Jack began the class with an hour and a half demonstration to illustrate how to tackle some of the challenges an artist can face when using a photo as reference for a painting. Jack usually paints outdoors but he sometimes uses photography as a means to capture landscape scenes that he can use for painting in his studio. Jack wanted artists to understand that a photo offers the inspiration for a painting but should not merely be a copy of the photograph. Objects within the photograph can be eliminated or moved around in the picture plane if it offers a better composition. Multiple photos can be used to design a painting by borrowing objects from one photograph and incorporating them into another. He showed the students examples of paintings that he had done in the past and explained how certain changes were needed from the original photograph in order to make the painting work. He also discussed why he selected the photo that he was going to use for the demonstration and what his focal point was going to be.
He instructed artists to steer clear of using famous photographs as reference for paintings because the photographs are already a work of art and using another artistís creation is not an ethical practice.
Jack said to try taping the photograph on the wall away from you as if you are outdoors looking at the scene.
He mentioned using photo editing software to crop and rearrange elements in your picture. You can lay a grid over the photo to help in transferring it to the working surface. Colors may be intensified or made more subdued.
Jack suggests using black and white photos to better understand the values but to also have a color version on hand for information about the time of day or or a special color that may be on a focal part of the picture. Print both dark and light versions of the photo to reveal as much information about the scene as possible.
Jackís demonstration is explained below:
1. With his black and white landscape photo alongside his easel Jack began his demonstration using a piece of sienna conte to lay in his composition. He used very loose, light strokes. He told the students that a carefully thought out start to a painting is the key to success. This is why he does not use heavy handed drawing to lock in a composition. He desires the flexibility to make changes as they are needed. His surface was an Ochre colored, sanded board. One of his favorite surfaces for painting but he said, "you canít go wrong with Wallis".
2. Jack continued to use strokes of color with the wide side of his pastel to block in the painting. He loves the rectangular Terry Ludwig pastels because they offer a nice wide flat surface as well as a sharp edge for creating tree limbs and straight lines when needed. He never uses the pointed or rounded end of the pastel in his work. He encouraged students to consider using this method for creating a more painterly appearance to their artwork. You can see from this example of his painting that Jack is looking for the unique abstract design which sets up the foundation for the piece.
3. Jack moved the colors in the painting throughout the piece to create a color harmony. In some areas he used vibrant color as a base and when other color was layered over top you could still see the base color vibrating through. Youíll notice that the elements are blocked in without detail. Jack instructed the students to save the details for last and to keep them to a minimum. Jack feels that every stroke made should work toward enhancing the final painting and itís important to KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT of the pastel, in other words, no blending! The painting was really evolving at this stage and Jack would have liked to continue on but the students were anxious to begin their paintings.
JACK PARDUE, WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND THOUGHTFULNESS IN SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT PASTEL PAINTING WITH THOSE WHO HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND THIS CLASS.