Pastel painting, because of the differences between hard and soft pastels, allows for very different approaches to making a finished piece.

And although many pastelists combine several styles to create a look all their own, in the most general terms pastel painting comes down to the linear or massive approach.

The Linear Approach is line-based. You begin with a sketch on the paper (and I recommend a tone study on scratch paper even before that) and then use hard pastel sticks and/or pastel pencils to lay in a sort of color map of crosshatched lines. In atmospheric pastel painting, the entire piece is composed of these lines.

The linear approach, however, the initial sketch lines are covered with blocked in portions of soft pastel which are then further manipulated by blending, smoothing, feathering, dusting and so forth until the piece is complete.

Pictured here are the reference photo, color map, and finished landscape using the linear approach.

The Massive Approach, or, the blocking approach, is a much looser style because it foregoes the initial linear layout and begins with blocked-in color usually done with soft pastels on the side.

Details are rendered on top with hard pastels, but the overall picture remains fields of heavy, scumbled color layered on top of each other to develop a sense of depth in the picture.

Because the massive approach is faster and calls for less planning, it is very useful in developing color studies to record information about quickly changing light, for instance.

The study can be made in a few minutes and then taken to the studio to work up in greater detail if desired.

Want To Learn More…

Landscape MasteryLandscape Mastery is generously illustrated showing you step-by-step how to draw landscapes.

With clear (and fun) instructions on how to draw, you’ll learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home.

The artist has chosen popular landscape pictures and will show you how to draw each one in color.

Landscape drawing is a fascinating area of study which requires an understanding of perspective, light and shade, detail and abstraction.

Click Here To Learn More