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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hopkins

The Sequence of Events to a Successful Pastel!

Follow these easy to follow steps to create a wonderful and dynamic pastel painting. This can apply to other painting mediums too, like oil and Acrylics (to a point).


  1. Light Drawing (pencil sketch)

  2. Block in the Dark Value Shapes (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

  3. Block in the Light Value Shapes (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

  4. Fill in with Middle Values Shapes  (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

  5. Rub or Blend it in

  6. Build Layers up all around the painting, background to foreground

  7. Start adding details

  8. Sign

  9. Come back the next day and tweak 5 things to keep it fresh


Below are the visual aids, and I will describe any notes to take at each stage.


  1. Light Drawing (pencil sketch) - Nothing to see here, move along!


2. Block in the Dark Shapes (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

3. Block in the Light Shapes (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

4. Fill in with Middle Value  (Foundation)(Leave Paper Showing)

Dark, to Light, to Middle Values:



5. Rub or Blend it in:

Blend in the background with water pipe insulation. In digital; use the blending tool. Use horizontal blending strokes for the sky and background distances, vertical strokes for the foreground:


6. Build layers up all around the painting from background to foreground:



Sky and far-background trees and foreground tress, in that order. Don't forget "sky holes" in the trees!


Background and mid-ground


Work the foreground in vertical strokes for the grass, horizontal for water


Apply basic "big" details and end-result colors. This is the "smooth" foreground


Now is the time to add the final small details and slight touch-ups. When it looks finished "STOP"!


Tomorrow, after your eyes have had a break from the painting, go back to it and fix five issues; if any. Also, remove any blemishes you don't like at this time. I sometimes take a picture of it before I start the next day and look at the image on my desktop computer and make notes of what to fix. You sometimes will see things on the computer that you don't see on the painting.


Sign it and your done!


Karen Margulis, Copyright 2024

From the video presented by Karen Margulis, on YouTube, painted January 15th, 2024.

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