Fresh off a master pastel workshop, I am charged with enthusiasm. Along with 17 other artists, in picturesque Sandwich on Cape Cod, I spent 2 days observing the techniques that make Jacob Aguiar a master at painting predominantly “green landscapes” with fresh luminous color and determined strokes. His focused instruction was just the tonic I needed to recharge my batteries. Thanks to the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod for hosting this workshop and thanks to Jacob for sharing his techniques.
Living in Southeastern Massachusetts, surrounded by a predominantly green landscape, I find myself drawn to instruction that handles the “50 shades of green challenge”. Jacob’s approach begins with using an orange/pink Nupastel stick to create a value based underpainting. He suggests doing quick, small, timed studies (about 30 minutes) to nail values and evaluate the composition. This was a good reminder that small studies are a great way to “warm up” in the studio or in plein air. The orange/pink underpainting has a warm way of influencing the green you will eventually lay over, especially when leaving some of the under color to peek through. It also serves as a method to explore using other colors as an alternative to green. I found myself grabbing a pastel stick in the purple or mauve family in place of green.
In typical practice, we were also reminded to apply the darkest dark and lights light early in the painting to set the stage for the midtones and to give impact to the composition.
Below are some of the timed studies done in the workshop and subsequently in my studio. This painting process marries new techniques with well established practices, I look forward to many satisfying painting sessions in the summer days ahead.