What a treat we had on Tuesday afternoon.  Linda Kettle, a very skilled pastel and watercolour artist, talked us through how she went about her painting in pastels. 

Not only was she a very interesting and informative artist she was great fun and refreshingly unprecious.  She started by giving us a brief outline of her artistic life which started at 15 years old when she attended an art school, her work for theatres and later TV until seven years ago when she moved to the West Country.  She now teaches and sells her art. 

‘Walk Through the Wood’, demonstrated by Lynda

She told us how she prepared her paper – heavy weight watercolour paper stretched, the sky and foreground painted in acrylic, this was followed by a covering of clear Gesso to provide a tooth for the delicious Unison pastels she uses. 

The picture she was creating was a valley with trees on either side framing the scene.  She began at the top of the picture – good reason for this – to stop you smudging your work which is very easily done when working in pastels, she reminded us that to work from left to right also minimises smudging.  She dotted in the leaves on the trees in a range of autumn colours – creating an image of leaf laden trees.

This was followed by strong black lines for the tree trunks, their branches and twigs. She kept the centre of the picture clear.  Finally, she reached the foreground where the use of dark brown and black to indicate the undergrowth led your eye to her planned focal point – the light at the valley floor. 

Linda worked quickly and deftly producing a completed picture well within the time allowed.  This was followed by questions from the floor which rounded up a thoroughly enjoyable, light-hearted afternoon, leaving everyone on a high before they went out into the pouring rain.

Report by Pat Dench

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