Pastel Landscapes - Barry Watkin


Pastel Landscapes

Artist: Barry Watkin
Language: English 60 mins
Format: PAL DVD
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Price: £28.55 (Inc VAT where applicable + P&P worldwide)

With his fresh and enthusiastic approach, Barry shows how to succeed with pastels in this thoroughly comprehensive guide. Filmed in the stunning scenery of Somerset, all aspects of the landscape are covered from skies to water reflections.

For a French version of this film "Apprenez à peindre aux pastels" click here...

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THE ARTIST - October 1990

If pastel is your preference Barry Watkin's Pastel Landscapes is a first class introduction to the medium. Preliminaries and practicalities are dealt with clearly and succinctly at the beginning while the colours used are usefully listed on the package. Right from the start one feels that here is a man in whom one can place confidence. He deals in turn with the rendering of skies, trees, water, flowers, and buildings though the emphasis is on the balance of lights and darks, warm and cool colour, forms and rhythms, all demonstrated in the delightful landscape of west Somerset. The results are loose, free, and unfussy yet all based on sound draughtsmanship used to interpret the character of the subject in terms of the medium and to produce a convincing image of a particular place without in any way being photographic.

Landscape pastel video

The pastel medium has a history dating back some 300 years and has been subject to considerable fluctuations in popularity during that time. There was a notable resurgence of interest during the Impressionist era when artists such as Degas used it extensively and to brilliant effect and we are told it is now staging another comeback. This is not hard to understand for skilled practitioners can produce works of great beauty. It possesses astonishing durability, never fades or deteriorates and will last as long as its support. It is used dry, without liquid solvent, so there are none of the problems associated with drying which painters in other media have to suffer. There are a number of books of varying quality on the subject of pastel painting but until now no instructional video. This situation has now been remedied with the appearance of Barry Watkin's Pastel Landscapes.

Barry Watkin is an experienced tutor and painter in all media, though he now speclalises in pastel landscape work. He begins by showing us his own range of pastels, consisting of some 80 colours which he keeps methodically In a flat wooden tray divided into 16 compartments, arranged by colour and tone. This careful segregation means that his pastels do not get so covered in the anonymous grey dust that invariably appears when colours are all jumbled together. With this system there is no need to resort to ground rice for cleaning purposes, though he does keep a large lump of Blutack for removing dust from his hands.

Although colours can be blended to some extent, they cannot be mixed, as in other media, and for this reason a much wider range is necessary. He advocates about 30 for landscape work and although he only mentions a few during his demonstrations, his suggested list appears on the cassette. He quotes certain reference numbers but does not explain that this numerical code, from 0 to 8, classifies by tone, 0 for the palest, 8 for the deepest. Nor does he warn us that this system of numbering is not universal and the makers of Rembrandt pastels, for example, use a system of decimal points to denote the proportion of white filler added to the colour.

He advocates the use of a bristle brush for making corrections and removing unwanted pigment and rolled paper stumps (torchons) for blending colour. He uses three supports – Canson, which, with its fine tooth is easily clogged, Rembrandt and fine glasspaper (grade 00). He does not use a fixative as this darkens the colours, but presses his finished paintings and uses double mounts to keep them clear of the glass when framed.

There follow a number of out• side demonstrations, mostly in the delightful West Somerset countryside and in these he tackles skies, hills, trees, water and buildings. He has a practised touch, works freely and loosely and never clogs his support or obscures its grain with undue pressure. These demonstrations are a delight to watch and are an object lesson in the correct use of the pastel medium. He has a pleasant voice and manner and I liked the way bird song and pleasantly unobtrusive music filled the gaps in the commentary. After the demonstrations we are shown a number of attractive examples of his recent work and, finally, a glimpse of an open air session with one of his courses.

This Video is professionally made and can be recommended with confidence.

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