Pastel Techniques

Artist: Barry Watkin
Language: English 60 mins
Format: PAL DVD
   If you require NTSC copies please click here...
Price: £28.55 (Inc VAT where applicable + P&P worldwide)

Barry explores the many different ways of using pastel, producing vibrant paintings with rich colours, strong tones and interesting textures. He applies pastel over watercolour and over ink, mixes water with pastel, uses linear and broken colour techniques and applies pastel in layers. A wealth of new ideas for pastellists.

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Pastel techniques

Barry Watkin's Pastel Techniques is the third in a successful series of videos from APV Films on working with pastels. This latest film explores a range of techniques and subjects that demonstrate the versatility of the medium and its particular characteristics.

The film begins in the country with a demonstration of the use of pastels over watercolour. Selecting a view of a bridge over a rippling stream, Watkin shows how they can effectively work over a broad coloured base to add definition and highlights. He also suggests that this method can sometimes be used to redeem watercolours otherwise destined to the waste bin!

Moving indoors to the studio, the second demonstration explores the more dramatic and vibrant method of building up a composition in layers of colour, fixing as one goes along. In this way the colour becomes intense. It's a technique that is particularly suited to compositions with high colour contrasts as in the given example with its vivid yellow cornfields and deep blue sky. This saturation of colour is very different to that achieved with Watkin's third technique. Focusing on a group of farm buildings he employs the linear method, hatching and cross-hatching to follow form and to build colour. He blends warm and cool colours to achieve an airy, open quality in the painting.

From landscape Watkin moves to still life and demonstrates the effect obtained by mixing pastels with water. Dense colour floods the paper to which, once dry, he can add highlights and textural detail. Back outside on Porlock Hill, looking towards Doone Valley, the fifth demonstration aims for a more impressionistic style, using broken colour such as one might find in a divisionist painting. The use of the full spectrum of colour adds to the vibrant and shimmering result. Finally, Watkin shows how, by working over a pen and ink drawing, a strong range of tones can be achieved.

With the collection of paintings that conclude the film, Watkin offers a brief commentary to explain which of the techniques were used, and why they seemed the most appropriate for the various subjects shown.

This is an informative and highly professional video from a specialist pastel artist with wide teaching experience. His well-paced commentary and carefully chosen examples provide a wealth of ideas for pastel artists with some basic experience.
Marion Boddy-Evans

If you're looking for new pastel techniques to try, or prefer to see the results before you experiment, then watch Barry Watkins demonstrate a range of options in his Pastel Techniques DVD. This includes adding pastel to a watercolor painting and over ink, using broken color, and using fixative to secure multiple layers of pastel. Throughout the DVD you see the painting in progress and the scene or reference material being painted from, enabling you to compare the two.


  • Demonstrates a range of pastel techniques on location and in the studio.
  • Techniques including adding pastel to watercolor, and using water on pastel.
  • Will encourage you to experiment with new techniques.


  • At times there's silence as the painting progresses, no commentary nor music.
  • Avoid if you want only 'pure' pastel, without mixed media techniques.

This painting DVD is, as the name indicates, is based around a variety of pastel techniques, with the intention of encouraging you to attempt something new. As Barry Watkin says in his introduction: it's all too easy to get stuck in a rut, to always follow the same path and never trying anything new. In this DVD he demonstrates six techniques to encourage you to try something new. The first is using pastel on top of watercolor. It's painted plein air, on a river bank. The DVD shifts between the watercolor/pastel in progress and the scene being painted, so you can compare the two.

The second technique is layering, using fixative to to build up multiple layers without the pastel sliding around on the surface. The third is using pastel in a linear method, building up a barn scene using line. The fourth is blocking in shapes of color, then using water and a brush to eliminate the white paper. It turns the pastel into a paste which, when dry, you can continue working on. The fifth technique is broken color, demonstrated on a landscape. The sixth is working with pastel on top of a tonal ink painting.

While Watkins doesn't come across as having as much fun painting as Tom Coates, it's just a difference in approach and personality. He explains the technique he's going to demonstrate, tells you what he's doing as the painting develops, but at times is silent as he concentrates on painting. Watch this DVD one chapter at a time, stopping after each demo to try it for yourself.

THE ARTIST December 1996

Pastel Techniques by Barry Watkin.

Following the success of his previous two videos, Progressing with Pastels and Pastel Landscape, Barry Watkin shows the potential of this medium using ideas and techniques introduced through six demonstrations.

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