Colour & Light in Pastel - Maxwell Wilks


Colour & Light in Pastel

Artist: Maxwell Wilks
Language: English 90 mins
Format: PAL DVD
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Price: £28.55 (Inc VAT where applicable + P&P worldwide)

Maxwell Wilks is an exciting painter with a strong emotional response to the effects of light, colour, atmosphere and form. He works in brilliant colour and uses the pastel strokes rather than blending to achieve stunning results. In this film he paints on the north east coast of England at Whitby, selecting views around the harbour and the nearby Dales. He then returns to Australia where he shows us how he uses sketches to work up paintings in his studio.

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Review by Theodora Philcox

Australian artist, Maxwell Wilks loves the vibrancy of pastels, and uses a method of layering multi-directional strokes rather than blending, to create rich, lively colour. It’s a fascinating process to watch, and in his film, Colour and Light in Pastel we can do so as he completes five luminous paintings.

Wilks starts in Yorkshire, where he first tackles two views of Whitby Harbour. Working on black paper, he explains how this provides a strong contrast to the warm colours he loves to use, and how small specks of black show through the applied pastel, adding interest. This effect is aided by the fact that he adds colour lightly, in open strokes, and as one colour is added over another, further interest is created as specks of all of the layers shine through. He adds detail in black, pulling the forms together, and then more solid colour to define volume. He doesn’t want his work to look photographic, although he does think it is important to indicate what is going on, right through to the background of a painting. However, background detail needs to be knocked back so as to not distract the viewer. He achieves this impressively by covering the distant features with a curtain of strokes which has the effect of putting the area out of focus.

For the third painting he moves inland to capture a path rising through the Yorkshire Dales. He talks through how he composes the various elements to lead the eye through the image, building his colour in the same way as in the earlier images, to result in sparkling colour that exudes life.

Whilst the first three, small scale, paintings were completed out of doors, for the final two, Wilks returns to his studio near Melbourne, were he prefers to work large. Here he shows how he scales up a sketch of Palm Valley near Alice Springs. The colour is absolutely gorgeous, capitalising on the textural as well as the colour capacity of the medium. Similarly, he works up an oil sketch of Whitby’s waterfront with buildings rising high above. Whilst the lower half of this painting is cool and subdued, with seagulls circling around a fishing boat returning to harbour; the rock and buildings behind are bathed in warm evening sunlight, producing a stunning, but restful composition. This is an inspiring film that will encourage viewers to try pastels for the sheer excitement of the colour and drama they can achieve.
THE ARTIST - April 2009

Review by Oliver Lange

Many artists regard watercolour as the best medium for location colour work, but as Maxwell Wilks shows in his highly instructive and inspiring new film, Colour & Light in Pastel, pastel can in fact be more direct, is just as suitable for depicting the effects of light and atmosphere, and has the advantage of enabling greater expression with colour and texture.

Filmed at the artist’s studio in Melbourne, Australia and on location in Yorkshire, this excellent DVD includes five lively, informative demonstrations on how to capture the essence of a subject on the spot and then develop this on a larger scale and in a more resolved way in the studio, yet without losing the initial emotional response and freshness of the work. Colour is a key element in Maxwell’s paintings, and his technique – building up effects with marks and strokes of colour, rather than blending – is equally personal and successful.

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 (10/10)  Submitted by: Jeanne - Australia 23-Jun-2011
This is an inspirational DVD for all levels of pastel painters. Maxwell Wilks demonstrates planning, layout, technique, perspective and flare which make you want to immediately get out your pastels and paint! As a relatively new pastel painter, I found this DVD informative and motivational and have recommended it to our library for purchase.

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