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Rick Holmes

11th November 2023

Again we had a packed hall for our monthly demonstration.  Well-known local artist Rick Holmes spent a while talking about his background, how he got into painting and some of the highlights and pitfalls along the way. 


He usually likes to work 'plein air' but naturally he had to work from a photograph today, which was pinned on his board for reference.  He introduced us to the materials and equipment he uses with pastels, which was his focus in this demo.  Rather than using one of the many pastel papers available, Rick prefers to work on Mountcard, coated with Colourfix Primer.  He gave us tips and advice throughout the demo, starting with how he always works on an upright easel when using pastels, so that any dust falls downwards into an L-shaped piece of card held by the easel's tray.  Such a good idea!

Surprisingly, Rick started his 'pastel' painting with acrylic inks and a roller!  The dark shapes were blocked in first with the roller and he used a water spray to soften some of the edges.  Then lighter-coloured inks were used to show some of the mid tones.  Once this was dry, he sketched in the main forms of his composition in white pastel pencil.  Then it was time to start with the soft pastels!

He put white in first to show the basic shapes, then dark blue and some browns.  He explained you do not need need a huge range of colours to complete a successful painting.  He rarely uses blending, as the colour loses some of its vibrancy, but he will if it is needed such as in  water or for the sky.  Rick expertly and quickly sketched in the details of his painting, changing what had initially looked like quite an abstract image into a recognisable, attractive harbourside scene with sailing boats and buildings at the water's edge.

Rick finished his demo with advice about preserving and framing pastel paintings, and then how to clean your pastels.  Altogether, a very useful and entertaining afternoon!

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