We share with you today an art lesson Lucia Hames (Nana) taught to her grandchildren. It was a summer afternoon on her back porch. Nana taught all her grandchildren together – ranging in age from five to 15. You can do this too! Nana describes the steps and her daughter, Tricia, shares the photos…
We hope you will enjoy a very simple landscape that is suited for a pastel painting in the style of Claude Monet’s Field of Poppies. It is painted in greens and blues with a few touches of pinks and reds.
You will need: dark green, medium green and light yellow-green pastels and a yellow for the distant edge of the field. For the sky, a brilliant dark blue at the top of the sky, an aqua and light purple, and a white or palest pink for the clouds. The poppies are done in dark crimson, medium red and hot pink. You may simply use a piece of printer paper or we also like Canson brand pastel artist paper.
To begin, turn your paper horizontally. Then start with the ground horizon. Do not draw it in the middle of your paper, you add more “eye interest” for the viewer if you place your ground line a bit above the middle of your paper. Draw a straight line in dark green, as level as you are able. Because the field changes colors, it slowly grows lighter as you are led to the back of the picture. To do this with chalk pastels, take your medium green and add some bushes or trees at the very edge of the paper. You can make them darker green close to the ground.
The field itself is done in several shades of green pastels. I told my students to lightly cover (lightly!!) the field with your medium green pastel.
fisting – blending chalk pastel colors with the ball of your fist. A great example of fisting is in the Twilight tutorial.
Take your fist and use it to smooth out the strokes until you have a pleasing coverage of color. The far edge of the field, next to the trees or bushes has some sunshine on it; use your yellow pastel to bring that sunshine in and fist or use your finger to smooth it across the edge next to the dark trees.
skumbling – turning your pastel stick on it’s side and making an overall sweep of color.
Your sky needs attention! Take your darkest blue and lightly “skumble” in a line of blue at the very top of your paper. Smooth it with your finger and then use your aqua next, going to the tops of the trees. Your light purple should define the sky right down to the ground. Smooth all with your fist or finger.
Clouds are technically not “drawn”…just skumble a bit of white or palest pink on top of the blue sky until you make some cloud shapes. No round marshmallow clouds! A touch of purple makes the clouds look a little heavy with rain!
Now let’s finish this painting with the poppies. Follow the guidelines we used painting the field: the hot pink is lightest and it goes in the far back of the field. You can just make some lines of color, no need to draw round shapes of the flowers because they are far away from the viewer. Next, you are a bit closer, so use that medium red. Make just a suggestion of flowers, still too far away to see the shapes of the flower heads. Now, finally you can use the dark crimson pastels for the flowers closest to you…and you can make a few…just a few…round shapes of flower heads.
This is an “impressionistic” painting. It is an impression of a field, flowers and sky. It is not exact and that is exactly what makes it fun! Remember, this is YOUR painting! And don’t forget to pick a name for the painting (Something like “Spring in the garden” or “Poppies blooming!”) date it and sign your name! You ARE an ARTIST!
- A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (50+ free lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
- The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.
- Encouragement: You Can Be an Artist! 10 Day series
Just add chalk pastels and paper for a whole year of tutorials! Art for All Ages: A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook – the convenience of our tutorials all in one spot. Just add chalk pastels and paper. Use discount code TTD through 7/15/13 for $5.00 off your purchase.
If you enjoyed this art tutorial, we invite you over for some ice cream art at Hodgepodge today!
Homeschooling for over a dozen years now, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She is co-author with Nana of A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels,Sunday Savings and Southern Celebrations. She shares art lessons, recipes and all things practical at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve are also owners and authors at Curriculum Choice and Habits for a Happy Home