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Plein-air Pastel Class for Beginners

  • Festge Park 4894 Scherbel Road Cross Plains, WI, 53528 United States (map)

Instructor • Jane Varda

Welcome artists!

My main goals for you for this class are to leave with a good feeling

of having learned about and tried something new, and an inspiring, collegial plein-air

painting experience.

We will each be painting the south-facing scene from the overlook at

Festge Park in the town of Berry. The wooded, and cultivated topography,

including the old Festge farm feature dynamic diagonals which offer naturally

interesting design opportunities. We will briefly review the compositional

elements of placement, light and shade patterns, and then start working. As the

sun moves, the light on the topography changes, so I will stress the importance of

establishing shape and value fast! Detailed accuracy is not a factor today.


Pastels: Suggested brands include Sennelier, Unison, Terry Ludwig.

The basic landscape Plein Air landscape set by Sennelier is a great starter set.

Investing in a mix of harder and softer pastels would be ideal especially if you

think you may be working more in this medium.

Do NOT bring oil pastels or oil sticks.

Paper: Many options but paper with “tooth” specifically for use with pastels.

Suggested: 1 or 2 sheets of Colourfix 300gsm (sand or raw siena)

by Art Spectrum size 19.5 x 27.5.” (can be divided into 2 or even 3 sheets)

Kitty Wallis is another great substrate for pastels.

Easel: Julian or lightweight metal easels.

All art materials are available online at Blick, Jerry’s, Cheap Joe’s etc.

OR retail at:

Lynn’s on Odana rd, Madison. Fewer choices but wonderful

Lynn who is a very knowledgeable artist’s resource.

•A board on which to tape your pastel paper. Suggest masonite.

•Masking Tape to both secure your paper and to create a clean border around

the live area should you later wish to frame it.

•Glassine paper to protect and transport finished work.

•Small sketch book/4B pencil.


Dress comfortably and for the weather: Be it warm or cool.

•Apron or old shirt to cover your clothes if you don’t want them to get messed up

with pastel dust. Just in case-Hat, sunscreen, bug repellent and/or Thermocell,

•Nitrile gloves: Optional but pastels are very messy!

•Water to drink.

No fixative sprays please!

*Tip: To save time, get your coffee on the way and have your materials

organized and paper taped to your board ready to start at 9am.

Consider a visit to the Festge overlook site prior to October 6th. If nothing else

its a beautiful hike/dog walk.

Bring courage and a sense of humour!

Earlier Event: September 24
Driftless Dames