Paint a Stunning Still Life in Pastel

I wish I had a camera the day I went to the grocery store with Alain Picard and watched him pick out fruit for a still life. It wasn't enough to look for fruit that wasn't bruised or misshapen; Alain searched several apples with a critical eye, looking at the sizes, shapes, colors, and stems.

Alain's still life pastel painting.
Alain's still life pastel painting.

Artists engage with their subject matter well before they put the first stroke to paper, and Alain's choices of fruit reflect the kind of time and preparation that goes into a good still life. So many elements make a painting really work, from the subject itself to the background and lighting conditions.

The result is stunning, as you can see in the final painting, here, but the process is as engaging as the still life itself. From arranging and lighting the still life, Alain demonstrates his belief that the subjects of his paintings are always the same essential thing: the light that reveals the subject. With each step of the painting, he guides the viewer through the steps needed to create a pastel painting that is full of life, thanks to the care in which he set up his apples and illuminated them.

You can preview Capturing Light and Form: Still Life in Pastel now at ArtistsNetwork.tv. Then, head out and get some apples or other fruit of your choice, and follow along with the full-length video, to complete a stunning still life of your own.

–Vanessa

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