'Linear' pastel technique by Max Hale

Max started by telling us that he regularly works in a variety of media. He found that when using pastel he was often dissatisfied with his work because the traditional way of using pastel, often involving blending, did not give him the vibrancy he sought. He then developed a technique he calls 'linear' pastels where most of the pastel is applied only using vertical strokes, and linear shapes and outlines are kept to the absolute minimum.

Max started by arranging a simple still life, suitably lit.

This was then drawn onto a neutral grey Canson pastel paper using a blue Conte crayon, taking reasonable care to get the geometry correct.

Colour pastel was then applied using short vertical strokes (except for a few lines depicting the bottom of the bottle and top of the jug.


Here you can see the first colur applied to the jug and orange using vertical strokes only. Note that although the jug was a uniform blue colour, it picked up some lighter and darker tones from its surroundings.


Here the orange and jug are further developed, more detail is applied to the jug, the bottle and its label. A start on the background is also made.

Max, working before an appreciative audience.


Here the pepper mill is started and the background further developed.

Artist at work!


Here the shadows of the book are applied and key highlights added.

Max, with the finished demonstration.

Close-up of the finished demonstration.

This was Max's first visit to Barnet Guild of Artists and it hopefully will not be the last.