15 June 2019 Penelope Gilbert-Ng Pastel Portraits

Pastel Workshop Suggested Materials List with Penelope Gilbert-Ng:

The detailed list below is not essential,  bring lots of enthusiasm and what materials you have. 

Paper: Colorfix

One Half sheet of White COLOURFIX Art Spectrum paper or White TEX Canson paper I shall show you underpainting in watercolour as this approach is just another method to pastel. You will need a selection of primary colour watercolours I use tube watercolours, Magenta for red, Aureolin yellow or lemon yellow and cobalt blue sometimes turqouise blue and a medium to large size synthetic oil painting brush for application (use and old brush as paper chews up bristles quickly as is abrasive).Watercolour palette.

Board: You will be working on half sheet paper having a board big enough to accommodate the paper size with some space around the paper. Backing paper (about 5 or 10 sheets of butchers paper) as padding behind the paper. You can use newspaper but iron out the creases as this will be bumpy otherwise.

Other Materials:

Bulldog Clips masking tape I use the masking tape all around the paper which gives a white border after completion

Easel…. Free standing or table easel

Faber Castell Kneadable eraser, also plastic eraser

Fine mist water sprayer

Torchon / I use a colour shaper grey rubber tip.

old flat hog hair oil painting brush/water container

2B pencil

Sketch book

Barrier cream Dermex 5A or barrier cream you can otherwise buy

Mask if you use one.

Apron, Newspaper

Cloth for table and floor

Pastel fixative optional not hair spray

Glassine paper for protecting painting for transport

Photos you have taken of portraits WITHOUT FLASH. Have a light source to create interesting shading. A connection to who you paint is important. No commercial photos from books or magazines. Your own resources of effort going out and looking for what appeals to you creates special paintings.


The pastels you have already Hard and Soft. Make sure you have a variation in tones of your colours such as dark medium and light. Suggested colours Schmincke Quinacridone violet 048B,Schmincke perm orange 005 O(lightest one), a black, Greys,Ochres, umbers, Bring pastel pencils if you have them.Turquoise in various values.

For those starting in pastel Faber Castell have boxes of half sticks which are a good base of colours to start from and gradually add colours to your collection as you need them Rembrandt also have excellent sets in different quantities to start with landscape portrait or mixed colours. Schmincke are difficult to buy so Unison have good colours and Art Spectrum have a good dark purple Flinders Blue Violet D520 that can substitute the Schmincke O48B and a new light colour set. I shall have some pastels for those who have small sets to use.

Lots of enthusiasm essential.

Penny’s Bio :I am a painter that is who I am. I have painted all my life and continually studied, explored and enjoyed my learning processes on how I want to communicate visually to an audience. For me the effect of light on my subjects and the shadows created by a light source are in a sense equally important in creating the shapes, tone and composition required to make an enjoyable painting. I paint in all mediums but pastels’ spontaneous response and multitudes of hues and tones are so exciting especially when painting from life. I never cease to be amazed by the results. I don’t paint photographically but do believe in portraying and responding to what I see, simplifying and eliminating detail so as to make the viewer’s eye work as well. My mark making is bold and confident yet shows a sensitivity to my subjects. When I paint the adrenalin flows and energy transforms into my work. I cannot think of any better way to spend my time than painting. We are truly blessed as artists. My teaching has been a wonderful source of learning as I have learned so much from my students. I first played with pastels over 40 years ago but seriously concentrated on using them for the past 23 years. I have found the speed of using pastel so wonderful when working with a model on a weekly basis as I love the individual skin colours of each model and how the light affects that colour. Pastel is the perfect medium to work from life. I hope that my paintings lift the viewer’s spirit when they look at them.” Usually a water colour wash is applied before pastel work.