Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pt. Reyes Workshops: A few spots left for May, and a date for Sept.

My upcoming workshop out at the Pt. Reyes Historic Lifeboat Station in May has a few spots open. The workshop runs from Fri. evening, May 8th, to Sunday the 10th, around noon. We can walk to several great spots to paint from our storied accommodations, and if necessary, drive to other ones. It is an adventure to stay out on the rim of the continent in a sturdy old building with other artists. We have a potluck on Saturday night, where everyone pitches in with a contribution. There are several lectures and group critiques. We may have sunshine, fog, wind, and more than likely, all three. There is beautiful (and ever-changing) light here. For sign up information, go to this website.

My next workshop at this location will be September 11-13th. This is a Fall session, and sign ups are not yet enabled on the website. I will keep you posted when they are open. If you have any questions, feel free to post in comments.

From the cliffs in the afternoon

A morning demo 

The upstairs classroom where we have our indoor sessions

Pirate hats are not required, but do contribute to the 'sense of place'...

                 Painting by the old park ranger's residence, a short walk from our accommodations.


Anonymous said...

I am an artist from India and I have been following your works for long. I have learnt a lot through your site and your works are just amazing. I had a question regarding your technique of painting. Do you ever use a fixative at any point of time while you are adding layers of colours?

I also wanted to know if you do blending of pastels on paper or is it more of just adding strokes.
Because I have realised that blending dulls the colours and all the lustre is of the pastels is lost.

Another last question that I have in mind is that apart from twilight and tobacco do you use any other coloured paper for your artwork? If I were to do a seascape what colour paper would you suggest I should use.

Someday, I do not know when, I would love to attend your workshop. You have been a great source of inspiration for me and I constantly read your blog to have a better understanding of colours and values.

Thanks for posting all your beautiful works.

Bill Cone said...

Anonymous from India: Thank you for your kind words and support. these are all good questions, and I will try to answer them as simply as I can.

1. Fixative: I do not use it because if I spray a little, I get dots all over the paper. If I spray a lot, to cover up the dots, then the paper may warp. Also the light values tend to dissolve (disappear). These are just my excuses or reasons not to do it. Please note that other pastel artist do use fixative, such as the very talented artist Kim Lordier, so it is really a personal choice, not a rule by any means. I believe that Kim layers her spray throughout her process, so doesn't have to soak it at the end.

2. Regarding blending of colors, I primarily rely on the concept that our colors are pre-mixed, and if they are not the ones you want, you can lay one color over another to blend, but not necessarily have to rub them together with your fingers. Layering color is an important strategy, and it means using less pressure to put the color the down, so you can put another one over it to modify, or refine it. I generally use my fingers to soften a transition of colors, or to cover up the paper, if the paper is a different value than the color on top of it, and the paper color or value doesn't belong in that part of the image.

Paper color: It is true that I used primarily Twilight and Tobacco for many years, however the color Twilight is out of production, and I have started to evolve my thinking about the base colors that I've been using. I now am trying lighter valued papers, like dawn pink, oyster, flannel grey...
What I've discovered is that the lighter base color of these papers allow me get an overall brighter image without having put down as much color as I used to on the Twilight. The Tobacco color is still useful in darker value situations, like a forest or when looking at certain kinds of water, where you can see the bottom of the river or creek...lots of dark, warm values, basically.

That's it. Keep at it, and hope you can come to my workshop one of these days. Thanks for writing from so far away. I am honored! Take care, Bill

Anonymous said...


I am so extremely happy to read such a detailed reply and I feel truly honoured that you took out time to answer my queries. It means a lot to me. Regarding the blending strategy in pastels, I will keep your tips in mind and will try to evolve my technique slowly. Because I too am not too fond of fixatives. Occasionally I use it in the initial layer.

Regarding paper colour, I will definitely try some other colours too. All the information that you have provided is of immense value to me an yes someday I will make it for your workshop.

Thanks once again