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Lynda Kettle  2nd Sept 2022
Autumnal Woods in Pastels

Lynda is an immensely experienced creative, having followed a First at art school with a career in Theatre Design and directing sets and costume in innumerable Birmingham-based TV series for the BBC.

A few years back she moved to Devon and embarked on a more picture-focused artistic career, creating many pictures and demonstrating and teaching primarily in watercolours and pastels but other media too.

She employs her art training and theatrical experience to produce carefully prepared pictures.


Two important elements in Lynda's work are

1) adherence to the 'Rule of 3' -  where, if the picture were a game of O's and X's, the viewer's focus is directed near one of the 4 places where the 4 lines cross. For this demo, Lynda's focus was towards the bottom right of the picture


2) inclusion of the full range of tone, from light to very dark indeed. This creates a feeling of drama.

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For her woodland scene Lynda used a palette of autumnal colours, and mostly Unison pastels. These are expensive but produce instant marks of intense colour of an intermediate firmness. [Sennelier too soft and Jackson's too hard for her preferences]. She also used a charcoal pencil, some thinner pastels and the firmer Conté crayons.

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Lynda explained how a toothed surface is essential for pastels to - well, to 'bite', I suppose. She finds that (Clairefontaine) Pastelmat is effective, as is Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel paper. Or clear gesso can be applied to a variety of surfaces to add that tooth that catches the pigment.

Working from a photo [in better focus than the copy below!!], Lynda moved the centre of attention a little further to the right

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She likes to reduce her photo to black & white, the better to assess the range of tonal values. And here, below, is her drawing re-evaluating the composition and tones.

By the way, Lynda prefers to work in pastels with a near vertical board, the dust catching in a neat collection tray. Similarly, as regards mounts and frames, she recommends a triple mount which conceals a kind of dust collection area behind the front mount. Hopefully, this diagram gives the general idea


This slide show shows the pre-prepared surface with sky and ground already in place. Lynda mainly works from light to dark when working on a light background [white in this case] but vice versa if the paper is dark. Hence the addition of cream, then yellow, orange, light green and dark green leaf clusters, before the addition of tree trunks, branches, twigs. As can be seen in the light on the trunks and fencing, the light is coming from top left.

Towards the end Lynda added a flurry of fallen leaves on the ground, some black shadows, and worked on the lightening of the lane as it recedes. Finally, a few flourishes of light twigs and branches added to the contrasts in the scene

As regards fixative, Lynda is aware that some perceive this as darkening a picture. But then again that darkness may well be a welcome addition.

Equally, she is happy to use hairspray to fix finished works rather than the more expensive bespoke art fixatives.

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Otter Vale Art Society

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