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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > FREE Sample Issue > Painting the figure in pastel

Painting the figure in pastel

Follow Rob Wareing as he paints a figure in soft pastels, working from the model, with tips and advice on measuring, proportion, edges, values and colour
Pastel sketch on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper, 251⁄2x193⁄4in (65x50cm). This is a 20-minute sketch. Note that the face and hands are left totally unstated so that I could concentrate on the light and the pose

Working from life is an essential part of what I do and reacting to light on a three-dimensional form is exciting and exhilarating. I prefer to work directly from life with the model present to the end; any work done after the sitting is minimal. This does not mean that I never use photographic references to complete a painting. There are many paintings (children at play, dancers, etc) that would be impossible for me to totally resolve without the use of the camera.

The advantage of working with a person who will naturally move slightly, become tired and suffer all the aches and irritations that we all have when trying to keep still creates an urgency – the same feeling you get when painting en plein air and are very aware of the changing light. How can this be an advantage? The urgency of these situations seems to sharpen your instincts and a natural editing of the visual information in front of you takes place. I first became aware of this many years ago while painting numerous quick portraits in a gallery. The portraits of children who moved and fidgeted the most were often more successful than those who sat dead still. More recently, when running figure painting workshops I have found beginners are often more successful with the quick, short poses than when given lots of time.

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About The Artist

Paint lively watercolour landscapes using the hard and soft edge technique, learn how to capture the movement of water in your watercolours, become a wedding sketchographer, depict the figure in pastels, improve your compositional know-how, develop your colour-mixing skills - all this and much more in this month's issue! Hazel Soan encourages you to you paint informal portraits, BBC1's The Big Painting Challenge winner Suman Kaur shares her top ten tips learnt during the series and David Gould explains how he combines digital and traditional techniques to create contemporary artworks. Soraya French is back to invite you to discover the joy of mark making and create a mixed-media landscape, whilst Jake Winkle reveals the importance of interpreting your subject for more creative results. Charles Williams talks about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Ian Sidaway tests the new Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Paper range, Glyn Macey shows how Andy Warhol's work can inspire new approaches, and Adebanji Alade offers his regular motivational tips to keep you painting with energy and confidence. Enjoy!