I think that pastels are wonderful to use in Impressionistic art paintings. I know that I have mentioned before that years ago a teacher explained to me that pastel pictures are not really “drawings” but are paintings. You see, you are using a pure stick of dry paint color, so you are painting, aren’t you? Pastels can be used with great freedom to give your Impressionistic paintings that dreamy, slightly smudged look!
We are going to visit with our old friend, French Impressionist artist Claude Monet, and paint in his dreamy style the Houses of Parliament in London. Really, what we are going to attempt is to paint the effects of the sun on a foggy day and the skyline of London. Monet painted this most famous of his paintings in 1900, while he was living and working in London, England.
You will need the following pastel colors: green, medium blue, yellow, orange, red and…a deep purple!
River: Start with your green pastel, and place your river (the river Thames) about ¾ the way down the page. I suggest that you turn your paper horizontally to paint this picture. Smooth in a light layer of your green for the river, then blend in some blue and even some light touches of purple. This is a river in the city, and it is ancient and not very clean.
Buildings: Next, take your purple and draw the outline of the castle-like Parliament buildings. Now, do not stress over your Houses of Parliament, they are very simple shapes with towers and turrets! Enjoy drawing them and making them your very own. Smooth in the purple and cover the Houses right down to the river.
Sun: Take your yellow and red pastel and draw a round yellow sun to the left of the tallest Parliament tower and put a curve of red on the side of the sun on the right. Slightly smudge this in to make it an impression of the sun on a foggy day.
Sky: Your medium blue fills in the sky…remember, the sky goes all the way down to the river and all the way up to the top of your paper!
Reflection: Now, have some fun and put the reflection of the sun on the river water…a round, slightly smudged sun, orange and yellow on the river surface. Place this reflection under the sun on the river and not over on the other side of the picture, that just doesn’t work as a reflection!
You have done wonderful work! I think that Claude Monet would applaud your efforts as beautiful! If your family or friends ask you what the subject of the painting is, tell them you learned how to paint in the style of the great Master Painter, Monet! Remember, you ARE an artist!
We decided to create some Winter Olympic chalk pastels and listen to Mendelssohn while we had the chalk out!
You Are An Artist!
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- A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (50+ free lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials plus the video The Very Few Must Have Supplies for Chalk Pastel Art. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
- The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.
- Encouragement: You Can Be an Artist! 10 Day series and Art for All Ages 10 Day series
- Be sure to subscribe to our Hodgepodge YouTube channel for free video art tutorials!
Don’t forget our free lessons for Valentine’s Day – a lovely afternoon of music and art! (Thanks Mary!)