Author(s): Jenny Keal
Jenny Keal shares her passion for soft pastels in this inspiring and practical guide. She takes us through the basics of painting such as composition, colour theory and composition. There are then five beautiful step-by-by step demonstrations showing how to paint landscapes and flower studies, with plenty of useful tips for anyone wishing to paint with pastels, this most 'expressive and immediate' of mediums.
With pastel books being thin on the ground, any new addition is welcome and this is a rather excellent look at what the medium can do as well as a well thought-out manual on how to do it. Jenny devotes roughly the first third of the book to materials and techniques and she includes some handy hints on using colour shapers to blend small areas, as well as how pastel pencils can help you fill in detail. She also has valuable advice on composition, perspective and recession. All of this makes this section of the book above the average application-methods tutorial and shows that Jenny is aware of the creative as well as the technical aspects of her subject. To find this where the series is avowedly on the technical side is a positive plus and is an indicator of what's to come. The remainder of the book is devoted, as is usual, to five well-detailed step-by-step demonstrations covering landscapes, waterscapes, flowers (in this case irises) and mountains. This is a good range of subjects and makes sure the book's appeal isn't limited (unless you were looking for portraits and figures, of course). There are also further example paintings at the end of each section so that the scope goes beyond the specific subject that's been demonstrated. All of this makes for a well-balanced book that works within the premise of the series but expands into a much more complete painting manual as well. However, there is a tiny little butA" creeping in here and it has to do, not with the areas that are Jenny's strengths - choice and use of colour, composition, perspective and all that - but with her handling of shapes. In particular, her handling of hills and mountains, which have rather the appearance of slabs and blocks and rather oddly-shaped peaks. It's not terminal and I do want to be careful not to damn the book with a niggle, because the rest of it really is very good, but it's something you can't help noticing and also something you're going to have to work round for yourself. All-in-all, I'd still recommend this to any pastellist, but be forewarned of the potential problem so that it doesn't spoil the book for you.-Artbookreview.net Hello Jenny, Just received your book painting with pastels,it is the best instruction book I have bought,if I can't paint after using it I never will. Many Thanks and best wishes.-Denis Briggs, Customer A very timely book to arrive as I've just been admiring a fellow artists beautiful pastel portraits and thought maybe i'd get mine out as its been some time since I used pastels. Jenny's book is packed with information on soft pastels and her enthusiasm for the medium shines through. I noticed she uses Unison pastels - after a tip from another pastel artist when I was struggling to do anything with the ones I had I tried these and they are absolutely perfect for blending. Its clear Jenny has a love for the countryside from her work and reading the introduction I noticed she is married to David Bellamy - well known for his realistic landscape paintings. As a lover of nature myself I love to see the countryside reproduced realistically rather than the "daubings" some artists seem to feel are sufficient for trees and flowers and Jenny does this superbly. Jenny tells us about the difference between types of pastel and what they are best suited to - its something I learned by trial and error - lots of error and I wish I'd had such a helpful book when I began. She covers different types of surfaces to use and other materials - fixative, blenders, brushes, palette knives. My box of pastels contains all sorts of things I've found around the house and garden and used. It was god to read jenny's advice on the best way to store pastels to keep the colours fresh and discover that I have it right even though I store colours together just because I'm a bit anal about having them mixed ( a blue put in with yellows will really irritate me...)and love to see the colours range in the box in their individual compartments. Having explained about the materials and how best to apply them jenny shows us how she uses her sketch book - something I always mean to do but am very lax at :o( I especially enjoyed the section on working from photographs. Not everyone is able to get out and work from locations and the internet had lots of sites where people post photos for artist to use copyright free - never just copy another persons work without permission. The five demonstration subjects are very easy to follow and accompanied by lots of very clear illustrations. The book also has lots of other beautiful illustrations of landscapes that she has visited and she shows sketches from her books and how she uses them as references to make the finished paintings. A very inspirational book for anyone interested in trying out pastel painting.-JeannieZelos.com
Jenny Keal was born in Southampton and lived for most of her life in the New Forest. She was interested in art from childhood and continued to paint as a hobby while her children were small. She joined Romsey Art Group in 1990 and met her husband, David Bellamy. After discovering pastels, her painting flourished and she became a full-time artist and art tutor. Jenny demonstrates to art societies and has written a book on watercolour and many articles for Leisure Painter magazine.