Pastel Mark Making

unison pastels, landscape at dusk, mark making with pastels, debi riley art paintings, beginner drawing pastels,

Vibrant, vivid, versatile!  Pastels,  actually  the  “Soft Pastels”   are brilliant learning tools for the beginner.  Why?  Their soft edges.  Their mark making power.   Combined with their sensitivity and their  immense range of techniques they can perform.    Amazing Pastels.

unison pastel landscape at dusk, mark making with pastels, debi riley art paintings, beginner drawing pastels,
Pastel Landscape at Dusk










A closer detail of the mark making line work of the pastels.

Mark Making with Unison Pastels, debi riley, beginners painting drawing tips,,
Pastel Mark Making





Soft Pastels

Today’s art time was spent using the soft pastels to lay down a foundation of warmth and creating some free, Expressive…… ‘wandering’  lines.    Calligraphic, zen, Wabi Sabi.

A Simple mark making exercise.  Nothing fancy, or complicated.




Pastel Artist


Margaret Parker Brown    initiated  the 31 Days of May painting challenge.


The very first painting I saw of hers…… I knew – she was at home, with the outdoors.

You can Feel It.

In her paintings.  Clear as day.

You just can not get that,  from duplicating a photograph.



Margaret is a kindred hiker.  A Walker.

A gifted pastelist.

She combines her wonderful pastel abilities with the  with the ability to convey the Spirit of the Land.

Landscapes painted from the heart.  Painted with heart.

Painted from years of intimate relationship….. of  Walking In Harmony With Nature.

Thats how you do it!

Margaret’s work is like a breath of Fresh Air!







Jacksons Art shop 

I found a wonderfully informative,  delightful site I thought most of you would like to go see.   Yes, its a shopping site;  but,  it has so much more really Intriguing and educational information!  Have a look!



Unison  pastels

We all have favorites.

These have been my personal fav  soft pastels since I discovered them decades ago at in Seattle at Daniel Smith art store whilst teaching my watercolor workshops there.

Blissfully like butter, creamy. They merge and blend into perfect transitions of color.

Pure Color.

Super saturation. Bright, vibrant. Gorgeous.     I Love them.


Found at  this is what they look like:

unison pastels
unison pastels







Just an update with the link to my friend Laura,  at     who is also taking on the 31 Days of May challenge.   I’d neglected to put this in yesterday’s post. My bad. Sorry.




Additional Posts of Interest

The Feeling, the Spirit of the Land 

Design with Lines 

Mark Making 

Creativity is a Walk Away 

Afternoon Walk 


SOFT Edges    Edges   

The 3 Edges 







Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

27 thoughts on “Pastel Mark Making

  1. Awww! what a surprise and so heartwarming Debi, no words to say what I felt reading this. You nailed exactly how I feel about the great outdoors, so wonderful to read that it is genuinely conveyed. 🙂 I agree, I love unisons! so buttery and rich in color. By the way, I love your pastel at the top, it reminded me of a sketch of Rembrandt’s that had a house, a field and a fence, simple but powerful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. thank you Margaret. And yes, when I first saw your work it just hit me! wow.
      and I do keep saying, I am there With You….. not a lot of artists can do that.
      certainly not those who duplicate from photos. Its never the same.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you Jodi; I do love pastels. they teach me many things! lol
      And, Margaret’s outdoor landscapes are really, really stunning. right up her alley.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful work Debi, and thanks for showing once again that no one does “simply beautiful” better. Sparse, stark, making a statement, not too many lines, but oh, so powerful.

    Thanks also for the mention! I did not mention either of you in my post scheduled for tomorrow – oops! I’ll try and rectify that next time around. I’m starting to feel in the groove a bit….with the daily painting. Yay!

    Question: I just ordered my first set of soft pastels in March. I bought a set of Richeson’s (although the Unison’s would have been my first choice!) Have you heard anything about them? They got good reviews at Blick!

    It’s a lot of fun, painting daily! I’m hoping I can keep it up possibly next month too? Not gonna put pressure on myself but it’d be cool if it worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Laura. don’t worry about needing to mention me, no worries!! 🙂 I’ve never, used richeson. so? you will find out how easy they are for blending later ! margaret would know!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you ever seen Debora Stewart’s work? I may have mentioned her before. I saw her DVD on abstract compositions on Artist Network TV and she totally sold me on pastels. I just had to try them. The Richesons I bought are so deeply pigmented and wonderful but they’re the only ones I’ve ever tried. In her DVD she demonstrates the use of a charcoal underpainting followed by an acrylic wash and then she goes over that with the golden ground for pastels and carries on with the pastel work on top. Her paintings are so luscious. She started out as a realistic artist and then grew into abstracts. Her teaching is really phenomenal. She inspired the heck outta me.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Charlie! I used to dislike both hard and soft pastels.
      Turned out… I’d just got the crummy ones! lol the good ones, make your work look Good! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. my goodness, thank you!! I do have Sennelier , handy to have them as well. and what I didn’t say much about, was how messy pastels are LOL
      I end up with war paint all over myself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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