Plein Air with Pastels

Painting outdoors is an invaluable experience for any artist, and especially for those interested in landscape.

Pastels are a perfect medium to take outdoors. During this class we will explore different aspects of landscape painting to make your time outdoors a productive and enjoyable experience:

Students will learn and practice:

- selecting a scene that has a great potential for a successful painting
- simplifying shapes to create a strong composition and a value map
- using color layering techniques to achieve depth, texture and luminosity.

From pastel beginners to intermediate.

featured artwork by Lana Ballot


The class will discuss how to use our plein air studies and photo reference to create studio work that retains the freshness and spontaneity of a plein air piece. 


Group demos, discussions and individual help will provide the opportunity for growth for students of any skill level.




Summer 2019 Thursday Afternoon Class

Time: Thursdays, 2 - 5 pm

Instructor: Lana Ballot

Starting Date: July 11th, 2019

Class length: 6 weeks

Price: $330.00 (Please note, prices are adjusted for late registrants)

Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Class size: 4-10

Be sure to check the Class Calendar for closings, holidays and room numbers.



Materials List -


In this class we’ll focus on quicker color sketches to capture light, colors and atmosphere of the scene.


Pad of Mi-Teintes 9”x12" It’s sold at Michael’s in pads (it’s multicolor pad). You can also get different assortment of colors in a pad (cool gray or earth tone) at You can also use sanded toned paper, sold as separate sheets. Good brands of sanded toned paper are:

Pad of Mi-Teintes

Art Spectrum

*If you like working on uart paper, you can tone neutral uart paper (400 grit works well for Plein air) into any color with hard pastels and water or rubbing alcohol.



I’ve been working with Jack Richeson company to get my personally selected colors available as sets. They are currently available at

My 40 piece Landscape Essentials is a good set to start with if you don’t have any pastels yet.



* My other sets complementing the Landscape set are:

- Luminous Skies 40 piece set

- Landscape Neutrals 20 piece set

- Coastal Palette 80 piece set

A small selection of hard pastels, like NuPastels: Prismacolor NuPastels


Other materials:

• Flat synthetic brush - about 3/4" or 1" wide, for toning neutral color sanded paper. Here’s the one I’m using for this =3%2F4%22#q=soft-grip&start=7

• A bristle brush (for removing pastels from areas if needed), an old brush is fine. A flat brush works better for this purpose than a round one. 3⁄4” or 1” is good. This brush should always stay dry.

• Viewfinder is nice to have - it helps a lot with a composition, to see how much you can actually fit on that piece of paper and what your painting will look like. https://

• Pencils - soft charcoal pencil is a great way to sketch out the design lightly, it will be covered with pastels later and will blend with them nicely. Some people like using pastel pencils, that’s fine, but it’s up to you and it’s a different technique and might be slower than working with the sticks.

• Pencil sharpener, if you are using pencils • Artist tape • Tracing paper or glassine - to cover the finished work.

• A small foamboard - to tape your paper to when you are working and to carry it safely, I find 11”x14” is a good size for this.

• Paper towels and/or baby wipes for cleaning hands.

• Gloves if you use them.

• Comfortable shoes and a hat. Sunscreen. Dressing in layers is always a good idea.


Easel: If you don’t have a portable easel you’ll need at least a folding chair - you can place pastel box on the ground and have the board with the paper on your lap. A great setup for a pastel artist is a pastel box that can be mounted on a tripod, you can read more about this in my blog This setup is not cheap but if you paint outside often it’s a good investment