Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pastel with Ponting - an online pastel class

Dianna Ponting SFCA, PPC, MPAC, PSA the current President of the Federation of Canadian Artists is teaching "Pastel with Ponting" an excellent on-line class in the use of pastel right now! You can find it in "The Classroom" sub-forum of the Wet Canvas Drawing and Sketching Forum. This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to learn about Dianna's particular approach for working with pastels.

The class proper started on Monday (March 5th) and the way these classes generally work is that the tutor is present and generally active for the first two weeks - possibly longer if their time allows. The thread has already had 2,500 page loads and it's only been going since the 1st March when Dianna posted preliminary information for class - posts which are absolutely packed with excellent information and images about art materials for working with pastels. And her diagrams and descriptions of how she works in the class proper are simply fantastic!

What do all those letters after her name mean? Here's the explanation Dianna gave to JayD the Drawing and Sketching Forum Guide who originally initiated these classes.
All that really stands for is a self taught artist who has worked her way up through the ranks to become the first artist in Canada to be recognized with the distinction of both Premier Pastellist of Canada and Master Pastellist Artist of Canada along with the designation of Senior Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (no, you don't have to be old to earn that one) and a signature member of the Pastel Society of America (who have yet to recognize my worth).

So what you have there in that little track of letters behind my name is simply the footprints in a long trail of learning and seeking to perfect my style in a medium that I love through challenge and exhibition....a trail open to anyone who cares to make the effort.
I took a weekend workshop with Dianna while visiting California last July - which you can read about in my travel sketchbook blog here. The instruction and tips being provided in the online class appear to be very much the same sort of thing we covered in class. You also get comments from Dianna in the online class. Even if you don't normally work with pastels in the way Dianna does, I guarantee that you can learn something of value and very practical use.

Of course, the added bonus of a 'face to face' workshop is you get to see finished Ponting pastels 'up close and personal' and to see Dianna progress a work during the course of a workshop - what pastels she uses, how she works - and the amazing speed with which she works! Plus of course any input you need from Dianna on the work you are doing. In my opinion, these are still jolly good reasons to get to one of her workshops if you ever are fortunate enough to get a chance. Most of the people in my workshop were experienced pastellists and we all agreed we learned new things with Dianna.

As a tutor, she is hugely informative and very well organised. She is also one of the most patient tutors I've ever come across. As an individual she's a lovely lady and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Here are some reviews of her teaching by her students. If you want to have a more hands-on approach to learning more about working with pastel and you enjoy realism and still life then Dianna should be your No. 1 choice as a workshop tutor.

Dianna is planning a series of pastel workshops in the United Kingdom and Ireland for the spring of 2008. If you're interested in attending or hosting one of these please check out the information under the "Contact" page on her website.

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3 comments:

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Dianna's work is amazing - if you like realism, she does it very well. I'm going to be following her class!

Casey Klahn said...

What a fabulous horse portrait by Maggie on the post before this one! Bravo! I am impressed by her writing, as well. Something I struggle with.
Thanks for the intro to Dianna. She seems to be the General of Pastels, and has my respect!
I happen to be doing a "one over the world" regarding pastel on my blogs, this month. (That means an overview, some history, pastel artists, etc.) I may end the month with an easy workshop on making one's own pastels.

MrsSnowy said...

I remember feeling just a little envious when you blogged about your California workshop last year, Katherine. You can imagine my delight to find Dianna doing a class on WetCanvas. I've bought my first real set of pastels and am now getting a taste of what you love about them.

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