Orchestrating Great Compositions in Pastel
w/ Amanda Houston

Date/Time: Sat-Sun / Oct 14-15 / 10-5 pm

Cost: $295 + optional supply fee of $15 (see below)

Registration: This workshop is full. Please call the gallery to place your name on a waiting list as spots do open up! 425.697.2787

Location: Cole Art Studio, located on the lower level of Cole Gallery. 107 5th Ave S, Edmonds WA 98020

If you want just the right mix of theory, technique and experimentation for learning, this class is for you! This 2-day workshop is packed full with good design principles to make ANY painting successful (the theory part), along with tricks and tips on how to paint inspiring skies and landscapes in pastel (technique).

Amanda notes that all good paintings need strong design and composition to carry them. This class will explore in depth the classic compositions you should know as a painter and show you how to design and orchestrate your pieces to be better than your reference photos.

This generous instructor will share all her knowledge of how to paint with pastels, including how to use different techniques on different surfaces to achieve different results. Amanda will demonstrate and teach different techniques that she has developed with pastel, allowing you to try different papers and surfaces for different results.  

  1. Vine Charcoal Value study directly on her favorite paper (La Carte or Art Spectrum paper). 
  2. Wet underpainting technique using pastel with denatured alcohol or mineral spirits.
  3. Creating your own surface by painting a sanded gesso to a board or metal. This optional technique has a $15 supply fee, paid directly to Amanda by cash or check at the workshop.

Amanda will also have you do some loosening up exercises to open up your creative pathways to push you to make more spontaneous, painterly mark making.

This workshop has been very popular with our pastel students. Sign up quickly to secure your spot!

Supply List:

You can purchase your quality art supplies at ARTspot! Registered students receive a 10% discount on all their art supplies from the time of paid registration until the last day of class. Most items on this list are available at ARTspot. Please let their staff advise you about appropriate art materials to fulfill  requirements for your class.  Artspot's Web Site

Questions about these supplies? ARTspot staff are happy to help you. Call 425-640-6408 or email at ARTspotEdmonds@gmail.com.

Pastels: (As many as you can bring, with a mixture of soft and hard pastels, with a range of brights, darks and grey tones. NO oil pastels.)

Soft pastels (60-100): As many as you have. If you don't have any buy at least a 60-80 piece (half stick) landscape or intro set such as Sennelier - 80 half stick or similar good quality soft pastel set.

Amanda has a variety of Unison, Great American, Blue Earth, Terry Ludwig, and Schminke. (She likes www.Dakotapastels.com as a good resource for pastel sticks. You can buy them a la carte as well as in sets.)

Hard Pastels (20-40): Girault or NuPastel: a variety of darks and lights. NO oil pastels.

Drawing Board: Gator-board (preferably black but white will work) or Masonite board work well for taping your papers and inspiration references on.


If you have a favorite, please bring it. Amanda will be demoing on LaCarte paper (Sienna color), Art Spectrum Colorfix, Multi Media Pastel Artist Panel or Mounted Wallis. You can buy a large sheet of your preference and cut them down into smaller workable sizes for the class: 8x10, 9x12, 11x14 or 12x16. We will focus on lots of small work.

  • Optional: 1 – 8x10, 9x12 or 11x14 of Gatorboard for making your own surfaces

Easel: Any field easel will work, like a French easel. Cole Gallery has some loaner easels to use. Amanda uses a Heilman pastel box on a tripod.

Misc. Supplies:

  • Sketchbook: Small personal sketchbook. MUST HAVE! Any size that you want.
  • Photo references of landscapes to bring for subjects/ inspiration of what you want to paint. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Think 3-5 big shapes. No pets or intricate detailed photos please. Instructor will have inspirational photos as well.
  • Selection of pencils: a variety of hardness: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Exacto Knife or straight edge to cut (by Olfa)
  • Pad of Newsprint paper 18x24
  •  Spray Fixatives (optional but recommended):
    • any workable fixative for between layers of pastel (these enable you to layer and to go back and re-work if necessary)
    • Lascaux fixative for finish work (this is the brand Amanda uses, but others work too)
  • Hard vine charcoal for sketching on your surface
  • Artist tape 3/4"-1" or Blue painters tape
  • Paper towels (I like Viva, or Home Depot Shop Towels)
  • Brush assortment:
    • 1” small inexpensive hardware brush
    • different sized “Snap!” brushes by Princeton: #6, 8, 16
    • Flat shader (optional, but Amanda likes them because they are synthetic & a good value).
  • View finder
  • Tombow or Faber-Castell grey set of 4 pens (for value sketches- optional)
  • Small container of denatured Alcohol or mineral spirits for doing underpainting techniques. (optional- water works too)
  • Wet wipes
  • 2 medium sized Tupperware containers filled with cheap cornmeal (to clean your pastels)
  • Glassine Paper: to put over your finished work to protect it in transport. Or sandwich between two pieces of gatorboard.

For the $15 supply fee (please bring cash or a check to the instructor), the instructor will provide sanded gesso medium, roller and sandpaper, as well as lecture, demo and hands-on guidance if people want to try this technique.

She will also have extra paper if people want to purchase more from her.


Check this out! ARTspot Concierge Service. ARTspot will personally do your shopping for you! They can set aside the materials you need, ready for pickup - they can even deliver your supplies to Cole Art Studio before your class. Call ARTspot at 425.640.6408 for this great service. (To ensure your order is filled, please order as early as possible.)