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The Language of Trees and Light in Pastels
w/ Amanda Houston

Date/Time: Friday - Sunday / November 8-10 / 10:30-4:30

Cost: $395 + optional supply fee

Registration: Call in, come in, or register online. 425.697.2787

Location:   ArtWorks in Edmonds - a lovely, large space with plenty of parking places! 201 2nd Ave S., Edmonds, WA 98020 (at the corner of Dayton St and 2nd Ave.)

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One of the most important aspects of creating luminous landscapes is how to paint gorgeous, light filled trees and foliage.  Combined with stunning skies and atmospheric effects, these components take an average scene to a stunning painting.

 This class will review how to paint dramatic skies, land and water with a deeper focus how to capture the beauty and diversity of trees. Discover the magical intersection where land meets the sky, and learn how to create glowing key holes of light sparkling through trees.

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 With daily demos, experimentation and plenty of individual instruction, Amanda will generously share her techniques for achieving mood, emotion and atmosphere in your work. 

 All of Amanda’s classes are grounded in design and composition and have a balanced mix of theory, technique and experimentation.  She likes her students to try as many different surfaces and techniques to expand their creative repertoire. To that end, Amanda will demo how to use different techniques on different surfaces to achieve great results.

About the supply fee -
You will have the option to learn to create your own surface by painting a sanded gesso to a board or metal. Supplies for this option will be provided by the instructor for the supply fee – please bring cash or check payable to Amanda if you are interested in this option. Amanda will provide copper, gator board, sanded gesso medium, roller and sandpaper, as well as lecture, demo and hands-on guidance if people want to try preparing your own surface boards.  If possible, she will have extra paper if people want to purchase more from her. Instead of a flat fee, these items will be available to students as separate purchases, so that you can pay as you use them, and aren’t paying for things you don’t use.

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

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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: Amanda has her own signature color boxes of Richeson Pastels (both an 80 pc. Landscape Essentials set and a 40 pc. Atmospheric Neutrals set). Amanda will bring sets for sale. If you are interested in purchasing either set, please let us know so that she can bring the right amount. If you would like to pre-purchase, please visit her website ( She can ship them ahead of time or bring them with her.

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Optional: Amanda also uses Terry Ludwig for darks (v100x, B3560, G540,R160), Diane Townsend Terrage sticks in light creams and blues. Amanda also loves the Diane Townsend Pearlized sticks for sparkle in water and birds (501, 505, 503, 616), and these pearlized sticks last for many years. All of these are totally optional for you, and not available locally. Visit, or order directly from the supplier for these specialty pastels.

  • HARD PASTELS (20-30): Girault or NUPastel - a variety of darks and lights. You can pick up a 24-piece set of NUPastels at ARTSpot. If you prefer buying them by the stick (from Dakota or elsewhere), these are Amanda’s favorite colors for skies and water and scumbling techniques.

    • NUPastel: 207, 212, 257, 256, 276, 245, 235, 285, 244, 277, 376, 314, 235, 288, 305, 298

    • Girault: 199, 178, 463, 375

 DRAWING BOARD: Gator-board (preferably black but white will work), foam core or Masonite board for taping your papers and inspiration references on.

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 PAPERS: If you have a favorite, please bring it. Amanda will be demoing on LaCarte paper (Sienna color), Art Spectrum Colorfix, and Pastel Premiere. You can buy a large sheet and cut them down into smaller workable sizes for the class: 9x12, 11x14 or 12x16 for the class. We will focus on lots of small work. Bring at least enough for 4 paintings. She encourages students to try surfaces they haven’t tried.

EASEL of YOUR CHOICE: Any field easel will work, like a French easel. Amanda uses a Heilman pastel box on a tripod for my light weight set up. Cole Gallery has a few of the standing and the tabletop easels; call to reserve one.


  • 1” small inexpensive hardware brush

  • 1-2 different sized synthetic brushes from “Snap!” by Princeton or Simply Simon: ¾” flat or stroke (optional, but Amanda likes them because they are a good value)


  • REQUIRED! Sketchbook: Small personal sketchbook in any size. Amanda likes “Strathmore Toned sketchbooks” in either gray or tan for doing thumbnail value studies.

  • Photo references of landscapes to bring for inspiration of what you want to paint. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Think 3-5 big shapes. No intricate detailed photos please. Instructor will have inspirational photos as well.

  • Selection of pencils: a variety of hardness: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B

  • Stabillo pencils (white, gray and black) for value studies

    OR Tombow or Faber-Castell grey set of 4 pens (for value sketches) (optional)

  • Kneaded eraser

  • Vine charcoal for sketching on your surface (soft or very soft)

  • Black Artist tape 3/4"-1" or Blue painter’s tape

     and/or Clips (to quickly clip paper to boards)

  • View Catcher or composition finder (by Guerrilla Painter)

  • MH Value Finder or Red Composite Grid or Picture Perfect 3 in 1 View Finder

  • Exacto Knife or straight edge to cut (by Olfa)

  • 2 medium sized Tupperware containers, one filled with cheap cornmeal (to clean your pastels)

  • Paper towels (I like Viva, or Home Depot Shop Towels)

  • Wet wipes

  • Small container of denatured Alcohol or mineral spirits for doing underpainting techniques (optional - water works in a pinch too) and a small container to put it in (old tuna can works fine)

  • Pad of Newsprint paper 18x24 (optional)

  • Spray Fixative: Lascaux for finish work or any workable fixative for working (optional)

  • Glassine Paper: to put over your finished work to protect it in transport. Or sandwich between two pieces of gatorboard. (optional)