Pastels – D.F. Gray


D.F. Gray shares his techniques using pastels to create artwork of his Dad’s 1964 Dodge Dart.
Born in Vancouver B.C., he has worked in soft pastel since 1975. He is also the coordinator PSC2000 the first Pastel Society of Canada Exhibit in western Canada Genial host of The Grand Prix ‘d Art Qualicum Beach B.C.

A TV interview was also arranged to demonstrate his techniques on this piece for the Art Calendar on Shaw Cable, Kait Light host and Rob Horner camera.


My green backyard on a showery May afternoon.


The interview is to advertise the Nanaimo Cruise Ship paint-out May 14th, and the closest thing to a cruise ship in my yard is my Dads 1964 Dodge Dart under a tarp out by the woodshed (I drove this car to my high school prom! 40 years ago)


First step I mark an x on the tape or corner of my paper indicating the direction of my light source. I warm up by drawing just with my hand(no pastel) to feel the flow of the composition and seeing the horizon line without marking paper(also there is muscle memory that is set) find my lights and then darks using a light touch and broad strokes this tonal study sets the composition.


Working on my darks setting values without local colour.


Starting to work with the local colours at this stage. While at work the rain returns, I have my pastels covered with coroplast.


With Art Calendar host Kait Light and cameraman Rob Horner.


The interview, I try to remain spontaneous talking while working so to give them action shots, the interview turns out OK, I look like an artist and the pastels that are shot look good on the TV. I think the bonus was seeing Dads wheels on TV!


In the studio, some detail work on Dart also contrast is heightened in foreground, lessened in background. The pastel gets small tweeks over the following day, it gets cropped to a standard size then signed.

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