I recently came back from a wonderful 5-day workshop with Susan Ogilvie, at the Old Forge Arts Center.
Three great pastellist were coming to the area this year (Ogilvie, Handell, Dawson) and it was tough deciding which one to take. I chose the Ogilvie one because of comments I read by some Wet Canvas members and blogger Katherine van Schoonhoven. The idea of exploring color and getting out of my comfort zone was very appealing to me.
It's the best workshop I've taken so far. It was challenging and now I feel so empowered by it.
From the beginning Susan encouraged us to do 2 painting/day. I was able to do only 6, including a major change I did to one of them. My only regret is not having done a winter scene while there as I would have loved to hear he comments on painting snow. The people from the Old Forge Arts Center were very helpful and accommodating, allowing us to stay two more hours after the workshop was over for the day.
Susan did a demo on Gatorboard preparation. You do that by tinting the board first and then applying a mix of pumice gel and dry pumice powder. Working on this surface was challenging at first. I'm glad I did my first try on a 10"x 8" board. By the time I painted the second piece, I had gotten resigned to working on that texture. When #3 and #4, were painted, I was enjoying it so much that I ended up applying it to an Ampersand board. If you are the kind of person who has trouble letting the color of the support or underpainting show, this might be a good thing to try, as it's really hard to completely cover it (of course, this depends on how thick you apply the pumice paste). One of the things Susan stresses is doing a good sketch and working from it, and simplification is one of the keys. She started a pastel demo working from her sketch. If something doesn't work, change the shape, change the value, or change the color. We painted from photos and sketches.