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Friday, November 15, 2013

Preparing for a Pastel Demo

'Daisy Delight'      12x16        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
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 I always get butterflies in my stomach.  No matter how many demos I do there is a moment of fear before I begin. I have a weekend full of demos planned. I will be doing pastel demos at my Open Studio and then on Monday I will give a presentation and demo for the Atlanta Artist Center.

 I have found the best way to cope with the butterflies and chase them away quickly is to be prepared.

I spend more time preparing than I do actually demonstrating but in the end it is worth it.  Being prepared allows be to be more flexible and respond to my audience without losing track of my demo or presentation topic.  So what do I do to prepare?

Choosing my pastel palette

A large demo....24x36 Pastelbord

pastels and color study for demo#1

  • The first thing I do is decide on a topic/technique I will share and write down what I plan to say. 
  • I practice my presentation so I know my timing will work and so that I will remember the material I want to present. I practice using the stopwatch on my phone. I want to be able to speak without tripping on my words. The more I practice the more at ease I will be.
  • Next I choose my demo subject and paper size. I usually work larger so that more people will be able to see....16x20 or 18x24 is typical.
  • I prepare my paper and board. The paper type depends on the technique I will be sharing.
  • I do a value study and color study so that I am familiar with my subject. (when I did my very first demos I would paint the subject before the demo so I was familiar with it)  For my weekly class I don't do this step but in front of bigger groups I want to be sure I know my subject.
  • Next I choose my color palette and put them in a tray or box. This is the way I normally work so it isn't cheating!
  • I pack up my supplies going through a checklist so that I don't forget anything....wipes, dust catcher,glassine are just a few things I want to be sure I have.
  • I practice some more.
  • I take a deep breath and enjoy!
There is one tip I once heard that I try to remember.....if you struggle with the painting and it isn't going as planned....not every painting works.....don't tell the audience! Keep on working and they will never know what you intended to do. Or you can turn it into a learning experience but remain positive and it will all work out!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow, This is fantastic. You threw in something that has been teasing at my mind for a long time. I don't usually paint large - but preparing like that is your usual way to work large too.

I might be less frustrated by it if I prepared like that and knew what I was doing at that scale. Left improvisation to the cool little things within the big areas. There'd be enough of them! More trees, more rocks, more little bits of curling foam around them in the water, the subject can be more complex in a big painting.

Once again, this is great. I remember preparing to teach and spending the day before swotting that chapter in the book I was teaching from and doing the project first so that when I demo'd it I understood it. Always worked. I'd get it fresh and they didn't know I hadn't tried it, by the time they got it, I had.

Worth it because if it was no help to them seeing someone do it they'd have just bought the book.