My Lessons | Dealing with Foregrounds | Supplemental Videos | Student Critiques


In this month’s lessons, you'll learn how to handle large foregrounds without getting involved with detail. It can be tempting to paint blades of grass and flower petals, but keeping your foreground simple and directing your viewer to the focal point of your piece leads to a powerful understanding of advanced painting concepts.

Beyond Realism in the Landscape

Color fields, division of space and inventive mark making let this simple yet powerful composition come to life. Learn how to create emotion and mood in your pastels. Learn my favorite techniques for abstract landscape artwork.

Foreground Grasses

Learn to treat the foreground simply so it doesn’t detract from the focal point or “star” of your piece! Just because something is close to the viewer doesn’t mean it should be more detailed!

A Field of Flowers

How do we depict a vast field of blooming flowers without painting every flower and petal? I’ll show you how I used an underpainting to create spontaneity and interest without getting caught up in the little details.


These videos will extend your understanding of the key concepts presented this month. Spend some time with these. Some of them are YouTube videos available to the public but they fit nicely with our study, so I wanted you to be aware of them and take a look.

The Influence of Light

Often we are discussing color as though we were in direct sunlight, unfiltered daylight where the full spectrum of color frequencies are present, but often we are viewing color under different conditions. We have to talk about local color as uninfluenced. If we throw an orange light on a green apple or we want to make the green apple appear as if it had orange light on it, we have to change the local color and add orange to it.

A Little Color Theory

Does color theory make your eyes cross? In this quick overview on the topic, Marla makes sense of basic color theory and explains how you can use it to add excitement to your pastel paintings. With a greater understanding of hue and intensity, value and contrast, color temperature, simultaneous contrast, and more, you'll handle color in your paintings with greater confidence and control.

Oaks Park

Wine Country

New Mexico Pastel Painting