My Lessons | Getting Started | Supplemental Videos | Student Critiques


Choosing Pastels

Marla walks you through all the brands and choices so you can easily put together a starter set of pastels and how to go about adding to that set; Marla's favorites and not so favorites.

Choosing Papers

Marla gives you a thorough survey of the many paper choices and gives recommendations for getting started.

Setting up a Pastel Workspace

Setting up a functional, healthy and inviting workspace is key to getting in the mileage needed to become a good painter.

Keeping Track of Pastels

Getting the most out of your pastels requires removing the wrappers, so how do you keep track of them? Marla has several methods to help you keep things organized.

Make Your Own Dust Catcher for Pastels

A step by step video on how to fashion a trap to catch pastel dust to make working in pastel healthier and cleaner.

Cleaning Pastels

Keeping your pastels clean is key to choosing pastels that are the correct hue, value and intensity. Marla shows you different methods for different situations.

Stages of Learning

Marla talks about how to we learn and the stages we go through in the process. This orientation towards our study will help you master any disinclination to work, fear of the blank page and creativity killers.


An Apple a Day

Explore what your pastels can do: fine lines, bold strokes and subtle washes, to name just a few things. This versatile and dynamic medium is perfect for anyone who loves color and a tactile connection with your tools. This lesson is the perfect ice-breaker!

Form, Light & Shadow

A study of the form principle is an important part of any artist's toolkit. As artists, it's useful to visit and revisit these fundamentals to give us a robust understanding of picture making. Watch Marla as she demonstrates important concepts for successfully depicting volumes in color, how to select the correct values and colors and how to utilize lost and found edges to bring a beautiful painterly quality to your pastel paintings.

Three Colored Cubes

This further study of light, form and color will deepen your understanding and facility at depicting convincing forms.


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. These are just a few examples of painting some simple household objects and how painting them can help inform your study.

Orange Pepper

Join me for this tutorial where I demonstrate how to paint an orange pepper in pastel.

Blue Bowl

Join me for this tutorial where I demonstrate how to paint a blue bowl in pastel.

White Pitcher

Join me for this tutorial where I demonstrate how to paint a white pitcher in pastel.