Pastels Progress – 4 part series – Virtual workshop

We’re thrilled to present a new series of four pastel workshops led by John Threlfall, taking place on Mondays. Pastels Progress is a 4-week personal insight into the handling... Read more

£85 per person
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25 Mar - 25 Mar 2024

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Virtual Art Safari workshop

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Workshop content
Pastel painting techniques, exercises and tips

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John Threlfall

Uncover a treasure trove of tricks and perfect your pastels!

We’re thrilled to present a new series of four pastel workshops led by John Threlfall, taking place on Mondays.

Pastels Progress is a 4-week personal insight into the handling of pastels and subsequent working methods of a professional artist. Bringing his knowledge and experience John will demonstrate his way through various ideas and approaches that he utilises in putting together a pastel painting. This involves the day-to-day realities of creative work; the technical skills, the compositional thoughts, the evolution of the painting and yet all the while allowing space for experimentation and an imaginative interpretation to flourish.

Dive into the world of soft pastels, drawing inspiration from nature and the great outdoors across these four engaging sessions with John. Prepare for an intensive exploration of pastel colours, layers, light, and mark-making techniques that will elevate your confidence and appreciation for this captivating medium.

Discover the art of light contrasts and rhythm. Pastels offer a rich and impactful experience, allowing you to master textures, from the depths of oceans to the vastness of skies, and from delicate fur to intricate feathers. These sessions will delve into colour, light, depth, tone, and shadow, encouraging dynamic and spontaneous creations filled with energy and character.

John Threlfall, a joyful and esteemed pastel expert, will share insights gleaned from his extensive work using pastels as his primary medium, including pieces created during Art Safari tours and workshops.

Subject matter will range from wildlife to landscape.

Secure your spot now to embark on this artistic journey. The workshops will be recorded, granting you access to the videos online for two months. John will provide a wealth of information in each class, allowing you to either work alongside him or watch, equipped to dive into the exercises using the videos and course notes at your own pace during the week.

Week 1 (04 March or on recording):  Pastel Foundation – John’s work is based on the core beliefs of sound observation and perceptual skills as cultivated by drawing. Pastels cover the spectrum of drawing to painting beautifully and we shall consider the importance of a strong, well-defined foundation of shape, tone and colour with which to progress.  John also gives you colourful food for thought as he investigates initial shape, tone and colour considerations with warm-ups, examples, demos as well as exercises for you to continue during the week.

Week 2  (11 March or on recording): Evolution – Enter into a fascination of the compositional elements of a painting. We look at this ‘ongoing conversation’ as a starting point and as an evolving organic process through the evolution of the painting. John’s open approach to finding the balance in a piece adds to its subtlety, saturation and power.  All combined with examples, demos and exercises.

Week 3  (18 March or on recording): Interpretation – There are no hard and fixed guidelines to any work of art, it is your interpretation that is the main attribute at the end of the day. However, we can all benefit from the experience of others in order to discover the full potential of this exciting medium. We will look at the simple pleasure of exploring a varied approach to our pastel painting and the stimulating motivation to be found in learning to ‘let go’.  Today’s session encourages you to test the boundaries with exciting combinations of techniques, ideas and possibilities to enhance and progress your painting process. All combined with examples, demos and exercises.

Week 4  (25 March or on recording): Presentation  The ‘degree of finish’ is something that can make or break any painting and it is a big decision that needs to be addressed!! Because of the nature of the pastel medium refinements can be made at a late stage in the painting process without losing sight of the excitement and inspiration that initiated the work. Looking objectively at your own work is a difficult but crucial skill to develop and we shall consider these questions before the work can be ‘presented’. All combined with examples, demos and exercises.

We anticipate that you will want to watch and sketch along during the live session, but you will want to dive back into the recordings (and be able press pause) to go over the exercises with more consideration.


  • A laptop, Macbook, PC, iPad or tablet
  • Internet connection

John will mostly be working in soft pastels, but you may also use hard. Both cheap and expensive pastels will do fine, but bear in mind that the cheaper they are the more dust they tend to produce! John uses Unison, but he recommends Inscribe pastels to his students to practice technique with. Any colours you have will be fine, just make sure to have some primary colours.

  • Pastels
  • Pastel paper – This usually has a texture to it, and it’s good to have a few different colours to work on
  • An old oil painting brush – John uses this to rub away excess pastel
  • Soft Rubber
  • Fixative – This is personal preference, some people swear by it and others hate it. It’s your choice!


6pmReady for 1.5 hours of pastels!
7.30pmEnd of workshop
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Join us for a delightful series of four virtual pastel painting workshops, priced at just £85 per person for the whole set! After each session you’ll receive access to the zoom recordings, giving you the freedom to enjoy the sessions at your own pace and convenience.


The joining point for your workshop is wherever you have internet and feel ready and comfortable to paint.


All online Zoom tuition, resource material and ideas, and email contact.


Art materials, internet access, personal expenses.