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Desmond O'Hagan Workshop

This began with a wonderful slide show plus original works of art in Desmond O 'Hagan's unique style. He emphasizes the value of color, the temperature and the intensity; the shapes of dark and light. This promises to be a very interesting workshop. Day 2 Desmond uses a very bold approach. He really presses hard I the pastel stick, changes direction with the pastel and blocks in the composition. He began with a charcoal sketch, and used a black pastel to define shapes. He continues using a dark shade of blue to further define shapes. His graphic design background is obvious in this approach. He really keeps things simple, he establishes "detail "with varying pressure, (Note the windshield on the car). Desmond uses each color throughout the painting wherever it might work. He will bring in color by temperature, a cool, then a warm. In this current painting he simplifies the buildings in the background. Some of the strokes with heavy pressure on an edge really describe the contour or surface of an object or place. Once the large masses are developed, but still relatively abstract, he moves in on smaller areas. But still keeps detail to a minimum. He really likes to work on back lit subject matter. Eventually he moves to lighter and warmer colors like orange in this example. Desmond uses green on the pavement to add color interest not in his subject photo. He uses colors that are the correct value and varies from cool to warm. He works from very dark, to dark, to mid tones and eventually to light colors. He never uses white. He brings in more warm colors for balance. The background can be pushed back by "smoothing" out some details with the side of a pastel. Desmond continues to finesse the wonderful detail/accents that really put the traffic on the street, adding brights reflections and touches of rim lighting.

Manipulating the pastel... The Desmond O'Hagan workshop Day 3 Desmond swivels his pastel stick to block in an area. He manipulates the pastel to create shapes: using the pastel stick like using different brushes, an edge, a side, one corner edge, and varying the pressure. Overlapping strokes..... Overlap strokes to create other colors...warm then cool then warm then cool, slightly lighter, transition your colors by lightening in stages. Vary the pressure of the strokes so that you do not fill the tooth of the paper. Add character to your strokes. LIGHT ......... To really emphasize light ( warm) surround it with cool (In the example orange surrounded by blue or purple) Create colors by overlapping....stroke an ultramarine blue over a burnt umber or vice versa. Color intensity.... Desmond is showing red and green , the same value of each. They are fighting each other. He muted the green to an olive green, now the red dominates. Next he is muting the red, and the green stands out. Too much intensity is an overload. Less is more. Note what colors you actually use, isolate them. This is the painters approach to pastels. Desmond has condensed the amount of colors in his traveling pastel box. He notes the colors he uses most and isolates them. (He is also an oil painter and prefers water soluble oils, he has reduced his palette to eight colors, and blends to get what he needs). You will not use the same approach throughout your painting...Remember value, intensity, temperature.. We need balance... Balance value, intensity and temperature.

Day 3 of the Desmond O'Hagan Workshop/CPPS (see 2010 Dec. ArtistsMagazine) Desmond dealt with a few lingering questions on framing pastels. He clarified the process he uses with using spacers, glass and foam core. Plein air frames have wide profiles, that allow them to serve as mat and frame for unmatted works. And he made further suggestions......... Document your work, take photos of everything, keep them in digital files, bigger size settings in tiffs or large jpegs. Desmond photographs his work outside between 10am and 2pm. He uses a color bar. (look this up). The Business of Art Get the best quality image of your art work. Desmond has wrapped a standard size mat in black velvet to pop in a painting for photographing. Online shows are good because they are good ways to get your work out there. Keep a record of all of your accomplishments. Keep a "book" on all that you do. Desmond keeps a file in a loose leaf, the pages are laminated and put in a loose leaf. You have to market your work. Keep copies of everything. Have an image of your painting and write something about it. Have a bio, a resume, copies of your work and your shows, laminate the copies and put it in your book. You have to approach the magazines, send in a resume, images, suggestions for a possible article. Sometimes entering an online show and winning a prize can get you a magazine e article. The Internet You are not in business if you are not on the Internet. Your name is your brand, make sure there is a in YOUR NAME! You need a website, and you need one that you can create yourself...they are out there, and they should not be expensive. Give your email address and website to everyone. Build your email address list of contacts/clients and keep it to yourself. Keep your list and do not give it to a/your gallery, offer to email information to your list yourself. Keep your prices consistent, don't undercut your galleries. Don't over or under price your work. Raise your prices each year. Gauge your prices to where you are in your career. Don't drop your prices. If the market is not good , don't reduce prices, make smaller pieces. Price by size. Don't try to follow or be part of a trend in painting themes. Some things can be very repetitive avoid repeating the same thing. Don't put prices on your website, let people contact you. Social Media Facebook is good for exposure but it is not a selling site, Facebook is free. Desmond uses Facebook only for his art, and does not include personal information. If you use personal postings on Facebook, have a separate account for personal info, This will make your Facebook "art" site more professional. Try to use the social media to drive people to your website. A website provider is Edit your paintings before you upload to a website. Sites that allow you to do this are available at:, or, or You don't have to be in a gallery, you can sell it on your own through shows you arrange. 80% of all art sales are not sold in galleries. Restaurants are not there to sell art, but it is exposure. If you use this source have an opening event in the restaurant, etc. On your website, make sure that your contact information is readily available without too much effort. We wear two hats, we are artists and we are art marketers, we can wear that hat at different times, but we need to wear both. Please note, these are my notes from what Desmond told us, if there are mistakes and typos They are mine. This was very informative. Marianne Fyda

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