I have had the privilege to spend the last three weekends participating in pastel workshops run by the ‘eminent’ (title only given to 20 in the world!) pastellist, Lyn Diefenbach. What amazing works she produces in both pastels and oils. Check her out online.

Lyn Diefenbach Fine Art (ldief.com)

Lyn usually has a lot of teaching engagements overseas but we were fortunate to have her spend time in Darwin this year. She is a wonderful patient teacher who generously shared her knowledge and made us all feel comfortable and produce lovely works.

I took the opportunity to learn as much as possible in the three weekends so experimented with different papers and asked lots of questions; my mind is still buzzing!


The first workshop was Florals where I painted a phallaenopsis orchid in bloom on ampersand board. Photo by John Wiesenfeld. I diluted the pastel background to cover the board with the dark and then chip by chip worked on the flower. All those patterns on the petals drove me crazy but I was happy with the result
In the Reflective Surfaces workshop I chose to paint a wonderful photo by Garreth Paul. The surface was pastelmat which was very different to anything I had tried before as the pastel wouldn’t move or blend until you had a lot of it applied on the surface. I had fun trying to capture all those reflections and the golden glow.

The last workshop was Portraits. I painted my partner Bruce on Art Spectrum Colourfix from a photo I took on my phone. A large proportion of the weekend was learning how to measure correctly to draw the features correctly relative to each other. The measuring device was a bamboo skewer. I found this workshop the most challenging, particularly capturing the likeness of someone you know well. A few millimetres out here or there and the person doesn’t look like themselves.

A huge thankyou to Lyn Diefenbach. Now to get on with it and go back to the easel to create some more works.

Happy creating

X Pascale