Pastel is the nearest thing you’ll get to pure colour and it’s therefore surprising that no one has approached the subject of colour through this medium before. While a lot of books on colour tend to concentrate on the theory, Mark, by being practical, approaches it from the painter’s point of view.
Painting is, in the end, all about colour. Even the simplest, most representational image, is meaningless if the colours aren’t right. However, colour can do a lot more because emphases and distortions can guide and influence the viewer’s eye. It’s how the artist, without words, makes their personal comment on the subject portrayed.
In a thoroughly comprehensive approach, Mark shows you how to use colour as a medium in itself to depict landscapes of all kinds. Not one of his paintings is directly representational in any conventional sense, and yet they are all immediately recognisable, either as types or locations and the sense of place is quite remarkably strong. It’s not abstraction, for here, shape would play a different part; Mark’s shapes are colour shapes, blocks that define the image, or a part of it, and which attract, manipulate or startle the viewer into looking at things in a specific way.
I said that this is a practical book and that means that Mark explains in considerable detail how he works; it’s an instructional approach. However, this isn’t a book about how to paint in pastel and anyone looking for that would be disappointed. In fact, Mark transcends any specific medium and this is a book you should probably read whatever medium you work in because the basic ideas and principles can be applied universally. It’ll make you think and that’s what you want, isn’t it?
First published 2006