Art Making | Drawing from the Collections: Shading with Pastel

The Art Museum is partnering with the Arts Council of Princeton to provide free online pastel drawing classes. Weekly classes are taught by artist-instructor Barbara DiLorenzo over Zoom. With an emphasis on using soft pastels to blend and create rich colors, each week’s lesson will be inspired by works in the Museum’s collections.

This live art-making class is inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Narcissa’s Last Orchid. O’Keeffe worked in pastel consistently throughout her long career. She used her fingertips to massage pastels into the support, enabling her to exploit a matte surface to painterly effect, as in Narcissa’s Last Orchid. Here she deposits a rim of white pigment dust along the edges of the petals, endowing them with a tactile quality and creating the illusion of three-dimensionality in places where the petals appear to fold back on themselves, casting shadows. The flower itself seems to merge with the landscape behind it, and strokes of pink and blue fleck its white fringe. In this class, we will experiment with different techniques in blending colors to create three-dimensional-looking forms.