An introduction to pastels with Kevin Scully

Ref: SWE32554

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About this course

A course for beginners and improvers where you will be shown how to use this versatile medium by experimenting with a number of techniques both conventional and unconventional. Be prepared to try out some bold and expressive use of colour .

Course Description

Pastels are an ideal medium for producing atmospheric and evocative effects and these shall be explored to the full. This course examines the basic principles of drawing in soft pastels and you will investigate the various techniques that can be employed in their use. Pastel is a versatile medium that can be used to create detailed drawings, as well as lively and spontaneous paintings. A variety of subjects will be covered and may include still life, landscapes, seascapes, and portraits. Colour harmony and composition will feature strongly in your investigation of this exciting medium.

On the first evening you will be taken through some simple exercises using the medium.

You will be shown several established techniques including blending, layering, scumbling, glazing, and hatching. There are no hard and fast rules covering the use of soft pastels but there are some techniques that work better than others. Different materials available will be discussed and how they can be used to best effect. You will also be shown the best ways in which pastel paintings can be protected and framed. There will be several paintings on display in a wide range of styles and techniques to inspire you. There will also be demonstrations throughout the weekend, and you can be assured of plenty of individual attention.

At the end of the course, you will be equipped with the skills and techniques needed to produce some exciting work, and the confidence to use what you have learned when producing further paintings of your own.

All art materials and reference images will be provided but you are welcome to bring along any of your favourite materials and images that you would like to work from.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials including: soft pastels, hard pastels, pastel paper and card, fixative, a putty rubber, craft knife, paper stump and masking tape.

What students need to bring

  • Baby wipes, paper towel or tissues

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including pastels and pastel paper.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Kevin Scully

Kevin trained at Wimbledon School of Art and is an experienced artist and tutor. He is the author of several books on painting and writes regular articles for ‘The Artist’, and ‘Artist & Illustrators’ magazines. He is an elected and active member of the Oxford Art Society.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.