Pateros Creek Bridge

“Pateros Creek” oil, 10×10 on panel

Before it was named Cache la Poudre, our local river was called Pateros Creek.  I just learned that bit of local lore the other day.  Of course, if I drank beer, I would probably know that as a local brewery is named after our river’s earlier name.  Either way, it’s one of my favorite places to paint.  

The river stretches for miles along the north and east sides of Fort Collins.  Each season, there are new opportunities to paint.  I was excited to paint this foot/bicycle bridge the other day.

Architecture is always a challenge and combining it with snow, water and leafless trees was a good challenge, especially when the temperature was hovering around the freezing mark.

Cold temperatures make for stiff paint. Several times, I dipped my brush in the paint, but the paint was so stiff, the brush wouldn’t pick up the paint.  Thank goodness for medium.


Snow Study Along the Poudre River

Snow Study, 10x10, oil on panel © Nelia Harper
Snow Study, 10×10, oil on panel © Nelia Harper (Available $150 – Contact me.)


After sub-zero temperatures, it sure felt good to get back outside to do this “Snow Study”, the first painting of the year.  Our plein air painting group met at the Environmental Learning Center along the Poudre River.  We weren’t the only ones anxious to get out and enjoy the snow.  The trails were already well trampled by skis, snowshoes, boots and running shoes.

Painting snow sure is fun, and challenging.  It’s good test of values, paint application and keeping your brushes and brushstrokes clean.  Those hillocks have piles of paint.

"Snow Study" 10x10, oil on panel.  On site along the Poudre River.
“Snow Study” 10×10, oil on panel. On site along the Poudre River.

I was drawn to the contrast of light and shadow on the snow covered rocks and the light green of the ice.

If you would like this painting for your collection, contact me.

Harry’s Story – the Unknown Gift of Art

One of the reasons we create art is to provide the gift of beauty to others. Once it leaves our hands, the influence of that artwork is unknown.  It’s hard to know what the unknown gift of art will be for another.  What are the stories they bring to the image?  What is meaningful to them?  What emotions do they feel when they see a painting?  How do they connect to our work?

I’d like to share Harry’s story with you.

Last winter, during our holiday art show, an elderly gentleman started chatting with me about this print I had on display.

The Courtyard Egg Tempera on Panel 7 1/8x10 © Nelia Harper
The Courtyard Egg Tempera on Panel 7 1/8×10 © Nelia Harper

He asked me questions about the location, and we chatted for a bit about our various travels.  He used to travel for work and lived all over the world.  The print reminded him of a place where he had lived.  I shared with him the story of Bagnoreggio and the process of creating the painting. He dug into his pockets for some cash, and bought the print.  I signed it for him, and after chatting a few more minutes, we wished each other a ‘happy holiday’ and parted.

This year the story came full circle.  As I was setting up my prints for our annual holiday show, fellow artist Jenifer came over and asked me, “Do you remember Harry, that older gentleman that bought a print from you last year?”

“Oh, yes.” I replied.  “He bought  a print of the Bagnoreggio courtyard.  I remember we had a really nice talk, and he was so excited about that print.”

“He sure was.” she said.  “Shortly after he bought that print, his health started to decline.  He died a few months later.  He kept that print right next to his bed.  And, he looked at it every day.  It reminded him of the places he had lived and kept it close to him.  I would like to think that it reminded him of happier times.  He was a gentle, kind and happy soul and remained that way through the end – happy and positive.”

I was so stunned by the story that the weight of it didn’t touch me until later.  I picture him, frail and aging, remembering the good times, knowing that the end was near.  And, I see him holding that print, thinking of all the times past.

God speed Harry.  Thank you for touching my life.


Plein Air to Studio, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada

Earlier this fall, I went on a short trip to Las Vegas to do some painting at Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas, Nevada with the intention of developing a painting from plein air to studio.

(Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the finished studio piece.)

Having been to Red Rock Canyon several times to rock climb, I was familiar with the terrain and landscape.  This time, instead of views from the top of the rocks, I went with visions of painting canyons and cactus from the valley.  Over the course of a week, I painted three oil studies as well as small sketches and watercolors.  Using those paintings and ideas, I created a larger painting in the studio.

Ink and Watercolor Sketch of Pine Creek Canyon
Ink and Watercolor Sketch of Pine Creek Canyon


Designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area, the canyon is only 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip  According to their website, over 2 million people visit every year.  Of course, most of those visitors stick to the 13-mile scenic drive.  A few more adventurous folks go for the hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, running, and photography and painting.

 This area is under intense pressure from nearby developers.

For more information on proposed development, read this article

or go to

Plein Air to Studio

The first day was spent taking reference photos.  I also sketched and became re-acquainted with area.  Following the scenic loop, I stopped at pullouts for photos, noting the light and shadows at that time of year.

The photo bellow shows the place I had in mind for the studio painting.  With so many perspectives, possible compositions and combinations, it was hard to narrow it down.  I knew I wanted to get a sense of the grandeur and size, without losing the smallest formation (which is meaningful to me).  I also wanted a sense of scale and a feeling of the arid desert, without being barren.

View of Pine Creek Canyon across the plains.

View of Pine Creek Canyon across the plains.

Day 2-4

Based on my drive-through, I chose three locations to paint.  Each offered a different view & perspective of the terrain.  While composition was a consideration, the main focus was on subject, color and texture. I painted oil studies over three days, studying the angle of the light and shadows, texture and color.

Study 1: 

This first study was certainly not an ideal composition, but the goal was study the rock formations while including some of the vegetation.

Pine Creek Canyon, Study No. 1, Oil on Canvas 11x14 © Nelia Harper
Pine Creek Canyon, Study No. 1, Oil on Canvas 11×14 © Nelia Harper

Study 2:

Moving closer to Mescaltio (the little red rock topped formation), I focused on the single rock formation, especially the pattern of columns, striations and the shadows.  (The formation is actually to my right – outside the photo.)

Study #2 - A closer look at Mescalito in Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada
Study #2 – A closer look at Mescalito in Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada


Notice the value study done in marker.  Clipped to the easel, the study keeps me focused.

Study 3:
This study was to further practice the multi-colored rocks and vegetation that was only touched on during study no. 1.

Study No. 3, Oil on Canvas 9x12 © Nelia Harper
Study No. 3, Oil on Canvas 9×12 © Nelia Harper – Drying in the hotel on their complimentary newspaper.


Each of these studies provided the opportunity to practice, become familiar with a new subject and test out ideas, techniques and color.

The pollution was heavy on several days, creating a strong haze that dulled many of the colors.  Luckily, the temperature was below average making mid-day painting quite comfortable.

Of course, being such a popular area, several people stopped to chat, and see what I was doing.  One woman even sent some photos to me (thanks Catherine!).

Painting Red Rocks and Yucca - Photo by Catherine Nichols
Painting Red Rocks and Yucca – Photo by Catherine Nichols
Back in the Studio

Back in the studio, I went through my paintings and photos.  I decided on composition, color palette, and size.  There were still several unresolved problems with the rock formations, so I chose to work in pastel to further develop the ideas and color palette.

The photo references are taped/clipped to particle board and placed on a smaller easel.  After developing the drawing, the next step was an underpainting in oil.

Creating a Storyboard and underpainting in oil.
Storyboard and oil underpainting.


Using the references, the painting was finished over several weeks.

When I showed my recent work to my 8-year-old nephew over the holiday, he exclaimed, “That looks like the desert!”

Ha!  Mission accomplished.

Pine Creek Canyon, Pastel on Pastelmat, 16x20 © Nelia Harper
Pine Creek Canyon, Pastel on Pastelmat, 16×20 © Nelia Harper


Now on display at the Historic Carnegie Building at 200 Mathews Street, Fort Collins, CO.  December 7-10, 12-6pm.   More details from my previous post here. Soon available at Nelia  If you are interested in this painting, please contact me directly.

Final Show of the Year – Artist’s Gallery Walk this Friday

This Friday’s Gallery Walk in Fort Collins, includes the final show of the year for the Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC).  All year long, our PAAC group gathered to paint the landscape around Fort Collins, Loveland and Estes Park.

Each year our friendships deepen, and a few new faces appear.

Andrea Gabel and Margueritte Meyer painting at Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
Andrea Gabel and Margueritte Meyer painting at Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

We paint, chat, share ideas and laugh. We encourage each other, and we strive to improve.

We paint in the snow, in the cold and the heat of summer.

We look out for snakes, poison ivy and each other.

We watch the light shift and change, the leaves unfurl and  eventually fall to the ground.  We marvel at how the cottonwoods glow in fall and share handwarmers when it’s too cold to hold a brush.

As December rolls around, we gather our paintings, put on a few finishing touches, and hang our best work at the Community Creative Center in Fort Collins.  Over the next two weeks, we will demonstrate our techniques, and share our work with the community.  And, we hope that you take a piece home with you.  As a friend once said, a piece of art is only complete when shared.

If you are in the area, I hope you can make it to the show. 

The show runs November 30 – December 10th, and is open from 12-6 pm Wed-Sat. 

This Friday night, December 2nd, is the artist’s opening reception and the

First Friday Gallery Walk  from 6-9 pm.

And, if you are looking for a special gift, that shares your love of nature and Colorado living, this is the place for you.

Either way, we hope you enjoy the show, and feel a little piece of the love we have for our beautiful state and natural areas.

Chasing Light 4th Annual Invitational of Plein Air Artistschasing-light-2016-poster-web-size

PS:  All of my artwork has been uploaded to my shop and can be purchased online.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about the pieces, shipping, etc.  You can also call or text (970) 692-0059.

Chasing Light 4th Annual Art Exhibition

Follow Cow Creek, oil on canvas, 16x20 © Nelia Harper
Follow Cow Creek, oil on canvas, 16×20 © Nelia Harper

I’m excited to share several new oil and pastel paintings at the

4th Annual Chasing Light Art Show.

November 30-December 10
Historic Carnegie Building
200 Mathews Street
Fort Collins, CO

Artist’s Reception – December 2, 6-9pm

On display, Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6pm

There will be artist demonstrations, holiday treats and artwork from 10 local artists.

I’ll be updating my website with new pieces prior to the show.  As always, I provide free delivery in the Fort Collins area.
And, if you are giving the gift of art, I’m happy to gift wrap your painting for you.

Please contact me with any questions.

What is Egg Tempera Anyway?

What is egg tempera?  If you have heard the term, you may have wondered, are people really painting with eggs? The answer is yes!  Here, I’ll show you how it’s done.

bowl of eggs
Egg tempera, one of the oldest known painting mediums, has been found in ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt and India.  The painting method reached a height of popularity in the Middle Ages and during the rise of the Renaissance.  As painting with oil became more common, the use of egg tempera slowly faded away. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the ancient methods were rediscovered. Egg tempera experienced a revival as more and more artists began painting with it again.

Egg tempera uses three simple ingredients:
powdered pigment
   egg yolk

Typically, the egg yolk is separated from the egg white.

Cracked egg

Then, the yolk is punctured to remove the yolk from it’s protective casing.


Pigment is then mixed with water to form a paste.  This paste is mixed with egg yolk and a little water.  Because egg yolk is perishable, the paint needs to be made fresh almost daily.


The painting surface, made of hardboard or solid wood, is coated with many layers of traditional gesso.  Unlike modern acrylic gesso, traditional gesso is made of 100% collagen glue (known as rabbit skin glue), chalk (calcium carbonate) or gypsum (calcium sulfate) and titanium white pigment.  The gesso is also made and applied by hand and then sanded to a smooth finish.

Paint is applied in very thin layers that quickly dry to the touch.  Each coat of underpainting glows through the subsequent layers, creating a luminous result.  The yellow pigment of the yolk (lutein) bleaches out when exposed to light and the water content of the yolk evaporates.  Over time, the egg yolk cures and creates a hard surface.


While the layers dry quickly, dozens and even hundreds of layers of paint can be applied to a single painting.  Often, a single painting will take weeks, months or even years to be finished.  Over a period of months, the paint will continue to cure.  After curing, the painting is either varnished or polished to a shine.

Many egg tempera paintings have survived over the centuries and are on display throughout the world.   Because they do not contain oil, the paintings do not darken over time, and they appear to have been freshly painted.

With proper care (hanging a painting out of direct light), egg tempera paintings will maintain their beauty and continue to inspire others for centuries to come.

Expressions – A Summer Art Exhibit & Sale

"Just Stopping by to Say Hello" egg tempera 8x10
“Just Stopping by to Say Hello” egg tempera 8×10 – SOLD


For one week only, I have nine egg tempera paintings on display during the Expressions – Summer Art Exhibit & Sale, including six brand new paintings. Some of these have been ‘in progress’ for over a year.

The First Friday Gallery Walk is
Friday, August 5th 6-9 pm
At the historic Carnegie Building (the big sandstone building by the downtown library)
200 Mathews Street
Fort Collins, CO

If you would like to miss the crowds, the show is open this Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6pm. All of the paintings are for sale, and I even have some prints on hand.

12th Annual Mile High Pastel Society of Colorado Art Show

The 12th Annual Mile High Pastel Society of Colorado Art Show kicked off with an opening reception yesterday afternoon at the Vida Ellison Gallery on the 7th of the Denver Public Library.  While temperatures soared into 100 plus degrees, artists, patrons, and guests filled the spacious gallery to see pastel artworks on display and applaud the award winners.

With 343 entries from 17 states, juror Kim Casebeer was challenged to choose her top 10 award winners.  The winners she awarded included best of show, the top three and 6 honorable awards.  Said Casebeer, “Though it was tough, I really enjoyed the process of judging…It was encouraging to see a variety of subjects – landscape, figurative and still life.  But what was most interesting to me are the variety of ways that pastel is applied to the surface.  Some seem detailed and crisp.  Some are very soft, almost otherwordly.  Some are loose and fun.  Some are bold in color and others are very tonal.  When selecting a body of work, I strive to find those varieties in both subject and technique, selecting what I feel are the best examples.”

In addition to the top 10 award winners chosen by Casebeer, there were also 9 awards of cash and prizes provided by show sponsors.

My Award Winning Painting – Bobcat Autumn

I was so excited to learn that I won the “Guerilla Painter Award”, judged by Carl Judson, receiving a merchandise award from Judson Art Outfitters.

I was able to grab a quick photo with Carl after the awards ceremony.

A huge thank you to Carl Judson of Judson Art Outfitters for awarding my painting "Bobcat Autumn" the Guerilla Painter Award
A huge thank you to Carl Judson of Judson Art Outfitters for awarding my painting “Bobcat Autumn” the Guerilla Painter Award
Show Highlights

While winning an award is exciting, I really enjoy walking through the show and picking out my favorite pieces before the awards are given.  Here are a few of my favorites (and all of them won awards!).

Tre Chic, William Schneider

Tre Chic, William Schneider, 24x18 $3700 - Honorable Mention
Tre Chic, William Schneider, 24×18 $3700 – Honorable Mention


This piece grabbed my attention immediately.  Not only is the woman beautiful, the application of strokes, the texture of the paper and the way the vase of flowers compliments and grounds the painting draws the eye and holds one’s attention.  I found her necklace and hand position to be particularly captivating.  In this painting, I see calm and poise mixed with excitement and nervousness.

Harmonic Arrangement, Bonnie Anthony

Harmonic Arrangement, Bonnie Anthony, 26x19 $2100
Harmonic Arrangement, Bonnie Anthony, 26×19 $2100 – Honorable Mention

This still life demonstrates skill in composition, the use of texture and a tremendous amount of patience!  She drew me in with the solidity of the pitcher and basin, and I found myself looking at the variety of texture and shapes, finding surprises in her composition.

Montecatini Lemon, Margaret Zimbrick


Montecatini Lemon, Margaret Zimbrick, 11x14 $1500 - Honorable Mention
Montecatini Lemon, Margaret Zimbrick, 11×14 $1500 – Honorable Mention

I’m a sucker for realism and this painting immediately grabbed me.  Her presentation is very well done, and the realism of the water on the lemon and leaves with the abstract shapes provided by the leaves, along with her color palette of yellow, green and orange is outstanding.   The lemon absolutely jumps off the paper as if it is real.

Of course landscape are my first love and these two landscapes really caught my eye.

Along the Old Road, Becky Johnson

Along the Old Road, Becky Johnson, 11x8 $1150 Pikes Peak Pastel Society Award and Glaser Frames Award of Merit
Along the Old Road, Becky Johnson, 11×8 $1150 Pikes Peak Pastel Society Award and Glaser Frames Award of Merit

Here composition and ability to create such a realistic impression of snow is very well executed.  I was particularly drawn to the contrast between light and shadow and how she has the shadow of the trees coming forward along with lovely color harmony.

Navajo Totem, Kathy Howard

Navajo Toten, Kathy Howard, 12x16 $1200 3rd Place
Navajo Toten, Kathy Howard, 12×16 $1200 3rd Place

What I like about this piece by Kathy is the composition.  I’m initially pulled in by the warmth of the rock and the angle of the wash, but my eye wants to go further and explore the rock formations jutting into the sky, being backlit, they create interesting shadows, offset by the formation that goes even further into the distance.  I want to know what else is happening here and my eye continues to explore.  What you can’t see in the photo is the impasto effect she has created with the pastel application.

All of these pieces are even more interesting up close.  There are so many more pieces deserving attention and study.

The show continues through September 8, 2016.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop in for a look.

And, all the pieces are available for your collection.  Contact Dawn Buckingham Goldsmith at or 720-270-9555 to purchase any of the pieces at the show.

Pastel Palette for en Plein Air Painting

Choosing a pastel palette for en plein air painting can be a challenge for novices and well seasoned studio painters.  How do you know what you need?  How do you whittle down your palette from hundreds or even thousands of colors to a single box?

Getting Started with Pastels

I started painting in pastel while taking classes at a local atelier.  My very first pastel purchase was a set of 60 half sticks by Rembrandt  followed by 36 Nupastels (as recommended by my instructor).  While I found that many of them were too hard, making layering a challenge, they were also too high in chroma.  To solve the problem, I slowly added a handful of Unison and Schminke pastels.  Then, while working on a studio painting,  I discovered Terry Ludwig Pastels and his set of Intense Darks which were perfect for deep, dark shades.

A few months later, when I started painting en plein air, I began the arduous task of researching pastel boxes, plein air pastel sets, and easel setups.  Deciding where to plop down $500 to $1000 (or more!) was rather stressful.  How would I know what to buy?  Would it hold up?  Everything would be shipped to me and returns really weren’t an option.  Choosing which pastel palette for en plein air painting was overwhelming.  There were so many options to choose from.  So, I started with the few pieces I already had.

Painting en Plein Air with Pastels – Phase 1

Here’s a picture of my very fist plein air palette with the Double Sketchbox from Heilman Designs.  Notice how clean and perfect my box is?

My very first plein air pastels.
My very first plein air setup with a mini set of pastels. Mostly Rembrandt, Unison and a couple of Schminkes.
Choosing A Pastel Palette for En Plein Air Painting – Phase 2

After a few outings with my miniature set of pastels, I needed something more.  I decided to go with the Terry Ludwig Plein Air set of 60 pastels.  It was a good starting point but lacked sufficient greens, neutrals and accents. When I attended a plein air workshop at Terry Ludwig’s shop, the instructor (Aaron Schuerr) helped me add some essential greens.  Over the next 2 years, I added more neutrals as well as softer high chroma yellows and oranges for fall and fushcia/pink for flowers. I also made a few purchases of Great American pastels along with a few more Unison, Sennelier and Schminkes for snow and other subject specific colors.

The box is becoming more and more loved as time goes by.

Version 2 of my plein air pastels. How quickly Stage 2 of my plein are setup. I've run out of room. Can you see what's missing?
Version 2 of my plein air pastels. How quickly I’ve run out of room. Can you see what’s missing?


In this version, you can see that I’m missing light greens.  I have too many light pinks and not enough middle value yellows.  Neutrals area all but non-existent. And, the palette isn’t organized by warm and cool, just color family.  And, I’ve run out of room which makes organizing and choosing pastels a little challenging.

Adding More Neutrals

This past year, I added 30 Shades of Nature and 30 Umber Shadows and Shades by Terry Ludwig.  While I find those sets a little redundant, several of the colors have become invaluable neutrals.  You can see a recent painting, using just this set, here.

Here’s a picture of the Umber Shadows and Shades and color chart.

Terry Ludwig 30 Umber Shadows and Shades
Terry Ludwig 30 Umber Shadows and Shades


As a temporary fix to a full palette box,  I broke the sticks in half and carried the box into the field with me.  I clipped the box to my Heilman with binder clips.  While I wasn’t able to see how these related to my other pastels, it was a good short-term solution.

Developing a Working Palette for En Plein Air Painting – Phase 3

To make room for new pastels and to prepare for the summer plein air season, I pulled out the ‘little bits’ of pastel. You know, the ones that wore down to little slivers.  They are now so small I can hardly hold them.  I pulled out 35 pastels that have been so well-loved, they are all but gone. From those bits, I made a replacement order.  Today, as I replaced those bits and cleaned out my pastel box, I found about 35 more pastels to replace. Here is my current palette.  All cleaned up and more or less organized.

My current box of pastels for plein air painting.
My current box of pastels for plein air painting.

As you can see, I have slowly filled in the gaps by adding warmer yellow greens, a few more bright yellows, a variety of blues and greens and a larger section of neutrals.  There are plenty of light accents in a range of temperatures.  And, just enough darkest darks in blue, violet, orange/red and green.  I may consider adding a couple more from my dark set.  Maybe a few more reds too.

Here it is in black and white. Notice how the values are weighted in the greens and neutrals.

Plein air pastel box in black and white.
Plein air pastel box in black and white.

You’ll also notice that the box has changed from the little Heilman Double Sketchbox.  I’ll share more about that in a future post.

Select A Mix of Hard and Soft Pastels.

Harder pastels are great for massing in the large shapes for an alcohol wash or underpainting.  Being firm, they and can handle the tooth of sanded paper and not get ‘eaten up’.  A small number of NuPastels also work for laying in the shapes, but they are my least favorite.

The majority of my pastels are Terry Ludwig and Unison.  Unison pastels are a little harder than Terry Ludwig.   They are good for solid mark making and layering, but not as easy to apply in light layers, partly because of their rounded shape and harder texture.

Great American pastels are very soft and go on like ‘butter’.  There are a couple of Schminkes and Sennelier pastels which are very soft.  I often leave them wrapped as they tend to crumble.

Suggestions for Choosing Pastels
  1. Have a value range of at least 4 values – lightest light (almost white but slight hue for clouds/highlights), mid-light, middle darks and darks . You want warm and cool in each hue (color).   Keep in mind that how they look in the store, is not always what you need in the field.
  2. Choose a few hard pastels ( such as Art Spectrum, Rembrandt, Caran d’Ache, Cretacolor, Faber-Castell, Nupastell) for blocking in a painting.
  3. Choose soft pastels for layering in a range of values and temperature (warm & cool greens, reds, violets, blues, greys, & yellow). Examples of softer pastels include, Blue Earth Pastels, Daler-Rowney, Diane Townsend Soft, Girault, Great American, Holbein, Mount Vision, Sennelier, Schmincke, Terry Ludwig and Unison
  4. Start with a ‘starter’ set.  I suggest starting with the Terry Ludwig Maggie Price 60 Basic Values and adding to it with either individual colors or a plein air set by artist in your areas.  The Terry Ludwig Plein Air Landscape set is a good starting point too.
  5. There are pastel sets by artists from all over the country/world that are available from pastel manufacturers.  You can always start with one of those sets and then expand as you develop your palette.  For example, here is Michael Chesley Johnsons’ plein air set by GiraultRichard McKinley has a number of plein air sets from a variety of manufacturers too.
Getting to Know you Pastels
  1. The best way to develop a good palette is to paint, paint, and paint some more!  Painting throughout the year at various local locations will quickly help you get to know your palette and help uncover the missing pieces.
  2. Talk with a local painter, and look in their box of pastels.  They will be happy to share with you.  You can always contact your local plein air painting group or local pastel society for people to help you.
  3. Starting with a basic set of pastels, take a workshop from a master pastelist, and learn from the instructor and the other students.
  4. Periodically, photograph your palette and convert the photo to black and white.  It quickly shows the missing values.
  5. Arrange your palette by color family and value to show what is missing and for easy selection.
  6. Use/make color charts of your pastels with their code.  This made re-ordering so much easier!  Keep them grouped by manufacturer.

Learning about your options is probably one of the greatest challenges of getting started en plein air.  Then, deciding which one to buy as a starting point is the second challenge.  One of the resources that I find most helpful  is Dakota Pastels. They offer a variety of sets and descriptions of pastels available on the market. Many companies also offer 1/2 sets – a collection of pastels in a half stick.  This is a great way to get to know a brand and your colors.  Choosing a pastel palette for en plein air painting is exciting. As you learn, experiment and paint, you will begin to create a set that works beautifully for all seasons.

I hope this helps.  If you have questions, feel free to ask questions in the comments below or contact me.  I’m happy to share from my experiences.

Happy Painting!

1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11