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Clay Sculpture Exploratory Project


Explore the vibrant and diverse potential of pastels through various techniques, focusing on color blending, texture, and layering.


Materials Needed:

Soft pastels and/or oil pastels

Pastel papers (with different textures and colors)

Fixative spray (to preserve the finished artworks)

Blending stumps, tissues, or fingers for blending

Masking tape (to secure paper and create clean borders)

Erasers (for highlighting or correcting)

Protective sheets or covers to keep work areas clean


Project Options:

Colorful Landscapes

Goal: Use pastels to capture a landscape, focusing on atmospheric effects and color transitions.

Instructions: Choose a landscape scene, either from a photograph or imagination. Apply broad strokes for the sky and background, using layering and blending to create depth. Add details with sharper, harder strokes or a different type of pastel.


Vibrant Still Life

Goal: Create a still life that pops with bold colors and intricate details.

Instructions: Set up a still life arrangement or use a reference image. Start with an underdrawing in a light pastel color, then layer colors, focusing on creating texture and depth with contrasting hues.


Abstract Composition

Goal: Experiment with abstract forms and color relationships using pastels.

Instructions: Begin with a simple sketch or directly apply colors to explore forms and spatial relationships. Use blending techniques to merge colors and create dynamic, fluid compositions.



Goal: Develop a portrait that captures the essence and mood of the subject.

Instructions: Work from a live model or photograph. Focus on skin tones and facial features by layering and blending colors. Pay attention to light and shadow to create a lifelike depiction.


Animal Textures

Goal: Illustrate animals focusing on accurately rendering textures of fur, feathers, or scales.

Instructions: Choose an animal and begin by sketching the basic shape lightly. Use various pastel techniques to build texture and depth, such as scumbling for fur or feathered effects.



Introduction (15 minutes):

Introduce the properties of different types of pastels (soft, hard, and oil).

Discuss techniques such as layering, blending, and fixing.

Overview the project options and discuss the focus of each.


Planning and Sketching (15 minutes):

Students select their project and begin planning their composition.

Lightly sketch the design on pastel paper to guide the pastel application.


Pastel Application Phase (90-180 minutes):

Students work on their chosen projects, applying pastels to develop the composition.

Focus on color mixing, blending, and textural techniques.

Instructors provide ongoing feedback, focusing on improving technique and composition.


Refinement and Detailing (30-60 minutes):

Students refine their artwork, enhancing details and adjusting colors for visual impact.

Use erasers and pastel pencils for fine details and high contrasts.


Presentation and Critique (15-30 minutes):

Students present their finished pieces.

Engage in a group critique session, discussing techniques used, execution of the design, and individual artistic expression.


Conclusion (5 minutes):

Reflect on the session's learning outcomes.

Discuss how these pastel techniques can be integrated into other art projects or expanded upon in personal practice.

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