Can you believe it’s Friiiiiday again? And so it’s question time for our Advisory Board. We’re talking all about creative prompts and for our guest today, it relates to the need to simplify!

Here’s Nancie King Mertz to tell us more.



Simplify! Nancie King Mertz - the wash in - simplify
Nancie King Mertz – the wash in


Simplify, simplify, simplify is my mantra when sharing a demo with students. It’s important to get the dark shapes in from the start and build from there with the mid-tones, saving the lights and details for last! 

In this early stage, you can see the shapes blocked in and then washed with denatured alcohol and my trusty #6 bristle fan brush. Yes, it’s terribly ugly at this stage, but the darks are where they need to be, washed in for easy overlay of more exciting shapes and colour.



Simplify! Nancie King Mertz - initial refining - simplify
Nancie King Mertz – initial refining


This is the stage of initial refining. Mid-tones values start to appear as I carve the dark shapes into something recognizable. I continue with my mantra – simplify, simplify simplify!



Simplify! Nancie King Mertz - sparks!
Nancie King Mertz – sparks!


The lights are a little premature here, but I just had to add a few to see if I was going to have fun with the piece…And yes! The sparks of light work!



Simplify! Nancie King Mertz - Adding more refinement
Nancie King Mertz – Adding more refinement


Here I’m using the mid-tone values and more lights to continue to carve out the foliage and structure, keeping the evolving detail loose. 



Nancie King Merz, "Living History," Demo in pastel, 16 x 12 1/2 in. Final details added and done!
Nancie King Merz, “Living History,” Demo in pastel, 16 x 12 1/2 in. Final details added and done!


I’ve examined the shadows to make sure they’re in alignment and I’ve had fun placing the bright shapes of colour. Details, while loose, are always saved until last. I feel that more detail would detract from the feel of this piece, painted from my yearly visit to the Forgotten Coast of Florida’s Panhandle. 


Simplify! Such a great mantra and one that’s a good idea for us all to say, over and over and over. Thanks for showing us the progression of this lovely piece Nancie!



Have you heard this news?


Albert Handell is offering a four-day LIVE pastel masterclass online. Dates are 21-24 February so it’s just around the corner! 

Albert Handell is a pastel hero of mine. I remembered the first time I saw him demonstrate at IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) in Santa Fe – I was blown away! I mean, I already admired and studied his work but to actually see him create, that’s a whole other story. I was amazed at the deliberateness of his strokes, strokes that, on the finished painting, look as if they’d been made spontaneously. 

In this live event, Albert will be demonstrating FOUR different subjects – water and rocks, mountains, trees, and finally, buildings in the landscape. Albert is going to show you the strategies and techniques he uses to create his gorgeous pieces.

It’s going to be INCREDIBLE! And, you don’t have to travel anywhere – just sit back and watch from the comfort of your own home. This really is going to be a treat so for more info and to sign up, click HERE!! I can’t wait!


Three paintings by Albert Handell showing three of the four subjects he'll be painting.
Three paintings by Albert Handell showing three of the four subjects he’ll be painting.


Want to get to know Albert a little more deeply? Then have a read here!

And that’s it for this time!




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