Capturing a Likeness and More: Highlights from Pastel Live

A recap from Day 3 of the Pastel Live virtual art conference

Eric Rhoads Pastel Live
At Pastel Live, Publisher and Host Eric Rhoads encourages us to keep moving and have fun while learning, and to move past any fears so we can focus on practice, which leads to improvement.

We’d like to thank every single one of our attendees for being a part of this event – you are the ones who help us keep going, as we all continue to inspire each other to grow, learn, and connect in this incredible world of art. We hope to see you at the next online event, Realism Live along with more incredible teachers that we’re bringing to you.

For the last day of Pastel Live this year, we want to thank our wonderful sponsors once again! Today, our shout-out goes to Sennelier & Fabriano featuring Andrew Cook; Blick Art Materials featuring Joanne Barby; and Golden Artist Colors & Pan Pastels.

Highlights from Day 3 of Pastel Live

Andrew McDermott led us through a demo focusing on lights and reflections in an urban scene, including advice on how to build up your color and texture.

Andrew McDermott Pastel Live 2023
“It is better to paint for one minute a day than to think about it for 24 hours a day,” Andrew McDermott says. “One learns more in that one minute of painting than in thinking about it for 24 hours.”

Breaking away from the “laborious” style of painting tight realistic scenes, Emma Colbert showed us how she takes a more fun approach that begins with a sketch of a dog in the landscape.

She said she works mostly from the background to the foreground, top to bottom with this style of pastel painting in small studies.

Pastel realism
“I work in a realistic style,” says Emma Colbert, “but always aim to create a painting with more depth and vibrance than the photo reference.”

Isabelle Lim not only thinks outside the box, but she turns the box upside down, as we saw in her session on painting from a unique perspective.

Isabelle Lim Pastel Live 2023
Isabelle is a Singapore artist, a judge, an art writer, and an art instructor. After having moved around South East Asia for two decades, currently she lives and paints full-time in Hong Kong.

Corey Pitkin walked us through his technique for “capturing a likeness” in a realistic portrait painting. He used a medium-toned paper, which he prefers for portraits after having studied Rembrandt’s work.

How to Pastel - Corey Pitkin
Corey Pitkin has also been featured on our sister site,, with his article “Set the Mood with Bold Color and Intentional Edges”

Floral artist Stephie Clark welcomed us to her happy place – her art studio, that is – with her “dusty little friends” to recreate the beauty that she sees in nature. In this paint-along, she worked from back to front, dark to light, guided by a photo reference she took of fuchsias while in Singapore.

how to soft pastels
Stephie Clark is a “soft pastel obsessed” artist from Australia working mostly in her country studio at home in Armidale.

Working from photo references and an oil study he created in New Mexico during the Plein Air Convention, Aaron Schuerr led us through the final demo of Pastel Live.

He says it’s important to anticipate quickly changing light conditions when painting on location, and helped us understand the passage of light during a sunset.

Aaron Schuerr Pastel Live 2023
Toward the end of his “sunset journey” of a landscape demo, Aaron Schuerr added that he would look at his pastel painting over the next few days to see if there’s anything that he might still change.

For a limited time, replays are available for this year; you can also join us live for next year’s Pastel Live virtual art conference! Simply visit now and register for the best personal instruction and live interactions with artists from all over the world.

“This has all been a mind-blowing experience to be part of Pastel Live. Thank you to all involved. Staff, Tutors, and fellow participants. Have started my piggy bank for next year!!”

If you can’t wait until next year, join us in November for Realism Live (more details here!).


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