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Pan Pastel InterviewTuesday, October 22, 2013 by Steve Hill
Tombolo at Fisherman Bay
Tombolo at Fisherman Bay
This Q&A Interview was just published on the Colorfin Corporation e-news list, and features some of my latest plein air work, using my favorite medium, “Pan Pastels”.

Read it here:

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed painting!

New Art BooksFriday, December 17, 2010 by Steve Hill
I have had my artwork published in 2 new books, this year.

Island Icon
Island Icon
"The Best of Worldwide Artists Working in Pastel, Drawing and Charcoal", Vol. I, by Kennedy Publishing, came-out last August. I have 4 paintings featured in this beautiful new book. It is available on-line at
I have also been published in Best of American Artists working in Pastel, Vol. I, 2007 & Vol. II, 2009, by the same publisher.

Washington "En Plein Air" is the second book this year, published just 2 weeks ago. I had 4 paintings featured in that book, as well as one on the back cover. It is also available on-line at

I am hard at work on next year's art event schedule, which will include travel around the U.S. for juried art festivals & exhibits, openings at Agora Gallery in New York, Art on the Boulevard, Vancouver, WA, Crow Valley Gallery on Orcas Island and culminating with the invitational Florence Biennale, December, 2011, in Florence, Italy.

The painting here, titled: "Island Icon" is one of many scheduled to be exhibited soon, on Lopez Island, at Windswept Fine Art Gallery, as well as above mentioned galleries.

I will also be posting my 2011 pastel and oil class workshop schedules, by year's end.

Happy Holidays to all!

Best of Show AwardWednesday, November 17, 2010 by Steve Hill
I am pleased to announce that my painting "Resting Under Evening Skies" (see previous blog) has been awarded "Best of Show" in the Northwest Pastel Society 24th International Juried Exhibit, at American Art Company gallery, in Tacoma Washington, by Duane Wakeham, Juror. See related article in The Islands' Weekly Newspaper, November 16th edition

There were over 400 entries from all over the U.S. and Canada, with 70 paintings chosen for exhibit. Mr. Wakeham has won many major awards and titles in his own
distinguished career, and has achieved honors including: Master Pastelist, Pastel Society of America, Distinguished Pastelist, Pastel Society of the West Coast, was elected to PSA hall of fame (2000) and named PSWC Pastel Laureate (2009). He is frequently called to jury art exhibits in the U.S. and Canada and has been published in most major art magazines and many books on art techniques.

Marking Tim & Pushing 100
Marking Tim & Pushing 100
As this seemed to be my summer of painting many different hay fields in interesting light conditions, I'll share two similar pieces in this blog. The first is titled: "Marking Time and Pushing 100" and is available at Crow Valley Gallery ( on Orcas Island.

At The Edge Of Light
At The Edge Of Light
The second is titled "At the Edge of Light" and is available through Agora Gallery in New York.

American Art Company gallery is located at 1126 Broadway Plaza, in downtown Tacoma. 1-800-753-2278

Glacier National Park -West sideWednesday, October 13, 2010 by Steve Hill
First Snow, Avalanche Creek

These mountains on the west side of Glacier National Park are over 9000 to 10,000 feet – the one directly above me had its first dusting of snow last night. The rivers and creeks run crystal clear, with a slight celadon tint from glacial melt. This particular spot is frequented by Grizzly bears, mountain lions (cougar), mountain goats and one plein air painter . . . that would be me, today.

First Snow Avalanche Creek
First Snow Avalanche Creek
I always pay special attention to details beyond the landscape when I work at these places, with a keen eye for movement, and ears tuned for growly sounds that don't belong to the river. It's a little like sleeping with one eye open and certainly adds a new sense of urgency to the task at hand.

Giclee prints are now available to order online from my printmaker, Bellevue Fine Art Reproduction. Prints of several of my latest works are on

The image here is titled "Croatian Island Port" and will soon be available for $85 (edition of 250). They use the best laser equipped digital image capture and the finest archival inks and papers available in the world.

Certificates of Authenticity, signed by the printmaker, Scott Moore, are your assurance of the highest standards of quality control and accountability. Together, we approve and color correct all prints, to match the originals, when each edition is started.

I prefer to use Certificates of Authenticity (CA's), rather than numbering and signing individual prints, as it allows a much cleaner looking mat and frame, than the old method used for signing and numbering hand-pulled etchings, lithographs and silk screens. The "CA" then becomes your legal document, and can be displayed with the print, or mounted on the back, when they are framed.

I am involved in some very exciting plein air events, art shows, a new book being published (Best of America Pastel Artists Vol. II) and special exhibits, throughout the summer. Stay tuned!!

The pastels I useWednesday, January 18, 2006 by Steve Hill
I've had several inquiries about my work at Macy's Gallery in Seattle - asking what kind of pastels I use and what fixatives, etc.

Unison pastels
Unison pastels
I use a mixed bag, but primarily, Unison, Schminke and Sennelier brand soft pastels. I use Nu Pastel sticks for underpainting as well as detail work. They are a harder pastel stick and can be shaped to obtain fine lines for detail. I also use watercolor underglazes for some work, which allows me to lay on some broad areas of color without filling the tooth of the paper. I simply apply pastel directly over the watercolor after it has dried.

I work mostly with the broad side of whatever pastel I pick up covering larger areas with big strokes to obtain the values (light & dark)and color areas, allowing a lot of the pastel to show through from previous layers of color. This gives my pieces a great deal of "luminosity" as the colors are really mixed by the eye and not blended on the paper surface. Soft pastels will quickly fill the tooth of any surface so I have to vary the intensity of each stroke to allow the layers to bleed through and create interesting colors. it takes a lot of practice and some pre-planning of color applications to work this way.

The whole time I am doing this, I'm also thinking about the lights and darks, especially how the light affects colors within any given area. I usually only spend 1-2 hours maximum working in front of my subject matter, as the light is constantly shifting and changing everything I see. I really try to work quickly to get all the elements in place before everything changes. Sometimes, I get lucky and finish an entire piece in that time, but usually end-up in the studio re-working or finishing the piece. I rarely work from photos anymore, as the tendency is to copy the photo which defeats the whole reason I paint outdoors in natural settings.

I do not use any fixatives, but prefer to keep the tooth of the paper alive as I work, not muddied by too many color applications. I frame my pieces to ship and display with a special 1/8" spacer between the mat and the pastel that allows any random dust (very rare) to fall behind the mat. All pastels require glass to protect them when they are framed.

The tooth of the paper (in my case, sanded paper, similar to 500 grit sand paper) holds the pastel very nicely. It won't "flake" off or dull with age like a pastel that has been sprayed with so called "fixative". If you ever get a chance to look at the pastels Degas did 130 years ago, you will see what I mean . . . they look as though they were done yesterday!

Hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to contact me for prints from this show (some of you already have) as most pieces are available as "giclee" prints in full or 3/4 size. The show hangs until January 31st.

© Steven Hill - Windswept Studios