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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Leslie Hudson-Tolles: "Born Again Art Teacher"

Leslie shares tip of blending pastels with biodegradable
packing peanuts.

Leslie Hudson-Tolles teaches art because she really loves it. Her presentation for MAG at the McDowell Arts Center titled, "Fear Not", gave proof of it. It was no surprise to learn while in Connecticut, she taught art to Richard Schmid's children! We were very fortunate to have her as our teacher too last Tuesday night.

She opened her presentation with this statement, "Art is a journey, not a race." She encouraged all artists to avoid being labeled, to venture out and try all types of mediums and subjects. Leslie is known as a pastel equine artist. But she actually does all types of art: printmaking, sculpting, watercolor, and painting. And her pastel demo was not of a horse, but of a silhouetted sky scene. Her artistic journey is an example for us all.

An example of one of Leslie's prints

Leslie allowed for many questions and even 
allowed curious fingers to touch the wet pastels.

Here are some other helpful tidbits from Leslie:

Getting help through critiques are fine as long as they are not harsh. 

When out painting en plein air, put pastels in a deli tray filled with rice to keep them clean.

Add water to alcohol when blending the pastels and use crosshatch strokes.

She learned from Daniel Green to sharpen pastels with an x-acto knife.

While creating a scene, avoid predictable patterns. 

Your scene should also have an interesting path for the eyes of the viewer... a triangle... a "Z"... with a focal area, not just a focal point.

Don't use black. It makes the "great void."

Look for and be aware of negative spaces. Printmaking is good training for awareness of and making negative spaces.

When selecting someone to make your giclees, base it on whoever uses the latest and best equipment and also on whoever will work to get the best image. Evidence is found in the stack of rejects.

Curtis Sloops holds up one of Leslie's giclees as she 
explains the difficulty of making an image with white and brown.

Nancy Kennedy is arranging a workshop with Leslie at the McDowell Arts Center. More information about this will be posted on the blog as soon as a date is finalized. Don't miss it!

Thank you, Leslie, for a wonderful presentation!

Thanks to Cynthia Powers for all the photographs.

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