Landscape painting is fuelled by persistent emotional attachment to a place or an idea. Ultimately, it becomes the artist’s visual dissertation.
Given my love of landscape painting and as a beginner to pastels many years ago, I recall the first pastel books I bought were “The Pastelists Year – Painting the Four Seasons in Pastel” and “Landscape Meditations” by American artist, Elizabeth Mowry. To this day, I don’t think I have come across another author who covers the topic so intimately and was greatly saddened by her passing in 2020.
The Pastelists Year provides a great foundation for getting to know your materials, developing processes for pastel painting and tips on how to collect reference photos, develop sketches and different approaches to developing a painting composition alongside selecting and using different colour palettes to represent the four seasons.
Landscape Meditations focuses more on themes, components of composition and elements of the landscape, how to work in series thus enabling further development of painting techniques and skills, so an ideal book for the more advanced pastelist. Both books provided an extremely informative foundation for learning landscape pastel painting and plenty of inspiration, so I would highly recommend both to any beginner looking to explore this genre of painting.
If however, you’re looking to explore Plein Air painting with pastels then I would highly recommend Albert Handell and Anita Louise West book “Painting the Landscape in Pastel” which discusses and demonstrates a variety of techniques on the use of colour, capturing light, composition and combining pastel with different media or using underpaintings with wet media along with providing an insight into approaches used by Plein Air painters.