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Pastel Painting in a Series, Class with Janis Ellison

Janis Ellison February 2016 Class: Pastel Painting in a Series. Image shown: Winter Blush, pastel painting
Winter Blush, by Janis Ellison

Janis Ellison February 2016 Class: Pastel Painting in a Series

The focus of the next session will be finding what inspires you and creating a series

February 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2016

Mondays from 9am-1:00pm, $125.00
Central Art Supply, Medford, Oregon

Register Now!



High Desert Falls

“High Desert Falls” was a demonstration painting for my weekly class on the subject of choosing a warm or cool palette for a painting using the Analogous Color Wheel. The subject was inspired by a hike in the Las Vegas hills to a waterfall (yes! there is nature in Las Vegas). I kept the subject loose and painterly to fit the subject of moving water. This painting is available through




First, I decided to create two small pastel sketches, 6×8 using cool color choices and secondly, warm color choices. The colors you see on the strips to the right of the sketches are the color choices for the under painting.


When choosing these colors I used the Analogous Color Wheel which is based on the Munsell Color Wheel. Munsell used five primary colors; Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple, differing from the traditional triadic color wheel; using the three primary colors of Red, Yellow and Blue.

For example for the warm color palette, I chose Orange as my dominate Hue, then followed the color wheel to choose the complement and discord colors. It is important to remember to use the neutrals and not necessarily the full chroma or intensity of the colors chosen.


This system will automatically create a harmonious color palette and simplify your choices as you paint. Give this system a try today, I think you will find it will expand your color choices beyond attempting to copy the colors of your photographic reference.


If you want to challenge yourself further, create the painting from a black and white version of your reference, as I did in these sketches to free you up from local color and get your creative juices flowing!


6×8 Pastel Sketches with pastel spread with alcohol under painting in both cool and warm color choices

I chose the warm color palette using predominantly Terry Ludwig Shades of Nature Set for the under painting. I further varied my final version of the painting by choosing the composition from the cool sketch and the palette choices from the warm sketch. Does your brain hurt yet?


Cannon Beach Stormy Weather Festival

Stormy Weather Arts Festival November 6-8, 2015. This year I’ll be representing my gallery, Haystack Gallery throughout the weekend events. Friday night is the Art in Action event where the public gathers to watch artists create their works of art with an opportunity to purchase directly from the artist.

Saturday, I will be demonstrating “Anatomy of a Wave” in pastel at Haystack Gallery. Please come by and visit if you are in the area, or consider making a trip to Cannon Beach for this fun weekend filled with Art, performances and a special concert.


Family Farm

What could be better than spending a fall morning painting at a family farm, Pennington Farms in Applegate valley near where I live in Southern Oregon?

The renovated rustic barn on their large berry farm produces a wonderful variety of berry jams and home baked pies and cookies. The Pennington family welcomed our painting group, PASSO who worked diligently to represent an aging barn brought to life.

I painted this pastel directly on Wallis Belgium Mist surface using a variety of hard and soft pastels. I sketched the image first in my notebook with pencil, doing a rough value study. Then I drew the basic shapes and outline on the surface with a paynes grey Creatacolor pastel pencil.

I didn’t have an umbrella and the sun became very intense after about an hour in a half so I knew it was time for a cookie break and to start the next painting.

A Free Tool for the Artist

While teaching a Plein Air workshop one summer I invented this tool for participants to put on their easel to remind them to simplify the landscape and focus more on Composition and Design elements in their paintings. To free yourself from trying to render “objects” like trees, bushes, water, and clouds and to think in terms of balance, asymmetrical design, and movement in your painting, try posting this handy tool on your easel. Happy Painting!


S= Shapes: Simplify, see and sketch basic shapes 

Q= Question: What inspired me to paint the scene? What is my focal point? 

U= Understand: Understand your composition, decide what to include, what to leave out. 

I = Interpret:  Interpret the whole, do not get stuck in detail 

N= Negative space: Is it interesting? Are there pleasing shapes in the negative space? Is there Variety?

T=Tones: Identify lights and dark values in the painting. Where is the lightest Light? Darkest Dark?

All rights reserved, copyright Janis Ellison 2013

Janis Lacey Ellison Announces

Embudo Station, 20x16 pastel by Janis Lacey Ellison

“Embudo Station” 20×16 pastel by Janis Lacey Ellison.
Roadside stop in New Mexico outside of Santa Fe on the road to Taos. This painting was juried into the 2012 Pastel Society of New Mexico International Show. © 2012-2013 Janis Lacey Ellison. Used here by permission.

Landscape Painting in Pastel with Janis Ellison

Workshop Dates: 1/18/2013 – 2/8/2013
Location: Central Art Supply Classroom, Medford, OR
United States

All New! Pastel Classes are now forming with Janis Ellison. Weekly classes designed to teach you simple techniques to create beautiful pastel paintings. Each week the curriculum is designed to focus on different elements of landscape painting and pastel technique. Learn from an accomplished artist and experienced teacher close to home without the cost of traveling to expensive workshops!

See Janis Ellison’s listing at the Southern Oregon Artists Resource for alternate contact methods and a link to her website to feast your eyes on her beautiful work, then click the “Workshops” tab to register! Register early by email, classes fill quickly. You can also call 541-218-9788. $125.00 for four week session beginning Friday 1:00-4:00 pm, January 18th.

Janis Ellison is a Master Pastelist who has been a professional artist and teacher for 20 years. She is a signature member of Pastel Society of the West Coast, Pastel Society of Northwest, Sierra Pastel Society, Pastel Society of New Mexico, and a Master Pastelist in Pastel Society of Oregon. Galleries in Oregon and California represent her work. She has been published in Pastel International Magazine and has won numerous awards regionally and internationally.

Rogue Spirit

Pastel painting plein air during PASSO paintout at Morrison’s Lodge