This first shot shows how I arrange my pastel sticks. I made the trays out of fome-core board. The sticks are arranged by color family, and value.
The first step is to sketch out the "chunks", the big areas of value. I lay in a thin layer of pastel in a very dark value which represents the darkest part of the painting, and then rub in some red tones for the foreground. When that is done, I dip an old brush into rubbing alcohol and wash the pastel into the paper. (By the way, I'm using Art Spectrum sanded paper.) This allows the first layer to be very rich yet thin. Because it's melted into the surface I can go over the first layers with lots of lighter colors.
Now I work on the local, or "real" color. I'm slowly adding colors to suggest leaves and grass.
This close up shows how loose my strokes are. Lots of original layers show through. I'm not really worried about how accurate the colors of the grassy area are, or even whether it's actually grass. My interest lies in the energy I get from the scene. By letting some of the drips and dribbles of the alcohol wash show through, the area becomes really exciting.
This 9 x 12 piece is nearly done. There are some issues with the sky I need to resolve, and I'm not sure about that diagonal line through the foreground, but it's time for a break. I'll put it away for a couple of days and see what comes to mind with a fresh eye.
If you're interested in taking the October 13th class, let me know and I'll get you the details.