Jeanne Rosier Smith

A Pastel Painter’s Playbook

This video library gathers the pastel lessons tips and techniques I’ve developed over twenty years of painting and teaching pastels in weekly classes and workshops, to share with you in one place.

Most people come to pastel from another medium, and fall in love with its tactile qualities and banquet of color. That’s what happened to me over twenty years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I love their velvety texture and vivid colors, and I find the medium flexible, forgiving and exciting to work with. There is always more to learn.

In this paragraph I explain how to use my section of Epiphany Fine Art. First, the Basics section contains introductory information every pastelist needs, plus questions on cleaning, organizing, lighting, fixative, framing, that come up in every demo and workshop. Secondly are the Workshops, based on years of in person workshops, we have fully developed multi-lesson explorations of specific topics, often with exercises designed to enhance your understanding and ability, and are intended for all levels of painters. Lastly, subject demos offer in-depth instruction on a wide range of subject matter.

The collection will grow monthly, as I record new lessons and demos. See the sidebar at right for a list of what’s to come, and a link to send us feedback. I welcome your requests and suggestions.

Happy painting, and Welcome!

Jeanne Rosier Smith Pastel lessons

If we haven’t yet covered a topic you’d like to see let us know and we’ll add it to the list  Thanks! Send us an email

Jeanne Rosier Smith pastel painting
Jeanne Rosier Smith pastel painting
Jeanne Rosier Smith pastel painting

SPECIAL EVENTS:

2 hour live demo:

Fall Color

Foliage season is coming soon: be ready for it with this live demo on handling nature’s most glorious show with subtlety and sensitivity. Learn to balance the brilliance of fall color with just the right neutrals, and create depth and a strong compositional framework with your trees.

Price: Members $20 Non-members $40
Date: September 14, 6:00-8:00pm EST

A BUTTON TO VIEW THIS DEMO WILL BE LOCATED AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO THE START OF THE DEMO 

Jeanne Rosier Smith pastel painting

A recording of the demo will be available for three weeks to non members and permanently for members

Sample Videos

What to do with those snowy but nearly colorless photo references? This sample of Jeanne's demo shows how to convey depth and color to create an atmospheric and moody snow scene.
149 views
This sample clip is from my Color Fundamentals section below.  This simple exercise using a black and white photo reference shows how deepening our understanding of value can expand our flexibility with color.
724 views
This sample clip is from my Color Fundamentals section. Here I look at the vital relationship between color and value, with a challenging color exercise.
761 views
Jeanne Rosier Smith pastel painting

painting by Jeanne Rosier Smith

Recently Added Videos

Early morning light passing through waves infuses translucent seawater with dawn’s distinctive atmosphere. In this live demo, Jeanne takes a special look at how the color pallet of ocean water changes due to lighting conditions, and in particular she ...
67 views
Don’t throw away those tiny shards of pastel, crush them up and make new ones! For this activity you need a mortar and pestle, a small spatula, an eye dropper bottle and a piece of plexiglass or wax paper.
38 views

COMING SOON:

  • Making Pastels from Scraps
  • Underpainting Techniques
  • Painting a summer landscape
  • Painting seafoam
  • Tackling Trees

Archived Live Demos

Early morning light passing through waves infuses translucent seawater with dawn’s distinctive atmosphere. In this live demo, Jeanne takes a special look at how the color pallet of ocean water changes due to lighting conditions, and in particular she ...
67 views
Regardless of what we’re painting, working with photos carries specific challenges: bad cropping, unreliable color, too much information. In this seascape demo, Jeanne Rosier Smith shares how she uses photos without being tied to them. She’ll show ...
151 views
New growth and lush blossoms, brief and beautiful, create a tantalizing challenge for painters. Join Jeanne for an evening demo on approaches to finding and capturing blossoming trees at their best. We’ll cover tips for scouting great references, ...
71 views
Snow is crystalline and reflective just like clouds or seafoam, creating wonderful color opportunities. Painting well is learning to see. The rules for painting snow change drastically depending on the weather and the light. In this demo, retune your ...
182 views
Floating on the surface, reflecting the sky, suggesting depths below, waterlilies have captivated artists for centuries. Join in while Jeanne shares approaches for composing a lily pond scene, creating the illusion of reflections and suggesting ...
248 views
Are you a studio painter who feels guilty about not going out plein air more often? This demo is for you. I’ll share my plein air practices with you, and tell you exactly how I use them to help inform and enliven my studio paintings. Don’t get me ...
164 views
Every Painting tells a story. The painter always has to choose: is it about the sky or is it about the land? In this demo we’re looking up, focusing on sky drama. How to compose a sky for dramatic affect, how to build soft, billowy clouds, control ...
272 views
How do we work with the reference photos we have to create the best painting possible? In this demo, Jeanne has shared how to work with less than perfect photos to compose beautiful paintings with a strong visual impact. Part 1
302 views
How do we work with the reference photos we have to create the best painting possible? In this demo, Jeanne has shared how to work with less than perfect photos to compose beautiful paintings with a strong visual impact. Part 2
157 views

Demo Reference Materials

Jeanne Rosier Smith Materials List
Materials List
Jeanne Rosier Smith Reference Images
Reference Images

The Basics

Welcome to my site
92 views
Let's take a tour through my studio
128 views
This short video offers a primer on pastels and paper
154 views
A Step-by-step guide to mounting your paper
127 views
A quick, easy way to clean your pastel trays and see your colors better
106 views
Don’t throw away those tiny shards of pastel, crush them up and make new ones! For this activity you need a mortar and pestle, a small spatula, an eye dropper bottle and a piece of plexiglass or wax paper.
38 views
A step-by-step guide to using fixative on your finished paintings—how to apply it without changing the color, and why it’s useful.
117 views
In this short video we explore how to ‘paint’ with a pastel stick
131 views
This short demo on applying pastel to paper shows how to create a simple still life starting with a toned, sanded paper
111 views
Jeanne Rosier Smith
The Basics: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
Here you’ll find answers to the burning questions that always come up at demos and workshops. How and why I use fixative, framing tips and practices, mounting paper, what kinds of pastels and papers to use. Plus info on how get started for beginners. Have a question that’s not answered here? Send it to me and we’ll try to cover it.

WORKSHOP: Color Fundamentals

This segment looks at the vital relationship between color and value, with a challenging color exercise.
131 views
This simple exercise using a black and white photo reference shows how deepening our understanding of value can expand our flexibility with color.
125 views
This simple exercise using a black and white photo reference shows how deepening our understanding of value can expand our flexibility with color (Part 2).
97 views
A brief Color Theory 101, this short video considers why we need neutrals, how color complements work, and how to neutralize bright colors
104 views
Color Theory 101 continued. How to create glowing color, and control the volume of your brights.
86 views
This start-to-finish demo video highlights a vibrant bosc pear against a neutral backdrop, with emphasis on value and chroma choices. Bonus tip: how to fill and organize a pastel box according to color and value (Part 1).
82 views
This start-to-finish demo video highlights a vibrant bosc pear against a neutral backdrop, with emphasis on value and chroma choices. Bonus tip: how to fill and organize a pastel box according to color and value.
59 views
This short video explores color temperature, and especially how the quality of light effects local color. A brief challenging exercise analyzes light and shadow in terms of temperature.
80 views
This short demo shows how to ‘turn on the light’ in a painting, conveying sunlight and shadow through shifting color temperatures.
84 views
This segment introduces the challenges with greens, and shows how to underpaint to create rich, complex greens
103 views
This exercise shows how to expand your range of greens, using layering techniques to create the right greens from the colors you have on hand.
58 views
This Demo shows how to create a rich, realistic summer landscape painting, using underpainting strategies and layering techniques to make your greens more dimensional.
103 views
This Demo shows how to create a rich, realistic summer landscape painting, using underpainting strategies and layering techniques to make your greens more dimensional.
71 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Color Fundamentals: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
Painters speak in the language of color. Whether you are a native speaker or need a guidebook, these video lessons are designed to up your fluency and confidence, with a mix of structure and play

WORKSHOP: Loosen Up!

Jeanne outlines the origins of the workshops, plus 5 lies that lead to overworked paintings and 10 tips for loosening up.
96 views
An exercise for expanding your marks and freshening your work.
98 views
A simple exercise to help you get into the flow of your painting, and stop second-guessing your process
85 views
A clear step by step guide to creating better thumbnails, the GPS for your paintings
64 views
In this demo Jeanne shows how a clear plan allows for fresh, intuitive, looser painting (part 1)
47 views
In this demo Jeanne shows how a clear plan allows for fresh, intuitive, looser painting (part 2)
46 views
How much do you need to simplify? In this demo, learn to vary the degree of development, with the focal area being most defined.
65 views
How much do you need to simplify? In this demo, learn to vary the degree of development, with the focal area being most defined.
46 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Loosen Up: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
Do you long to loosen up? Bold, graceful strokes looks easy, but anyone who’s aspired to them knows otherwise. There are significant steps we can take to make our paintings bolder, looser, and more assured. This self-directed video workshop will help you shake off that tendency to meticulously describe, tightly render, or overwork your paintings, and learn to paint boldly, loosely and with more assurance. Enjoy, play, practice, and paint more boldly and confidently with these exercises and demos. I have arranged them in order for you to follow as a workshop.

Workshop: Seascape Basics

Learn how to capture the movement and power of an ocean wave in pastel. Understand the wave’s moving form, and explore special underpainting and layering strategies to make your seascapes come alive.
52 views
As waves come ashore, both the design and technique of your seascape paintings become more complex. In this video Jeanne takes you through composing a shoreline seascape, handling wet and dry sand, foam, and underpainting strategies. Learn how to ...
34 views
Coastal landscapes present unique challenges: tricks of light and atmosphere seldom seen inland, subtle curves of sand and grass, light, reflective planes. This video takes you through the particular challenges posed by the coastal landscape. Learn ...
27 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Painting Seascapes: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting seascapes

Seascape Elements Series

In this series, learn tips and tricks for creating more realistic foam. This demo includes advice for handling all sorts of seafoam challenges and will sharpen your seafoam skills.
68 views
In this series, learn tips and tricks for creating more realistic foam. This demo includes advice for handling all sorts of seafoam challenges and will sharpen your seafoam skills.
59 views
In this series, learn tips and tricks for creating more realistic foam. This demo includes advice for handling all sorts of seafoam challenges and will sharpen your seafoam skills.
50 views
In this series, learn tips and tricks for creating more realistic foam. This demo includes advice for handling all sorts of seafoam challenges and will sharpen your seafoam skills.
39 views
Seafoam is full of information about edges, motion, direction, texture of the water. This demo shows how to use foam to tell the story of the water’s motion and activity, with more sensitive observation and mark making.
48 views
Seafoam is full of information about edges, motion, direction, texture of the water. This demo shows how to use foam to tell the story of the water’s motion and activity, with more sensitive observation and mark making.
35 views
Seafoam is full of information about edges, motion, direction, texture of the water. This demo shows how to use foam to tell the story of the water’s motion and activity, with more sensitive observation and markmaking.
19 views
Seafoam is full of information about edges, motion, direction, texture of the water. This demo shows how to use foam to tell the story of the water’s motion and activity, with more sensitive observation and markmaking.
19 views
This start to finish demo shows how to create the effects of sunlight on a curling wave. Special attention to underpainting strategies, and color and value choices to heighten atmospheric and lighting effects. (Pt1)
127 views
This start to finish demo shows how to create the effects of sunlight on a curling wave. Special attention to underpainting strategies, and color and value choices to heighten atmospheric and lighting effects. (Pt2)
96 views
This start to finish demo shows how to create the effects of sunlight on a curling wave. Special attention to underpainting strategies, and color and value choices to heighten atmospheric and lighting effects. (Pt3)
112 views
In this longer video I take you through the complete painting from selecting a scene to paint, through creating special light effects, to completing the painting (part 1)
131 views
In this longer video I take you through the complete painting from selecting a scene to paint, through creating special light effects, to completing the painting (part 2)
95 views
In this longer video I take you through the complete painting from selecting a scene to paint, through creating special light effects, to completing the painting (part 3)
96 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith Winter Landscape: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting the elements that comprise a seascape

Skyscape Series

Eager to paint that virtuoso sky for your landscape?  These cloud studies will get you primed to handle any challenge in the sky, with exercises for practicing the forms, color variations, textures, and patterns that clouds can take.
63 views
Eager to paint that virtuoso sky for your landscape?  These cloud studies will get you primed to handle any challenge in the sky, with exercises for practicing the forms, color variations, textures, and patterns that clouds can take.
45 views
Learn how to build the soft, subtle puffy forms of cumulous clouds through this start to finish demo of beautifully lit clouds at sunset. Judging values, layering, temperature shifts and edge control all covered.
35 views
Learn how to build the soft, subtle puffy forms of cumulous clouds through this start to finish demo of beautifully lit clouds at sunset. Judging values, layering, temperature shifts and edge control all covered.
24 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Skyscape Series
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting clouds and sky elements

Water in the Landscape Series

Learn to paint rippling water in this start-to-finish demo by recognizing the complex visual patterns and how to simplify them
84 views
Learn to paint rippling water in this start-to-finish demo by recognizing the complex visual patterns and how to simplify them
60 views
Learn to make sense of what you’re seeing in water reflections, and paint them effectively in this start to finish demo - part 1
59 views
Learn to make sense of what you’re seeing in water reflections, and paint them effectively in this start to finish demo - part 2
51 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Painting Water: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting water

Figures in the Landscape

Adding figures to your landscapes creates liveliness and focus. Use these exercises and tips to incorporate figures more accurately and convincingly into to your landscapes.
22 views
Adding figures to your landscapes creates liveliness and focus. Use these exercises and tips to incorporate figures more accurately and convincingly into to your landscapes.
20 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith
Painting Figures in the Landscape: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting figures in the landscape

Winter Landscape Series

A serene winter sky creates a dramatic backdrop for a stand of winter trees. Make your well-designed sky the star of the show
21 views
A serene winter sky creates a dramatic backdrop for a stand of winter trees. Make your well-designed sky the star of the show
16 views
Paint a snowy riverbank by understanding light, shadow, and plane shifts in the scene. Learn to judge snow value and temperatures, and create ripples and reflections in a winter river
36 views
Paint a snowy riverbank by understanding light, shadow, and plane shifts in the scene. Learn to judge snow value and temperatures, and create ripples and reflections in a winter river
22 views
Paint a snowy riverbank by understanding light, shadow, and plane shifts in the scene. Learn to judge snow value and temperatures, and create ripples and reflections in a winter river
17 views
What to do with those snowy but nearly colorless photo references? This demo shows how to convey depth and color to create an atmospheric and moody snow scene.
18 views
What to do with those snowy but nearly colorless photo references? This demo shows how to convey depth and color to create an atmospheric and moody snow scene.
13 views
Learn to create a complex forest scene with a simple design and accurate values. By finding the bigger shapes and implying the detail, Jeanne creates the forest
28 views
Learn to create a complex forest scene with a simple design and accurate values. By finding the bigger shapes and implying the detail, Jeanne creates the forest
21 views

Jeanne Rosier Smith Winter Landscape: Pastel lessons tips and techniques
These demos offer in-depth, targeted instruction focused on painting winter scenes

Epiphany Fine Art