Portraits workshop at The ACT

Canadian master of pastels Roberta Combs will be hosting a portrait workshop at the ACT.

Learn to do portraits in pastels at two-day workshop.

Learn to do portraits in pastels at two-day workshop.

Canadian master of pastels Roberta Combs will be hosting a portrait workshop at the ACT.

Combs, a Pitt Meadows resident, is the only Canadian master in the Pastel Society of America, the oldest of its kind in the U.S.

She is also a master pastelist with the Pastel Artists of Canada and has been awarded senior signature status in the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Northwest Pastel Society.

Her work has been shown at the Butler Institute of American Art, the American Art Company, the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery, the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery and the National Arts Club Gallery.

This year, she is also showing her work at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York City, one of the oldest art organizations in America.

Combs didn’t always work with pastels. She started at the Garibaldi Art Club painting with water colours. She only started painting with pastels nine years ago.

“They look absolutely delicious,” Combs said of pastels.

“And you get a vibrant, lively colour with great values that looks velvety and rich right away.”

Combs said portraits are difficult to do in pastels simply because the human face is so familiar, yet each is like finger print – all different.

Those wanting to become better portrait artists must not settle for less than they want to achieve with their work, she added, and that painters must stand back, examine their work and be able to say, ‘I need to do more.’

“That’s what I’m hoping for is to make people use that mindset, that good enough is not good enough, we’re going to do better,” she stressed.

Combs doesn’t just focus on portraits. She paints realistically whether it be a still life or landscape.

She said another mistake artists make is that they are not confident enough applying colour to their work.

However, pastels eliminate that because the colours are so vibrant.

“You really find yourself creating paintings with so much more presence and life in them than you may have previously done.”

Combs is hoping her workshop will show artists how to approach portrait painting confidently and how to be able to assess their work in a more critical way.

“I want this to be an enjoyable experience,” Combs said.

“Pastels are always fun. If you paint with acrylics, sorry acrylic painters, but honestly, that’s work and people struggle with it. But with pastels it is just fun.”

• The two-day workshop is being offered by the Garibaldi Art Club from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 18 and 25 at the ACT, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge.

The fee is $130 for both days payable to the Garibaldi Art Club.

To register for the workshop, contact Lea Sevcov at 604-459-3447 or lsevcov@icloud.com.