Open Air Pastel Workshop with Dean Tatam Reeves



Come and enjoy a day of pastel in the open air at the stunning Leighton Art Centre!

This pastel workshop is suitable for those new to the medium or it may serve as a refresher for anyone with more experience. Our aim is to explore landscape subjects and the open sky with soft (chalk) pastels on paper. We will work at capturing fleeting, dramatic effects of light and atmosphere on the foothills landscape as it transitions to autumn around the Leighton Art Centre.

 Pastels can be used as a sketching medium and it has the added potential of creating descriptive, vibrant and expressive work with a painterly effect. We will try our hand at a variety of approaches so each participant will come away with ideas that suit their own individual style. Participants will have plenty of time for personal exploration supported by Dean’s friendly one-on-one assistance and guidance.

 The workshop will begin with a discussion about working with pastels in the field, choices of paper and several short demonstrations of techniques. As finished pastels on paper are fragile in nature we will also cover safe handling and storage of artwork and the use of spray fixative.

Audience: Level of experience recommended is Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

Supplies: Dean recommends:

Paper: a minimum of four sheets of paper suitable for pastel, such as Ingres “laid” paper that comes in sheets that are approximately 18 x 27”. You may choose a tinted paper that is light brown, grey, cream or reddish in colour. For the workshop these may be divided to halves and quarters. Alternatives: Canson Mi-teints paper (19 x 25”) or paper with a sanded, tinted surface specifically for pastel medium.

Painting supports: Minimum of two (up to four) sheets of white 3/16” white foam core board. If purchasing a 32 x 40” sheet this may be cut down for lightweight, portable sizes up to 18 x 24” (ie. 12 x 16”, 16 x 23”)

Stationery clips for holding pastel paper to support boards (a minimum quantity of 6)

Pastel List:

Soft or Chalk Pastels: a selection of loose individual pastels or else a boxed set. Higher quality pastels are preferred when available (i.e., Schmincke or Sennelier). The following colours should be included where possible:

White and off-white

Earth colours: including ochre, siena, deep brown

Greys: light, medium and dark grey

Blues: pale to medium shades of blue (cerulean and ultramarine); deep blue

Greens: light and medium yellowish green; light green; light blue-green

Yellows: pale yellow, light greenish yellow, warm yellow

Reds: pale, medium red

Violet: pale violet, pale pink, warm pink, deep purple

Drawing materials: Carbon pencils, conte sticks may be useful for preparatory sketches prior to applying pastels

Fixative: Spray fixative for pastels is highly recommended. There are several brands available that provide a non-yellowing protective coat to help prevent smudging of finished work. Please follow directions carefully when using spray fixative.

Don’t forget to include your lunch, water and dress for the weather!

Registration cost:  $120 + GST & Eventbrite Fees* 

* or register by phone: 403-931-3633, Mon-Sat, 10 am – 4 pm to avoid Eventbrite fees 

Did you know that Members of the Leighton Art Centre get 10% off the registration cost of all workshops and kids’ summer camps? Please visit

For our Cancellation and Refund Policy, please visit


Dean’s artwork is produced in the open air with painting and drawing mediums including pastel, watercolour, ink. Having lived in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge for the past two decades Dean’s work has mainly featured southern Alberta landscapes from the Cypress Hills to the Rocky Mountains. He has also developed a recent series of artwork produced during cross-Canada road trips. Dean has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta and has served in roles as an art educator, art administrator and curator. His has 40 years of experience offering workshops and classes throughout Alberta.