April | Exploring Pastels | Neil Condron


April | Exploring Pastels | Neil Condron


Sat/Sun - 7th/8th - April - 2018

10am - 4pm

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Don’t be put off by my pensive ‘just opened the bank statement‘ expression I assure you this will be a ‘stress-free’ weekend looking at this very versatile medium. We will look at a variety of pastel techniques and then tackle a personal project to explore the opportunities that using soft pastels presents. All levels of experience will be catered for.

A list of required materials (very affordable) will be issued in advance to students who have registered for the workshop.


Materials list:

  • Bring a really good quality reference of what you'd like to paint (3D or photographic); scenic, portrait, still life etc. Pastels are chunky so keep the reference large and simple. You'll be working around 30x40cm. Time is limited so don't be too ambitious!
  • A stick or two of charcoal, soft and hard pastels and pastel pencils (not regular colour pencils). Don't spend a fortune on quality pastels if you are just starting. I will have plenty of pastels at hand.
  • I recommend Sennelier pastel board or a 'sanded' paper/board A3 size or bigger. I will be providing some pastel material so don't panic if you don't have any.
  • Bull-clip/masking tape.
  • A stiff old brush (to brush off unwanted pastel strokes)
  • Tracing paper - frowned upon by 'purists' but can come in handy.
  • Pastel fixative (optional) some artists use hairspray. I avoid both, however it can make life easier sometimes. Fixative applied outdoors only!
  • A dust mask if you are sensitive to chalk dust.
  • Wet wipes (pastels are dusty and dirty)
  • Paper towels.
  • An old chunky hand towel.
  • Fingers and thumbs to blend and smudge with - the fun part! (I'll bring along some DIY 'smudgers' too)
  • A friendly disposition and an adventurous spirit - mandatory!

We will supply easels and boards.



Following a 35 year in the graphic design industry Neil decided to follow ‘his dream’ and pursue his love of painting in 2008. Neil considers himself a ‘mature’ student of ”Galleries, Google, YouTube and anywhere else I can study how other artists do it – graduating anytime soon is unlikely!”.

Neil’s evocative painting ‘upon small shoulders‘ was bought by singer/songwriter Sinéad O’Connor and used as the image for her current album ‘How about I be me and you be you’. He enjoys painting in oils and pastels and digging his hands in clay. His forté is portraiture.

Neil is the founder/director of the Schoolhouse for Art.


“I did the pastel workshop with Neil recently and had a really enjoyable day. We learned a lot in a very relaxed way, it was a lovely atmosphere and I would highly recommend it – a de-stress day and I will definitely be back! ”

— Caroline Flood

“What a great day … Neil had a lovely way of teaching and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. great setting…therapy for the soul! so much so I have just booked another workshop”

— Margaret Joyce