Catherine Inglis, a member of the Society of Women Artists, gave a demonstration to Keighley Art Group.

She used to live between Keighley and Skipton and worked at Airedale Hospital until 2000. Her father used to be a member of Keighley Art Group.

Cath now lives near York and does workshops in her studio, catering for all abilities.

She works predominantly in pastels and specialises in commission work for portraits. Her subject when she visited us was an eagle owl.

Before the demonstration, Cath had gridded her picture to get the scale, then outlined her subject in pastel pencils on 800p grade sanded paper because this holds pastel better.

She showed it was best to start the outline shape freehand, to paint in the negatives, then work around the subject looking continually at the shapes within.

She started with Conte pastels, which are very hard and are good for the first layer. Using the side of the pastel, Cath introduced tonal values. She then used black on the beak followed by purple and blue, using burnt sienna in light sweeping strokes. She painted on the feathers following the same direction as the eagle owl.

Cath then outlined the owl with dark green, yellow and light green to complete the background. She used the heel of her hand to push colour into the sandpaper.

Next the eye was completed. She started with the iris, using a rich red-brown to outline, then yellow and amber. She said it was possible to use a blender to concentrate the pastel in fine places.

Shadows and lights need to be coloured, for example purples and blues not greys, because grey gives the portrait a dull, flat appearance. Temperatures are also important.

When the tonal work was complete, she changed from Conte pastels to Unison, which are softer. Using dark brown around the neck and feathers gives good shadows, and using the pastel on the flat edge gives a nice sharpened edge to aid finer lines.

Cath gave the group a few tips along the way. For example, she said that when putting lighter colour on top of dark you should use an old tea towel to continually clean the pastel.

Anyone interested in joining Keighley Art Group should contact Barbara Klempka on (01535) 669914.