ABOUT two years ago a one-time member of Keighley Art Club brought in powder pastels which he allowed all members used to create a Cubism style of modern art.

Now we were to receive a demonstration by teacher/artist/writer Les Darlow on solid pan pastels. These allowed him to produce three paintings in less than two hours, along with presenting his biography, explanations and a break.

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that these were oil or watercolour paintings from the quality of the end products. The pan pastels were applied to white paper with dedicated sponges, and some limited mixed media such as alcohol-based blenders and Hard Unison pastel sticks.

Keighley Art Club member Peter Burrell took along the August “The Artist” magazine to our weeks meeting, which had a three-page article by Les.

A former musician, Les described how his approach to art changed dramatically after his sister bought him standard pastel sticks.

He then taught himself the intricacies of pan pastels and became prolific in their use.

It takes a great deal of practice in this medium, he stressed, to produce quality work. But Les finds pan pastels inspiring to such an extent that he appears at art shows and is in constant demand for workshops and demonstrations. He also uses YouTube and Facebook.

Les’s first first stage is to swiftly cover the paper with pale lemon own sponge. He showed how this can be a raised to bring back some white.

Stage two shows the transparency of pan pastels in two ways, by enabling the blending of two colours on the paper, and by the underpainting showing when required.

Les confirmed that no fixing is needed, and that much less dust hangs in the air than with standard pastel’s.

His paper is 50% cotton with similar qualities to watercolour paper. Brushes are not used, only specific sponges.

One grain of pan pastel is 10 times smaller than stick pastel with a small amount spreading further.

His set of paint is still being used after two years.

The colour is tested on the edge of the painting each time he dabs on a new colour.

Alcohol markers and unison pastels add finishing touches, with the latter being dragged to strengthen reflections.

The medium is good for quickly capturing passing clouds when working outside, said Les.

Soon after Les’s demonstration I attended Yorkshire Day at Bradford and District Senior Power, which meets in John Street.

Groups like this can introduce art by creating reminiscence collages or even a giant canvas for the meeting room, to aid well-being.

Email senior power@hotmail.co.uk for further information.

Keighley Art Club’s next three demonstrators are Richard Kristin on portrait production in oils (September 25), Bruce Mulcahy with gouache (October 23), and Jane Austin delivering a frosty winter scene in watercolour (November 27). All people are welcome and there will be a small charge.

A vast variety is on offer at the club with practical weekly work based on reference material brought by members. See our Facebook page for details, or call 01535 669914 in the mornings.