Louise Corke

As a committed pastel artist and an acredited Master Pastellist with over 30 years experience with this medium, Louise still thrills at painting with soft pastel. It is as if pastels were made for her. Louise grew up in beautiful Christchurch NZ, spending endless hours in gardens and the stunning landscape of this country. This experience has shaped her world, almost indelibly etched within her being, and certainly is a huge player in her subject choices today.

As a child she existed in her own world, lost in thoughts, playing with colour, drawing on furniture, walls, and my school books.

Being a hands on person Louse delved into craft, music, clay and many art mediums, then eventually soft pastel. Louise was overjoyed to receive a scholarship to study pastels in New York, before studying in Europe. Over the years she have played an extremely active role within the Pastel Society of Australia Inc, this service included the role of President for an extended season.

Louise is passionate about her art and love to share the joy she has discovered by immersing herself in this world of expression. As a teacher by profession Louise has found it pure delight to unfold the delicate intriacies of this medium to those wishing to learn. Louise has organized and taught numerousl International plein air workshops throughout Europe, including the UK as well as workshops throughout Australia. Her studio is a place where folk can visit and learn the craft of the pastel medium. Teaching is interspersed with exhibitions and other events.

The landscape is a place where Louise can communicate with nature, exploring the elements but most of all interpreting my emotional responses into visual format to share her discoveries with others. Studying the laws of nature empowers Louise to understand what is happening, thus adding to her visual stories. There is something so wonderful about actually seeing nature’s gradations, of seeing the veils of atmosphere between Louise and her sujbect, to actively thrill at the intersection points of the landscape elements and to feel the fullness of pure honesty of nature in any season. She longs for the landscape to talk with her to share its secrets and for it to be blessed due to her being within that space.

Discovering Soft Pastels with Louise Corke ~ Beginners to Advanced

A workshop designed to take you step by step through the process of discovering, exploring, and using soft pastels.

You will be taken on a journey that will incorporate:

  1. How to manipulate colour to create variations within a colour family even though you may only have a small selection from which to work.
  2. The many ways that pastel can be applied to a surface. Learning a myriad of ways to apply soft pastels is akin to having multiple recipes from which to draw inspiration. Learn how to determine which technique to employ where.
  3. Types of soft pastels and pastel suitable surfaces. But more importantly how the choices you make here will assist you to achieve your desired result.
  4. Tools that may prove useful when working with soft pastels.
  5. Inspiration from the Masters, looking at those who have gone before us.
  6. Practical exercises and studies. Many of these will be small artworks.
  7. Completion of a carefully considered artwork.

You will not be expected to emulate Louises style, but rather you will be encouraged to have your own voice and style to express. Anything from abstract to realism will work well in soft pastel. The subject matter will remain your choice.

There will be lots of information shared, but more importantly there will be even more experimenting and creating by you!

Create colour studies, technique studies, and a favourite ‘something’ of which to be super proud.

Recommended Materials

Louise has arranged for some pastel products to be contributed from a reputable supplier to supplement your own materials. These will be a bonus for you to keep.

Note: Oil Pastels are a completely different medium to soft pastels, so please don’t bring these along.

We call pastel, Soft Pastels, to differentiate between oil pastels and soft pastels.


Pastel Paper

  • Art Spectrum (AS) Pastel Paper Original – 1 sheet each of Soft Umber and Black A3 size (about $5 per sheet)
  • Art Spectrum (AS) Pastel Paper Smooth – 1 sheet of White or Clear A3 size (about $5 per sheet)
  • Canson Mi Teintes Pastel Paper – A4 (Approx) pad of 20 sheets in grey tones (about $20 for the pad)

Soft Pastels

  • A basic set of pastels. It is very important that they be “Artist quality” and NOT “Artist Pastels” There is a huge difference here.
  • Recommended brands would be any of the following: Rembrandt, Art Spectrum, Prisma Colour, Unison, Holbein, Sennelier. The brands in bold text are very soft and creamy. The others are somewhat firmer. Ideally have a mix of brands, but this is not essential.
  • Either buy a beginners set or purchase individual sticks. If buying individual sticks, Louise would advise that you purchase at least the following colours in their most vibrant (brightly coloured) form:yellow,orange, red, violet, blue and green. Add in white and black. If your budget allows, buy 2 versions of each of these colour families i.e. 2 different types of yellow that are both vibrant etc. You will learn how to mix colour, but we must have the vibrant versions of each colour family to achieve this.


  • Additional colours could include both a dark and light version of each colour family and perhaps a dull version of each colour family. A variety of greys could also prove useful.


  • Louise has found helpful. Do note that Louise receives no commissions from these businesses:

Check out these sites for their prices. They will post to you.

www.softpastels.com.au     many brands of pastel from which to choose, they sell in sets and by the individual stick of pastel. They also stock the Canson Mi Teintes paper pad in the grey tones.

www.musgraveart.com.au   they sell the AS papers by the individual sheet.

(If you have pastel pencils bring them, however these are optional)


  • You are welcome to bring props or photographs. The choice is yours.
  • For photos, please bring along a selection of A4 size photo references that are copyright free, or better still photos you have taken yourself. Make sure you can see the details clearly. A colour and a black and white version could be useful.
  • For the Colour studies photos need to be of a subject that is predominantly of one colour. You will require a photo for each colour family. Ideas could include, but is not limited to:
  • Yellow – could be lemons, on a yellow cloth.
  • Green – a sprig of green leaves.
  • Blue – a blue flowerpot.
  • Violet – a glass bottle or cushion cover.
  • Red – a red cup and saucer.
  • Orange – an orange in an orange bowl.
  • White – White flower, or white crockery etc.
  • Instead of photos, props of each of these could be brought along. If you choose this option, perhaps bring along a cordless lamp so some interesting shadows can be created.
  • For the Application techniques exercises have a photo of an egg or bring along an egg (boiled preferably), a simple photo of some shrubs and grass, a simple photo of an animal.
  • For the larger artwork up to A3 in size bring a photo of something you would like to draw in pastel – we shall be using a drawing technique for this piece. Don’t be too ambitious here. Choose something you believe you could achieve. It is better that you learn a technique that you can then apply to something more complicated later.



Reserve Your SPOT

Saturday 25th - Monday 27th May 2024

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