CAP features “Illuminating Elements” Artists’ Conversation and Demonstration

By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

The CAP Gallery did something a little different at its recent Artists’ Conversation for its current exhibition, “Illuminating Elements”. Four artists – Mary Aslin, Leslie Bonanni, Gil Dellinger, and Marie Tippets – participated in a hands-on demonstration of pastel painting.

Aslin and Bonanni provided the materials for attendees to experience the feel physically of pastels on paper. Dellinger worked on a new piece while discussing techniques he used to achieve different effects in his work. 

Tippets walked around the exhibit with visitors, answering questions and explaining her process of working in the medium. She also provided the interesting back stories to some of her works.

CAP features wall

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Artist Mary Tippets and visitor discussing her work at The CAP Gallery 

Aslin works with stick pastel, the type you draw and apply to the pastel ground in a manner similar to working with charcoal or crayons. She explained how colors can be blended directly on the paper, creating highlights and details with fine points or covering a large area using the side of the pastel stick. Aslin will also add layers to build color and depth of color in her works.

Bonanni works with pan pastels. These come in round disk-shaped containers, looking similar to pancake make-up you find in cosmetic department, but in a much wider array of colors. Pan pastels are applied and moved around on the paper with various sponges, erasers, pads, and palette tools. It is applied in light strokes and thin layers, building up layer by layer. A very moody and abstract effect can be accomplished with this method of pastel painting. Delicate details can be added with tips of sponges and dots of color.

Something I found interesting was the artists’ staging of their palettes.
Aslin has two sections, with three smaller sections in each large section, on her French easel and has the colours in general groupings: lights, yellow/oranges, reds, greens, blues, and purples.

Bonanni pulls the color pans she needs for a particular work and goes from there: a minimum of three and maybe up to five. She blends as she goes along, creating a mood then decides what detail may be need.

CAP features Bonanni

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Leslie Bonanni (right) explaining her technique

Dellinger’s is a very organized palette. Colors are grouped by family and then by values, making it easy to know where any color is when he needs it. He works on a dark support preferring it to a light color, as it gets his darks and shadows set and he can then concentrate on the lights and highlights. “I still enjoy creating art after 50 years of doing it every day,” Gill remarked while he worked.

There is quite a bit of knowledge among these four artists, coming from their years of working in the medium of pastel, teaching, exhibiting, and winning awards. They have all been exhibitors at the Festival of Arts. They were all very willing to share it and their passion for art with all who came to enjoy this event.

If you missed this event, you will have a chance to come to a second event on Saturday, Jan 11, 2020, from 12 to 1 p.m. Lesli Bonanni, Gil Dellinger, and Marie Tippets will again be on hand to share knowledge and give you a chance to experience the medium of pastel. Mark your calendar and keep an eye out for more details.

There is Art to see at The CAP Gallery!

Visit for information about ongoing or upcoming exhibits at The CAP Gallery, to be on the email list, or to become a member and supporter of CAP. CAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by the member supporters, the Festival of Arts Foundation the lodging establishments, and the City of Laguna Beach.

CAP’s mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of Art and serve as a catalyst for art education. Ongoing exhibitions can be enjoyed at The CAP Gallery, in the unique Rotunda Gallery space located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Ave.