About Deborah Secor
I’m a Christian, a Jesus follower. He gave His life away for the greatest reason possible: so everyone could understand that we can have eternal life. As a follower, I give my life away freely, too, though not like He did (since I’m obviously not God.) My firm belief is that…God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners….For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
I began my art career in 1979 with a BA in Fine Arts from California State College, Bakersfield, and soon after began showing my landscapes in Old Town, Albuquerque. I permanently relocated to New Mexico in 1981, launching out to do art fairs and exhibitions, and showing my work in galleries throughout the southwest.
My choice to limit my work to soft pastels led to workshops with international pastelist Albert Handell, who became a mentor to me for some seven years, during which time I inaugurated The Pastel Society of New Mexico, as well as beginning to teach adult students how to paint landscapes in pastels.
In 1999 when two friends, formerly students of mine, decided to produce a magazine, The Pastel Journal, I joined the team as a writer, and continue to write for the current parent company, F+W Media. My articles and interviews may be seen there and in The Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Artist, as well.
My paintings have been selected for inclusion in several books devoted to the pastel medium: The Pastel Painter’s Solution Book; Pure Color: The Best of Pastel; Painting With Pastels, by Maggie Price.
Look for my free online book, published in blog form, Landscape Paintings in Pastel.
I have two video workshops available on DVD or streaming at Artists Network TV: Get Started in Pastels: Deborah Secor Paints the Landscape, and Painting Outdoor Shadows in Pastel with Deborah Secor.
Now I work almost entirely in gouache. I’m intrigued with this versatile and forgiving medium. Join us at WetCanvas in the monthly Gouache Corner thread found in the Watercolor Studio for more examples, information, details and fun!
Visit Deborah’s Websites:
Step by Step Demo Gouache Painting Demonstrations
I’ve had requests to include a page showing my process step by step for people who want to start in gouache but just aren’t quite sure how to go about it. Check out the link to Paint, Paper and Brushes (above) to get started.
Here is my newest step-by-step demo, North 14, painted on white Pastelmat. As you will see in the next demo (Spring, below) this paper allows me to use washes easily, but can hold fine details, too.
Blue washes, light and darker.
One color layer in place. You can see how the flowers are painted wet-in-wet.
More flowers, and some grassy details, as well as on the hills. The white cloud is painted in, too.
Last highlights on the flowers; softened the cloud edges.
Spring was done on white Pastelmat paper, which is quite absorbent and holds water for a long time. It means I can use washy techniques at first, then let it dry and build up more detail, painting over dried paint.
I usually start with the sky. It’s easier to work top to bottom.
You can see the washy effect that I’ve used in the grasses, giving a lot of color to it.
Then I added ‘gray’, a color derived from using mixtures of the colors on the palette in use already.
I continued to develop the grays using a dry brush on the mountains, and started adding more to the trees.
I darkened and blued the mid-ground, shaped the clouds, and began dashing in the lights in the foreground.
In this finished image you can see that I added some small details in the middle distance, and developed the grasses and flowering weeds in the foreground, as well as completing the trees. I added some light to complete the mountains.
The next one, Curve, is on Bristol paper, much smoother and with no texture to speak of at all. It’s hard and doesn’t absorb water, so it’s a great contrast to the first one.
Again, beginning at the top I painted in blocks of loose, washy color.
For some subjects it’s necessary to paint from the back to the front. The water needed to be established before the rocks.
I began to develop the sky and the details on the distant hillside, as well as working on the trees and establishing the rocks.
To finish I added color into the rocks and detailed the moving water in shadow, along with detailing the nearer trees.