Artists Magazine


Diana De Santis


Connie III pastel on board, 30x22

The unassuming manner, serenity of expression and everyday look of the model Connie incited me to paint her, resulting in Connie III. She posed for me more than once, and because she wasn’t sitting in a chair, getting her to resume the same position was a bit of a challenge. To solve the problem, I used masking tape to mark the floor around Connie’s feet, which allowed her to more easily find her previous position after a break.

My favorite part of the process is capturing a model’s expression. ... Viewers look at the painting and take the expression with them. —DIANA DE SANTIS

I like to paint on sanded board, which I prepare myself so it will hold more pastel. I do a simple sketch with vine charcoal and then add layers of pastel until the painting is rich in color. I never use fixative—not during the painting process nor afterward on the finished work—because it changes the colors. When a painting is finished, I either tape a foam board over it (it travels very well like this), or I frame it. I don’t use spacers for framing as I’ve found I have the most success putting the picture glass directly on the painting. If the painting needs reframing, it doesn’t present a problem.

I love painting people, and my favorite part of the process is capturing a model’s expression. A painting must say something; it must tell a story. Viewers look at the painting and take the expression with them.


I’m a graduate of the Parsons School of Design and also attended Traphagen School of Design, but I didn’t paint seriously until after my four children were grown. In 1989, at the age of 62, I started attending the Art Students League of New York, where I studied under David Leffel and Harvey Dinnerstein. Since then I’ve exhibited my work worldwide and won many awards. Now in my 90s, I’m still painting.

Helen K. Beacham


The Guardians watercolor on paper, 22x22

Although I live near Charleston now, my hometown is Montreal, Canada, and I periodically take plein air students back there for workshops. I took them to Le Mount Stephen, a five-star boutique hotel, which began as the exclusive Mount Stephen Club in 1880. As we stood inside the foyer, I turned to the front door and was struck by the juxtaposition of the stained glass on the left and the light bending around the doorman on the right. I instinctively snapped a photograph. I asked him to pose for a few more shots, but it was the initial picture that made it into my painting.

Before I begin a painting, I envision what I want the finished piece to look like, and then I figure out which strategy—glazing or painting directly, going for a textured or smoother look, altering or maintaining colors

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