$340 – $375

Pastels and Natural Light

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$340 Member Price / $375 Non-Member Price

Interested in becoming a member of PRNSA? Click Here!

This class will focus on observing different qualities of light and color in nature, and how they translate into painting. Reflected light in shadow, atmospheric color and light, time of day, as well as a breakdown of the behavior of light on water are some of the topics that will be discussed and demonstrated. Lectures and demonstrations in the field, as well as plenty of hands on time tackling these issues, will round out our weekend. Saturday night will be an indoor lecture on these issues with plenty of examples to help inspire and solidify these concepts. Critiques and discussions in the field will take place as we go.

Schedule for the weekend:

Friday evening: meet and greet, possible outside demo if weather allows, and introductory lecture that evening.
Saturday: Paint and demo outside, Lunch lecture, Afternoon outside painting. Potluck dinner and evening lecture
Sunday: Paint outside in morning, then return to lifeboat station for final critique.

Instructed by Bill Cone

-Accommodations included at Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, more info below.

-If you have any special circumstances or questions, please contact us at fieldinstitute@ptreyes.org.

Class Cancelation Policy

If a registered participant wishes to cancel their enrollment and receive a refund, notification must be received at least 14 days in advance of the class date. No refunds will be issued for enrollment cancellations made less than 14 days in advance of the class date. Class enrollment fees are non-transferable. PNRSA Field Institute classes are generally run rain or shine, though will follow National Park Service weather and road advisories to ensure that classes only run in safe conditions. In the event that the PRNSA Field Institute cancels a class for any reason, participants will receive a full refund of class fees.

Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock

Lifeboat Station

The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark overlooking beautiful Drakes Bay. It is the last remaining example of a rail-launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast. Located at Chimney Rock, the Lifeboat Station was built in 1927 by the U.S. Coast Guard and contains the crew’s quarters, a large boat bay, and a marine railway system for launching a 36-foot life boat.

The ground floor houses the boat bay museum where a renovated motor boat is located.

The area around the Lifeboat Station is used by the Marine Mammal Center as a release site for rehabilitated wildlife. While staying here some classes are unexpectedly treated to the release of an otter or harbor seal.


  • Ample working / studio space
  • Large second floor reading / meeting room overlooking Drakes Bay
  • Seven bedrooms accommodating 24 individuals, bunk style sleeping
  • Fully-equipped kitchen with large fridge, large freezer, and commercial range/over
  • Two large multi person bath/shower rooms
  • Central heat
  • Projector

What to Bring:

Personal Gear

  • Warm, variable-weather, layered clothing (waterproof windbreaker or rain jacket, hat, gloves)
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Daypack
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • WARM sleeping bag and pillow (linens not provided for bunkbeds, camp-style mattress only)
  • Extra sleeping pad for comfort (optional, but the provided mattress is fairly thin)
  • Ear plugs (to avoid distraction while writing and in case of snorers/elephant seals)
  • Personal toiletries (shampoo, soap, bath towel, etc.)
  • Insect repellant
  • Headlamp or flashlight

A full service kitchen is provided. Please bring all meals and snacks. The nearest stores and restaurants are 20 miles away over country roads, so you will need to be self-sufficient. By tradition, Saturday night is pot-luck with everyone sharing food. So be sure to bring a dish to share for Saturday dinner, as well as food for yourself.

Art Supplies

These are provisional recommendations. If you have a setup, size and materials you are already comfortable working with in the field, then you are welcome to use that.

• Pastels: I primarily use Terry Ludwig and Blue Earth Pastels, though other soft pastels, such as Sennelier, Unison and Schmincke all work fine. A medium size (60 colors) landscape set will do the job.

• Canson paper: I recommend a few light and medium values, such as Flannel, Pearl, Dawn Pink and Tobacco cut into 9x12 sheets or smaller. Different weather, subject, and time of day can affect your choice. It is good to have options.

• Foam core sheet cut to a little larger than 9x12 to use as a backing board for your work.

• 4 small binder clips and/or masking tape to attach drawing paper to foam core.

• Small sketchbook, 5.5x8.5 for thumbnail sketches and notes.

• Storage for finished artwork: A small tracing pad (11x14) will work fine to temporally store your work when outside. You can also make a simple ‘pad’ of glassine paper and cardboard to store your work. Please see my blog post for pictures and examples of my setup: http://billcone.blogspot.com/2015/02/gear-update.html

• Field easel: I currently use a Heilmann ‘backpacker’ pastel box mounted on a Gitzo tripod. As long as you have something stable and portable, you’ll be fine.

• Umbrella is highly recommended to control the lighting environment you’ll be working in, though a strong wind may render them impractical. I use the BestBrella, and it has worked very well for me.

• Portable stool (optional) you can stand or sit on the ground.

• Camera, useful for documenting light change before and after you start a piece, and to get reference for work you may want to complete in the studio.

Interested in becoming a class facilitator to assist PRNSA Field Institute courses or becoming a volunteer for PRNSA? Click Here!

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