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A Week with Albert Handell
in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

by Cindy Salaski

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cuyahoga Falls Octoberfest

It was a warm, sunny day so my family and I decided to go to the Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest.  There were plenty of food stands, and the aroma of corned beef and sauerkraut filled the air.  A little girl twirled around, dancing among the spectators as they watched a lively brass band perform, and right in the middle of it all stood the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center

We went into the art center to look at the paintings, and while studying a framed watercolor portrait, I turned my head and saw a man setting a French easel down on a table.  “Oh, my gosh,” I thought to myself, “That’s Albert Handell.”

I walked over and introduced myself to Mr. Handell.  We had talked on the phone back in February regarding permission to use his paintings and background information in the Top Ten Pastel Masters of Today on artmatch4U.

Albert told me he was here for a 5-day workshop.  He had 17 students attending and the workshop was to begin on Monday morning. Just two days from today.  Could I be ready that soon?  Me, the perfectionist who needs two weeks to decide what photo reference I should use for my next painting?  Could I be ready that soon? No, but I was not about to miss the opportunity to learn from
the greatest pastel Master in the world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Orientation was held at 4:30 PM. Albert went over the weekly schedule with us. His plans included painting demonstrations every morning at 9:30 AM, afternoon plein air painting sessions Monday through Thursday with critiques of students' paintings at 4:15 PM, and a slideshow presentation of his paintings on Friday afternoon.

Demonstrating on Wallis pastel paper, Mr Handell then showed us how there are no edges when values match, how to erase with color, and how to change value
by varying your pressure on the pastel stick.

Pictured below is Albert Handell's large Heilman Pastel Box.

Handell's large Heilman Pastel Box

When the meeting was over, Albert and some of the students had dinner
at the Firehouse Grill, a restaurant and bar within a short walking distance
from the art center.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The first day of the workshop Albert created a pastel painting of two trees. His pastels include a mixture of NuPastel, Sennelier, Schminche and Unison. Two of his favorite working surfaces are Wallis Pastel Paper in either White or
Belgium Mist, and UArt Pastel Paper.

Albert Handell painting tree

Mr. Handell explaining how he always moves from left to right,
and works from dark to light and cool to warm.

Albert Handell

"One mark can make everything flow together beautifully," Handell said.

Albert Handell

Albert used four reference photos to create this pastel painting.

Handell Pastel Painting

The Finished Painting

Upon close inspection we see the magic of Handell's masterful strokes.

Plein Air Painting in Cuyahoga Falls

Plein air painting at the falls behind the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.

Albert Handell critiquing a student's painting

Albert critiquing students' paintings. Of the 18 students in attendance, 15 painted with pastels, and three painted using oil paint.

Click here for the Second Day of Albert Handell's 5-Day Workshop

More about Albert Handell

List of Top Ten Pastel Masters of Today