Meet Marla

Meet The Inspiring Pastelist Who Created

Marla is an incredibly talented fine artist who works with galleries throughout the US. Every year she travels the globe teaching workshops, speaking at art events to inspire other painters. Last year she launched a new website to the public with the purpose of helping thousands of struggling artists to succeed.

“Pastel painting has been one of my life's greatest pleasures. After more than twenty years of exploring this remarkable medium, I’m still fascinated by it.  Most of the pastels that I use are hand rolled by artisan makers. My pastel paintings are created on archival sanded paper made specifically for grabbing onto those small particles of pigment that make a pastel so luminous! I hope is to share my love of pastels with you and help you find voice as an artist.” 

-Marla Baggetta

Copyright © 2018 · Pastel Painting Lessons and Marla Baggetta. All Rights Reserved.

11575 SW Pacific Hwy Tigard, OR 97223 USA | Phone Number: (503) 217-2780 | Email Support

Light & Shadow


Light & Shadow: Tackle the fundamentals and nuances of this elusive, dynamic subject.

This workshop is probably the most advanced that I’ve developed thus far and will provide you with technical information to help you create compelling and emotive art depicting any subject that inspires you. 

The principles presented apply to everything in visible light. When we’re attracted to a subject, it’s usually not the actual “thing” itself, but the way the light falls on it that is inspiring to us. When light works its magic, creating mysterious shadows, sparkling iridescent highlights and nuanced reflected lights, even the most mundane scene can be transformed into one of infinite beauty. 

Personally, I’d much rather paint the way the light dances between some blades of grass than a grandiose mountain range. That’s why I’m always saying that it doesn’t matter what we are painting, whether it’s a lush landscape or a roll of paper towels, it can make a successful, beautiful painting. Mastering the principles presented will literally open up a new world for you where your skills and ideas can meet! I hope you’ll join us

How Does It Work?

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Step 1. Review the materials list & read through the assignments so you get a general idea of what you'll be accomplishing. Gather your materials, read the instructions for the first assignment. Watch the introduction video and first assignment video.

Step 2. Complete the assignments at your own pace. The workshop is designed to be completed within 4 weeks, so we'll send you email reminders to get your assignments done. Use these lessons to create winning compositions, capture elusive patterns of light and shadow and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Step 3. 
Upload your work after you've completed each assignment. At the end of the workshop, I’ll select several pieces to review & critique in a live session. Join me live at the end of the workshop or watch the recording. Enjoy your progress and new-found confidence in painting light & shadows!

Study Video 1
The Form Principle

Our first order of business when studying light and shadow is to understand the form principle. When light strikes a solid object it, creates and orderly and predictable series of tones. Learning to identify them and place them in the proper relationship is the key to achieving a convincing depiction of form in a painting or drawing.

Study Video 2
The Properties of Light

In order to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface we need to see it simply. We need to have understanding the properties of light which include color, direction and strength.

Study Video 3
Color in Shadow

An important part of depicting light and shadow in a convincing way is to be able to paint the local color of an object that is partly in shadow and partly in light. In this video I’ll explain how to easily get these relationships right.

Study Video 4
Value Patterns

The first step in creating strong compositions with light and shadow is to start seeing your subject as a simplified pattern of lights and darks. Instead of thinking of your subject  as a group of things that can be named such as a tree or a house, try to begin thinking of your subject as elements that have a particular shape and a particular value.


    ● Your pastels
    ● Selection of Pastelmat and Colorfix paper
    ● Small set of watercolors
    ● An old bristle brush
    ● 2B monolith Pencil
    ● Viewfinder


    ● Plein Air easel set-up
    ● Paper towels

    ● Tape
    ● Sketchbook

Here's what other students think!

“Thank you very much for the great workshop [Trees in Pastel]!I am very happy with the progress I’ve made in the last months with both of your workshops.”

“After trying a few other online learning approaches to pastel painting, I was about to give up on pastels, thinking that I was not going to be able to learn how to use them. Marla’s 'PastelPaintingLessons' changed all that.

New York
“I must tell you, after your Making Your Mark workshop...I feel I am improving and I won the grand prize / first place in the professional division of the festival.  I was blown away.”

“I have had people telling me that they can see a huge improvement in my art in the past year and I have you to thank for that. I know I don't paint exactly like you (and I shouldn't) but you have influenced my style. When I signed up for the pastel lessons I told you that I needed someone to help me to the next level. Thanks for helping me.”


How do I get access to the workshop?

You get access to all the assignments in the workshop at once. You'll receive reminders of the assignments via email and you'll access the workshop in your secure member’s area on You need to log into the site to access the workshop. Lessons are accessible on iPads, tablets, computers, laptops and even phones with an internet connection.


Frequently Asked Questions




Do I need to meet at a certain time for the online workshop?

The workshop assignments are online accessible 24×7 – you can take the lessons any time you want.You are not required to complete the course in a specified amount of time.

What if I don’t complete an assignment– will I lose access to it at the end of the workshop?

You get lifetime access to the workshop.  Assignment reminders are sent via email but you can complete them at your own pace.

What is included each assignment?

The workshop PDF contains written instructions for the assignment and a materials list.  Individual assignments contain a paint-along demonstration from Marla and shorter supplemental videos to help with specific concepts in the assignment.

How long is each assignment?

Each step by step demo is usually about an hour long.

How much does the workshop cost?

It's $247 for the  5 week workshop with assignments, video demonstrations, handouts and a live review & critique session at the end.

Will you help me if I get stuck?

Sure, you can open a support ticket and we’ll help you right away. You can also call us at  (503) 217-2780. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll ask Marla and she’ll reply as quickly as she can.











How do I access my student account?

When purchasing, you'll set up a Student Account, which includes your:
  • Sign into the site where you'll be directed to your "My Lessons".
  • Open the "My Lessons" menu and select "My Account".
  • Make any updates necessary and select "Update".

What do I do if I have problems with video or audio?

For video and audio playback issues, try these steps:
  • Check your internet connection, reset your internet connection if necessary.
  • Clear your cache.
  • Update your browser, or try another browser.

How do I post images once I've completed an assignment?

Share your work with other students by posting on the Workshop page. If you are having trouble:
  • Save your image file as a JPEG. Only JPEGS can be posted into the gallery.
  • Check the image size. If it's too large, it may have trouble posting. Keep your images smaller than 1000 px. on the longest side.

What are the technical requirements to participate in the workshop?

To participate in theworkshop, you need:
  • Internet access.
  • An email account.
  • Up-to-date internet browser
  • PDF reader and word-processing software.
  • Software to resize images for posting to the Community area (optional).

Browser Information

  • PC users - Internet Explorer 7 or 8 and Firefox 3.5 or 3.6 are recommended.
  • Mac users -Safari and Firefox are recommended.
  • We do not recommend using AOL’s built-in browser or any other Internet service provider’s proprietary browser, as certain functions may be restricted.
  • Video instruction from Marla Baggetta, a world-class instructor.
  • Community-led discussions boards
  • Printable resources for print and download.
  • Suggested assignments to develop your skills.











Transform your painting experience and improve your artistic expression by learning to see the world in terms of light and shadow.  

Join Marla in this video workshop to learn how to influence the mood of your paintings by using the properties of light. Create luminous shadows from your photo reference and open the door to a nuanced understanding of the properties of light such as direction, strength and color. You'll also follow along with me as I paint a landscape in pastel featuring a canopy of trees, a plein project, a figure in an interior and more. You'll see my techniques for layering pastels, blending colors, and working dark to light in pastel. Learn valuable pastel techniques in this workshop!

Features of this workshop include:

    ● Step-by-step demonstrations of how to capture qualities of light in pastel

    ● Methods for using the properties of light in your paintings to achieve a certain mood & colorful finished work

    ● Instruction for under-painting in pastel, establishing edges, and working in a painterly fashion

 I hope you can join us!

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Assignment 1
A Sunlit Path

I take you step by step and show you how to paint the path effectively. We need to get the value and colors in the correct relationship. Most photos will get the shadows too dark. If we try to paint them the same as in a photo they won't be luminous and will tend to look muddy.

Assignment 2
Backyard Plein Air

Plein air painting can be daunting so I highly recommend trying it out in a location that is comfortable and convenient. Your backyard or patio is the perfect place to start! I’ll take you step by step through the process of creating a successful plein air piece.

Assignment 3
Figurative Study

A watercolor under-painting is the structure that underlies this piece and allows for a more playful application of the pastel. I’ll take you through the simple steps I use to create this soft and moody portrayal of a figure.

Assignment 4
Masterwork - Inness

In this lesson, we’ll learn from the master of light and shadow, George Inness. This is an opportunity to study from one of the most influential American landscape painters.

Assignment 5
Capstone - Cityscape

Seeing a subject as simply as possible is key to painting even the most complex subject. In this lesson I’ll show you how to identify the overarching value pattern so that you can tackle anything you want to paint confidently!