creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization



Mike Bale

Reminiscing the Gesture:
Building the Figure from Color Masses in Soft Pastels

Instructed by Mike Bale

Sundays, 10am-1pm
May 23 - July 18

(no class July 4)

Registration Deadline: May 19, 2021


Since the 16th century, pastels have provided a meaningful bridge between drawing and painting. The medium’s simultaneous immediacy and impermanence – coupled with its preference for rendering via shapes and masses – promotes a unique type of problem-solving to our visual questions. By broadening our knowledge of the material’s characteristics and retraining our visual memory to emphasize blocks of color and value, we can dramatically increase the visual vocabulary we need to speak more genuinely and fluently about the world we observe.

This class will cover the following topics:

  • developing color /value masses to represent structures and gestures within the image
  • constructing form and space from gestural mass
  • identifying the diverse marks and characteristics that accompany various grades of softness and brands of pastel
  • deepening the understand of the malleability and impermanence of the material
  • broadening awareness of pastel’s application to cultivate more intuitive visual dialogs, which informs the artist’s problem solving.


Tuition: $325

Class Size:
Minimum: 4
Maximum: 12

Materials List:

  • Newsprint pad
  • 8 sheets of Rives BFK 22x30 or Arches oil paper 22x30
  • NuPastels (various values and colors, preferible a few darker) minimum of 4 suggested colors:
    • (Burnt Sienna, Cad Yellow Deep, Sepia, Cordovan, Indigo Blue)
  • Rembrandt Pastels (various values and colors preferably a few lighter) minimum of 4 suggested:
    • (Olive Green, Light Yellow, Permanent Red Light, Ultramarine Light, Grey)
  • Great American or Sennelier Pastels (Various values and colors, light and dark) minimum of 3 suggested:
    • (Dead Leaf Green, Coral Red, Orange Lead, White, Purplish Blue Grey)
  • Chamois
  • Pink Eraser
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Hard Vine Charcoal


Level of Study: This class is suggested for individuals with some observational drawing experience, but knowledge of pastels is not expected. Specific use of the medium will be explained and demonstrated step-by-step. Participants will have many opportunities to test out new techniques and tools, and receive feedback in a supportive classroom environment.

LOCATION: Unless otherwise specified, all courses are hosted at Manifest's Drawing Center Studios in Walnut Hills at 656 E. McMillan St. (second floor) (see map and directions below). Manifest's new studio facility provides two studio classrooms, private lesson space, a darkroom, film processing room, and a multi-purpose lecture and class meeting space all totaling over 4000 square-feet. The studios are outfitted with professional equipment, furniture, and study aids.


Map to Manifest's Walnut Hills Studios   |   Studio Calendar   |   Darkroom Calendar


Mike Bale


Mike Bale




About the instructor:

Mike Bale is an artist living and producing work in Newport Kentucky. He received his BFA from Northern Kentucky University. After a Residency in Tetouan, Morocco, he continued to attend open sessions at the New York Studio School, Art Students League of New York, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Mike went on to instruct both private and Manifest-affiliated courses in drawing and painting.

His work examines the poetics of observation and spatial construction through figurative narrative paintings. His aim is to compose a reality found only in the painted language. One that diverges from observed reality, but upholds the same sensations and intensity. His influences can be traced back to art history, classic cinema, and social anthropology.


  Season Funder:

Manifest's 17th season is funded in part by a grant from the Charles Moerlein Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. This season's programming is also supported by the generosity of tens of thousands of contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign, by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous direct contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri 12-7pm, sat noon-5pm
(or by appointment)
view calendar

closed Sun and Mon

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gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map
656 E. McMillan St.
cincinnati, ohio 45206



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