Les Darlow at Dalvaro Art Retreat Spain

Les Darlow

Artist, author, illustrator.

Born: UK





LES DARLOW, Pop star to Book Illustrator to Pastel Artist:

After leaving college as a qualified Illustrator, Les took a slight diverted career path, and joined a Rock band and became a pop star for a little while.
After realising he was not to become the next Duran Duran, he pursued a job in the Art and Illustration field managing to secure a position Illustrating a series of books “Hidden Places Series”

“My original paintings at this time in my career were very photo-realistic as my techniques had been formulated by the path I had taken. Often spending hundreds of man hours painting detail with single hair brushes, I found the task enjoyable, though stressful at times.”

See the complete text HERE

One Christmas, Les received some pastels which he had never used before as he believed they were more a childish medium such as a crayon:

“I was to be proved very wrong, and after completing my first pastel in less than 30 minutes, I was hooked, literally. I produced an incredible painting, which had many things I had never experienced before. It had three amazing things that I believe are key to making landscapes special, LIGHT, ENERGY and MOVEMENT. I was very lucky, because I was introduced to two very important things in pastel, good quality PAPER and good quality PASTELS”.


His style changed from that of photo realistic paintings to a loose and impressionistic style.

This new experience led Les into a new chapter in his artistic life concentrating on new elements in his work such as the composition, the light and tonal values:

“As an artist, certain things inspire me to create my paintings. I am fascinated by the weather, and this features heavily in my work, whether that is a beautiful sunset in summer, or a blizzard on the top of my favourite mountain. I have a rather unhealthy obsession with extreme weather and snowy conditions.
Once I have my inspiration, the painting comes effortlessly, with passion and expression”

One of Les’s favourite thing is to demonstrate pastels to groups:

“I find it very rewarding to be able to show people how good the papers I use are, and how they make such a huge difference to the finished results. I love to paint with my students, as we create wonderful works developing styles of painting.”

Les is an amazing demonstrator and tutor and has been invited to teach in America, Russia, Canada, and throughout the UK and Europe including France and Spain.

If you wish to learn more about him, please visit his website LesDarlow.com:

Les Darlow is a teacher and an artist working in pastels, who focuses on dramatic, often coastal skyscapes.
Prompted by a review of the Set of 64 Jackson’s Soft Square Pastels which he left on the Jackson’s site, we (Jacksonart) spoke to Les about the various types of soft pastel he uses in his work.

Hi Les. Would you be able to talk us through your artistic career? When did you start?

Les: For many years I worked in the Graphics Industry. I was trained as a Technical and Scientific Illustrator at Palatine College in Blackpool. I began teaching around 4 years ago when I was ‘let go’, so to speak, through redundancy. I thought about my next career move and decided to do what felt good and right. It was something I had always wanted to be – “a professional artist” – so this was my opportunity………..See the complete interview at jacksonart.com

See Les working in some videos:

In this first one you will see;

Step by step instruction the British artist Les Darlow will show you
how he builds up a pastel painting which focusses the light in a
snowy landscape and how he includes the paper surface into his painting.


“Fading Light” with Pastels – Les Darlow

In the second one you will see;

“Art Masterclass – 110”
How to paint a Snowy, Winter Landscape in Pastel by Les Darlow

In the third one you will see;

Cloudscape Painting Video: By Les Darlow