I like to emphasize the "non-negotiable" things...things that apply to good picture making in any style or medium (I've googled some of the participants work and they know their way around a stick of pastel).
To those already considerable skill sets I want to add plein air seeing skills, streamlined ergonomics and good composition. So....here are a few things to dwell on:
1. VALUE IS KING: There are a thousand books with titles to the effect: "Fill Your ________With Light", "Light in the _________" , etc. The one and only trick to getting a convincing sense of ANY lighting situation is getting the value relationships between major areas correct.
2. The trick to THAT is forming a simple habit: NEVER LOOK AT ANYTHING IN ISOLATION. Don't worry if that doesn't make sense yet. I'll be beating the concept like a rented mule during the workshop.
3. There is a hierarchy to "visual language". In descending order:
4. Color has a hierarchy too. Again, in descending order:
VALUE (see #1)
HUE BIAS ( the new and improved "warm and cool")
Again, if that doesn't make sense yet the demos will be geared to illustrate it.
Now...for some pastel-specific things:
1. UNWRAP YOU STICKS AND BREAK THEM INTO SHORTER PIECES if you haven't already
2. PRE-ORGANIZE YOUR BOX SO GREENS ARE WITH GREENS, BLUES WITH BLUES, NEUTRALS WITH NEUTRALS, ETC. Don't work with a box of "fruit salad". This one thing can double your painting speed, increase your color accuracy, decrease your frustration level...everything but tone your abs.
3. PASTEL MAKES 2 KINDS OF MARK:
Ragged lines of various width
Soft blurry areas of color
SEE A SUBJECT IN THOSE TERMS
4. No matter how big your selection is, you never have THE color. But...you CAN get THE RELATIONSHIP or very close to it (see #2, both of them) . This will get you the look of the light.