African Americans in Art…. Pastel Artist Sam Goodsell

Sam Goodsell had taken a break from art and started seriously painting his famous large scale pastel portraits back in 1994. He won a very prestigious award in 2002 from the Pastel Society of America.  He has a wonderful use of greys in his works and usually only works with one figure at a time with complimentary colors used for the greys. He really builds up the surface with his pastel. He thinks drawing the human figure is one of the toughest things to do on earth, but his passion is totally devoted to the study of the human figure.

The second painting on the top row won Sam Goodsell the award from the Pastel Society of America 2002, it is titled      Knowledge is Power.

Growing up in New York Sam was heavily inspired by a sister who went to Parsons School of Design and ended up working in the fashion industry. After going to an art school Sam decided to pursue his study of art at the Art Students League of New York, at the time highly realistic art wasn’t IN, but Sam knew he loved to paint the figure. Here he studied with big name artists who regularly appear in the national magazines such as Dan Gheno. Mr. Gheno has done several articles in American Artist Drawing Magazine regarding drawing the parts of the human body.

For my two cents you won’t do better than any video regarding drawing and the instructor Glenn Vilppu. This man has taught thousands of dedicated animation artists and if you are trying to learn what to exaggerate to get a better statement in your figures, Glenn is second to none as far as I am concerned. He takes the complicated shapes and breaks them down into simple forms for you to understand.

Along with Mr. Gheno Sam Goodsell also studied with Harvey Dinnerstein, this master artist led him to work mainly in pastels. Sam works exclusively on specially prepared museum board which he creates himself. Sam doesn’t like to use fixative in his works as he believes it kills the color. Sam Goodsell was born in the Bronx and still resides there. He works mainly with the models that pose at the Art Students League in New York City.

Sam really knows color well and doesn’t obsess about nailing a likeness but rather a feeling in his works. The single figures have a quiet, somber, serene feel to them that is uniquely  his own.

hope you found some inspiration to start your next piece!

Happy Painting!



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