Few words about Pastels…
I would like to shed some light on the misconceptions that seem to persist regarding this beautiful, pure pigment medium.
Pastels have been used by famous artists to produce finished work for several centuries. We can see those beautiful paintings today in museums throughout the world, as vibrant and fresh as they were when first produced. It is wonderful to overhear someone overdosed with oil paintings, exclaim, “Oh! There’s a pastel!”
Pastels are created from pure pigments bound together by the addition of gum tragacanth. The word pastel is derived from the Italian word pastello, meaning “paste.” This paste is then formed into a variety of shapes for use by artists to create a wide range of works on a number of acid-free, museum quality surfaces. Pastel can be used in combination with a number of other mediums, but in order to be accepted in most pastel shows, the piece must be comprised of no less than 80% soft pastel. Pastels are available in a huge range of colors and values. It is not a light-hued, sketchy medium used to produce quick portraits at fairs; or as mistakenly believed, only used for preparatory work for “greater” works in oil.
In recent years artists have produced a myriad pastel styles from vignettes based more on drawing to fully rendered, multi-layered paintings ranging from portraiture to still life, landscapes and abstracts. The “hand of the artist” is always there for you to admire and wonder over.
Glass is needed to protect the powdery surface of pastel paintings. Currently there is a high-quality museum grade non-glare glass available from your framer. Fading is no more a problem than with any other medium. Always protect ANY painting medium from direct, bright, light after making sure it is properly framed. Make sure only acid-free materials are used.
Galleries are beginning to understand these facts and are assuming the responsibility of educating their clients about the no-risk value of adding a beautiful pastel to their collection. —the addition of a totally permanent, rare and precious jewel.
For a more comprehensive description of this medium, visit pastelsnm.org or pastelsocietyofamerica.org.