Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who’s afraid of the big bad pastel?


"Your blocking my view" pastel


Why do so many artists shy away from the medium of pastel?  Why does it always seem to me as if pastels are the ugly stepchild of other artist’s materials? Maybe I am a bit biased.  I love pastels and I have worked with them for years. 

I get the reasoning.  There are issues when using pastels.  The pigment dust gets everywhere, the painting can smear and you must frame it under glass.  When you spray a fixative (which I rarely use) the whole painting changes colors.  And then there is the issue of your hand that always seems to be a bit large and can wipe the slate clean in a moment of carelessness.

Through the years I have learned certain things.  I always cover my work in progress.  This guards against little art critic birds that somehow manage to fly in through a door carelessly left ajar without my knowledge.  Oh, yes, bird doo doo is impossible to remove from a half completed pastel. 

And while I am on a rant, why do I always feel the need to explain to non-artists that pastel is a kind of chalk? Sometimes they stare at me like they totally understand and then I realize that the quizzical looks are really quite quizzical!

I just finished a new pastel painting with the intention of entering it in a local fine arts exhibit and I discover that there are very few entries, so few in fact, that they will not even be judged. This particular exhibit is in its 60th year!  I work in many mediums.  I like acrylic, watercolor and graphite.  And stigma that it may be, I like pastel.


So tell me…”Who’s afraid of the big bad pastel, la la la la la?”

17 comments:

Heather said...

I so enjoy the pastel work. You have done a wonderful job, with the horses. I haven't used pastel since high school ( and with my kids now) but for myself haven't used since high school. I love the look though! xo

♥Jan♥ said...

Crystal this pastel is STUNNING!!! I love, love, love it!!! What talent~~~

Lee said...

Lovely striking work! Sorry about the show. :(

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Jennifer Noel Bower said...

I love digital pastels...does that count for something. I use them in about every drawing I do, of late. I am such a sucker for a great equine piece and love the textural quality you can get in their coat with pastels. My problem is I had messes.
Thanks for your kind words on my blog today. They meant a lot.

Talibra said...

Piękny widok, piękne koniki, pozdrawiam :)

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

Although it's been awhile since I've worked with it, I happen to love the look and effects of pastels. Your horses are lovely.

Magic Love Crow said...

Crystal, I have never used pastels. Actually, I have never thought about it! Maybe one day I will ;o) Love the horses you did in pastel! Too bad about the show ;o(

Franz said...

The use of pastel is very nice, but very difficult, I am not able
I admire your work!

Ciao!!

Carol Blackburn said...

Your pastel is beautiful Crystal...unlike the one I did once that I didn't have patience for and it didn't come out so great. You do need patience to work with pastels which is something I just don't possess.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

(Raises Hand)Your horses are gorgeous, but I've always been a little intimidated by pastels!

pve design said...

I have a set and need to drag them out and "dust" them off. I love pastel for the inherent softness.
Nicely done. You deserve a carrot or a fresh apple!
pve

maddyrose said...

Crystal, if I could do pastels like you do I would be doing them all the time. I really like your work.I'm glad you're not afraid of pastels.

KateH said...

This is beautiful! I love horses and I love pastels. I enjoy working with them but haven't for quite a while. you're an inspiration. A pastel work might be the next thing I post on my blog :)

izzy said...

lovely drawing! I use pastels to loosen up- free myself from the tight control of
painting. Thanks.

Leovi said...

Excellent illustration of the cake, and very romantic. I love the sparkles on the horse. Have a good Sunday.

Purple Pony Art said...

What a beautiful picture!

Count me in as one who loves pastels. I use them with pencil crayon a lot. Have you tried PanPastels? They are quite vibrant without all the dust.

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