Exploring Art… Pastels

The use of dry pigments in art have been around long before recorded history. In their present form they’ve been used as a medium since the 16th century. Pastels are dry colored pigment with a small amount of binder, molded into a stick form. Pastels are pigment at its purest.

Pastels generally come in these forms:

  • Soft pastels sticks which have a higher portion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors. The drawing can be readily smudged and blended.
  • Hard pastels have a higher portion of binder and less pigment, producing a sharp drawing material that is useful for fine details.
  • Pastel pencils whose lead is pastel. These are useful in adding fine detail.
  • Oil pastels which are soft and buttery, but are harder to blend then soft pastels.
  • Water-soluble are similar to soft pastels, but contain a water-soluble component, that allows the colors to be thinned out using a water wash.

Pastels are generally applied to a surface with “tooth”, which holds the pigment in place. Pastels must be protected when framed. You should ensure that your pastel is framed behind UV glass. The pastel should be mounted with a mat that prevents the glass from touching the painting. Never use synthetic glass or Plexiglas, as it might hold a static electric charge which would attract the pastel pigments off the surface of the work.

Below are some wonderful original works of pastel art. As with all of my featured art/artists these are pieces I would purchase for myself or as a gift.

  • Aqua by Nancy Reyner


9 Responses to “Exploring Art… Pastels”

  1. Thank you so very much for the wonderful feature in your article. I really appreciate it!

  2. Dearest One,

    What an absolute honor that you chose my Lavender Farm pastel painting to be featured with such magnificent works. I am humbled that you chose one of my piece.

    Gratefully Yours
    Thea x x x

  3. Thank you Renaissance Woman! My Lemons are smiling bigger than ever to be in such grand company! Isn’t it wonderful how very different pastel can be…such a luscious-hands-on-way to paint.

  4. Wow! What a gorgeous selection! I love the workboots!

  5. It is such an honour for me to be featured on your blog and to have my work be part of this precious collection! Many thanks!!

  6. Thank you so much for the mention of my painting and to be in the company of such beautiful artist’s work!

  7. Kelly, thanks for featuring my painting along with the other pastel artists. It’s appreciated!

  8. WOW these are incredible, hate soft pastels but never knew you could accomplish something this good with it. Guess is a matter of the artist right? hehehe… not my thing! But these are absolutely wonderful works, makes me want to go back and try harder see what I missed with that chair that didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it. hmmm.

    • kellyjcallahan Says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always struggled and given up on pastels. Looking for pastel artists really made me want to try again.

      This whole series has really tempted me to try other forms of art that I’ve never tried, or given up on in the past.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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