Pastels are a pure powdered pigment and a binder, in the form of a stick. They are the same pigments used in oils, but they use a different binder. Soft pastels have less binder and more pigment than hard pastels. In fact, the color effect of pastels is nearer to natural dry pigments than other processes. This results in the vibrant colors of my paintings. The hard pastels, less brilliant than the soft form, are useful for detailing and accents.
Past & present: Pastels were used by Renaissance artists and was popular with some artists during the 1700’s, particularly for portraits. Edgar Degas used pastel as his primary medium in the late 1800’s. There are not currently as many pastelists as there are oil painters, but it is very popular. Daniel Greene is currently considered the foremost pastelist in the US. His pastel portrait of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resides in the White House.
Pastel style: Pastel painting is similar to oil painting, in the way of building up layers of color, accenting, highlighting, and shading. Crosshatching, hatching and gradation are common to both mediums.
Framing pastel paintings: A pastel should be carefully framed under glass so as not to damage the pastel. I use museum-quality glass to preserve it from dust, static and UV rays.
Using acid-free, archival quality materials will preserve my paintings for about 100 years or more. Matting and framing material, such as the paper backing I use, are always acid-free and archival quality. Pastels can be framed with or without matting. Wooden frames are my preference.
My current choices: I just love painting in pastel! I use only professional grade pastels in various grades of softness and hardness – for the ideal layering of colors. I enjoy working on sanded papers and particularly like velour paper for animal paintings and some scenic ones. Beach scenes can look great on velour. These fantastic colors enable me to create vivid, realistic paintings, be it animals or people, ocean spray or mountainous backgrounds. I hope my works become “paintings that reach your heart.”