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The Pastel Journal

The Pastel Journal March/April 2020

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Pastel Journal covers topics of interest to working pastelists as well as those who work in pastel as an additional medium along with those who are just experimenting with the medium.

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United States
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6 Numeri

in questo numero

1 minuti
the fear factor

Dealing with failure and the fear of failure are two of the undeniable realities for anyone involved in the creative field. It can be a real struggle to rally after a disappointment or to maintain momentum during those inevitable times when creativity stalls. A common response to fear is to play it safe. On page 7, artist Anne Strutz addresses this challenge, offering some important tips, because settling into our comfort zone is the surest way to halt progress and stymie growth. Artist Laura Pollak illustrates the point (on page 16) in the story of her artistic detour from a representational painting style to an embrace of an abstract approach. This shift in focus may have felt risky, but it has led to a flourishing period of art-making for the artist,…

2 minuti
paula rego: obedience and defiance

“Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance” at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art has on display more than 80 of the renowned artist’s works from the 1960s to the 2010s. The show includes paintings loaned from Rego’s friends, and pulled from public and private collections, to create the first major retrospective of her work in Scotland. A documentary, Secrets and Stories, created by the artist’s son, Nick Willing, in 2017, will accompany the exhibition. Known for her unflinching political and social commentary, Rego’s pieces in the exhibition address topics such as the 1998 referendum legalizing abortion in Portugal; the United States and its allies’ 2003 invasion of Iraq; civilian casualties during war; and female genital mutilation. Her paintings referencing Portuguese Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar’s systematic repression during the 1960s have…

2 minuti
face your fears

NAME IT Staying in your safe zone when making art is a sure way to stifle creativity. Free your fears by writing down what it is that you’re afraid of. Here are a few examples: • When taking a workshop, I’m afraid to let go of the techniques with which I’m familiar and embrace the new technique being presented, because I may fail and look like I don’t know what I’m doing. • My time is limited. I’m afraid of wasting it by trying out something new and then not getting a successful result. WHAT IF? “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”—THOMAS EDISON During the painting process, do you ever find yourself thinking, “What if?” You have a beautifully rendered landscape,…

1 minuti
play days

If you’ve ever watched young children creating art, you know that they’re not afraid to apply color boldly, add too much water, start over. They’re playing. They’re taking the materials they have in front of them and creating freely. If they don’t like what they see, they just start over. Allow yourself time to play in the studio. Break some rules. Be impulsive. Use less expensive paper if budget is a concern. The things you’ll learn can often be applied to future paintings, so jot down notes on techniques or color schemes that work so you can put them into practice.…

3 minuti
“reasoning out an object”

Adolph von Menzel (1815–1905) was the best German artist of his era, which is to say, the entire second half of the 19th century. Menzel’s initial popularity was based on paintings of historical subjects, and he later excelled as a genre painter. As good a painter as he was, he’s most highly regarded today as a draftsman. It seems he drew almost everything he saw with journalistic fervor. “While being perfectly healthy,” wrote art critic Edmond Duranty, “he has the neurosis of truthfulness.” Menzel drew using both hands—though he preferred the left—and sewed extra pockets into his coat to carry sketchbooks. His skill for realistic rendering is all the more impressive given his lack of traditional schooling. He briefly drew from plaster casts at the Berlin Academy of Art and then…

6 minuti
alaska art in the wilderness

Last summer, I spent the month of July as an artist-in-residence at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Located 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the refuge is made up of 7.4 million acres of mountains, glacial valleys, lakes, rivers, sand and gravel beaches, and coastal cliffs. I saw only a small portion of it. It’s a remote destination (covered mostly by tundra) that’s accessible only by boat or plane. During my time there, I stayed in the small town of Dillingham, located on Bristol Bay. Because my husband was a refuge manager, by profession, I’ve lived on various wildlife refuges from the Canadian to the Mexican borders, which prepared me for this opportunity. While certainly challenging, it was also exciting and comfortable. Living Lower on the Food Chain As a wildlife artist, my goal…