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The Pastel Journal

The Pastel Journal July/August 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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6 Numeri

in questo numero

2 minuti
natural wonders

The Dedham Vale, an area of land in eastern England known for its natural beauty, is also commonly referred to as “Constable Country,” thanks to the landscape work of the English Romantic painter who found so much inspiration there. Born in the county of Suffolk in 1776, John Constable was drawn to the delights of this particular bit of countryside. It was a landscape that, in his own words, “made me a painter, and I am grateful.” It wasn’t merely the idyllic scenery but also the sounds, smells and textures of this rural setting that inspired the artist, who wrote: “the sound of water escaping from mill dams etc., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts and brickwork, I love such things.” “Painting is but another word for feeling.”—JOHN CONSTABLE This glorification of…

3 minuti
an exceptional acquisition

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, dedicated to the work of the Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh (1853–90), has made a major acquisition that will aid in contextualizing the work of the artist. Earlier this year, the museum announced that a pastel work by French Impressionist Edgar Degas (1834–1917) had entered its permanent collection. The 1896 work presents an intimate view of a nude woman washing herself with a sponge. Woman Bathing is one of approximately 10 ambitious pastels from a period in which Degas focused all his effort on depicting female nudes. Van Gogh was a great admirer of these drawings, and his own work was influenced by them. Degas As Innovator Woman Bathing belongs to a group of pastels on which Degas worked in the years between 1884 and 1887. Having…

2 minuti
earth-friendly art-making

EMBRACE NATURAL LIGHT As much as possible, take advantage of daylight hours to paint with the light coming through a window. Relying more on natural light will reduce energy consumption, saving you money on your electricity bill while also helping the environment. When lighting is needed, consider energy-efficient bulbs like CFL and LED options. PROPER DISPOSAL Art products that contain hazardous materials should never be poured down the drain or diascarded in garbage or recycling bins. Improper disposal of art supplies can lead to contamination of the water supply and soil. To dispose of toxic materials, use an appropriate container and then carry the waste to your nearest hazardous disposal site. EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN If you have usable supplies lying around that you no longer want or need, give them to an artist…

3 minuti
making hay

The art education of John Appleton Brown (American, 1844–1902) was fairly standard for a New England artist of the era, meaning he went to France, where he studied with a landscape painter named Émile Lambinet (French, 1813–1877), who had in turn studied with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875). Lambinet’s paintings were traditional pastoral scenes, with affinities to the Barbizon School. When Brown returned to the United States, he set up a studio in Boston and spent the summer months painting the landscape at home in Newburyport, Mass. He then traveled, returning to France to paint Corot’s countryside; settling in England for a few months with fellow American expatriates; spending time in Connecticut; and visiting writer Celia Thaxter on the Isles of Shoals. Though he attempted various landscape subjects, it’s Massachusetts, “from May to…

7 minuti
treasure island

When I first visited Crete on a six-week journey in the fall of 1985, I was looking for new inspiration. There was a mystique about the island—a place associated with the beginnings of European civilization. The Bronze Age Minoans flourished there between 3000 and 1100 B.C. and then mysteriously disappeared. Crete is also the largest of the Greek isles by area, with everything an artist could wish for: extraordinary scenery and people noted for their hospitality. It was with good fortune that a close friend of mine, who happens to be Greek, arranged for me to stay with her elderly mother at their family home in the small mountain village of Korakies. Her mother didn’t speak any English, and I could only speak a few words of Greek, but somehow with…

8 minuti
at home in this place

In the vineyards that crisscross Germany’s wine country, Susanne Mull sees patterns inscribed since the time of the Roman Empire. In a French bar, she sees Édouard Manet’s famous painting come to life, and a scene with three women calls to mind a composition by 19th-century German artist Wilhelm Leibl. Describing her studio, Mull says, “It’s a little bit similar to Adolph Menzel’s Balcony Room.” This reference to the 1845 German painting readily evokes the artist’s serene, sun-filled space with tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and French doors opening to a balcony. Mull’s home—a 19th-century brick building with a top-heavy Mansard roof—keeps her connected to the past. So, too, does the wine-growing region of Rheinhessen in which she lives. Located on the Rhine River, this area was a stomping ground for the…