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The Pastel Journal

The Pastel Journal January/February 2021

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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

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2 minuti

Some of the most important breakthrough moments for artists occur with pastel or brush in hand. You might remember a time when you tried a new underpainting approach or perhaps used a familiar technique but on a new surface, and the results were surprisingly effective—and worth repeating. Other times, however, creative discoveries happen outside of the studio and may not involve the mastery of an essential skill or a new technique. In fact, very often, the biggest breakthroughs have more to do with mindfulness than materials. “A work of art can only come from the interior of man.”—EDVARD MUNCH In this issue, which turns the spotlight on landscape painting, you’ll read Frederick Somers’ story of a breakthrough moment that occurred while he was walking in the woods. There, he made an observation…

2 minuti
fighting fire with pastel sticks

After wildfires caused mass destruction in her California hometown, pastelist Lisa Rico began an art project to raise funds for her community. “It was 3 a.m. on August 19th. We awoke to a ringing phone and found the sky red and heavy with smoke,” says Rico. We grabbed a bag and our dog, Grace, and fled.” The wildfires that burned throughout California in the summer of 2020 were the worst the state had seen in 18 years. Still, Rico was lucky. Her home in Vacaville, Calif., was spared—but others in the town weren’t so fortunate. One story emerged from the wreckage with a particular poignancy. Rico describes hearing about the owners of a local animal sanctuary forced to make a difficult decision. With the fire approaching, they loaded as many of the…

1 minuti
an island retreat for a lake-loving pastelist

The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) is hosting a pastel immersion retreat in August of this year at the Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA) with a trio of all-star pastel instructors—Lyn Asselta, Aline Ordman and Dawn Emerson. The host will be IAPS President Richard McKinley. Attendees can anticipate five days of instruction, critiques and mentoring, abundant inspiring vistas, all-day access to studio space, and evening demonstrations. This is sure to be a unique and memorable experience. MISA President and Founder Charles E. Meech speaks to the power and importance of a creative retreat. “It’s beneficial to the artistic process,” he says. “Plus, the island location and the light are unique, and it combines learning with the vacation of a lifetime.” Madeline Island is the largest of the 22…

1 minuti
what’s online

A Pastelist’s New Year Resolutions Here’s how to set creative goals that produce an artistic road map for a year of creative growth and inspired painting. artistsnetwork.com/go/pastel-resolutions 13 Tips for Better Pastel Paintings Award-winning artist Tony Allain shares 13 pastel tips and techniques for creating stronger paintings with more confidence. artistsnetwork.com/go/better-pastel How to Paint Snow in Pastel Liz Haywood-Sullivan describes how to paint snow using the right color values in this pastel demonstration of a winter landscape. artistsnetwork.com/go/pastel-snow…

3 minuti
smile of the french enlightenment

No artist has handled pastel more adroitly than did Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704–88). His portraits, perceptive in characterization and brilliant in technique, represent a virtual who’s who of the French Enlightenment. La Tour’s facility was hard earned. He was known to ceaselessly rework his pastels, sometimes spending years on a portrait, yet his most engaging works are often the more spontaneous preparatory drawings. His Self-Portrait in the Art Institute of Chicago was drawn with this freshness of spirit. “King Louis XV and Queen Marie Leszczyńska sat for him, as did philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau.” La Tour was born in Saint-Quentin, France, and as a teenager moved to Paris, where he was apprenticed to an obscure artist. Following the example of Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757), he began making portraits in pastel, and…

2 minuti
small space, big results

CREATIVE CONVERSION A single piece of furniture can be used for more than one purpose. The top of a low cabinet, for example, can be used as a palette. I place a large, thick foam board on top of two chairs to create a temporary horizontal plane for painting and drawing. ON THE WALL Make good use of any available walls. You can install racks, cubbies and shelves to store completed projects or works-in-progress. My display of artwork goes all the way up to the ceiling. This way, I create a lot of storage without having shelves protruding into the space. Make use of pegboards or hang a wire across a wall and use clothespins to display work or hold paintings that are drying. CLEAR THE CLOSET By squeezing your clothing to one side of…