Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pastel the Medium Lecture Dec. 9, 2010

Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art in Chester, CT was the background and home for my Pastel the Medium Lecture last Thursday evening. I brought with me many of my sets of pastels to show the viewers and interested visitors. I first showed my main set of 96 Nupastels which are my hard set and can be sharpened with a razor blade and further pointed with a sand pad so that I can use them as my drawing tool (or to be used like I would a small sized detail brush). This set I have used for 55 yrs. believe it or not! Yes I was 10 yrs old when I first started using pastel and have love this pigment to draw and paint with all of my life. They are numbered instead of being labeled with a pigment name (which has always made me feel that they are misunderstood!) Pastels are pigments! It is those pigments that are used to make Oil paints, Acrylics, Watercolors etc. The nupastels are pressed by machine and tragacinth glue is used to bind the pigments together. They are the set that I draw with and also use with various techniques to bring it to the point of calling it a pastel painting. I loved talking about my love and knowledge of this medium and watching the faces of my crowd when I see the light go on in their minds to actually understand and be stimulated by my sharing and experience.
I have to laugh at myself when I look at this photo as it does show my love of this tried and true set I have used for over so many years. I do not use pastel pencils because they are too hard and are a bit too glossy for building up layers of pastel in my work. By the way I think pastel is the wrong word to use for this media. I think it should be called  "Pure Pigment Painting" That is truly what it is. Over all of these years of working with the medium, pastels have gone through and are still going through a true Renaissance and  the large varieties of pastel, surfaces, and techniques are just amazing. So when you can have the great dark values and intensities and delicate hues, how can one still call the medium PASTEL? It is a full range of color and is true pigment painting!
I brought with me to the demo/lecture a current pastel I am working on to illustrate to the audience the beginning stage of a work I am painting on Canson Paper, which has been around a very long time and is archival. Archival means that it is 100% rag content or it is not going to yellow, fad and break down with time like your thin newspapers would do. An artist is taught to draw, paint and sculpt in materials that are going to last longer than the artist themselves and to work in a technique or process that will guarantee that as well. That is a purist people. That is putting your work before the quick buck as my late father would say.
The beginning of this pet portrait is completely drawn it with nupastels and my likeness of each dog is achieved even at this stage. As a portrait artist I find this very important and comfortable.
I will keep you all posted on the steps of this pet portrait as I think you will find it interesting.
By the way these pet models are my dogs. On the left is Angus our Bernese Mt. Dog rescue from BARC on line and on the right is Max, our Berner/border collie mix from Petfinders on line. They are characters and so loved by me and my husband. It will be a great pet portrait sample as well as a very important gift to my hubby and cherished memory for us to have, as portraits always are.
Hope I taught you something today as I share my experience and knowledge

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Claudia for this wonderful lecture on pastel. You are a gifted artist and a wonderful and generous teacher.