Thursday, March 6, 2014

All About the Medium of Pastel


Caring for Pastel Artwork
   
Pastel paintings typically have more vibrant colors and crispness of image than acrylic, oil, or watercolor paintings. Many people prefer pastel artwork for this reason. Many famous Impressionists such as Degas ,Manet and Cassatt employed the medium in their signature work. Whistler used pastels in many of his works as well as many other artists through the ages.

Creating a piece of pastel artwork is more like painting than drawing, even though the medium is applied as a dry stick onto paper. There is some variety in the types of pastel and the paper used. 

The pastel painting process I use is to apply nearly pure pigment to a sanded surface specifically for pastel.By layering  pigment ,that adheres to the surface I can create the "glow"that is achieved by light reflecting off the pastel crystals.

 Because it uses very little binder (such as the oil in oil paint) this pastel coloring can be extremely permanent. While the sanded surface is waterproof, most pastel pigments are water soluble so direct contact with moisture will damage pastel artwork. It is often possible to repair.

Because of its nature, the surface of a pastel painting cannot stand physical contact which would brush the crystals off the paper. For this reason, pastel artwork must be protected under glass. 

Pastel artwork should also be protected from jarring and never be laid or carried in a face-down position because both of these actions can cause some pastel dust to dislodge from the surface. If such dust is noticed, it will not harm the image because there is so much pigment on the painting .

Properly cared for , your treasured pastel painting can be handed down and enjoyed by generations.