Pastels in art, then and now

Mar 10, 2010

I love working in pastels.  I bought this Grumbacher set at a garage sale for a few dollars.  They are ideal for blending colors together and the effects can be vibrant and dynamic, as shown here in Rachell Sumpter's art

Soft and oil pastels are the two most common forms of pastels used by artists.  Soft pastels have a chalkier feel, whereas oil pastels are more buttery in substance.  Although I enjoy working with both types of pastels, soft pastels are easier to blend and clean-up.

When I think of famous pastel artists, Impressionists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt come to mind.  (They were great friends, by the way.) 

Edgar Degas, L'etoile (La danseuse sur la scene), 1878.

Mary Cassatt, At the Theater (Woman in a Loge), 1879-1880.

While searching online for current pastel works,  I found this great piece, Night Lights, by artist Kari Tirrell.  I love the blurred effect. 

If you'd like to learn more on how to use pastels, she has a wonderful demo on her website.  It's very descriptive and there are lots of photographs.  See it here.


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