Saturday, January 11, 2014

Discover Pastels!

This post is especially directed to my pastel artist colleagues. If you're looking for pastel paintings with a 'wow' factor to inspire your winter efforts, let me suggest a visit to the website of Zaria Forman. Forman  has a way with water, clouds, and ice that goes straight for the gut--and the heart. I think you'll find her work deeply moving. For her 2012 project Chasing the Light, she sailed up the northwest coast of Greenland, retracing the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford.She documented the changing arctic landscape and used it as a reference for several large soft pastel drawings of amazing icebergs and icy seas.Her almost photo-realistic works grab the frigid mood of this mighty landscape in flux. Here's the link to those icebergs. She's also on Facebook at (Thanks for Zaria for permission to post her image.) 

At the January meeting of the Tomball Art League, Grace Hessman mentioned the Pastel Society of Southeast Texas and its upcoming exhibitions. 

The Pastel Society of Southeast Texas is holding an Open Exhibition "Art of the Pastel 2014" at The Gallery in the Brazosport Center for The Arts and Sciences in Clute, TX February 4 through March 8, 2014.This exhibition promises to present  to the viewing public a fresh awareness of the beauty of pastel artwork.For exhibitors, it will be an open, non-juried show, but artwork is limited to two paintings per artist. Registration for members is $35 and $45 for non-members.

Master Pastelist Allan Flattman will judge the show and will also present a three day workshop about Landscape & Cityscape Painting with Pastels on February 5 through the 7th. For more show information, the prospectus, a registration form, and workshop information, go to the website  and look under the 2014 Exhibition tab.

Finally, Gabriel Riquelme's inspiring pastel demonstration at the January meeting introduced many of us to some new-to-us art vocabulary, techniques, and supplies. Gabriel maps his pastels with charcoal pencil instead of pastel pencil--black or white, depending on the color of his support--because he can remove it easily with a white plastic eraser or kneaded eraser. He then uses hard pastels to block in his foundation, since the soft filler pastels he uses later will blend more easily over that foundation. Then he ends with ultra-soft pastels.He uses black charcoal pencil for fine black details because he's found the charcoal pencil gives a darker black than a black pastel pencil; it also sharpens better and tends not to break inside like pastel pencils do. He dusts off his work with a spray of compressed air--the kind people use to clean their computer keyboards.But before does, he sprays a cloth at the bottom of his board with a bit of water so that when the chalk dust floats down it sticks to the wet cloth. Finally, he uses a fixative, and he much prefers the Sennellier brand to any other because it darkens the pastels the least of any brand and doesn't dissolve the soft pastels into the harder ones. I'm thinking this is the product he was talking about: To see more of Gabriel Riquelme's work go to

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