- Tactile: So nice to feel the pastels in your hand to use for lines, broad strokes, scumble and smear with a liquid.
- Fast: No waiting for paint to dry. You can put on another layer of color .. right now.
- Beautiful to look at: Just seeing them in a box is delightful and in a painting, well, you decide.
- Easy to use: Pick one up and paint! You can make hard edges, wide strokes, sprinkle the dust on to your surface, etc.
- Easy to correct: You can brush it off, paint right over it, spray with fixative and go over it again, blot with a damp towel and get back almost to the original surface with just a little staining of the surface, push it around with a rubber tipped color shaper, erase it.
- Permanent: As long as it is not touched/smeared it will stay on the paper/board indefinitely. It is very colorfast as it is almost pure pigment. (I have a painting in the bedroom that was painted when we were in Bolivia that has no glass, broken, it looks the same as when I painted it. I'm sure it has Texas dust on it, but you wouldn't know that, dust into dust as they say. I also had some paintings damaged by fire when I had a show at a restaurant several years ago, the oils and acrylics melted, the water colors singed and the pastels were fine other than broken glass. The pigment protected the paper.)
- Ways to use pastels: Almost unlimited. You can combine them with other media, and put them on many different surfaces.
- Easy to store: You can put glassine paper in between and put one on top of another between foamcore or other backing. (See Hard to store below)
- Easy clean up: Walk away and come back later and put them in the storage containers.
- Easy to transport paintings when traveling or plein air (painting outside) painting: Just put between foamcore and tape or clip securely.
- Fun to use!
- Framing: require glass glazing so the artwork is not disturbed by touching/rubbing.
- Hard to view in storage: You can put many unframed paintings in layers between backing or in a drawer, but then you cannot just flip through them for easy viewing.
- Dusty: Care in handling required to avoid breathing in the dust. Gentle brushing, keep hands washed, don't use fans over your work. You can wear a mask and use gloves to help with this.
- Heavy to transport: For traveling or plein air, you cannot take a large number of pastel sticks with you, they weigh a lot. Paintings are heavier, too, with glass.
- Hard to display: Paintings have to be under glass, so you can't have a bin of unframed paintings for people to look through.
- Usually not used for large pieces because of the glass. They can be sprayed with a fixative which changes the colors or worked with acrylic medium to make them "glass free".
I'm sure there are many more pros and cons, these above come quickly to mind. Please comment here to add what you think about pastels.
You can find more information about pastels at these sites, and many more:
- Pastel Society of America You can go from there to visit the more well known pastelists like Daniel Greene, Doug Dawson, Alan Flattmann, Richard McKinley, Sally Strand, Albert Handell, Ramon Kelly, Frank Federico, Claudia Seymour, Stephanie Birdsall, and many more.
- Art Show
- IAPS International Association of Pastel Societies
- Katherine Tyrrell Katherine not only paints in pastels but has arranged an encyclopedia of pastes on her Squidoo page.
- Pastel Journal Blog From there you can get to the Pastel Journal and Richard McKinley's pastel blog.
- Wetcanvas.com Pastel Forum where you can find pastelists, instruction and more. From there you can check into the Soft Pastel Studio and Gallery to see current threads with work in progress.
See some wonderful pastel paintings at these sites, from each of those you can click on to many more:
- Austin Pastel Society, the local pastel society where you can look at many of the member's art including mine.
- Regina Burchett, friend and pastel buddy.
- Tom Christopher, pastel painter.
- Paula Ford, pastelist painting landscapes and wonderful trees
- Deborah Secor, pastelist in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Michael Chesley Johnson, plein air pastelist.
- Mark Hanson, pastelist and oil painter. He is the artist painting four paintings a day for April, these have been in oil.
- Desmond O'Hagan, pastels and oils.
- And don't forget to look at my pastel paintings.