A Time to be Inspired

Watercolor Portrait

I want to be positive. I WANT to be positive. I really do. Lately, I have been reading a lot from other pastelists about their frustrations with galleries who don’t want  works-under-glass. I mentioned it to a frame shop owner. She was surprised. She explained, “You wouldn’t believe what the glass protects your artwork from.” Glass protects against dust, tears in the paper or surface, humidity, UV rays, smoke and paper-loving insects. I even read that glass should be used on every framing project except oils. (Eventually, oil paintings will need to be cleaned as well.) I guess I am baffled by the glass issue. I understand the problem with glare and reflections in the glass. So I started framing with a non-glare glass, the best that I could afford, and it helped. I will gladly purchase the more expensive glass if my customers want it. I remember the first time I took my newly framed pastel paintings to an art fair. The customers were really looking at my work and wondering how I could present them without glass!

Check out this image from Larson-Juhl which shows the differences in reflectivity.  http://www.larsonjuhl.com/glass.aspx

All of this was really kind of bringing me down. I was sitting in the waiting area of my daughter’s gymnastics class, flipping through two copies of Architectural Digest. Of course I was still watching my daughter do her amazing feats. As I looked through the magazines, I paid special attention to the artwork. And I noticed works-under-glass! Glory Hallelujah! I could tell by some of the reflections. This lifted my spirits immensely.

I could give in and deal with the glass issue by switching to oils, as several have suggested that I do. But I love pastels. I have no intentions of giving them up. Wondering out loud, do collectors really want their choices to be limited to oils?  Would a good gallery really limited their collector’s choices to only oils? I just have to say that I am fortunate to have my pastel paintings in the Orchard Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I’ve always heard that you should do what you love and the rest will fall into place. May it be so.

I thought I would share a portion of an earlier post where I shared all of the reasons as to why I love pastel. May you be inspired.

One of the reasons that I was drawn to pastel was because of Degas. I thought that pastels were magical. Today I realize that I was drawn to his use of color. None-the-less, I love pastel. I think it is the perfect medium. Pastels are sticks of pigment and are made from the same pigments that other painting mediums are made from. They are often confused with chalk, but chalk is a dyed substance. To confuse the matter further, some manufacturers call their pastels “pastel chalks.” I think they are simply trying to say “soft pastels” as opposed to “oil pastels.” Painting with pastel is as close as you can come to painting with pure pigment because it has the least amount of binder. 2 And pastel is considered to be the most permanent of all media because it doesn’t yellow, darken or crack with time. 3

Another thing that attracted me to pastel was the size of the little box that they can came in. I was living in a very small space when I took up pastel. I laugh today because that small box of 24 sticks has grown and now my palette takes up an entire table. I also found it to be very liberating to not have to mix all of my colors in order to paint. I was trained as an oil painter and found the mixing of colors to be laborious. Sometimes I wonder if I still worked in oil, would I feel the need to exactly match my colors. Anyway, I was limited to the choices in my palette – the sticks of colors that I had. And while it was limiting, it was also challenging. I mean, I had to make it work with what I had.

I also had a cat at the time, which played a factor in taking up pastel. When I was in college, many of our assignments were done in a waterbased medium; qouache or acrylic. On more than one occasion I would find myself so focused on the painting that I didn’t notice my cat drinking the rinse water until it was time to rinse my brush. Horrifying I know! I had to take her health into consideration. Another benefit, when I am done, or when I am interrupted, all I have to do is wash my hands and walk away – no brushes to clean and no palette to scrape. And if I don’t finish in one setting, I don’t have to remember how I mixed my colors. And they are so versatile, they can be used with other mediums. I really do think that pastel is the perfect medium.

2. from the Pastel of America website. http://pastelsocietyofamerica.org/
3. from the Pastel of America website. http://pastelsocietyofamerica.org/

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