Pastel Society Workshops | 4 to 6 April

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The Pastel Society is pleased to offer a special series of Pastel Workshops for the amateur and professional artist

The workshops will be held at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0RN from 10:30am to 4:30pm.

Fees are £60 per day or £55 per day if booking four; there are reduced fees for Friends of the Pastel Society.


Workshops

Monday 4 April: 'Colour and Composition' by Richard Rees PPS

Monday 4 April: 'Stream and Pathways - Journeying through a Painting' by Katrina Wallis-King PS

Tuesday 5 April: 'Exploring Drawing through Portraiture' by Melodie Cook PS

Tuesday 5 April: 'Pastel Interiors: Museums, Galleries and Cafes' by John Tookey PS

Wednesday 6 April: 'Drawing in Dry Media' by Richard Rees PPS


For more information, and to book, please visit the Society's website.


 

Image credit

Richard Rees PPS, St. Emilion Roofs

The Pastel Society Prize-Winning Artists Encourage You to Submit Your Work!

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The Pastel Society Call for Entries is now open, and we are seeking work for the 123rd Annual Exhibition. We encourage you to submit your work and we would especially like to highlight young and emerging artists who may not have had the opportunity to exhibit their work within a prestigious exhibition before.

Hannah Martin spoke to some of the prize winners from The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition 2021, for some words of encouragement in the hopes that if you are reading this and feel unsure about whether or not to submit your work, you will now feel inspired to do so!

Caitlin Heslop

Caitlin Heslop won the Unison Young Artist Award for her piece ‘St Agnes II’. Caitlin is a young artist, and 'St Agnes II' was part of a series of paintings inspired by the ocean. This piece was made in the Scilly Isles in October of 2020. Caitlin explained this was one of her first times ever working from the sea as a source of inspiration as she usually works from botanicals, but she was captivated by the energy of the waves.

Caitlin Heslop, St Agnes II

Caitlin felt so encouraged to win the Unison Young Artist award. It made her feel like her work stood out - she felt like it was exciting when she was making it, but receiving the award confirmed that for her! She explains that Unison has been amazingly supportive, providing her with a mentor, and it has given her the encouragement she needed to apply for further exhibitions, which she has since been selected to exhibit at. 

Caitlin’s advice is as follows: ‘The submission process is super simple and worth a shot. Try not to think about what work others would love, but what work you feel is the most successful for you and that you are proudest of.’

Christine Watson

Christine Watson won the Schmincke Award for her piece ‘Fez Scaffolding III’. Christine has developed a love affair with Morocco, whose landscape and streets have inspired many of Christine’s pastels. She is drawn to piercing light, strong shadows, crumbling surfaces and vibrant colours. This piece captures a brief moment in time when she was exploring the back streets of Fez, representing a restless journey and a quest to see what’s happening around the next corner.

Christine Watson, Fez Scaffolding III

When submitting your work, Christine says: ‘take a look at previous years' exhibitions and try to imagine how your work might fit in. There are some exhibitions I would not enter as I could not imagine my work sitting comfortably with other exhibitors’ styles.’ 

She went on to say she was shocked but delighted to win the Schmincke Award and that it is lovely to be able to work with the high-quality pastels with such a broad range of colours and tones, that she was given. As well as selling her work at the exhibition, Christine received an invitation to exhibit at the Fusion Exhibition at Holt Gallery in Norfolk.

Charlotte Bullock

Charlotte Bullock won the 2021 Pastel Society Young Artist Award for her painting ‘The Beast’s Negative Space.’ Charlotte’s work explores human and animal identity, our relationship with the planet, and our effect on the environment. In this piece, she wanted to give negative space and waste a sense of life, representing life within destruction.

Charlotte Bullock, The Beast's Negative Space

Charlotte described the journey she had when submitting work: ‘I thought I had an idea of what The Pastel Society may be looking for, so I submitted some work I thought they might pick but also included a wild card piece, thinking they’d never pick it, but that I’d take a chance and see. The only selected piece was my wild card piece, which shocked me but proved that it is best to take a risk! It showed I must never compromise on the integrity of my work.’

Rebecca Hardaker

Rebecca Hardaker won the Frank Herring and Sons Award for ‘An Analogue State of Joy’. It is a large scale mixed media work predominantly made in soft pastels and oil pastels, which explores notions of youth, child play and joyful innocence. Rebecca creates a whimsical analogue world reflecting on childhood memories that often feel like projected coloured slides.

Rebecca Hardaker, An Analogue State of Joy

Rebecca says ‘I would enthusiastically encourage someone who is unsure about submitting their work. It was the first time I submitted, and to have my work accepted and given an award was a highlight in my career so far. Never hold back from putting yourself forward!’

Tom Hudson Davies

Tom Hudson Davies won the Yoshimoto Prize for his drawing ‘Self Isolation’. A self-portrait created during isolation in November of 2020 represents the time when days slipped into one another during the pandemic as Tom spent hours on end stuck in his bedroom sitting at his desk. This portrays his feelings of boredom, frustration and self-reflection.

Tom Hudson Davies, Self Isolation

Tom says submitting your work is worth a shot as it is an excellent opportunity to have your work assessed by experts and potentially be exhibited in an internationally recognised gallery. Winning the Yoshimoto Prize was a massive confidence boost for Tom. He says: ‘For someone starting out as an artist, winning £1000 provided me with the financial security and confidence to apply to many more open call exhibitions this year. The exhibition also enabled me to sell my first non-commissioned piece of work.’

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts works in pastels and paints his surrounding Welsh landscapes, working in a photorealistic style. He won the Faber-Castell award for his painting ‘Tree at Dusk’.

Dave Roberts, Tree At Dusk

Dave said: ‘As an emerging artist, submitting work to an event as prestigious as the Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition for the first time is pretty daunting. You look at the entries from previous years and think "Surely I'm not in that league?" However, what is there to lose? The buzz when you log in on the designated date and find out that you've been accepted is amazing!’

Dave is only just embarking on his journey towards becoming a professional artist, so winning the Faber Castell award instilled a great amount of confidence in him! He said: ‘It really was unexpected, but what a feeling! Now I can truly call myself an 'award-winning artist'! And to think, I'd questioned whether I was good enough to apply at all!’

We hope that learning of the experiences of some of the last prize winners, including those from several young and emerging artists, has made you feel more confident in your work and that you will be encouraged to submit to the open call for entries! The deadline is Friday 3 December at 12 noon. Find all the details you need about the process, guidelines, and information here. We can't wait to see your creations.

Enter your work now!

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The Pastel Society 2021 | Visitors' Choice Award

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Visitors to The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition were invited to vote for their favourite work in the show.

And the winner is... Tony Allain PS ARSMA, Pastel, 71 x 87 cm

Tony created this work during one of our live demonstrations on Facebook. Which you can watch again here

 

Discover more of Tony's work

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Image credit

Tony Allain PS ARSMA, Bennybeg Farm, Crieff

Pastel portraits in Lockdown

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The lockdowns we’ve experienced over the last year have given many of us much time for reflection. This collection of portraits created during the lockdown shows loss, isolation and people simply lost in contemplation; however the human spirit endures


"During the past lockdown, I'm lucky to have been drawing with an Oxford online group - I'm other side of the country so wouldn't have managed it in normal circumstances.

This was Tom's first session before he went off to work in his local hospital." – Jane Hodgson

Jane Hodgson Tom before his Hospital Shift Pastel £360

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"Me, myself and my space.

After a long period in one place, inner thoughts had become repetitive, obsessive and confusing as more time went on.

Maybe I'll do some cleaning.

Maybe I'll watch videos about dinosaurs.

Maybe it's time to bring up that internal monologue again.

I still don't know how to feel about it all, but I've definitely learnt a lot about myself."

– Stefan Tiburcio

Stefan Tiburcio Lockdown Thoughts Graphite £2,800

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"Until Something Unexpected Happens is a black and white pencil and graphite portrait of Peter. A close-up study of an ex-military man with a sharp sense of duty, dress, mind and uncompromising sense of self.

He remains locked in during lockdown. With his deteriorating health, he remains marooned from his family, friends and neighbours.

Peter pacifies his time emailing his friends, scrolling through social media, completing the Times crossword puzzle and drawing on his iPad app. Daily he longs to see his grandchildren. " – Gavin Bowyer

Gavin Bowyer Until Something Unexpected Happens Pencil £5,000

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"This drawing has been a way for me to explore the reflections, the silence, the fears and vulnerability I went through during lockdown as well as the physical impossibility of doing anything about it.

The act of sitting and quietly listening to the murmurations of starlings seemed to me to encapsulate what this strange time meant to me.

This piece has also been for me, an exploration in the use of coloured pencils. I love using this medium as I find it is very "domestic" - it does not smell or stain and therefore it is perfect to be used inside and it underlines the domesticity of this drawing.

The study and exploration of tone and light is, as always, an important part of my practice and looking outside towards the light is for me a symbol of hope." – Cristina Celestini

Cristina Celestini Murmurations I Colour pencil & charcoal £1,200

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Lyn Gray Shutdown Charcoal & conté £600

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"My wife mourns a colleague

The desire to wail is met by her pillow

The psalms pass from grief to praise

One takes despair to chisel out a dark poetry

Languid shapes coalesce into shapes of light

Grace turns this darkness into a kind of brilliance

Happy/sad

Just passing through." – Simon Klein

Simon Klein Face Oil pastel £695

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"This is a very personal portrait of my mother and seeks to portray her struggles after suffering from a fall.

She is normally a strong and resilient soul who cares for her husband with dementia, and I wanted to reflect how age can sometimes compromise that inner strength, with all the struggles and toils that life throws our way.

The fall happened early this year, not along after lockdown commenced."– Catherine MacDiarmid

Catherine MacDiarmid Bruised 1 Charcoal £550

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"We have all missed our friends in the past months, and think of them often. We support each other in whatever way we can.

When we meet again, we will feel such joy.

And we know we will always be friends." – Jocelyn Rossiter

Jocelyn Rossiter We Will Always Be Friends Oil pastel, black ink & black and yellow acrylic lines £580

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"The 2020 COVID pandemic - a unique year in modern times. I have made a 2020 series of 3 portraits, the subjects deliberately cover a wide age range - 69, 19 and just 2 years old. Richard (69) and Alex (19) are shown ‘reflecting on 2020’ while Finn (2) is simply ‘looking forward’ to his future. The three are treated differently, Richard - charcoal only on linen, Alex - charcoal with soft pastel highlights on linen and Finn strongly coloured soft pastel on paper.

In this portrait Richard is lost in thought, eyes cast down, reflecting on the upheaval to his life caused by the pandemic.

The work is charcoal on linen, allowing the texture of the material to become part of the drawing." – Jan Stephens

Jan Stephens 2020 Reflections - Richard Charcoal £1,200

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"This is one of a series of drawings of Adrian made during lockdown.

I have worked with Adrian for a number of years, and this collection of drawings has developed from recent oil paintings. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencil, Bistre tint for each of these drawings." – Adele Wagstaff

Adele Wagstaff Adrian Colour pencil £650

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"This drawing attempts to capture the fickle nature of self-isolated self-reflection and boredom.

Self-isolated, time becomes warped and a sense of control is lost. With the disruption of typical routine and structure, self-identity can shift and subdued characteristics can surface. 

Self-reflection can take over with thoughts spiralling down rabbit holes.

Then comes the stillness of boredom. The realisation that nothing has really changed. 

The room you've been in is the same.

That is the same lamp.

That is the same mirror.

That is me sitting at my desk." – Tom Hudson-Davies

Winner of The Yoshimoto Prize

Tom Hudson-Davies Self Isolation Pitt pastel on paper £300

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Michael Lang Nocturnal Lockdown Self Portrait Charcoal £450

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Discover more Portrait & Figure works from The Pastel Society

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Image credit

Stefan Tiburcio, Lockdown Thoughts

Urban scenes in Pastel

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The portability and immediacy of pastels that makes them ideal for capturing the countryside while out on long walks, also makes them perfect for documenting the urban.

Now that more of us live in urban areas than ever before, and with the current restrictions on movement meaning many of us are exploring closer to home and finding the beauty in settings we previously simply travelled through to get to The Countryside, it seems the perfect time to collect together works from The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition that explore the Urban and Industrial.

Elizabeth Nast specialises in urban scenes. By depicting the ordinary in life, people going about their business, disused buildings and graffiti-covered walls, the artist seeks to show the world, that the ordinary in life can be both interesting and beautiful. 

Elizabeth Nast Bradford, End of the Dark Satanic Mills Pastel £695 

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Elizabeth Nast Whitechapel Disappearing Pastel £895

Side street off Whitechapel Road, set to disappear with the building of a new Whitechapel Station.

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"Opposite my studio in Redruth, Cornwall is an old mining area called Great South Wheal Tolgus. I find these old buildings fascinating as they sit on top of the abandoned copper and tin lode below, in varying states of decay.

I love the contrast between the dark stone walls in shadow and the puddles reflecting the sky. The buildings are due for demolition as part of a redevelopment of the area and another part of our history will be lost. I really enjoyed exploring the site on foot and with my charcoal and graphite in the drawing." – Andrew Barrowman

Andrew Barrowman Waiting for the Bulldozers Pencil & Charcoal £595

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"Drawn during this lockdown period from sketches I made on location and photos I took of New York a couple of years ago. In this quiet time, I miss the hustle and bustle of cities, I wanted my marks to convey the movement and energy of the place and its people, this drawing looks towards a time when this will be the norm and we can travel and visit cities once again." – Jeanette Barnes

Jeanette Barnes Ticket Booth Grand Central Station New York Pencil & Charcoal £2,400

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"This is when I feel that home is within touching distance when we cross from the south to the north on Tower Bridge. We are all tired after two days of driving through the snow and it's good to be back whatever the weather." – Shelley Bewtra

Shelley Bewtra Coming Home Soft pastel £800

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"One of the unbelievably vivid sunsets which happen across the river near to the city of Detroit, Michigan." – Ann Dangerfield

Ann Dangerfield Detroit River at Sunset Pastel £545

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"The view of Trellick tower from a moving train." – Stuart Jarvis

Stuart Jarvis Trellick Tower Charcoal £500

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"This is part of a series exploring the interaction between city and trees in the urban environment they are placed in and sometimes constrained by.

Vibrant colour is used to show the energy and life they introduce into their surroundings" – Teresa Lawler

Teresa Lawler Urban Tree 2 Pastel & graphite £1,050

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"Drawing of St Ann's Square, Manchester at Chinese New Year.

I have used willow and compressed charcoal with a small amount of Unison white pastel as highlights. The drawing is mounted with an offwhite mount behind glass in a black wooden frame." – Sarah Morley

Sarah Morley St Ann's Square Manchester at Chinese New Year Charcoal & pastel £550

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"5,000 Tonnes II is my second study of the High-Level Bridge in Newcastle Upon Tyne, a study of light, shadow, perspective and texture." – Jonathan Stockley

Jonathan Stockley 5,000 Tonnes II Charcoal £750

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"I am always struck by the contrasts that are experienced when viewing the Tata Steelworks in Port Talbot. At one extreme there are the dark black buildings of various shapes and sizes with their sooty residues and at the other the sudden bursts of white steam and bright glimpses of the sky penetrating the ironwork structures. I have used the charcoal to try and portray the excitement of this tonal variation. 

A blast furnace may not be an immediately appealing image but here I was fascinated by the patterns and subtle colours created by the pipes, platforms and staircases." – Andy Thornley

Andy Thornley Dark Steel Charcoal £600

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Andy Thornley Pipes and Platforms Pastel & charcoal £520

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Discover more Landscapes & Cityscapes in Pastels

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Image credit

Elizabeth Nast, Bradford, End of the Dark Satanic Mills

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021 Prize & Award Winners | Part Two

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The Pastel Society and Mall Galleries would like to congratulate all prizewinners and give a special thank you to all our prize-givers. 

This year's prize-giving is exclusively online but with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy the prize-winning works wherever you are.

In the words of this year’s exhibition opener, actor Griff Rhys Jones OBE: “There’s nothing as inspiring as looking at this exhibition and seeing what can be achieved; I hope you enjoy it!”

The Prize Winners featured in Part Two include:


Henri Roche Award

Maximillion Baccanello

Portrait of Rania

 

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The Pastel Society Catalogue Award: First Prize

&

Unison Non-Member Award

Anne Magill

September

I made this drawing just after moving into a new studio in the first lockdown; for a number of reasons I had found it quite hard to settle in.

I instinctively felt that working on this large drawing would help me bed into my new space and happily it did.

The man in this portrait occasionally appears in my work, always silhouetted against the sky, I like how he looks directly out to the viewer, not confrontational but with strength & confidence. 

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The Pastel Society Catalogue Award: Second Prize

Janine Shute

Pink Tape Measure

The winning work will feature in the exhibition catalogue.

My work is a combination of colour, form, light and scale. I prefer the simplicity of a single subject in each drawing and use these four principles to create a striking drawing of an object usually overlooked but always familiar.

I keep the background free of pastel so the subject looks like it’s sitting on the paper and then float mount them so the paper itself becomes part of the artwork as a 3-dimensional piece.

There is a connection to the paper when using pastel, pencils and charcoal that I have never felt with other mediums and I continue to discover new techniques and influences that strengthen and enhance my work.

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition is a great chance to see what other dry media artists are doing and I’m pleased to be recognised as runner up for the Catalogue Award.

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The Pastel Society Young Artist Award

Charlotte Bullock

The Beast's Negative Space

An award of £200.

 

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Schmincke Award

Christine Watson

Fez Scaffolding III

 

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Unison Member Award

Susan Relph PS

Deirdre

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Unison Young Artist Award

Caitlin Heslop

St Agnes II

 

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The Derwent Award

£1,000 worth of Derwent products.

Nicholas St John Rosse RSMA

Contemplation


The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition Prizes & Awards | Part One


Discover the whole exhibition now

Image credit

Anne Magill September

Story Behind the Works | Liz Balkwill PS

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Liz Balkwill PS on the works she is exhibiting at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021.

For her collection of work in this year's exhibition, Liz found inspiration from Hellebores growing in her garden during lockdown, riding and painting horses and returning to similar themes


One of the first pastels I completed during the initial lockdown was Hellebores with Dish.

Like many others who were lucky enough to have a garden to enjoy, it became a place of real solace in those initial months. I've always liked hellebores, and this year they gave me more delight than ever. 

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The pastel Blossom in Bottle was also done during this time - blossoms so full of hope and a cheery sight in the spring. 

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And I thought that the bowl with the balanced chopsticks suggested the need to retain or maintain equilibrium. Time to slow down and reevaluate. We need that more than ever during this current crisis. 


The third pastel is Preserving the Citrus. I seem to return to this theme regularly.

I love the colour and textures that the subject has to offer and one of my favourite effects is the transmitted light achieved through backlighting and the flesh of citrus. and preserving the fruit as jams and marmalade opens up another dimension, the opportunity to paint all the wonderful reflections on the glass jars and metal screw tops.

There is so much to offer every time. 

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From the Horse's Mouth was a pastel I made of Ruby. She's an American Paint, a Mare and a Matriarch of her herd, which consists of eight horses. 

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Due to the restrictions, I've spent more time riding and painting horses this year since I was a girl.

And I wanted to show something of that because I suppose during this time, I've probably painted nearly 30 horses, which seems incredible really. 


The final painting was Ready to Scramble, which I'm pleased to say has sold quite quickly. It was produced as a piece for an article for the Artists and Illustrators magazine. I've been doing quite a lot of egg paintings lately. They're ready, ready at hand, always in the kitchen for us to crack, cook, and they make great subject matter. 

A broken egg is said to symbolise broken dreams and changed plans. Whereas the whole egg, as you know, is the symbol of the circle of life and new beginnings. 

Let's hope you've got those coming to us all soon and life returns to normal as soon as possible for everyone.



Browse & Buy Liz's works now


Discover more Stories Behind the Work

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Liz Balkwill PS Preserving the Citrus

Reflections from the Artist | Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA

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The colours do not fade, works stay vibrant forever. Pastel is not a Second Class medium. We can trace the use of chalk back to the Cave Paintings.

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA on the brands that make up her palette and why dry medium's longevity makes it the perfect medium for buyers. 


You and the Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

I have been a Member since 2004 and in that time I have been Secretary, President and now Website Manager. It has been a huge part of my life.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

The Society is open to all creative approaches in Dry Medium. It has a modern attitude and is not what people expect from the name Pastel Society.

Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

Dry medium especially pastel has longevity in excess of most other mediums. The colours do not fade, works stay vibrant forever. Pastel is NOT a Second Class medium. We can trace the use of chalk back to the Cave Paintings.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

Halla Shafey

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Standing Water on the Moor by Katrina Wallis-King.

Katrina Wallis-King Standing Water on the Moor £765

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Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I use Unison & Schmincke mainly with a few Rembrandt and Faber Castell.

Do you frame your own work?

I frame my own work. Supplies come from Wessex Pictures at Ashford and Larson Juhl. I use UltraVue UV70 Anti Reflective Glass 48” x 36” and cut it myself.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I mostly buy online from Jackson’s Art Supplies. Sometimes from Francis Iles in Rochester.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell a work at?

Gould Gallery Sandwich 1980’s. Can’t remember the price.

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I work from drawings done in situ and then paint in my studio from these drawings. The paintings can take a number of days to complete.

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA Pebble Beach £1,950

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Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

So tempted to say I bow to the East three times. I do like to start the actual pastel work in the morning.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

It is a wooden building in the garden. Insulated to a degree. Not huge, but big enough. It has a heater, an air-con unit for the summer and a music machine. No sink or water, but a water butt outside. Daylight strip lighting. It’s painted a lovely Eggshell blue/green.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the Society?

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing, just be good at what you are trying to do. Keep your own identity.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish the Art College I attended had been less interested in the bizarre and more informative about the nuts and bolts of art techniques.

It was so bad I almost changed tack and applied to University to study English.

In fact, I didn’t return to art in any serious way for many years. Too many years. The Federation of British Artists and the art societies were never mentioned at college. But I am talking about the late 60s. Trendy at the time!!

My final comment - I don’t regret the time I spent doing other things. The experiences and adventures have been extremely valuable. I am so glad I didn’t go from college straight into teaching and then into retirement.  



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Norma Stephenson PS


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Reflections from the Artist | Martin Goold PS

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There is no set pattern to work, sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and thinking, at other times there are bursts of intensive activity, or long periods trying to make something work

Matin Goold PS on the high standard of work in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021 and why buyers can feel confident in buying quality art from the exhibition



You and The Pastel Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

In a profession that can at times feel quite isolating it is a huge support to belong to a forum and exhibiting platform that brings together genuine career artists who share a common interest in the potential of dry media.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

The annual exhibition tests an artist’s work alongside a high standard presentation, it forces us to be honest with ourselves about how we match up and should motivate us to push our work further. This is a valuable and healthy inducement bearing in mind that over time artists are prone to developing something of a fragile ego!

Martin Goold PS Sanguine Sky £750

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Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

Recent years have seen a huge proliferation of online platforms and web sites for selling art; many artists now choose to self-promote through social media.

But how does the buyer navigate through all these possibilities and know the true worth of what they are buying?

Society exhibitions only show artworks that have passed a rigorous selection process, these are brought together in one place allowing the buyer to compare and consider.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

It is impossible to choose one artist; for me, the diversity and scope is the biggest inspiration. Each annual exhibition has its own character and highlights.

Last year I was particularly impressed by the atmospheric light of Norma Stephenson’s works, this year I am very attracted to Janine Baldwin’s landscapes with their spare colouration and feeling for drawn surface marks.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Society and academy exhibitions are often thought of as being too inward-looking and not selecting enough non-member work, this is definitely not the case in this exhibition with its especially strong representation of non-members such as Ann Dangerfield, Polly Dutton, Emma Fitzpatrick and Andy Thornley; I especially like Susie Prangnell’s ‘Dance of the Rebel’ for its adventure and energy.

Susie Prangnell Dance of the Rebel £540

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Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I really like the superb colour range of Unison Pastels but my works in this year's exhibition have been made using Derwent Drawing Pencils, unlike most colour pencils these have a lovely soft waxy quality that enables rich textural overlaying.

Martin Goold PS Hound Tor £650

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Do you frame your own work?

I get the frames made up and set the works in myself, I use Old Barn Framing in Sherborne, Dorset.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I use Jackson's Art Supplies for large online orders and Frank Herring in Dorchester for things I want to select in person.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

My first major sale was at The Warwick Arts Trust in Pimlico, London in 1984. As a recent graduate, it was a great opportunity to exhibit alongside artists such as John Hoyland and Albert Irvin.

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

The starting point is making drawings on location; sketchbook work is not only a crucial stage but perhaps the side of work I enjoy the most for its spontaneity and directness. I then refer to my sketchbooks for larger studio work.

Martin Goold PS Dartmoor III £500

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Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

There is no set pattern to work, sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and thinking, at other times there are bursts of intensive activity, or long periods trying to make something work. I probably ruin much more than I resolve because once I have achieved something I try to go further; I never want to fall into formulaic or repetitive work.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in a rural location on the Dorset Coast; the horizon line of the sea constantly reminds me of journey and possibility. I keep boxes of photographs and sketchbooks from travels over the years, and there are several books such as Turner paintings and Freya Stark travel writings lying around.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the Society?

Make regular visits to the major collections such as The National Gallery so that you know what great art really looks like, humble yourself in front of these highest benchmarks. Find a mentor you respect. For artists wanting to join the Society, put forward your best work in the open exhibitions so that members can really see what you can do; resist the temptation to hold the best work back waiting for some ‘golden opportunity’ to appear.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career? 

To make the fullest possible use of the opportunities that arise while the chance is there.



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA


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Martin Goold PS Dartmoor III

Story Behind the Works | Simon Hodges PS

Hodges-Simon-Pastel-Demo-At-The-Mall-2020.jpg

Simon Hodges PS on the works he is exhibiting at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021.

For his collection of work in this year's exhibition, Simon found inspiration from his visit to Mall Galleries during last year's Pastel Society exhibition and sketching scenes around London prior to the Lockdown in March 2020 with a focus on Battersea and Tower Bridge areas.



During the two weeks of the Society's exhibition in 2020, I would spend at least half a day walking around London recording with sketchbook and camera, both the atmosphere and in particular the new building going on.

Landscape to me is about both capturing the essence of a place and a narrative. In other words, the world changes and I wish to record a little bit of this change.

London changes so fast that each year presents new possibilities and Battersea at night is currently a highlight of this fact.

Simon Hodges PS Battersea Power Station 2020 £595

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Walking around London in February 2020, the Thames was always the starting point for walks I had planned in various directions to different parts of London. Here walking back from Tower Bridge in late afternoon/evening, I love the view under The Millenium Bridge towards Blackfriars Railway Bridge with its wonderful new station roof.

The mixture of sun and haze is something that reminded me of the wonderful paintings by Monet capturing different weather on The Thames during his time and whilst I couldn't have done this work on the spot, I took away sketches to work with when back at the studio.

It took some time to decide that I was happy with the results but it is a subject I may well return to.

Simon Hodges PS The Thames 2020 £1,200

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On returning from Thames Barrier I stopped off again at Tower Bridge as I just love what goes on around this area. 

If you walk across the bridge from the station and turn left walking through Bermondsey you come across barges and boats turned into homes and gardens.

Looking back from what is a private car park, you get this wonderful view of Tower Bridge and this floating community along with a mixture of built statements. 

To play down the many details of this scene I have used late evening just before artificial lighting takes over. 

This is a view I will revisit in the future. I worked on this image up to the last moment before submitting works for the exhibition as sometimes the vision you see struggles to get down on paper successfully. 

I am as happy as I can be for now.

Simon Hodges PS Beyond Tower Bridge 2020

When people were visiting exhibitions just before the first lockdown, I sat in the Main Gallery during The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2020 and sketched the scene.

This is from a demonstration done by John Tookey PS and the subject that caught my eye was the light that highlighted someone looking at a picture on the wall behind whilst others admired the finished work by John and his sketchbook in the foreground.

Simon Hodges PS Pastel Exhibition at The Mall 2020 £595

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Once John had just finished his demonstration a line formed to look at the finished work. When sketching, I tended to use oil and new waterbased pastels that did not shed themselves all over me, the sketchbook and the gallery.

After almost a year of isolation working in my studio in Bath and walking mainly locally, I am so glad I took advantage of this time and hope to see people again in the gallery soon.

Beware, you may be being watched and sketched.

Simon Hodges PS Pastel Demo at The Mall 2020 £595

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Discover pastel demonstrations during The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021

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Simon Hodges Beyond Tower Bridge