Story Behind the Works | Janine Baldwin PS


Janine Baldwin on the works she is exhibiting at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021.

For her collection of work in this year's exhibition, Janine found inspiration from the connection of human interaction with the natural landscape around us.


Nature can provide a welcome retreat, especially when life is hard. 

I find that time spent in the quiet winter landscape gives me precious space to reflect and reminds me that we are all part of the bigger picture and life continues no matter what - seasons change and time passes. 

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Both Furrowed and Scarred Fields celebrate the same subject matter. Throughout the years our land has been worked over and over again, shaping its topographical history. 

I've always enjoyed exploring these lines and forms in my work both in terms of abstracted mapmaking and also to reflect something of our presence on the land through the ages.

Scarred Field

The marks left by human presence on the air forms the focus of this piece. It says something about the cycle of crop growing and changing of the seasons. 

Each season brings its own challenges and, in turn, rewards.

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Slip Away

This piece is dedicated to my father, who passed away recently; he was always the biggest champion of my artistic career.

He was a quiet man with a gentle but strong energy. And this landscape seemed to reflect him so well.

A landscape which appears delicate at first sight, but has seen and survived through many years of change.

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Frozen Ground

When the temperatures have remained low for a prolonged time, it seems the ground will never thaw. 

Trees are sparse skeletons and the blue of snow shadows gives a cold palette to the landscape. 

I wanted to capture the feeling of crisp air and solid frozen earth in the depths of winter.

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Janine Baldwin PS Solace

Story Behind the Works | Liz Balkwill PS


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.

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Liz Balkwill PS Preserving the Citrus

Story Behind the Works | Simon Hodges PS


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