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What Is Pastel Painting

When we think of the arts, images of a canvas, paintings, and brushes come to mind. However, pastels are one of the older and more common mediums to produce fine art, and they don’t require brushes.

Pastel paintings or pastel drawings are common throughout history and can be found in many of the drawings of the great masters. However, many people are unfamiliar with the pastel medium.

If you're new to the art world and don't know much about pastel paintings, you've come to the perfect place. In this article, we'll go through the definition of pastel drawing, its purpose, and how to store pastel paintings, so let's dive into the article before any further ado.

What Is Pastel Drawing?

In order to get a complete idea of the term pastel drawing, first of all, we need to know what pastel is.

Pastel often called a tint, is the lightest variation of any hue. Just add a considerable amount of white into any shade and, boom, you've got the pastel color of that particular shade.

Pastel colors tend to bring a fresh and calming effect to your drawing, and if mixed with neutral colors, they work like a charm, creating an aura of sophistication to your pictures.

These pastel colors come in the shape of a stick, consisting of a colored powdered pigment and a binder, and are held the same way as pencil or crayons.

They are easily portable, light-weighed, and occupy less space, hence saving you the inconvenience of carrying water, palettes, and brushes.

A pastel drawing is created by using these pastel colors on a comparatively rough surface so that the pastel particles can rest on it.

Because, unlike traditional paintings, pastel colors are applied directly to the paper, hence blending (with either fingers or a cloth) plays a significant part in pastel drawings.

These pastel drawings can further be used for a variety of purposes, including home decor, as a gift, or can be sold in an art exhibition under the tag, "paintings for sale.”

How To Store Pastel Paintings?

Getting your pastel paintings smeared and ruined is always a possibility. So, if you're wondering how to store your pastel paintings, look no further because we'll provide you with some tips that will come in handy if you plan on keeping them for a long time.

  • Always choose an acid-free mounting board over regular cardboard when purchasing a mounting board. Why? Because the acid in the cardboard could damage your pastel paper, causing your pastel artwork to be destroyed.

  • When putting your pastel painting in a bag, make sure you cover it with an acid-free tissue to keep it from smudging when you take it out.

  • If you want your pastel paintings to last a long time, keep them in a safe area with a piece of glass sandwiched between them.

  • Keep your pastel paintings in a climate-controlled storage unit to avoid damage from fluctuations in weather and humidity.

You can learn more about storing drawings on our blog.

Famous Pastel Drawings

There are many famous drawings made in pastel; some you may recognize include:

  • Flower Clouds by Odilon Redon, 1903, pastel

  • Poppies, Isles of Shoals by Childe Hassam, 1891, pastel

  • Baby in His Mother’s Arms, Sucking his Finger by Mary Cassatt, pastel

  • Self-Portrait by William Merritt Chase, ca. 1884, pastel

  • Watering Horses, Sunset by Jean-François Millet, 1866, pastel and black Conte crayon

  • La Toilette (Woman Combing Her Hair) by Edgar Degas, ca. 1886, pastel on cardboard

Famous Pastel Artists

Painters are often the most well-known names in the art world, so it may come as a surprise that there are also many famous artists who like to work with pastels, including:

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

  • Edgar Degas

  • Eugène Delacroix

  • Pablo Picasso

  • Pierre-August Renoir

  • Jean-François Millet

  • Mary Cassatt

  • Vincent Van Gogh



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