Are Pastels For You?

For me, pastels were a match made in Heaven. I thought I would never be an artist, but due to circumstances in my life, I began with pastels from the very beginning of my art journey, and I have never regretted it. To read the story of my personal art journey and how I learned that everyone is born an artist, click here.

Why should you consider pastels?

  • They require the least amount of equipment and supplies to get started of any color medium. No brushes, no liquid mediums, no mixing. Just grab one of those gem-toned wands and some pastel paper and begin making your magic.
  • There is no drying or curing time. Once you have finished a piece, it’s ready to frame. Unless you just want to correct that one little thing…(this is an artist’s joke!)
  • Pastel art lasts hundreds of years. They don’t darken or crack, yellow or fade. Properly cared for, they are just as brilliant and beautiful as the day they were painted. Monet, Degas and Renoir all worked in pastels–their pastel paintings are just as breathtaking today as when they painted them.
  • Many pastel papers can be re-used, making them very cost effective for the beginner or experimenter. It’s true that just plain paper won’t work with pastels, and that proper pastel paper is needed to see good results. Most of the sanded papers designed for pastels can be brushed or even washed off and used again. Link to information about pastel papers coming soon!

Are pastels for you?

No artistic medium is perfect, and that goes for pastels as well. Here are some reasons you may choose a different medium with which to express the art within.

Pastels are dry and create dust. This dust is not toxic in itself, but just like any other dust, it can cause some problems for susceptible people . Consider if you have breathing or lung problemps, or if you are allergic to dust, that pastels may not be a medium best suited for you.

Storage and transport of pastels requires special preparation. Generally they should be stored in a single layer and transported between sheets of foam. There are special boxes made for this. Storing your pastels in their original boxes is certainly an option, but can be tedious when choosing your palette. Pastels dumped on top of one another in a plastic bowl with a lid will not survive a trip out to paint. All mediums require some special preparation