What are Pastels?

Pastels were traditionally used in the 18th Century for painting royal portraiture.  The soft pastel medium can trace its roots back to prehistoric cave paintings.  It has been in and out of style in the last four centuries however is now enjoying a modern day resurgence of popularity.  This is due to their intense colours, permanence and no need for drying.

Pastels consist of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all coloured art media, including oil paints. The binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation, the more expensive pastels use less binder. These tend to be more soft and difficult to use due to crumbling, however the colours are more intense. The colour effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process.


Pet Paintings

My paintings are created using the finest brands of pastel in the form of pencils, cubes and soft sticks.  Pastels are regarded for their lightfast capabilities and permanence. The brands I use include :

  • Caran D’ache both cubes and pencils
  • Unison soft pastels
  • Schminck soft pastels
  • Stabilo Carbothello pencils
  • Gordan Becan handmade soft Pastels made in Croatia 

The Pastelmat surface I prefer is acid free and archival and this means it will not discolour or disintegrate over time. Lightfastness is simply it’s resistance to fading due to light. 

Paintings are not sprayed with fixative as this is not compatible with the Pastelmat surface.  If your commissioned painting is being framed by a professional framer it is imperative they do not spray the painting. This could ruin the colour and cause the pastel to separate. The Pastelmat surface has a slight rough surface which holds the pastel in place. Therefore it is really important to keep your portrait safe until it is framed.  I would not recommend framing the painting yourself, unless you are familiar with the pastel medium. 

Please keep your portrait in the original packaging before you are ready to take it to a reputable framer.

If you commission a portrait in pastels from me you will receive a timeless piece of original artwork, created specifically from your own photograph as reference.

An original painting can never be exactly replicated

A quick snapshot of some of the soft Pastel Sticks I use in my studio