I chose the medium of soft Pastel because I love the spontaneity, I can just pick up a stick and draw. I'm too impatient to mix a color and then wait for it to dry, and I prefer drawing to painting with a brush. And the colors are luscious! My favorite brands include Rembrandt, Sennellier, Holbein and Schminke and I work on Canson Mi-Tientes colored pastel paper. Soft pastel should not be confused with colored chalk, which is a limestone substance impregnated with dyes. Oil pastels are another medium also. I do not spray fixative on my finished work, as this darkens some colors and pools the particles, flattening and dulling it. I do not blend for the same reason, preferring the textural stroke of the different colors to be blended by the eye of the viewer. I shake off my paper and try to get off the loose dust, then frame archivally under glass or plexiglass (cleaned with anti-static cleaner) preferably with a space between the pastel and mat, or cover with acetate or glassine paper.
The following is a description of Pastel by the Pastel Society of America - "Pastel is pure pigment, the same pigment used in making all fine art paints. It is the most permanent of all media, when applied to conservation ground and properly framed. Pastel has no liquid binder that may cause other media to darken, fade, yellow, crack or blister with time. Pastels from the 16th century exist today, as fresh as the day they were painted. No restoration needed, ever!
Pastel does not at all refer to pale colors, as the word is commonly used in cosmetic and fashion terminology. The name Pastel comes from the French word "pastische" because the pure, powered pigment is ground into paste, with a small amount of gum binder, and then rolled into sticks. The infinite variety of colors in the Pastel palette range from soft and subtle to bold and brilliant.
An artwork is created by stroking the sticks of dry pigment across an abrasive ground, embedding the color in the "tooth" of the paper, sandboard or canvas. If the ground is completely covered with Pastel, the work is considered a Pastel painting: leaving much of the ground exposed produces a Pastel sketch. Techniques vary with individual artists. Pastel can be blended or used with visible strokes. The medium is favored by many artists because it allows a spontaneous approach. There is no drying time, and no allowances to be made for a change in color due to drying.
Historically, Pastel can be traced back to the 16th century. Its invention is attributed to the German painter Johann Thiele. A Venetian woman artist, Rosalba Carriera was the first to make consistent use of Pastel. Chardin did portraits with an open stroke, while LaTour preferred the blended finish. Thereafter a galaxy of famous artists...Watteau, Copley, Delacroix, Millet, Manet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard, Bonnard, Glackens, Whistler, Hassam, William Merritt Chase...just to list the more familiar names, used Pastel a finished work rather than preliminary sketches.
Edgar Degas was the most prolific user of Pastel, and its champion. His protege, Mary Cassatt introduced the Impressionists and Pastel to her friends in Philadelphia and Washington, and thus to the United States. In the spring of 1983, Sothby Parke Bernet sold at auction two Degas Pastels for more than $3,000,000 each! Both Pastels were painted about 1880.
Today, Pastel paintings have the stature of oil and watercolor as a major fine art medium. Many of our most renowned living artists have distinguished themselves in Pastel, and enriched the art world with this beautiful medium.
These signed, limited-edition Giclee (Ghee-A-clay) Fine Art Prints are mostly printed at Skylark Images in Cotati, a premier company. They photograph the original with a digital backed camera, tweak it in Photoshop and print with an Iris or Roland printer with eight colors of pigment on Enhanced Somerset watercolor paper or canvas. They are meticulous and we proof carefully. This is a very archival product and comes closest to capturing the rich colors and textures of pastel. My Gallery suggested I limit each of my editions to 100, as is their custom. I print larger as well as smaller than the original size. It may be possible to special order a particular size or image that I do not have.
These prints were reproduced from original pastels if small, and professionally shot slides if large. The machine used was a Canon 1000 Laser Color Copier. I supply the 40 - 60 lb. acid-free Hammermill paper and work with a color specialist. The resulting prints are very light-fast and I am very pleased with the results. This is my most economical reproduction. As prescribed by the Sausalito Art Festival, they are in limited-editions of 450, and signed by me. The original pastels of these show pieces have been sold, but Giclee prints may be special ordered.