10 Reasons to Love Pastel: Soft Impressions

I believe I've made it to number five of my 10 reasons to love pastel: it's a natural choice for impressionists!
"Balboa Turtle"
9 x 12 Pastel on Paper
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If you're a fan of the Impressionist Movement, chances are you've enjoyed a few pieces created with pastel.  Pastel lends itself naturally to the quick strokes and dappled lights and darks of the impressionist style, and it's relatively easy to use in a plein air (outside) or alla prima (all in one session) painting setting.  The soft, smeary nature of dry pastel also makes it an ideal medium for paintings that focus on overall lights and darks without a lot of hard line and detail.

"Balboa Water Lilies"
9 x 12 Pastel on Paper
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I was lucky enough to visit Musee D'Orsay as a teenager (thanks to my generous host parents when I was an exchange student), and I couldn't wait to get a close-up view of all the impressionist art.  Being a ballet student and a sucker for all things Degas, I knew I would one day have to give the pastels a try.  I didn't get around to the chalk pastels until I was well out of college and teaching full time, but as soon as I began handling the medium in my first pastel class I felt the connection to those old pastels I'd admired as a teenager.



As you can tell by the piece above, I enjoy painting water scenes using pastels.  I took some great reference photos last year after the lily pond at Balboa Park's Botanical Gardens was replanted, and I particularly enjoyed watching the turtles make their way from one bunch of water lilies to the next.  The water is normally murky, making it difficult to see the turtles-- so, I got as many photos of them as I could that day.

Here are a few more impressionistic pieces I painted with pastels:

"Venetian Duck"
12 x 16 inch Pastel on Flat Canvas
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"Butterfly Jungle"
9 x 12 inch Pastel on Paper
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"Distant Grove"
9 x 12 inch Pastel on Paper
Click here to view prints (original sold)
If you like the style of these works, check out my new Impressionistic Water Scenes gallery!



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