It was back in 2007 that I first discovered the fabulous world of pastels. As a ‘Friend’ of the Mall Galleries in central London (home of the Federation of British Artists) I decided to visit the annual Pastel Society exhibition; it was a revelation! A blast of pure colours and exciting styles of painting greeted me; I was hooked!
While I was there I purchased a book written by pastel artist Mark Leach; RAW COLOUR with PASTELS, yet another revelation! I couldn’t put it down; it was full of the most amazing images of paintings full of vibrant colours, yet with limited palettes that were cleverly applied in an almost abstract fashion! This book is still one of my most treasured art reference books, together with ‘Pipers Places’ and ‘Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting’.
So what was next? I became a ‘Friend’ of the Pastel Society; I wanted to be kept up to date with all their latest news, have the opportunity to network with its members, learn their techniques and attend their work-shops. Then the unthinkable happened; Mark Leach died very suddenly in July 2008 at the tragically young age of 53. I’d never met Mark, but I almost felt I knew him. His work was my inspiration and I felt bereft as there would never be another book from this great artist!
So what now: the 10th June 2013 will be the Private View of the 114th annual pastel exhibition, opened this year by Philip Mould OBE, an Art Dealer, Art Historian & Painting Expert on BBC Antiques Road Show and presenter of Fake or Fortune. The exhibition is open until the 22nd June, so I would urge anyone with an interest in painting in any medium to visit this brilliant exhibition!
I will be tutoring my first pastel work-shop in the Old School Studio on the 3rd & 4th June. It’s almost 5 years since I first started to teach the subject and as a result I’ve made it my business to give my students the best possible advice and guidance when working with this rather undervalued medium. So watch this space as I will be writing a series of blogs following my student’s progress.
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