Pastel as an art form gets a bad rap. First, because the average person thinks that pastel is chalk. And second, because its name, “pastel,” is often connected with light, watery and pale colors.
An upcoming exhibit by the Pastel Society of the West Coast at The Gallery at 48 Natoma will set the record straight.
“Pastels in Light” opens July 15 and runs through Sept. 1. Approximately 80 paintings will be judged by internationally known artist Marbo Barnard. This is a prestigious show, and is typical of the high quality that the Gallery at 48 Natoma has come to be known for.
Pastel is a fascinating medium for artists. They refer to it as a “seductive” medium. Remember those misconceptions I mentioned a moment ago? Well, when one begins to explore the true medium of pastel … one can easily be “hooked.”
Pastel has a similarity to chalk in that it is “packaged” similarly. But there, all similarity ends. Colored chalk is a limestone substance impregnated with fugitive dyes. Pastel, on the other hand, is pure pigment. In fact, it is one of the most permanent of all art media.
Because of this vibrant quality of pastel, it is able to “vibrate.” It refracts – it does not stop with simply reflecting light. It is capable of producing subtle textures and scintillating color. When set in the proper lighted setting pastel can be electrifying.
In the 1870s synthetic dyes that were not permanent were used in the creation of pastels. They faded, and often were very pale in tone. These dyes are no longer used in making pastels, but the reputation of pale, watery colors is still in the cultural consciousness.
Today, pastel paintings have the same stature as oil and watercolor as a major fine art medium.
The Pastel Society of the West Coast has more than 400 members from California to New York. A PSWC signature is cited more often in bios and on websites than that of any other regional society.
No visit to The Gallery at 48 Natoma is complete without a short trip to check out the back hall, which always has an additional exhibit that is worth seeing. This month it is the Annual Student Art Show from adult art classes at the Art Center at 48 Natoma that will be on display, July 7 to Aug. 31.
It’s a great opportunity to see wonderful art, be inspired … and perhaps explore the possibility of signing up for an art class. Check out your inner artist.
A free public reception for “Pastels in Light” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 15. Live music and refreshments will be provided.
“Pastels in Light” is free to the public. The Gallery at 48 Natoma is located at 48 Natoma St. in Folsom. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday nights 6 to 8 p.m. and special Second Saturday hours on Aug. 13 of 1 to 5 p.m. Special group and free school tours can be arranged by appointment. To request additional gallery information or to schedule a tour contact Cindy Abraham at (916) 351-3506 or [email protected].
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