I took up the challenge of learning the new medium of soft pastels in 2018. With the help of a wonderful local tutor, Helena South, at weekly classes at the Inverell Art Gallery, I think I have found a medium that naturally suits me. I just love painting in soft pastels.
This is my Unison Colour soft pastel backpack set.
I am now proud to be an Associate Artist of Unison Colour and promote the wonderful medium of soft pastels. Soft pastels are an often misunderstood and underappreciated creative medium. I love applying pigment directly to a surface, it reminds me of all the work of my people that I see when I am out on Gamilaraay lands. It links me to the past, inspires me in the present and allows me share stories with others that will survive into the future through my art.
This is me hard at work in my studio.
I continue to upgrade my creative space over time.
I started out with a simple 3 x 3m space with no lighting.
Soft pastels are a medium that straddles the line between painting and drawing. In the style that I create with soft pastels, I consider it to be painting, as I mainly use layers of pigment to create shape, colour and value with less use of marks and lines.
I always peel of my soft pastel papers so I can us the edges for broad stokes. This means that I have to keep track of my colours by making colour swatches.
Soft pastels are a ‘dry’ medium. They are pigments (just the same as in oil, acrylic or watercolour) that are formed into a way (stick) that is easy to handle. Binders, such as gum arabic (the same as in watercolour), is mixed with pigment and is then extruded by either a machine or rolled by hand. I primarily use Unison Colour which are hand made in Northumberland in the United Kingdom. Their consistency is buttery and soft, but not so soft that they fall apart.
Soft pastels are usually applied to specialist archival papers and made of fibrous materials such as cotton (just like in watercolour and printmaking). A ground, is often applied to the surface to enable more pigment to adhere and thus more layers to be applied. I mostly use Sennelier la Carte pastel card (which has tiny cork fibres on the surface), but I also use Canson Mi Teintes and Canson Touch, Art Spectrum Colourfix, UART Sanded, Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel and Clairefontaine Pastelmat.
Check out some of my soft pastel paintings in the 'Artworks' section then 'Soft Pastels'.