What is Pastel?
The word 'PASTEL' comes from the paste made of pure, powdered color pigment, bound together with a minimum of resin or gum, and molded into stick form. If this same powdered color pigment were bound with an oil medium, it would be an oil paint. Because pastel sticks are formed with a minimum of resin or binder, usually just enough to hold the stick together, it is generally the most purest form of pigment that can be applied to a painting surface giving pastel paintings a vivid, luminous appearance. The soft pastel sticks have a higher portion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors. Pastel is not colored chalk, which is a limestone substance. Pastel is pure pigment-the same pigment used in making all fine art paints. Many pastelists believe the color pigments available with pastels cannot be duplicated with any other mediums. Pastel pigment has been bound together in stick form since as early as the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that pastels became a serious artistic medium. The golden age of pastel is associated with the name of Rosalba Carriera
(1674-1757), whose elegant portraits
were popular in Paris. Many other artist use this medium including famous Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and La Trec to name a few. By the 19th century, companies began the tedious job of rendering a wide selection of hard and soft pastels varying in color intensity and value. With oils, artist must mix colors to produce the desired pigment color. In pastel there is such a large and diverse color sampling, the artist can choose the exact color it needs by itself or add numerous layers of various colors to achieve a wonderful mosaic. Like with oils, the artist may use a heavy or light touch often leaving some of the paper surface evident or painted under-coatings to vibrate thru. The crispness and perfection of pastel paintings currently residing in museums worldwide testifies to the viability and longevity of pastels as an art medium. Because pastels have no oils, they do not yellow nor breakdown as can oil paintings and have very little need of restoration. Pastel paintings from the 16th Century exist today, as fresh and alive as the day they were painted! We can thank the German painter Johaim Thiele during the 16th century for its invention. In 1983, two 1880 Degas Pastels were sold by Sotheby Parke Bernet at an auction for more than $ 3,000,000 each! Even today pastel paintings are coveted and have the stature of an oil and watercolor fine art painting.
What is Colored Pencil?
Colored Pencil is a relatively new application of pigment that has evolved to include high level of light fastness achieved in the wide range of colors available. The core of the pencil is an extruded column of pigment and binder, usually a cellulose gum, to achieve this form of artistic medium. Companies that produce these colored pencils have achieved a very high level of pigment quality that stands up to archival testing. The colored pencil pigment is tediously applied to a fine tooth paper and is blended by a variety of ways. Even though some greats like Andy Warhol and David Hockney have used this medium it has not been readily used by many artists because of its enormous amount of time required to render a painting. Colored pencil paintings are now more and more recognized as 'respectable' and are now pursued by art collectors around the world. One colored pencil artist, Bernard Poulin, recently rendered a commissioned colored pencil portrait ordered by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II of the Right Honorable Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada (between 1993 and 2003) and now hangs in the Print Room at the Windsor Castle. To see the painting visit http://poulinstudios.com/royal%20collection.html
. Recently, I have begun using a newly fabricated heated drawing board (Icarus) where I can apply pigment down and blend it to create luscious gradations of pigment decreasing the amount of time required to obtain fabulous vibrant color. The finished artwork resembles that of an oil painting. In time this medium may become more valuable than any other.
What is Oil?
Oil Paint is a type of slow-drying paint
that consists of particles of pigment
suspended in a drying oil
, commonly linseed oil
. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine
or white spirit
, and varnish
may be added to increase the glossiness
of the dried film. Artists previously ground each pigment by hand, carefully mixing the binding oil in the proper proportions. The oil paint tubes were invented in 1841 which allowed Impressionists mobile, where they could paint plein aire (on location). Typical qualities of oil paint include a long 'open time,' which means that the paint does not dry quickly. Oil paints take several weeks to dry allowing the artist to work on a painting for many sessions. This medium also produces vivid color with a natural sheen and distinct contrast. Oil paints have a surface translucency similar to human skin, making it an ideal medium for portraits. With this medium there are many techniques to apply the pigment: thinly or heavily using a palette knife or brushes.
What is Plein Air Painting?
'Plein air' is a French term used by painters since the 19th century to describe atmospheric painting captured on a canvas of what they saw outside at that moment and at that particular location. Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) is most likely deserving of the recognition of plein air but Frenchman Claude Monet (1840-1926) is the artist most associated with the founding of Impressionism. These paintings reflected a new interest in optical effects, a free spiritedness and lack of academic constraints. Impressionists strongly believed in the merits of painting outdoors to capture the light, color and shadow. The term, plein air is linked to an 1874 Paris exhibition of the Societe Anonyme composed of work by Monet and other artists rebelling against the strictures of the government-sponsored Salon exhibitions. Some famous plein air painters from the 19th century were Renoir, Degas, Turner, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Whistler and Sargent.
What is a Giclee Print?
Add (pronounced ghee-clay, as in 'gee') The term 'giclee print' connotes an elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The giclee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. Giclee prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color ink-jet printers. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. (ADD Giclee prints should be treated like any other piece of fine art, they should be protected from excessive light, moisture and heat. Signed and numbered limited edition giclee prints are available of most of my art up to 17'' wide. The art can be reproduced on acid free fine art paper. The prints are made with the Epson ink-jet printers. Occasionally, I like to hand-embellish the prints on paper with pastels to give them more individuality and authenticity closer but slightly different to the original, making them somewhat of an original on their own. This is not always done, but most often I do, or can, if you so choose. After all only one person can own the original artwork so often a limited number of prints may be available for purchase.) The quality of the giclee print is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries. Numerous examples of giclee prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries. Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillmans (April 23/24 2004, Photographs, New York, Phillips de Pury & Company.)