My Valentine to Pastel

What is Love?

Merriam-Webster defines it as: “warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion,” and according to most definitions:

Love is a strong, positive emotion of regard and attraction.

The definition of love may apply to a wide range of connotations, but for many of us pastelists, no other word in the English language better defines how we feel about pastel.

During February, when Valentine cards are exchanged and gifts of affection are bestowed on the ones we love, I want to proclaim my love for pastel.

Why do I love this medium? Here are a few key reasons in hopes you fall in love with pastel, too — if you haven’t already!

I Love Its Tactile Nature

Of all the means artists use to express themselves, none compare to the feeling of a stick of pure, rich pigment being drawn across a surface quite like soft pastel. The direct connection of a pastel stick in hand creates an intimacy lacking in other media that have to rely on additional art toolsfor deployment.

I Admire the Medium’s Adaptability

Pastel can adapt to a variety of mixed-media techniques, making it unrivaled when it comes to creative expression. It gets along well with just about every other painting medium.

Pastel expands the individual potential of other media, often providing the means to take an otherwise good painting to the point of exceptional. It is without a doubt one of the most versatile media currently available.

I Adore Pastel’s Inherent Patience

Since pastel contains no additional products that dry or alter the final appearance, it’s always quietly waiting for my return. The medium on my surface is just as I left it. I can pick up right where I left off.

A Continuing Love Affair

While other painting media may steal a bit of my affection from time to time, pastel is the one I always come back to. From my initial introduction in 1975 by one of my earliest mentors, Margaret Stahl Moyer, it’s been a constant love affair.

Like most relationships, pastel and I have had our ups and downs, and we occasionally require outside counsel. But with each passing year, I’ve acquired a deeper appreciation for the medium’s attributes.

The initial allure has developed into a comfortable dependency. However, the same passion is still going strong. So here is an ode to my Valentine, pastel! Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow pastel-lovers!