Pastel FAQ's

images12.jpegAs I’ve mentioned before, we respond to a pretty incredible number of e-mails and letters at The Pastel Journal world headquarters in Cincinnati, many from long-time readers and many many many from pastel newbies. It’s nice to hear from all sectors of the pastel world; it makes us feel like we’re at the center of a great big international game of telephone. Or something.

Lately, I find myself sending useful links to readers in almost every reply I write. Here are a few of the answers to some of our most frequently asked pastel questions. Click on the highlighted text and you’ll go straight to the goods:

Q. How can I find pastel artists/workshops in my area?
A. A good place to start is our extensive listing workshops in the back pages of every issue of the magazine. You can also check in with your nearest pastel society. You’ll also find active pastel communities on WetCanvas! and The Artists Network Forums.

Q. How can I find out more about oil pastels?
A. We do publish oil pastels occasionally (check out Brett Varney‘s gorgeous oil pastel trees in the October 2007 issue), though soft (dry) pastels are our primary focus. You’ll find a lot information in the Oil Pastel area of Wet Canvas. Another good online resource for information regarding oil pastels is the Oil Pastel Society.

Q. Can I travel on planes with my pastels?
A. Yes, so long as they aren’t mistaken for bullets, apparently. Richard McKinley shares his tips for traveling with pastels on the Pastel Pointers Blog.

Q. How do I get my work in The Pastel Journal?
A. Our submission guidelines are now downloadable here. (Just scroll down to our title.) And Anne gives you the inside line here. Of course, you can always send us your Creative Spark inspired paintings. This option has the added bonus of a wonderful prize ($150 worth of PanPastels in the April installment).

Q. Which brand of pastel should I use?
A. That’s a personal choice, of course. Each pastel brand offers a different color range and has its own unique characteristics. Some are harder, some softer. Some are square, some round. It’s about choosing the right tool for the job and your own artistic preferences. Many artists collect sticks from a variety of sources, and use a palette made up of a number of different brands. Since many artists like to begin a painting with harder pastels, and then move to softer sticks as they progress, a useful chart is Dakota Pastels’ list of pastel brands organized in order from softest to hardest.

Once you have a sizable pastel collection and you need help arranging your palette, you can find out how artist Richard McKinley does it here.

Q. Where do I buy pastel painting supplies?
A. Why not look online? You’re already here, after all. Start your search at Artist’s Marketplace. You’ll also find plenty of ads for art suppliers right here on our blog, in the magazine and here. Most of the major players have websites these days. Just start with a simple search.

Got a burning pastel question that doesn’t appear on the list? I’ll bet you do. If you’d like to get in touch with us, please don’t hesitate to write.

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