A Pastel Thanksgiving


A feast of pastels; seconds are allowed—Bon Appetit!

As we slip from fall in to the throes of winter, the days become shorter and more contemplative. Gone is the long light of summer that motivates so many of us to pack our pastels out on location for the plein air painting experience. In its place, we find ourselves warmly nestled in the comfort of our studios attempting to resolve many of those outdoor adventures. This is also the time for holidays in much of the world. No sooner is one ended than the next is upon us.

Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada has always been a personal favorite. It’s a time when family and friends gather to focus on the things they’re most thankful for. Of course, every day should be filled with a degree of appreciation, but it doesn’t hurt to have a special day once a year set aside for forced reflection. With the approach of this year’s festivity, I couldn’t help but be aware of all the things I have to be thankful for as a pastel artist.

Here’s my short list:

  • The manufactures, both large and small, that have made it so much easier to experience all the qualities and personalities pastel has to offer.
  • The availability of a wide variety of pastel surfaces to choose from, each offering new possibilities for expression.
  • The advent of Museum Glass and low reflection AR glass, which make it easier to display pastel paintings without the annoyance of reflections interfering.
  • The hardworking members of all the pastel societies that volunteer their time and efforts in pursuit of promoting the medium.
  • Urania Christy Tarbet, for having envisioned a society (IAPS) under which to umbrella the pastel organizations. The IAPS convention, held every two years, is like a huge family reunion.
  • The staff of The Pastel Journal and F+W media, for all their devotion to the pastel community. And to Janie Hutchinson and Maggie Price for having had the idea in the first place, and the tenacity to make it happen.
  • The enthusiastic painters who share in the passion to communicate a bit of themselves with the medium of Degas and Cassatt, allowing us to see the world through their eyes. It wasn’t that long ago that pastel was relegated to a mere fragile sketching medium or sidewalk chalk. Today it’s taken seriously and hangs right along side oil because of their efforts—THANK YOU!

Please feel free to post your pastel thankful comments during this week of reflection.


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10 thoughts on “A Pastel Thanksgiving

  1. Cindy Haase

    I am very thankful for the "gift" of being an artist, a husband who encourages and supports me, and the good fortune to live near Deborah Bays, who has been my pastel mentor for the last year. I so appreciate those who pass on their knowledge and experience..thank you Richard!

  2. Jean Hirons

    Thank you, Richard, for your great enthusiasm for pastel and your generosity in sharing so much of your knowledge and experience with us. I am thankful to be part of a profession that includes such wonderful leaders!

  3. Sandra Scott

    I’m so thankful for the artists who share with others, especially you, Karen Margulis and Deborah Secor. It’s so helpful for those of us that are trying to learn pastel but don’t have access to workshops. Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving!