Pastel Pick of the Week | Portrait of a Pastel 100 Prizewinner

You may remember meeting Simone Bingemer a few months back in the April 2015 issue of Pastel Journal, which featured her pastel portrait, Isabell, the winner of the Pastel Journal Founder’s Award, our top prize in the Pastel 100 competition. Here’s a snippet from our interview with the artist, who works out of Cologne, Germany.

Isabell (29-1/4x17-1/4) by Simone Bingemer

Isabell (29-1/4×17-1/4) by Simone Bingemer

“Elegance and restraint” are two of 
the words used by Ellen Eagle, the Portrait & Figure category juror, to describe Simone Bingemer’s award-winning portrait, Isabell. Bingemer gives a large share of the credit for the sense of restraint to the collaborative spirit between the model and herself. “I always try to remain neutral, to respect my model’s dignity,” she explains, “to find out what we can create together.” The rather serious expression of the young model’s pose and gaze captured the artist’s interest. “It’s quite different from more typical representations of children,” Bingemer says, “which often can be rather saccharine.”

Eagle noted that, in general, she found herself responding to paintings in the category in which she could “feel the artist’s affection for the individual portrayed.” Bingemer says that she knew instantly, when she met Isabell, that the young girl had great potential as a model for a portrait. “Not just because of her red hair and fine complexion,” she says, “but because she generally had something rather timeless. She possessed an almost literary character and seemed somehow familiar to me.”

The easy bond that developed between the two meant that the artist felt no need for embellishment. “I didn’t have to add anything,” she says. The result is a portrait with appealing simplicity and surprising impact.

Bingemer’s special talent for working with a model and capturing a sense of character can also be seen in her stunning pastel, Phillipa, shown below. And her successful interpretations are not limited to humans. You can see an equivalent level of expression in her portraits of animals as well.

I was delighted to become acquainted with this German artist—and many others—thanks to the Pastel 100 competition. If I’m not yet acquainted with your work—or your latest work in pastel—don’t miss the opportunity to enter the next Pastel 100. The early-bird deadline is August 3. Find out everything you need to know about this year’s jurors, the prize structure, and how to enter at


Phillipa (pastel, 27-1/2x21-1/4) by Simone Bingemer

Phillipa (pastel, 27-1/2×21-1/4) by Simone Bingemer

Luca (pastel, 24x16-1/2) by Simone Bingemer

Luca (pastel, 24×16-1/2) by Simone Bingemer







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