For as long as people have been painting, they’ve recorded the irresistible charms, ferocious power and stunning grace of animals. Think of da Vinci’s horses galloping across the pages of his journal, Delacroix’s florid beasts and Rousseau’s exotic tigers. Animals provide a link between ourselves and the natural world, and so it’s no surprise that artists have long been drawn to the subject.
Whether an artist chooses to record the natural colors and details of fur, fin or feathers, or instead launches into the realm of imagination, the immediacy and versatility of pastels allows for an untold variety of expressions. In the June 2008 issue of The Pastel Journal, we feature the stories of five contemporary pastelists who choose animals as their subject. In this online gallery, you can see how these artists are painting animals, using sophisticated flamboyance and unexpected color in some cases, and quiet realism in others.
Oriole (pastel, 5×7) by Mike Beema
Wee Three (pastel, 14×18) by Sandy Byers
Catch of the Day (pastel, 16×26) by Liz Kenyon
Butterscotch (pastel, 16×16) by Becky Hicks-Roesler
Anticipation (pastel, 16-1/2×22) by Margaret Williams-McGowan