Most artists who work in pastel become addicted to the medium. Those magical sticks of pure pigment are so luscious; it’s like candy for artists. This is why the participants of the biennial International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) convention affectionately refer to the vendor’s tradeshow as the “Candy Store.” As artists enter the tradeshow, they become the proverbial child in the sweet shop. Eyes dart from one tempting stick to the next; mouths water with anticipation; and ultimately one of each is wanted!
My tour began with Terry showing the containers of pure pigment and explaining how they are often combined to produce exotic variations. Finding and retaining good quality pigment sources is always a major concern and the prices are as volatile as any other commodity. Next he explained the importance of keeping precious records so future batches of pastels would be consistent. He demonstrated the machinery used in the mixing process and the wooden cradle forms used to form the pigment paste as it dries into the unique square shaped stick he is known for. Once dry, the sticks are carefully sanded to a smooth uniform edge, making them perfect for thick broad strokes as well as thin precise line work.
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