The Artists Cafe
Pastels is derived from the french word pastiche, Pastels are a pure pigment, when viewed under a microscope look like a diamond with many facets. These little particals reflect light like a prism.
The pure pigment is ground into a paste with a small amount of binder to help hold them together.
No other medium has the same power of color and luminance, Pastels have been in use for more than 400 years. Traced back to the 1500 century, pastels painted in the 16th century still exist today, as beautiful as the day they were painted.
Artist such as Edgar Degas, Mary Casset, William Merit Chase, Georgia O'Keeffe, James McNeil Whistler have completed some of their more important works in Pastels. Leonardo Da Vinci used them in the dry color method as a Highlight technique for drawing.
Pastels are the most stable and permanent of all painting media.
They come in a wide range of colors and hardness from very soft, like Schmincke to Hard like Nu-pastels, with almost as many pastel makers as colors. Terry Ludwig pastels are one of my favorites.
Papers and boards or panels also come in many different verities such as Canson, Wallis, & U-ART to name a few. There are many Pastel Societys through the world, Including the Pastel Society of Colorado, The Pastel Society of America, The Pastel society of Europe, & the Internation Association of Pastel Societys (IAPS) Which gathers Pastel Societys from around the world every 2 years to meet in one location. In 2013 they will meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico in early June.