On this last day of 2014, I’m delighted to present my totally subjective pastel choices for December. As always, soooooooo difficult to choose. I sifted through all my choices seen throughout December over and over again, weeding one here, one there, until I had about 15 left. And then I was at the point when I didn’t think I could narrow my choices down any further.

But I promised.

10 only.

So I looked and looked and then looked some more and finally, I ended up with the 10 pastel choices that make my heartbeat quicken when I look at them.

Which one of the the 10 pastel choices does that for you??


Anita Stoll, "Bouquet in the Lotus Bowl," pastel on Mi-Tientes Touch board, 9 x 14 in
Anita Stoll, “Bouquet in the Lotus Bowl,” pastel on Mi-Tientes Touch board, 9 x 14 in

I’m drawn to this moody and deceptively simple pastel. It seems so unusual for a bouquet of flowers, coloured as it is with greys and blacks. I love that Anita has chosen to work in such muted colours. There is so little indicated in this evocative and illusive work and yet, we easily read a vase with flowers. Click here to see more of Anita’s work.



Bela Tarcsay, "In The Morning," pastel on paper, 13 3/4 x 19 5/8 in
Bela Tarcsay, “In The Morning,” pastel on paper, 13 3/4 x 19 5/8 in

Here we have the drama of sunlight streaming into a room, illuminating certain parts while some areas remain in deep shadow. I love the feeling, the energy conveyed by the pastel marks, the colours. Makes me want to rise and shine! I couldn’t find a website for Bela Tarcsay but you can see more of his work by clicking here.



Hamidreza Razavi, "Portrait," pastel on paper, 16 1/2 x 11 11/16 in
Hamidreza Razavi, “Portrait,” pastel on paper, 16 1/2 x 11 11/16 in

I think this is an amazingly powerful portrait. I love the directness of pastel application, the expressive use of line, the intensity in the eyes, the sculptural form, the tension revealed. Wonderful! There’s something about it that makes me think of the German Expressionist artists like Otto Dix. I couldn’t find a website for Hamidreza Razavi, but you can see more work on his facebook profile.



Motti Shoval, "Cafe Massada," pastel on paper, 25 5/8 x 19 11/16 in
Motti Shoval, “Cafe Massada,” pastel on paper, 25 5/8 x 19 11/16 in

There’s something about both the abstract design of this painting as well as the cafe setting that keeps pulling me back to it. There’s also the contrast between stillness and movement. No figures are shown yet their presence is hinted at in the car and by the chair in the foreground that looks as if it’s just been pushed away from the table. There’s also the dramatic contrast between light and dark, between colour and neutrals, between soft and hard edges. Apparently another artist without his own website, you can read Motti Shoval’s CV and see a few more pieces here. And you can find a link to his facebook page there.



Posa Ede, "Budapest," pastel, 19 11/16 x 23 5/8 in
Posa Ede, “Budapest,” pastel, 19 11/16 x 23 5/8 in

I had three pastels by Posa Ede to choose from! In the end I went with this painting, first because I love the bright colours used although it’s a night scene, the feeling of mist and wet streets with scurrying people, and the way the light is used in different ways – various buildings lit up from without and within- and second, because it’s a city we may visit in May. (My honey Cam and I are going to choose a city in Europe, one where we haven’t been, and stay for three weeks. We’ll both be working – he writing, me painting. Budapest is on the short list.) I love the combination of both the side of the pastel and the tip, ie. painting and drawing. I want to step into the painting and walk towards the light! See more of his work here.



Cameron Hampton, "Crouching Nude Study," Pastel on La Carte paper, 8 x 8 in
Cameron Hampton, “Crouching Nude Study,” Pastel on La Carte paper, 8 x 8 in

When I saw this pastel on the Pastel of America Facebook page, I was stopped in my tracks. Powerful, bold, unafraid, direct. I think of master artists like Lucian Freud (his later work) and Kathe Kollwitz when I look at this piece. Who is this woman? What is going on with her? Go check out more of Cameron’s work here!



Ellen Eagle, "Nude," pastel, 31 1/2 x 13 in
Ellen Eagle, “Nude,” pastel, 31 1/2 x 13 in

From the colourful expressionism of Hampton’s work, we go to the muted delicacy of this nude by Ellen Eagle. Legs together, we are presented with a completely different picture. Here there is contemplation and an ethereal quality. And yet, there is still emotion, of sorrow? of pain? There is something about this piece that reminds me of the work of Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. Go see more of Ellen’s work at her newly designed website!



Don Gardi, "Dialogue with the Ephemeral," pastel, 11 x 14 in
Don Gardi, “Dialogue with the Ephemeral,” pastel, 11 x 14 in

I love the exuberant mark-making Don Gardi brings to this piece. There’s energy and such fabulous colour. I feel excited just looking at it! It reminds me a lot of the work of Joan Mitchell, an artist I admire greatly. (Read a blog I wrote about her work here.) This pastel makes me happy to be alive 🙂  Check out more of Don’s work at his website.



Tom Christopher, "Tower Rock," pastel, 25 x 32 in
Tom Christopher, “Tower Rock,” pastel, 25 x 32 in

I can feel the coolness of the snow in the shadows and reach for those areas still lit by the setting (or is it rising?) sun. Haven’t you experienced that quality of light in nature? I love the contrast between the limited palette of reds and blues and between large areas of colour and expressive line. I also enjoy the effect Tom creates with a textured surface (marks created by brush strokes?). Check out more of Tom’s work here.



Karen Pettengill, "First Light," pastel, 14 x 11 in
Karen Pettengill, “First Light,” pastel, 14 x 11 in

I kept thinking that this painting was going to have to go, but, in the end, it ended up as one of my 10 pastel choices. There’s a powerful simplicity to it that haunts me. That intense light through the doorway, something mystical is happening. What is this place? The whole thing has an iconic feel about it. See more of Karen’s work here.


I’d love to hear what you think of my pastel choices for December!


And so endeth 2014.

Wishing you a most joyful, a most adventurous, a most peaceful, a most healthy, a most successful, a most exciting, a most fulfilling 2015!

From my heart, thank you for joining me on these pastel journeys. See you next year!!

~ Gail


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17 thoughts on “December’s Pastel Choices”

  1. Hi Gail,
    They are all exceptional but my favorite is Ellen Eagle’s “Nude”. It is exceptionally good and reminds me of Jeremy Lipking’s oil paintings.
    Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks for writing Joan! Ellen’s nude is pretty special isn’t it? As is Jeremy Lipking’s work. Now if only he worked in pastels, I could do a blog on his pastel paintings….

  2. Thank you for putting these artists up for us to see. I’m glad you found Bela Tarcsay’s art — I’ve been looking at his work for a couple of months. Very beautiful and inspiring.

    Budapest is a beautiful city — and if you go to Hungary, maybe you can meet Bela Tarcsay, take some pictures, and share him with us. He probably lives in Szeged – an apparently beautiful university town with a river running through it. What an adventure that would be!

    1. Isn’t his work wonderful. His work has been on my radar everytime but some reason didn’t quite make the cut. This time it did. Yay!!

      It would be fantastic to go to Hungary and meet Bela Tarcsay! Once we decide on the country at least (hoping to do that in the next few days…), I will do more research and reach out to artists. It would be terrific to meet him. And then yes, I’ll have to post lots!!!

  3. I always loved Ellen Eagle’s work. This piece is showcases her ever evolving skill portraying emotion AND technical virtuosity ! I am also pleased to see her working on a larger scale.

  4. You choices are all wonderful. I think that Anita Stoll is a master at abstract pastels. I like Deborah Stewart too. Thanks for introducing me to some new artists! Very inspiring!

    1. Yay! Glad to have introduced you to some new artists. I am quite in awe of some of Anita Stoll’s spare work. And yes, I love Debora Stewart’s work too! Undoubtedly, her work will show up here soon!

  5. Oooh! tough decisions. It’s great that you do this and share and include the artist’s website/blog. I wasn’t sure about Anita Stoll until I saw her work on her website. Definitely makes my heart beat faster. Fell in love with Tom Christopher’s work at first sight and was so inspired seeing more of his work. I am learning so much from the artists you choose. Thanks so much.

    I am primarily a clay artist but started painting with pastels when I was traveling and of course can’t take clay with me. Love pastels and try to paint for sometime in everyday. My website shows my earlier works since I have been negligent and haven’t updated it in 3 years. I have lots to learn.

    1. Tough indeed!! I am delighted that you are learning from the artwork shown.

      So happy to hear you have discovered pastels. Pastel is a wonderful medium to travel with. And good for you trying to paint every day – daily painting is a difficult thing to do!!

      Wonderful to see your pottery. I look forward to seeing your newer work. (I too need to update my gailsibley.com website. Argh. So much to do.)

  6. Thanks for showing such a fine varied group of works. Tower Rock, Dialogue, and Budapest were hard for me to choose between but as you are going to Budapest that will be it. Though it’s late Have a Happy Healthy and prosperous 2015.

    1. Thanks Sandy. If you have a hard time choosing, imagine what I have to go through! But it’s an inspiring and satisfying job to come up with the choice of 10.

  7. Gail,

    A lovely selection of pastel paintings! In The Morning, Budapest, and Dialogue would
    be my choices as the ones I think I like the best….

    Happy New Year and our wishes for Much Happiness and Good Health all year long
    and beyond.

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Gail Sibley

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My love of pastel and the enjoyment I receive from teaching about pastel inspired the creation of this blog. It has tips, reviews, some opinions:), and all manner of information regarding their use through the years – old and new. Please enjoy!

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