Pastel painting roundup: feature image

Last Pastel Painting Roundup For 2018!

Ohhhh it’s been awhile since I wrote a pastel painting roundup. They do take me a long time to create – compiling images, making choices, finding something interesting and intelligent to say, writing the piece for each pastel, editing, and final tweaking. 

My choices for this pastel painting roundup (and all roundups) are personal as is my interpretation and analysis of each painting. They are dictated by an initial response to the piece followed by looking more closely at technical and design skills as well as the use of colour and value. These aren’t necessarily going to be award winners (although some are, and, I’m pleased to say, many later do win awards!) but I’m struck by something that makes me want to bring it your attention. 

Let’s get cracking on this month’s pastel painting roundup!

Pastel painting roundup: Junhua Xu, "Portrait of Jiang Zhaohe," pastel, 19 1/2 x 19 1/2 in
Junhua Xu, “Portrait of Jiang Zhaohe,” pastel, 19 1/2 x 19 1/2 in

When I saw this painting, I stopped in my tracks. That eye staring out at me couldn’t be ignored! Neither could I ignore the frisson of delight I felt at the various marks scratched every which way over the paper’s surface. Look closely and that’s all there is – lines scoring swaths of colour. And yet, somehow, the artist manages to convince us that we are looking at a face rather than a random collection of pastel strokes. Instead, we see eye, ear, nose, mouth, forehead, cheekbone, and chin. And this comes down to the skill of drawing; underlining the mass of marks is the understanding and shaping of a skull with fleshy bits on top. 

There’s a cool feel to this piece, not only in colour which tends towards blues, but also in detachment. This piece feels more about the delight in the creation of art rather than an emotional exploration. Although the darkened side of the face is mysterious, I revel more in the technical bravado rather than the concerning myself with who this person is in real life. The background to the right of the face pulls my attention and curiosity as much as the face itself. Its design of colour and marks create a painterly yet linear abstract that compliments rather than distracts from the face.

The painting is divided into mostly dark and light – the lit side of the face contrasts with the unlit part which disappears into the background. We cannot make out where face and background transition – all edges are lost. The dark and light areas of the background, pretty much equal in area, remind us that this is simply (!) pastel on paper – one part coalesces into an illusion of face, the other remains a restless yet flat surface of marks. The light area to the right of the painting balances out the illuminated face and provides a diagonal movement to the piece. Remove the light part with your hand and our tendency is to linger on the visible eye. Instead, the light on the right pulses us through the painting, past the visible eye to the invisible eye and into the background.

I was unable to locate a website to view more of Junhua Xu’s work.

Pastel painting roundup: Martine van Es, "Portrait," pastel pencils and Koh-i-noor pastels, 14 x 10 cm
Martine van Es, “Portrait,” pastel pencils and Koh-i-noor pastels, 14 x 10 cm

This small portrait moves us emotionally. Intellect is out the window. Instead, we have a small portrait that expresses much about the sitter. We see a woman’s face – she smiles but the smile seems slightly forced as if to put on a ‘good face’. Her eyes tell us another story – one of worry whether with her personal life or the state of the world. Yet she smiles to put us at ease. This is the face of someone who is compassionate and caring, of a person full of the wisdom that comes from living life. Her hair is brushed away from her face in a casual way. She looks away from us, blue eyes slightly downcast, as if in her own thoughts.

The artist uses a muted and limited palette of creams and greyed pinks and grey to create the face. The only saturated colour is found in the background pattern. It could have been discordant but instead, lifts us and acts as a metaphor for hope. The values of the painting sit primarily in the middle range; the darks circle her face (her hair) and the lights accentuate the features of chin, nose, eye and cheekbone. 

The tight crop puts all the focus on the face. The painting is about this woman’s face and all it expresses of her personality. It also shows the artist’s own feelings of tenderness towards this person. This is a vigorous and honest rendering – capturing a moment without the need to be photo perfect. 

I was unable to find a website for Martine van Es.

Pastel painting roundup: Neva Rossi Smoll, "Ava in Apricot," pastel, 12 x 12 in
Neva Rossi Smoll, “Ava in Apricot,” pastel, 12 x 12 in

Another portrait! This time it’s an excuse for luscious colour, primarily rich purples and oranges accented with the third secondary colour green. This artist’s love of colour is clearly evident! She also understands how values relate to colour. Even though there’s vibrant colour throughout, there are clear areas of light, middle, and dark value shapes. Like the portrait above, this painting although saturated with colour, is mostly created with mid-value. The exceptions are the light thrown on the left side of the woman’s face and shoulder, and the darks of her hair and a small part of the background.

I want to bring your attention to this dark area of background. Notice how its inverted triangular shape echoes the triangle of light on her shoulder? That dark shape grounds the whole painting and adds dynamism and mystery. Put your fingers up to remove it and see what a difference that makes. We don’t actually care what that dark patch represents (a shadow? a mark on the wall?). Instead, we can value the work it does for the painting. That dark patch along with all the other shapes of colour, come together to create a colourful, slightly abstracted depiction of this woman in an apricot dress.

Despite the bold use of colour, there’s something fragile and tender about this portrayal. The woman’s eyes are downcast, or perhaps even closed; we sense her vulnerability. As a viewer, I almost feel as if I’m intruding on her space and her thoughts, as if I’ve moved past a boundary into an intimate setting. 

You can see more of Neva Rossi Smoll’s work on her website

Pastel painting roundup: Gigi Horr Liverant, "Hotel Room," pastel, 38 x 30 in
Gigi Horr Liverant, “Hotel Room,” pastel, 38 x 30 in

Another blast of colour with a similar palette to the painting above, this piece shows us a basic hotel room in a whole new light! Shapes of colour in different temperatures and value set out the pattern that has us read ‘room’; each has a purpose in navigating us around the space. 

We spot the small green shape bound within the thin red lines of the doorway. These, in turn, direct us down to the three brightly coloured rectangular shapes. One is disturbed by the shape of a figure which gives us the clue we need to understand what we’re looking at – the pattern of light thrown on the floor as it comes through the hotel windows. And there we are – the viewer within the painting itself, standing by the window. Does the figurelook into the room? Or is she looking out, perhaps at what awaits her beyond?

The green triangle at the edge of the painting echoes the shape of the silhouette and leads us to the standing suitcase whose handle directs upward to another rectangle of yellow. And what’s this? It’s not until we come in for a closer examination that we understand what we’re looking at. What we see is a repeat of the pattern on the floor – windows of light interrupted by the silhouette of a figure. This is a reflection off the glass of a picture decorating the room. I feel as if this was the kernel of the impetus to do this large painting. 

Once I understand the context, I can now relish the feeling I get looking at this painting. The linear scribbles revoke any peace I may have found here in the room. Instead, the texture of lines create a kind of agitation. What’s the purpose for my stay? Am I here for a funeral? Am I about to make a keynote speech? Or am I on holiday? Perhaps I am pondering a secret rendezvous. I love the way possible narratives come together with the physicality of the elements of the piece.

You can see more of Gigi Horr Liverant’s work here

Pastel painting roundup: Heidi A Marshall, "Winter Track," pastel, 24 x 18 in
Heidi A Marshall, “Winter Track,” pastel, 24 x 18 in

From the vibrations of energy and warmth in the interior above, we come to this very muted scene outdoors in the cold of a winter afternoon. Take a breath and ahhhh relax. This piece invites us in, to move forward on the track made visible by previous visitors. We stand in the light area of the painting, in the hushed silence of the snow, taking in the whole scene quickly – a brightness in the heavy snow clouds; a thicket of trees ahead of us slightly veiled by the ice in the air; hints of lights beyond; and the swath of white all around us. There’s still enough light to create quiet shadows in the snow, in the dips and hollows of the land beneath the blanket and the track itself.

Before we move, we follow the route of the track with our eyes. In the distance, thin strands of pink appear to block our way – is that a fence, or a ribbon of demarcation? The track seems to curve to the right. If that’s the case, what’s beyond the colourful barrier? From the subtle lightening of the darkness beyond, it appears a trail continues straight ahead. To answer that question, we’ll need to go closer. Sadly, the picture plane prevents us from solving this mystery and so we will have to let our imaginations take us where we want to go.

Divided equally between dark and light, if you look more carefully, you’ll see the painting is actually made up of lights (those swaths of creamy white with swipes of the palest blue that create a snowy resting place for the eye), and a dark middle value (subtle shifts of colours in the same value – greens, red-violets, purples – within a grey wall of trees beyond). The darkest areas of value take up only a small part of the work – the trunks of trees on the right and the conifers close by on the left. It’s these punctuations that insist on the illusion of depth. They also bring form and interest and along with the lines created by the track, a dynamism into what is a mostly quiet painting. 

See more of Heidi Marshall’s work here

Pastel painting roundup: Susan Story, "Lingering," pastel on paper, 22 x 29 3/4 in
Susan M. Story, “Lingering,” pastel on paper, 22 x 29 3/4 in

This painting feels as if we have taken the track into the forest but here, it’s summer with the trees laden with masses of green leaves, so thick that hardly any light breaks through. What light there is at the end of the day, touches only the top of the canopy. The light lingers and we, in turn, linger, connecting with nature, opening our hearts to the heartbeat of the earth. It’s that time of day when all is closing down in preparation for the night. But take more time with the painting and you can feel the energy and chaos of growth, of life and vibrancy, in the trees themselves. I imagine the trees on tiptoe trying to catch and utilize the last of the sun’s rays.

A dark painting comprised mostly of various forms of purple – warm and cool, saturated and muted – we are nonetheless lifted emotionally by our presence in these woods and the sunlight that illuminates the treetops. Contrasting with the darks are the lights found only at the very top of the painting and also in the interrupted notes of sunlight on meadow seen through the trees. 

The main stand of trees on the left is balanced by the single large tree and the smaller one behind it on the right. Between these two groups, we circle and visually poke through the undergrowth to the lit area beyond, and finally we look down to spy the grasses at our feet. We feel here the magnificence of trees, their gift to us as guardians of our air and earth. As we linger here in awe, so too does nature, waiting for us to take action to protect it.

Check out more of Susan M. Story’s work on her website

Pastel painting roundup: Tim Gaydos, "Storm Passing," pastel, 29 x 36 in
Tim Gaydos, “Storm Passing,” pastel, 29 x 36 in

And so it is that we see a result of nature’s fury. The artist records a place of destruction, one that most people would never consider a subject for a painting. But the artist’s eye sees what others cannot – the beauty in the lines, shapes, values, edges, and colours of the carnage left over from the ravages of the elements. 

Primarily the colour red catches our attention. We stop to look only to find a scene of devastation. The painting is intentionally and seductively composed to encourage our movement through the piece. From upper left, we slide diagonally into the painting over the smooth surfaces of red wall and dark spaces to the chaos of broken walls and beams in the distance. This all sits against the pocket of blue sky caught between buildings. Here we encounter the vertical projections of metal pieces which we follow down to the horizontal line of tangled and mangled wood and pipes in the foreground. We bump our way over it, moving slowly to the left where we are pulled upward by the diagonal projections of white pipe from the building. Finally we take time to explore the subtle colour shifts within the red wall as well as the dark shapes inside the building. We now spot the light coming through rafters – a roof now partially open to the sky. 

This painting speaks to the beauty seen in the most ordinary and ugly of subjects, the way only an artist can reveal. I would also say it makes a statement: that we are fooling ourselves about our own permanence and power, that we are helpless against the force of nature. Another artwork that talks, however obliquely, to the need for all of us to help our planet (and ourselves).

Check out more of Tim Gaydos’s work here.

Pastel painting roundup: Diane Rosen, "Anima Mundi," pastel, 39 x 27 in
Diane Rosen, “Anima Mundi,” pastel, 39 x 27 in

Speaking of nature and our connection with it, “Anima Mundi” refers to our universal or world soul. It’s about our connection to all things and each other. Interesting title for this painting of partial views of two women don’t you think? I spent a lot of time looking at this painting, pondering its possible meanings, constantly drawn back to it.

I wondered at first if the figures were the same person in different positions. The bodies look similar but the shape of the bra-type covering is unique for each. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily say that these are distinct figures but I’m going to say that it does. One figure sits, one reclines. We have no idea in what place they are situated, only that they are placed close together in the space. One of the things I noticed, especially as I drew back from the piece, is the horizontal line connecting the two bodies which somehow appear as butterfly wings on either side of the dividing line. This in itself speaks of fragility as well as strength and persistence. The bodies are cropped: we don’t see the full face of the top figure and we certainly don’t see entire limbs or appendages, only a small part of one hand. The lower figure appears to sleep, the upper figure may be watching over its twin.

The limited and neutral palette puts all attention on the shapes created by the severe cropping of the piece as well as on the relationship between the two women. The bodies are boldly and deftly drawn with pastel being used in a linear way to depict form and give texture. Lines are hatched vertically and diagonally – subject and background given equal consideration. The splattering of what may be watercolour is detected when you delve into the piece. Most of it is noticeable in the clothing with a wee bit visible in the upper section of the background. 

I’m fascinated by the negative shapes along the edges of the painting where the cropping of bodies and background create small triangular light green shapes that surround and interrupt the figures. These women are ‘real’ in that they appear like the bodies of young women and yet they seem to be more metaphorical, representing women in general, offering some sort of narrative for each viewer to construct and take away. All is uncertain and yet there’s a feeling of balance in the tension created by that unknowing. 

See more of Diane Rosen’s work here

Pastel painting roundup: Michele Ashby, "Dottie," Unison Colour and pastel pencils on Pastelmat, 16 x 12 in
Michele Ashby, “Dottie,” Unison Colour and pastel pencils on Pastelmat, 16 x 12in

Ohhhh that courageous peachy pink background! We have a neutrally coloured subject of black and white but whoa! that background got me. Okay so it wasn’t just the background but that’s what really caught my attention. There’s also the look in the dog’s eyes – who could resist that? The dog looks off canvas – is it looking at its owner? Or is it staring at a closed door – yearning, waiting? We bring our own stories and experience with dogs to this painting. The dog sits sideways, with head facing front. This positioning creates a diagonal line through the piece which means the dog may be sitting still but the picture isn’t. It adds to the feeling that this canine would jump up at any offered opportunity.

There’s a deliberate path for us to follow around the painting. The animal’s eyes direct us to the right where we encounter the dark ear which falls towards the edge of the collar which sits on a patch of dark fur. Linked from dark to dark, we slide down Dottie’s black and white body, going from spot to spot. We find our way around to her chest where we can sense the anatomy of the dog beneath the skin. We rise, following the outer contour and cozy up in the rumples of neck folds. The interlocking background colour curves us into the edge of the ear which we follow up to the eye, the one that sparkles with reflected light. We drift down to the muzzle. Look closely and you’ll see a few thin streaks of white that represent the dog’s whiskers. I reach out to pat the dog’s head but her focus is all on someone (or something) off to the side of the painting.

Back to the artist’s use of peachy pink, she also incorporates it subtly throughout the body of the dog – you can sense it under the white areas of fur on the chest and around the eyes. The collar also echoes the background colour. This and the deliberate use of negative space to create the body shape, tie Dalmation and background together.

See more of Michele Ashby’s work on her website

Pastel painting roundup: Lisa Gleim, "Sunlit Shake," pastel, 9 x 12 in
Lisa Gleim, “Sunlit Shake,” pastel, 9 x 12 in

From stillness to extreme movement and pure joy! A dog shakes off the water from… a sprinkler? a swim in the lake or sea? It doesn’t matter (and we are given no clues as to the source of the water). All that matters is the heartwarming feeling we get savouring this moment and our astonishment at the way the artist has captured it. 

It’s hard to believe that we aren’t seeing the thick fur sway and swish under the force of the dog’s action, that we aren’t seeing actual motion. What contributes to this sense of movement? Well, there are the swipes of lavishly applied pastel that follow the direction of the fur as the dog rotates through its shake. Also look at the way the edge of the mouth lifts slightly as it follows the force of upward motion. An ear flies skyward too, revealing its inner pinkness. And then, of course, there are the sparks of water exploding off the body as thin white pastel marks zinging off in all directions – just as water being shaken off would move.

I’m taken by the colours of this piece, the contrast between warm and cool temperatures in areas of similar value, for example, the pale blues and pinky notes of the shadow side of the fur and the blues and reds of the middle value background. All of these together contrast with the light and warmth of the small areas lit by the sun. The shocking colour of the backlit ear with its delicious pinks and purples is echoed in a muted way in the colours of the background. 

There is a wonderful simplicity in the value shapes – the light value of the entire dog sits against a middle value ground with the only darks being the muzzle and collar – strong anchors that hold us in the painting and create visual strength of design. This allows full attention on the colour and action. I keep waiting for the still image to end and the movement resume at which time I’ll shiver under the spray of water shooting off the dog’s body. And I’ll laugh out loud when it happens!

See more of Lisa Gleim’s work on her website


And that’s it for the pastel painting roundup! I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment after the blog.

Tell me which is your favourite from the roundup and why. You can also add your own interpretation for any of the pieces. Or disagree with mine! I welcome your voice here. Take your time, review each piece carefully, and tell me what you think about my choices and interpretations in this pastel painting roundup.

Until next time!

~ Gail 

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71 thoughts on “Last Pastel Painting Roundup For 2018!”

  1. I am a faithful reader/viewer of Gail’s 10 — and always enjoy her descriptions that articulate observations so expressively. I was happily surprised to see my ‘Winter Track’ among the ten pieces chosen. What great company to be in! I am very honored.

    I’ve seen some of these fantastic paintings in person and they just impressed me so much for their skill and originality. What a beautiful and varied collection.

    Thanks Gail, for doing this column. It has become a ritual for me to really spend some time with these works and just slow down a bit—-read your words and linger.

    1. Heidi thank you so much for your lovely words and for your lovely painting.
      It would be so wonderful to see it and the other pieces in person. I’m a bit envious of you on that score! It makes such a difference being with a piece in the real – you can see the true colour, experience the size, and discover all the nuances that a photo sometimes doesn’t pick up.

  2. Particularly found this months selections refreshing to see. Thanks for doing this!!! The variety is energising to see and makes me want to get back to painting.

  3. Wow! Hard to choose a favorite from this batch, Gail. Something to enjoy in each one and I always enjoy your narrative about each. The shaking dog is quite amazing though. She succeeded in capturing a joyful moment and bringing it to life for us.
    I’ve followed Susan Story’s work for quite awhile. Several years ago I took a workshop from her father, Stanley Maltzman and Susan painted along with us for a couple of days. Stanley is quite a master pastelist as well, especially with trees. He was 90 then and hiked us all over to find good landscape locations.
    I’m doing only portraits now and so I’m always interested in what you have to say about those. I’m learning more about composition and how it impacts the image. Thanks so much for the time you put into these.

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for sharing about painting with Susan Story’s dad – I love hearing these snippets from a person’s life!
      And yes, that dog! Every time I look at it I am lifted.
      So happy to hear you enjoy these roundups and that things I say help with your own artistic journey.

  4. 8:24 a.m. and I just sat down at my desk to read emails. Thought I would just quickly flip through your Round Up, but – wait a minute! Now I have to cancel my lunch date and eat at my desk so I’ll have time to really study these wonderful paintings and your critiques. Thanks so much for bringing these to us.

  5. Hello, Gail!
    I really liked all the paintings in the December Roundup, as well as your interpretations! There are three that really stand out for me. They are: Portrait of Jiang .., Hotel Room, and Anima Mundi. What I liked? The use of lines to form and inform the shapes. These feel very new for me, as opposed to all the typical pastel paintings using purple and orange, with a painterly approach.

    While we all strive for a painterly approach to our pastel work, let’s not forget pastels were first a drawing medium. This is what caught my attention for the medium … It’s multiplicity of use. I really like seeing a pastel painting of a more linear quality, which when viewed at a distance, blends visually to create a cohesive image. This adds to the mystery of creating art. Well done, great selection of artworks. Really liked them all.

    1. Susan, thank you for sharing your favs and why you chose them. I agree with you about the pleasure of using this medium – its multiple uses including the linear aspect. Thanks for verbalizing so well this characteristic and its appeal for you!

  6. Amazing choices. Your description and analysis of each are superbly written. Thank you so much for sharing all of this valuable information, Gail. It is very generous of you.

  7. These pastels are beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to post them and explain what is unique about them. I’m a dabbler in pastels and love these monthly picks and your thoughts on them. Thank you Gail.

    1. Thank you Jane!! It’s my hope that showing these pieces and saying WHY I’ve chosen them will help with examining your own work, to figure out what’s working and what’s not. And of course, I love promoting other pastellists’ work and showing the vast possibilities of the medium over many genres.

  8. I love this roundup! What a fantastic mix of inspirational works! Thanks for putting it all together as the busy days fly through the holidays and into the new year. Have a happy one, new year that is. And thank you for all you do!

    1. Thanks so much MaryLee!
      And yes, the time does fly by soo fast and now we are into the holiday season with much to be done. And before you know it, we’ll be in a new year! (And saying, how did that happen?!)

  9. This is my first round up experience with you. All I can say is WOW! Thank you so much for the time and care in creating this space for me, and others! I learned and agreed. Are these taken from the FB group, or others places that you encountered them? I’m so happy to be exposed and educated here and the FB group I’ve learned a lot from critiques both of my work and of others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for nurturing my desire to use pastels! Happy new year of creation and discovery to us all!

    1. Well YAY!!! I’m so happy you had a WOW experience Sue!
      The images are collected from all over the place, wherever I encounter pastel paintings. I collect a bunch then sift and select. Once down to about 20, the going gets tough, and tougher! Until finally I have 10 to focus on.
      It warms my heart no end for your appreciation Sue and to know that you’ve fallen for pastels like so many of us. I love too that you have learnt so much here and in the HTP FB group. Whoo hoo!!
      And yes, to creation and discovery!!

  10. Oh my, such wonderful paintings! Hard to pick a ‘favorite’ but if I have to (!), I’ll choose Sunlit Shake just for the delightful energy and subject matter. What I learned from all these paintings is the importance of planning, composition, for shapes and values. In other words, the basics.

    1. Hah hah yes, absolutely, you must choose a favourite! 😀 Thanks for responding to the arm twist Marsha. It is difficult to pick a fav for sure but sure understand your choice!!
      And YES – the basics, the basics, the basics. You can’t go wrong when you keep going back to them. Thanks for pointing that out!

  11. Nice picks! I love the last dog painting for the capture of movement and the painter’s sense of humor. The snow scene stopped me in my tracks for the strong contrast in the composition. Thanks for putting the blog together.

    1. Susan thanks for sharing the pieces that stopped you and for letting us know WHY. That’s so important and one of the hardest things to do! So I appreciate you thinking about it and sharing your thoughts.

  12. Sorry to be brief, but I loved these. What a feast of a collection, and your descriptions and thoughts are very perceptive and help me greatly to understand more about them. Thank you so much for doing this!

    1. Brief is fine Morag! Just glad you are here with us 😀
      It makes me very happy to hear that my analysis of each painting helps you to see and understand more about what’s going on. I hope also it will help you look more deeply at paintings that catch your attention, to ask why that has happened.

  13. I am honored to have my painting,” Lingering”, selected for this wonderful showcase of pastel paintings! It is a delight to have my piece shown with such outstanding work. I also appreciate the time and dedication put into such thoughtful comments and description. So happy you “get” my work. Many thanks Gail and bravo on your efforts to promote pastel painting!

    1. Susan I enjoy so many of your pieces! Yet for some reason, it was this one, in this time that became part of the ten. It resonated so strongly with me! Glad that what I had to say about “Lingering” worked for you 🙂
      And thank you for your kind words and cheers!

    1. Happy to hear you loved all the pieces Bobbi!!

      It is hard to find the words. Verbalizing the way we feel about a painting doesn’t seem to come naturally to most of us especially when we’re talking about the positive attributes. (For some reason, it seems easier to pick out why we don’t like a painting or why a painting doesn’t seem to work well!)

      What I would suggest is to find a painting that really resonates with you and spend time with it. Look at all the elements – colour, value, line, composition, edge, texture etc. Start describing what you see. Also, go into your emotions – what are the feelings you’re having? Then just start jotting down the first things that come to mind. Don’t edit, don’t judge, just write. Sometimes it’s fun to do this with a friend in an art gallery. Pick a painting and dissect why it works. Have fun with it!!

      1. I always learn so much from your comments, but I’m sure that I would learn even more by finding the words to do my own analysis. Thanks so much for this encouragement and this framework for diving in!

        Oh, and my fav is the hotel room. I’m lost in the lines and color, the mystery of the story. Wow.

        1. You are so welcome Carol. It is tricky to verbalize one’s feelings for a painting but it really is a great exercise to ask What is it about the painting that makes me feel this way about it?
          Thanks for sharing your fav! I love that one too!

  14. Oh how lovely! My favorites were the two dogs at the end.
    I’m glad you take the time to do roundups. It’s my favorite time to sit with a coffee and ‘visit’ with you. And really, it’s the critiques that I like best, since you are gently teaching how to view art.

    1. Ohhhh Lisa, thank you so much for your kind and perceptive words. And I love the idea of you sitting and having a coffee with me 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your pics. I love both too. It’s wonderful how different they are not only in colouring and style but also in what emotion they evoke in us.

  15. It’s too hard, Gail to pick a favorite from this group of fascinating paintings. Color, value, mystery, and so much more. They are each beautiful in their own unique way. Thanks for the time you put into this and all your selections. At least with the weather so rainy it hasn’t pulled you away from sunshine. Now, do what you always tell us, and paint!

    1. Hah hah – Jean I’m with you on the difficulty in choosing a fav! I’m glad you like them ALL.
      Now you know what I was madly working on when you came to pick up your painting (and drop off art goodies)!! And yes, I wasn’t pulled away from sunshine but as always when creating these round-ups, definitely pulled away from painting.
      Thank you for reminding me about my own advice (sheesh!).

    1. That’s wonderful to hear Linda! That’s my intention for sure, that you will look more closely at a painting and take in everything about it that makes it work!

  16. What a surprise Gail, thank you for the exposure. I feel honoured! Especially when seeing my little drawing between the others that so deservedly made it through your selection…. This is a portrait I made of my linocut-mentor, who is, indeed, very dear to me. Every month I spend an entire day in her studio, together with three other women, to make, breathe and discuss graphical art, in my case mainly portraits and landscapes in lino. They can be found on my instagram account.

    1. You are so welcome Martine. Such a lovely piece that kept pulling me back.
      Thanks for filling in a bit about your subject. Your monthly get-togethers sound wonderful and I’m sure many of those reading this (including me!) will be envious.

  17. Wonderful. I so enjoy seeing the images and reading your interpretations of each piece. You are educating my eyes and my heart, and helping me grow as an artist. Thank you.

    1. Debora, thank you so much for your words. I’m warmed, truly, that I am educating more than your eyes, that I am doing the same for your heart. And that I am helping you grow as an artist. Such a wonderful thing to say. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you so much Gisela! I’m so delighted to hear that what I have to say about a piece helps further your own enjoyment in viewing it!
      And you are sooooo welcome!

  18. Thank you so much for all your round ups throughout the year Gail. It is always valuable to see how other artists work.
    Also a very joyous Christmas to you and may you have many happy surprises in 2019.

    1. Thanks Birgitte! I love bringing the crazy variety of work being done in pastel and then trying to verbalize why a certain piece speaks deeply to me.
      I love the idea of happy surprises – thank you for those wishes for next year. I wish the same for you!

  19. Gail
    What can I say!! Thank you thank you thank you!!
    To have placed me in the same round up as Heidi’s magnificent piece!! I’m absolutely delighted, her piece is one of my favourites of the year.
    Your description of what we try to capture never fails to impress me – you have the words for all the thoughts that are jumbled in my head
    Well done on the blog you are shammmaaazzzing!!
    Merry Christmas xx

    1. (I need blushing emoji here but don’t have them on my desktop. Rats)
      You are ever so welcome Michele! Such a heartwarming piece!
      I sometimes feel I’m taking a chance putting my own interpretation out into the world. What if it’s wrong, totally off the mark or what if the artist doesn’t like what I have to say? Yes, that’s the whisper I hear. But then I think, but wait – an artwork is made whole by the coming together of the artist’s creation and interpretation of what they are trying to capture and reveal, with the viewer’s reception of the work, bringing with them their own stories, experiences, biases, history, perceptions. Soooooo much goes into the final ‘making’ of a piece. And, it’s ‘remade’ for each viewer that comes to it. And isn’t that just amazing?

  20. Another group of fantastic paintings!!! Congrats to Michele Asby and Martine Van Es (who’s works I enjoy seeing quite often in the HTP FB group) for your recognition of them on your blog.

    The two paintings that really spoke to me were Tim Gaydos’ Storm Passing and Lisa Gleim’s Sunlit Shake. I love the contrast of the stark construction lines vs the chaos of the bent metal and broken remnants of the building left by the storm. Looking at it evokes a lot of emotions. In Sunlit Shake, the movement of the water spray, the lighting, and the wet fur all take me to a feeling of complete freedom.

    They are all really great paintings!! Thanks again Gail for a spectacular round up!

    1. Thanks Ruth for sharing the two paintings that spoke to you most and WHY they resonated. And yes, I agree totally with your description and thoughts! Glad you liked all the pieces in the roundup 🙂

      And a thank you to you Ruth for your consistent participation in the HTP FB group. It’s people like you that make the group what it is!

  21. I love Heidi Marshall’s work. Fabulous, dynamic brush-like strokes and subtle, vague edges.
    “Sunlit Shake” is all that you wrote about it. I was amazed and I laughed and smiled for several moments at how she captured everything perfectly.

    I always look forward to your Pastel Picks, many of which inspire my own pastel work. Your commentaries are so well written and teach me lots especially things I might have missed. I can’t thank you enough for all of the effort and time you put into your blog. Your fan in full on winter in Nova Scotia.

    1. Thanks so much Carol for sharing your favs and telling us your reasons and reactions to them.

      I’m always thrilled to hear that my commentaries point out things a viewer might have missed! So thanks for letting me know. And you are sooo welcome!

      Be brave out there in wintery Nova Scotia. (Dare I say that as I write these replies that it’s a balmy 12 degrees centigrade here in Victoria, British Columbia?)

  22. I like the portrait of Dottie the Dalmatian the best overall (second is the winter scene). I think I like it for its realism, but also because I feel like I could reach and stroke the background and it would feel like stroking the short-haired dog. The portrait and the background sort of blend together that way (also because of the reflected peach color in the dog’s skin, which you pointed out). Thanks for the selection. I’m once again amazed at the variety of subject matter chosen and styles used by pastel artists.

    1. Thanks Ruth for sharing your fav and so fully describing to us WHY you chose it. Love the idea of feeling the background too!
      And yes, like you, I too am continually stunned by the variety of way pastels are used by artists to capture the many subjects they chose to paint!

  23. Thank you for another brilliant selection of amazing pastel works. I loved all of them, but my three favorites are “Portrait”, “Winter Track” and “Anima Mundi”. “Portrait” is very personal, and this face is so alive! “Winter Track” makes you feel out there in the snow. And “Anima Mundi” is most thought provoking. It reminds me of Morandi in colour and of Rilke’s poetry in substance (especially his “A Soul in Space” poem). I tend to think it’s one person. I see body and soul…

    1. Many thanks Ekaterina for sharing your favs and why.
      I love that you relate Diane Rosen’s piece, Anima Mundi, both to Morandi and Rilke. I was unable to find a website with the words to “A Soul in Space.” If you have a link, feel free to share it! Interesting too that you are going the one person route – body and soul. I can definitely see that!

  24. Your Painting Roundup is magnificent and inspiring! Thank you so much, Gail, for this rich selection of paintings and for your insightful comments which help me to discover more about each painting.

    Here are my favourites: “Ava in Apricot” – I love the vibrant colour in light and shadow, and the soft expression of Ava. “Winter Track” – I can walk into this scene and linger, all bundled up and feeling peaceful. “Sunlit Shake” – Every facet is exquisitely painted, bringing feelings of joy and summertime.

    I always learn and feel inspired when I read your blog. A heartfelt thank you for devoting your time and for sharing art, your thoughts and knowledge and all things pastel. I look forward to learning more from you this coming year when I take your Pastel Painting En Plein Air online course!

    1. Gosh you are so welcome Paige. Thanks to YOU for sharing your three fav paintings and why you chose them. I love that you added to our ways of looking at these pieces.

      I love hearing that you learn and are inspired by my posts. It really means a lot to hear that!

      And THANK YOU for your purchase of “Pastel Painting En Plein Air” 😀

  25. Thanks Gail for another wonderful selection of pastel paintings!
    I particularly enjoyed Tim Gaydos painting ‘ Storm Passing’ and Heidi Marshall’s ‘ Winter Track’. As always , your commentary is fun,interesting and thought provoking.
    I love Lisa Gleim’s ‘Sunlit Shake’ !
    Merry Christmas;-)

    1. Thanks so much Robin! And glad you find my commentary to be all those things you list. Oh yeah! Thanks for sharing your favs. I’m glad you picked Tim’s painting as well as the other two popular ones 🙂
      And a Merry Christmas to you!

  26. I finally had a chance yesterday to sit with your blog of the final 10 for the year. I really love how you write about each painting and help your readers see how you respond as an artist and also as just a human being to each piece.

    I bet it’s really cool for those artists to read your thoughtful reaction to and analysis of their paintings. I think my favorite two were the first and last paintings. I loved the palette, the movement, the skill of the artist. I could stare at each one for hours.

    It’s also fun to click on the artist websites you share. As I’m a bit ADD, it can mean that it takes me even longer to get through your writing about all 10! Thank you for these gems and Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks so much Salli. I love that you add that the words are my reaction to the paintings as a human being as well as an artist.
      I do hope that artists who read my words are pleased and perhaps a bit surprised at what I have to say 😀
      Thanks for sharing your favs – two very different pieces but with all the qualities you mention. And thank you too for taking the time to go through to the artist’s websites!!

  27. Thank you Gail for including Hotel Room in your blog. I am honored to have drawn your attention and I applaud your insightful commentary on the piece. You have read the work expertly: peacefulness and agitation in conflict. Keep up your great work!

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Gail Sibley

Artist. Blogger. Teacher.

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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