Silja Salmistu – Tackling The Darkness In The Nursery

Every October for the last four years, I’ve run a 31-pastels-in-31-days Challenge in my HowToPastel Facebook group. It’s awesome to see all the work and everyone pushing themselves (cos the going does get tough!). I think it was in our first or second year when this month’s guest, Silja Salmistu, was posting her still life pieces, paintings of very ordinary objects elevated to art status! These paintings have stuck with me and when I was looking for a guest whose main subject is still life, Silja came to mind.

Before contacting her, I renewed my visual relationship with her work by checking out her website and was blown away when I discovered her Nursery Games series. You’ll see what I mean because she agreed when I asked her to focus on this series for her guest post. You’re in for a treat! The tension between alternative narrative content as well as the physical aspects of the work (colour, values, texture, mark-making, design) are riveting and marvellous. The beautiful pieces may be discomforting but they will get your attention!

Don’t know this artist’s work? Then have a look at this. It doesn’t quite fit with the theme of this blog but it reminds me of the work she did for our 31-in-31 Challenge. AND it does show Silja Salmistu’s skill with pastel. It also introduces the idea of narrative within a still life. (I wrote about one of Silja’s pieces for one of my roundups. You can read it here.)

Silja Salmistu "Leaving," 2020, assorted soft pastels on dark UART 500, 19x29in.
Silja Salmistu “Leaving,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on dark UART 500, 19x29in. I wasn’t sure when setting up the still life, if it was going to be about leaving or arrival. The atmosphere in the painting turned out kind of melancholic and heavy-hearted, so I thought it must be about leaving. The white umbrella gives a hope though, for good/better times ahead. It is also about a sombre period of nearly 3 years in my early 20s not having a home, couch-surfing at friends and acquaintances. The old weathered cardboard suitcase in the setup is an original from my mother’s youth.

Before I hand the blog over to Silja, here’s a wee bit about her…

Silja Salmistu Bio

Silja Salmistu is an Estonian artist living and working in Denmark. She has an MFA in painting from Tartu University (Estonia) and has painted continuously since her graduation in 1986. The exception was a period of 11 years when she was raising her two children. In 2015, she returned to the easel, using oils. A year later, she fell in love with soft pastels and now uses them as her primary medium with still life as her main subject. 

She is a multiple award and competition winner, both on the international pastel scene and in Danish and Estonian all-media juried exhibitions. Silja has exhibited in numerous juried, curated, group, and solo shows since 1997 in Europe, the USA, and online. Her art has been featured in several international and national art publications. Check out her website to see more of her work.

[Updated 18 June 2021…I just heard that Silja Salmistu has won the 1st place award in the 38th Annual IAPS show – 2021 Gallery Exhibition – for her painting, “Sunflowers.” Congratulations Silja!! Listen to what Juror of Awards Fred Somers has to say here. Start at 17:26.]

And now, here’s Silja Salmistu!

~~~~~

Thank you so much, Gail, for the opportunity to talk about my art to your blog readers. I’m honoured to be your guest blogger.

You risk becoming a pastellist if you’re kind to your next door neighbour!

That is what happened to me about five years ago. Throughout my art studies and artistic practice I had mainly used oil paints, but the neighbour to my new studio (who owned a yarn shop) complained about the smell of my paints and solvents and that it had sunk into her goods. For her sake, I decided to use watercolours instead of oils. But with watercolours one cannot re-work a failed painting…. So, in order to rescue the “wasted” good paper, I dug out my 40 year-old Russian pastel box and bought some new sticks. 

Silja Salmistu, Angry Teenager. Self Portrait, 1986, Podolsk semi-hard pastels on coloured paper, 23x19 in. One of the few pastel drawings from my youth, long before my love affair with pastels started.
Silja Salmistu, Angry Teenager. Self Portrait, 1986, Podolsk semi-hard pastels on coloured paper, 23×19 in. One of the few pastel drawings from my youth, long before my love affair with pastels started.

That was the start of my ongoing love affair with pastels. I love everything about them (well yeah, except for the framing /glass limitations). The best thing is that, compared to oils or watercolours, pastels do not need drying time so you can stay in the flow until you collapse from exhaustion. Great!

Inspiration

I have loads of ideas in my head and hoards of props on my shelves. 

Sometimes I have an idea for a painting, then I try to find the props for that either in my studio or in thrift stores. Other times I get inspired by the way things just happen to lie around in the ever-changing mess of my studio. Then, the concept may develop during the painting process.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Raft of the Medusa, "2018, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26 in. The title refers to Théodore Géricault’s famous painting and today’s refugee problems. I did not arrange this setup at all. A number of my vintage baby dolls just happened to be lying in a box like that when I spotted them.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Raft of the Medusa, “2018, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19×26 in. The title refers to Théodore Géricault’s famous painting and today’s refugee problems. I did not arrange this setup at all. A number of my vintage baby dolls just happened to be lying in a box like that when I spotted them.

There are both pretty paintings and pain-paintings in my portfolio. Life is not only sunshine, joy, and happiness. It has also shadow sides like pain, fear, grief. There is shallow polite small talk on harmless topics, and there are deeper conversations about serious issues and touchy topics. I think, if in good balance, they complement each other.

Considering art as a language that we artists use for communication, no subject should be taboo. I see so much breathtaking beauty created with pastels, but sometimes, at some point, I feel a bit like …I can’t breathe… 

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Marie Antoinette," 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x27in.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Marie Antoinette,” 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x27in. An example of how a title can direct the perception of a depicted situation. A head separated from the body, a red ribbon, a cutting instrument… if I say `Marie Antoniette` and you google the name (unless of course you remember it from your European history class), you may read my doll painting as a reference to the French revolution and the guillotine the poor queen was executed by. But if the title was let’s say `Dressing a Mannequin,’ the still life is then just a sneak peek into a decorator’s daily job in a fashion store. Pretty different stories, aren’t they?

I celebrate the beauty of nature in my florals – happy feelings and memories evoked by the colours and forms of flowers and fruits. But in my Nursery Games and Masquerade still life series (I call them “pain-paintings” or “pain-things”), I focus less on aesthetics and more on narrative and social criticism. I look at issues that may hurt or are uncomfortable, on aspects that concern me as a human being. In that way, my art follows the concept by Cesar A. Cruz: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.“

Silja Salmistu, "Horror Story," 2018, assorted soft pastels on board, 23x17 in. Sold.
Silja Salmistu, “Horror Story,” 2018, assorted soft pastels on board, 23×17 in. Sold. Follow-up to “Nursery Games: Florida.”

Nursery Games 

When I was little, I had some dolls like every other little girl, but I hardly ever really played with them as the other kids did. I was always busy creating things for my dolls – designing, sewing, and knitting clothes, building doll houses, designing and constructing cradles and prams, etc. I guess the dolls have come back to haunt me now that my own kids are almost grown-up.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Masquerade 3’20," 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26 in.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Masquerade 3’20,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19×26 in.

The use of toys for my social or political commentary artwork actually has a prologue that goes 20 years back. I had painted a still life with toys like a freeze-frame image of a typical playroom floor from my childhood. I had no intentional provocation with that painting, just some nostalgia. The reaction of the audience surprised me. Cosy harmless domestic situation in happy colours and classic toys aroused strong feelings and questions, mostly because of the overturned doll dressed in folk costume with a toy gun beside her.

Silja Salmistu, "Play," 2002, oil on canvas, 17x23in. Sold
Silja Salmistu, “Play,” 2002, oil on canvas, 17x23in. Sold

The start of the ongoing Nursery Games series was triggered by the news of the school massacre in Florida in February 2018.

As a mother of two school kids, I was horrified. Not surprisingly, the illusion of safe and carefree childhood was burst once again. It birthed an urge for artistic expression, so that is how my ”pain-painting” series started.

Silja Salmistu, Nursery Games: Florida, 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART400 sanded paper 19x15 in. The first painting in Nursery Games series.
Silja Salmistu, Nursery Games: Florida, 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART400 sanded paper 19×15 in. The first painting in Nursery Games series.

I try to imagine how a child might respond to the darker issues of our present reality, through his/her play. No matter how hard and long we parents/adults try to shield and protect them, sooner or later or somehow, they are going to face and tackle the darkness anyway.

Silja Salmistu, Nursery Games: Let’s Play Global Warming Today!, 2019, assorted soft pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper, 15x15in. Sold
Silja Salmistu, Nursery Games: Let’s Play Global Warming Today!, 2019, assorted soft pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper, 15x15in. Sold

On the other side, a picture depicting a completely innocent scene from almost any nursery floor can be ”read” by us adults in quite different ways. We know that a doll is just a lifeless object made of plastic, fabric, wood, clay, or whatever, yet due to its anthropomorphic character, we tend to attribute human qualities to it, just like children do.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Aleppo," 2018, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26 in. In the spirit of Eugéne Delacroix.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Aleppo,” 2018, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19×26 in. In the spirit of Eugéne Delacroix.

 Viewer Interpretation

I use the well-known lost-and-found design principle also in my storytelling – I present some recognizable objects/subjects in a setup but do not really illustrate a certain narrative. I deliberately  leave the tabula incomplete to let the viewer fill the gaps, interpret the depicted situation, finish the story, and in this way, become a co-creator of the artwork.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Break Through Sack," 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26in. Another ready-found, non-arranged setup. Some see death, some see birth here.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Break Through Sack,” 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26in. Another ready-found, non-arranged setup. Some see death, some see birth here.

That may be the reason why many people feel uneasy looking at my toy series – their own fantasy terrifies them. I have been verbally attacked by people whom my morbid/macabre art has upset, and I have lost quite a number of followers on my social media accounts since I started my pain-paintings. Therefore I am so grateful to Gail for allowing me here to explain and not just barely defend myself.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Horrors of War," 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART400 sanded paper, 20x27in. In the spirit of Francisco Goya.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Horrors of War,” 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART400 sanded paper, 20x27in. In the spirit of Francisco Goya.

I also try to title the paintings neutrally. When considering different titles, I can see how much they may lead to different directions of potential interpretations. Some of my paintings have borrowed their titles from music or art history. An object – or a colour – may have different symbolic meanings in different countries/cultures or individuals may bring these different interpretations, thus push/drag the understanding of a painting into unpredicted directions. It is always so interesting to hear what kind of stories people read into my pictures.

Silja Salmistu, "The Golden Egg," 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 26x19in. Sold
Silja Salmistu, “The Golden Egg,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 26x19in. Sold

Painting process

I paint from life. I prefer to have a direct eye contact and share the room and time with my subject-rather than work from a poorly coloured, flattened, and distorted image (digital or printed) of it. My nine years at art schools offered lots of practice in drawing and painting from life (six to seven hours every day was normal) so it has become a natural approach for me.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Wasted," (work in progress), 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART600 sanded paper, 20x27in. I found this mistreated doll for sale at our local waste station. I don’t know its story, but I just HAD to own it, for my Nursery Games series, for its high symbolic value of tragedy. Gave a dollar…
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Wasted,” (work in progress), 2018, assorted soft pastels on UART600 sanded paper, 20x27in. I found this mistreated doll for sale at our local waste station. I don’t know its story, but I just HAD to own it, for my Nursery Games series, for its high symbolic value of tragedy. Gave a dollar…

I am not particularly structured in my art-making process (nor in my housekeeping, sad to say) and have no patience for planning much ahead. So, often I just jump in and let the painting itself dictate the steps. Lots of choices and decisions come along during the work, impulsively and intuitively. 

Not really having a plan from the beginning allows experimenting and happy accidents, but I am also aware that too many “what-ifs” may result in muddy, dull, and stuffy colours. This kind of gambling – not knowing where the road is taking me – thrills me.

I like to keep my options open, so although pre-planning might save me from lots of frustrations, I am afraid that following a firm step-by-step plan for a painting may kill the creativity. I prefer to have the “what-if-thrill” until the very end of the painting process instead of the mechanical execution of a program/recipe.

Silja Salmistu, "Confessions Anonymous," 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19x26 in. Sold
Silja Salmistu, “Confessions Anonymous,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 19×26 in. Sold

For the bigger and more complex setups, I may spend a lot of time moving things around, adding and/or removing the props, until I get a satisfying composition. In that process I sometimes do sketches, but mostly I just use my phone camera for considering the proportion, lighting, and cropping options. I may still change my setup even in the very last phases of the process if the painting asks for it. I use the camera also to record and analyse my work in progress. 

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: Isolation," 2020, assorted soft pastels on UART 600 sanded paper, 25x19in.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: Isolation,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on UART 600 sanded paper, 25x19in. Inspired by TV-reports of people under covid19 lockdown isolated/imprisoned in their homes, seeking social contact, waving to each other, singing together in their windows and on their balconies.

I normally work all over the picture throughout the process, so it develops evenly. An exception is when painting fresh flowers as I may need to go to the details of each flower one at a time, before they turn away or wither. The results of this approach are very unpredictable.

Silja Salmistu, "The Dandelion Kids," 2019, assorted soft pastels on dark UART400 sanded paper, 11x17in. Sold
Silja Salmistu, “The Dandelion Kids,” 2019, assorted soft pastels on dark UART400 sanded paper, 11x17in. Sold

I also want the background to be an active actor in my composition as it interacts with the objects and influences the way we perceive them. I like to experiment and implement wet techniques, combining it with the traditional dry pastel application. I do washes not only for underpainting but more or less throughout the entire process. I use both water and alcohol, often simultaneously. Together they make some interesting flows and drips that may benefit in solving some problematic areas or inspire the further steps.

Any surface that can take wet media, goes. (My favourites are UART, Fisher400, and Pastel Premier, and my absolute favourite is LuxArchival sanded paper.) Again, lots of potential for disappointments and frustrations but also chances for beautiful happy accidents.

Silja Salmistu, "Masquerade  1`20," 2020, assorted soft pastels on UART 500 sanded paper, 19x26in. Sold.
Silja Salmistu, “Masquerade 1`20,” 2020, assorted soft pastels on UART 500 sanded paper, 19x26in. Sold. The first covid19 painting in my Nursery Games series. It shows some wet application of pastel (red in the foreground). My earlier paintings on the masquerade-theme were mostly about identity, about hiding and changing it, until the covid19 pandemic broke in to the nursery, too

I pay a lot of attention to the illumination of my setup, observing how the light bounces between the objects and affects my colour perception. The colour/temperature, angle, and distance of a light source have a big influence on the composition, on the value contrasts, on the shapes and rhythms of the shadows of the objects.

Silja Salmistu, "Rock, No Roll!" (work in progress), 2018, assorted soft pastels on foamboard, 15x17in.
Silja Salmistu, “Rock, No Roll!” (work in progress), 2018, assorted soft pastels on foamboard, 15x17in.

I have a lot of different pastel brands of high-end quality in my pastel box. I love and use them all, no favourites here. Any brand goes as long as the color and hardness are what I need.

The biggest challenge for me is not to overwork my piece, to know when to stop. Analyzing my work-in-progress photos afterwords, I may find where I should have stopped or made a different decision about the direction of proceeding. It is an everlasting learning process.

Silja Salmistu, "Nursery Games: A Clown with a Crown," 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 26x18 in.
Silja Salmistu, “Nursery Games: A Clown with a Crown,” 2019, assorted soft pastels on Fisher400 sanded paper, 26×18 in.

In the beginning of my artistic career, I was somewhat embarrassed about my affection for the still life genre. It had, or maybe still has, quite a low rank in the art hierarchy for its formalistic tendencies, at least in Estonia, my home country. I hope that my Nursery Games help to bring some more social context to still life.

*****

Ohhhh, I had a marvellous time arranging and curating Silja Salmistu’s blog! I’m intrigued and fascinated by her use of toys to reveal social commentary. And, I have to admit that I’ve often had a twinge of discomfort in a room full of topsy turvy toys. There’s something sinister about a room full of lifeless dolls…

I hope with this guest blog that you’re encouraged to paint what you feel you wish to express. Don’t be afraid to use your art to communicate your emotions and feelings about some horrific and/or tragic event in the world. Art can certainly reveal the obvious as well as the unseen beauty of this world. It can also shine a spotlight on what others find hard to see or acknowledge. Consider these masterpieces from the past: Picasso’s Guernica, Goya’s Disasters of War series (referenced by Silja in her piece above), John Singer Sargent’s Gassed. I too have reacted to horrific events (and lost many subscribers from doing so!).

Books can do the same. Recently read and loved American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, Snow by John Banville, and The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donaghue come to mind.

Now Silja Salmistu and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, reactions, questions. So please do leave them in the comments.

Until next time,

~ Gail

The books I mentioned above:

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Comments

28 thoughts on “Silja Salmistu – Tackling The Darkness In The Nursery”

    1. Oh Denyse, thank you so much for your enthusiastic response!!
      And as an IGNITE! member, I also whisper in your ear to look at her Edges (as that’s our theme this month!)

  1. This was such an interesting and intellectually satisfying post. I love narrative painting—and still life!—and relate to feeling stifled by all the repetitive pretty paintings one sees at shows. As for losing followers over the nursery series—those people were not really interested in art anyway. Fascinating and “beautiful” work!

    1. Thanks so much Jane for your affirming response to Silja’s still life series and her post!
      And I agree with you about losing followers/subscribers – they just aren’t “your” people so say goodbye with a light heart!

  2. Fascinating work! These images made me reconsider, perhaps, what I myself might like to paint…but I also understand that one must feel compelled to do such things — drawn to those subjects. That’s not me, at this point, but I still really appreciated getting a chance to see Silja’s work. Thanks, Gail, for recruiting her to share this blog with us!

  3. It’s so great to see an artist using pastels step beyond the decorative and the ubiquitous landscapes. Pastel seems to me to be the only media where people avoid a more conceptual approach to the art and I too have found it emotionally and intellectually at odds with life. I understand the desire for beauty and something uplifting in tough times but turning away from the hard stuff in life doesn’t work. Art has such a key role in helping society to process challenges. Silja’s work is a great to see.

    1. Amanda, thank you for your comment and your observations about the general way pastels are used as a medium (or NOT used).
      I’m happy to hear your agreement about the role art has in “helping society process challenges.”

  4. I love still life and I have always loved Siljas paintings. I am particularly impressed with how she handles the composition to tell the story with nuance and thoughtfulness.

  5. Silja has some mad painting skills. Certainly is a master of her materials and techniques. Loved the suitcase painting, and any of the ones that did not have to do with mangled childs toys. But that is just me. Her skill in the paintings of the “erie” paintings is beyond wonderful. I just don’t like the creepy feel they give me. My life is scary enough without marinating in other scary images. I prefer things that soothe or encourage as subjects. Cheers to her for her mastery of every thing , composition , color, mark making. Loved her painting style. I particularly am inspired by the boxes she put the clowns (also not a fav subject of mine) in. The boxes were fascinating as ways to contain the energy of the colorful clowns. I might try using that in future paintings. It was good to see her work, even though I am apparently not “her people”.

    1. Thanks Marie for being honest about the way Silja’s paintings make you feel. And I think the artist will be satisfied that her paintings have affected you emotionally.

      I also appreciate that you expressed your acknowledgment for her skills as an artist despite your discomfort with the imagery. Clowns have always brought a kind of disquiet along with their strange cheeriness for me.

      It’s fantastic that we all like different subjects even as we admire ones that don’t quite turn our crank!

  6. I loved this blog. Thanks to you and Silja for sharing. It shows the power of art and the way that it can help engage more with the problems in the world (rather than provide an escape).

    1. Yay! And yes, her work does show how art can reveal the problems we have in the world, putting them front and centre so we can’t avoid looking at them. And…in a beautiful way!

  7. Very thought provoking work! Beyond the imagery, I love the way that Silja has used such a variety of mark making techniques to create images that move her still lifes beyond mere “photo replication” to complex art.

    1. Yes!! Isn’t her mark-making fabulous?! I too love the physical aspects of her work – how they all comes together to create a recognisable image, and specifically here, images that make us feel uncomfortable.

  8. Thank you Gail for featuring Silja and her incredible work! I’m gobsmacked! I just love the phrase Pain Painting! This artist reaches into my soul and speaks in paint/pastel what I find hard to express in words!

    That quote by Cesar A Cruz: Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable! This is a “should” that can stay in my head. Silja’s immense skill is evident in Nursery Games Isolation, the depth and values and shadows in those boxes!

    As I transit from the exacting profession of lab medicine to art, front and foremost in my mind needs to be Silja’s take on risk and potential. Gambling and risking. As an aside, I am reading Margaret Atwood’s Testaments now. The themes of the Nursery Games and this book somewhat correlate.

    1. You are so welcome Brenda. Gobsmacked is just the reaction I was hoping for! 😁 LOVE that you are inspired by her work AND her pushing the boundaries.

      PLAY is the theme next month in the IGNITE! membership. That means exploration and risk-taking, gambling and potential. I know you’re still in transition mode but I hope you’ll participate!!

      Thanks too for the book recommendation…haven’t got to that one yet!

  9. I’ve been following Silja’s work ever since I joined HTP, which is where I first saw her haunting paintings of dolls. Every time I see one of her paintings, it stirs my emotions. I am in awe of her ability to express these painful worldly things in her skillful paintings. She has an important “voice,” and I so appreciate seeing and empathizing with what she portrays…. Fabulous work!!! I’m a fan! 🙂

  10. Gail, I’m so glad you chose to feature Silja’s work. I’ve been a fan since she stopped and held me with her dandelion (both live and gone to seed) pastel paintings. Her drawing skills are impressive but I always spend time with her backgrounds. Layers upon layers of mark making that create fabulous little worlds of fantasy. Silva Salmistu always impresses with her mastery of still life and pastel. She is a fabulous artist!

    1. Gailen, somehow, I’m not surprised you’re a fan of Silja’s work! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about her work.
      And I agree, she is a fabulous artist!

  11. Another Wow. Raft of Medusa really captures me because of the subject matter. Not sure I have seen a contemporary pastel artist with a clear social message. I make boxes for Soul Box Project, using art to focus on gun violence, so those paintings are so chilling.

    1. Love a pile up of Wows!!
      Truly, I so admire Silja Salmistu, that she has a part of her work that carries these powerful, and uncomfortable, messages about society.
      Thank you for bringing our attention to the Soul Box Project (which I’ve made a live link here). I’ve heard you mention it before and love that we can bring attention to it again here. Thanks for being a participant Marsha!

  12. Gail and Silja,
    I adored this entirely. Few people realize how political art has always been. I love the social commentary of the Nursery games as I found them quite a beautiful description of so many of the emotions we have all experienced lately regarding current events and I found the use child toys deeply personal while also allowing me just enough distance to truly enjoy her expression, really wonderful and of course her mastery of the medium is quite obvious…I think you need an international show, Silja. I suggest you begin working large and seek out a gallery…well done by both of you.

    1. Ahhh Shonna, thank you so much for your thoughts on Silja’s work. You express much of what I feel.
      Love your encouragement to her to find an international representation!

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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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