the blog for soft pastel art lovers

Inspired by my love of pastels and the enjoyment I receive from teaching about them the How to Pastel Blog has tips & tricks, reviews, step-by-step progressions, guest bloggers, and a great community on Facebook.

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Gail Sibley, "We Three," Unison Colour pastels on UART black 400, 12 x 9 in.

Check out the Welcome Video!

A bit about me

I am very lucky to have been born and brought up in Jamaica, a land of beauty and complexity, of warmth and coolness, of vibrancy and tension. Many say that my Caribbean upbringing influenced my palette and I think they may be right. I do know that it shaped my worldview. Check out these sites to learn more about me and my work.

Most Recent Edition

Dive into the fun of seeing my self-portrait come to life with unconventional colours. Restriction can be so beneficial!

More Editions...

Life drawing: Ten-minute pose

Life Drawing Or The First Time Is Always the Hardest

You know when you take a car trip somewhere for the first time – say to a new friend’s house – and then the return trip always seems to take so much less time? That’s because in the first journey, everything is unfamiliar. We don’t know where we’re going, how to recognize the landmarks or

Heather Laws, "Benji," 2016, Pastel on LaCarte, 24 x 16 1/2 inches. Commissioned portrait.

Heather Laws – The Commissioned Animal Portrait

Animal portraits. Every now and again I get a request for information on how to paint animal portraits. In these cases, it’s best to go to the experts…like Heather Laws. A few years ago, I was taken by one of her cat portraits and featured it in one of my monthly round-ups. You can see

August's Astonishing Pastels: Natasha Isenhour, "Streetlight and Silence," pastel, 14 x 18 in

August’s Astonishing Pastels- Let Them Motivate You!

It’s Labour Day and on this grey, cool day in September, I’m writing about astonishing pastels chosen from the glorious many I saw in August. These are pastels that in some way moved me to share them with you be it their colour and design, their emotional resonance, their success with values. My ten pastel

September's Super Pastels: Cristina Dimus, "Breathe," pastel, 9 7/16 x 12 7/16 in (24 x 32 cm)

September’s Super Pastels

I can hardly believe we are well into October already. September’s Super Pastels are a wee bit late coming to you but you’ll know I’ve been busy launching my first online course Pastel Painting En Plein Air – super exciting!! Anyway, onto September’s Super Pastels! Yup, it was another fabulous selection of over 50 pastels collected over the month of September. As always,

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6 thoughts on “About”

  1. Gail! Just got turned on to your website by a fellow artist from Wellington, Ontario… both of us former presidents of the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada. I work primarily in pastel and it will always be my medium of choice! I could never give them up! Being a landscape artist for years, I would now like to change things up a bit and try abstract. I was inspired by your article about the progression of your abstract painting…it’s given me the courage to take that (for me) giant leap and go ahead with an image I’ve had in my mind for a long time. Thank you! I look forward to future e-mails! Your’s is one of the best Pastel websites I’ve come across. Look forward to receiving your emails.

    1. Thank you for writing Kathryn, and for your enthusiasm! It comes over loud and clear 🙂 I am wondering which article on abstraction you are referring to. Perhaps you can add a comment directly on the blog? Good luck with your leap. I know how difficult it is to make. It’s ongoing risk-taking that’s for sure! Please let me know how it goes.

      Look forward to hearing more from you

  2. Marcia L. Hochstetter

    I just read your article in the April issue of “Pastel Journal”. Thank you so much. I felt as if you were speaking directly to me. I am going to tear it out and tape it to my studio wall.

  3. Hi Gail. I’m really excited and pleased to have discovered your website. I live in southern Australia and I started painting with pastels a few years ago (self taught) , but went a bit stale after doing a couple of workshops- mostly because the pastel artists here who I came across seem to be very conventional and felt that I wasn’t learning much. I’ve been working in oils since and enjoyed it- as I’ve realised, it’s similar in many ways. You showcase so many exciting works – use of colour, composition etc. , and your quick tips are helping me rethink how to approach my work. Looking forward to hearing more about your workshop in Tasmania, or perhaps one in Europe in a couple of years’ time.

    1. Hi Judi,
      Thanks for writing such a lovely introduction to yourself and your work. Certainly oils are similar to pastels in the way one builds a painting. Interesting that! I’m glad though that my blog may bring you back to the pastel side 😀 Even if not, so much of what’s here can be applied to the other media available for painting.
      I look forward to having you in one of my workshops whether in Tasmania or Europe!!

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