Archive for February, 2010
Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704-1788) was a French Rococo portraitist who worked primarily with pastels. Among his most famous subjects were Voltaire, Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. He was the son of a musician who disapproved of his painting career. That’s why he has as teenager left home and went to Paris where he was thought to paint. He went to Rheims in 1724 and to England in 1725, returning to Paris to resume his studies around 1727. In Paris he also had learned about new medium “pastel” made so popular by a young Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera. After returning to Paris, he adopted pastel as the sole medium of his portraits.
In 1737 La Tour exhibited the first of a splendid series of 150 portraits that served as one of the glories of the Paris Salon for the next 37 years. In the age of 46 he was appointed portraitist to the King, which established his reputation among the royalty and upper middle class.
There is an interesting story about his character and attitude: While painting Madame de Pompadour (click on the link to hear interesting story about this painting) he ask not to be disturbed but: “A quarter of an hour had scarcely passed when the door of the apartment opened and the King entered. Lifting his cap, La Tour said to his model, “You promised, Madame, that your door should be closed to visitors.” Louis laughed good at both the costume and the rebuke of the artist, and begged him to proceed with his work. “It is impossible for me to obey your Majesty,” replied La Tour: “I will return when Madame is alone.” There-upon he walked into another room to dress himself, saying as he went, “I don’t like to be interrupted.”
Towards the end of his life, he founded an art school and became a philanthropist before begin confined to his home because of mental illness. He retired at the age of 80 to Saint-Quentin where now stands the Musee Antoine Lecuyer with it’s wonderful collection of close to 80 works by this master of pastel
There is an interesting interactive tour of his work on interactive pages of the Museum “Antoine Lecuyer”.
At the FineArtViews Painting Competition for January 2010, second place went to pastel artist Margi Lucena from New Mexico, USA, for her soft pastel painting San Lorenzo Sunlight, and one more of her paintings Anna’s Road was classified as the Outstanding Pastel. The other Outstanding Pastel painting was Reach by pastelist Linda Smith.
The Pastel Journal is offering free download of two old articles. The first one is about Brian Mathas Burt and the second if about M. Katherine Hurley. They are offering it due to three-artist, all-pastel show in Cincinnati. This is a show with fantastic works by Brian Mathas Burt, Kay Hurley and Jay Wilford, running now through March 12.
The most of Brian’s work will make you laugh and you can have a good fun on his website. He has surprisingly many paintings on his website and he has an active blog.
Kathrine Hurley is a landscape pastel artist that many times uses surprising colors with a fantastic results. After earning her bachelor of fine arts, Katherine studied in Italy and France and then for five years in workshops with renowned artist Wolf Kahn. If you like Kathrine’s work check out her instructional DVD .
Jay Wilford is an artist who is primarily working in oils, but likes to do pastels as well—mostly when he wants to enjoy himself.
The images of the award-winning paintings in the Fifteenth Juried Exhibition of the International Association of Pastel Societies are now posted on the IAPS web site, along with a list of all accepted entries. The Prix de Pastel went to Cuong Nguyen, Gold award to Sally Strand, Silver award to Phil Bates and Bronze award to Sangita Phadke.
The Society has also posted prospectus for the 2010 Web Show.
French artist Partick Martin was born in 1951 in Pavillons-sous-Bois near Paris. He received multidisciplinary education at the “Ecole Superieure des Arts Appliques et des Metiers d’Arts”. Today he is a professional pastel artist and teacher. He is also a master member of the Societe des Pastellistes de France. On his bi-lingual website Patrick is providing very good step by step demonstrations.
Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) was born in Geneve, Switzerland, where he was trained as a miniature painter. In his twenties he sought his fortune in Paris, where he studied in a prominent painter’s studio. After rejection by the Académie Royale, he traveled to Italy, where he obtained numerous portrait commissions.
Liotard next embarked on a journey throughout the Mediterranean region and finally settled in Constantinople for four years. Intrigued by the native dress, he grew a long beard and acquired the habit of dressing as a Turk, earning himself the nickname of “the Turkish painter”. For the rest of his life, Liotard traveled throughout Europe painting portraits in pastels. In Rome 1735 he painted portraits of Pope Clement XII and several cardinals. He traveled to Vienna in 1743 to paint the portraits of Empress Maria Theresa and her family, visited England from 1753 to 1755 and painted portraits of the Princess of Wales and other notables.
His painting style intimately captured a tender and realistic representation of his subjects. Later settling in his birthplace of Geneva, he wrote “Treatise on the Art of Painting”, in which he claimed painting ought to be a mirror of nature. This strong belief is seen prominently in his portraits, but also in still-life works and landscapes he painted later in life.
Société des Pastellistes de France brought me to an interesting event with ten years tradition. I’ve found out that since 2000 the Society is organizing International Pastel Festival which has become the most important event devoted to pastels in Europe. Created in partnership with Town of Feytiat the International Pastel Festival receives about 20.000 visitors yearly and hosts a huge number of artist from all around the world. You also have possibility to attend different workshops.
Next International Pastel Festival in Town of Feytiat will take place this year from July 3rd to September 5th. Even though you might not speak French you could find this event interesting and pages worth translating. Here you can find the gallery of great works from previous festivals.
The world oldest pastel society, the Société des Pastellistes de France was created in 1885. The Society’s members were world famous artists like Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, and many other major pastelists.
As a part of a bigger Pastel Festival, they are organizing 2nd European Pastel Convention on July 17-19 2010., and if you speak some French take a look at the leaflet front / back.
Five artist previously honored as Master Pastelists will hold the demonstrations – Gwenneth Barth, Alain Bellanger, Pierre Caro and Patrick Martin. Take a look at some photos from the 1st convention held in 2007.
I got this information thanks to Artist in Pastel blog.
The Pastel Guild of Europe published the February issue of the Pastel Scribbler. This is a free newsletter dedicated to a soft pastel art and is gathering European pastel artists. You can find old issues here and if you like it you can subscribe at the bottom of the PGE home page.
Pastel framing by Marie France Oosterhof
Art and conservation by Cecilia Watson
Panpastels & Obtaining Luminosity by Katherine Hansen
On portraits and life by Alicia Sotherland
Meet the Artist – Désirée Dekkers
Alicia Sotherland is a self taught artist from Escondido, CA (USA) who began painting in 1999. Having been a child of an artists, she was surrounded by the world of art and encouraged when she would draw. However, Alicia never thought about being an artist until the fall in 1999 when she decided to make a career change. Having drawn mostly faces as a child, it seemed natural for her to begin with the portrait. By her own words “I was never told I should not start my painting career by doing portraits, so I approached my portraits without fear or preconceived ideas of how to paint or this is the way it must be done! I figured out basically what works best for me, and I did it that way.”
Alicia doesn’t use preliminary drawings, thumbnails or grids. All parts of the painting look connected, the background is part of the hair, the hair, part of the forehead and so on. Her paintings look very blurry with a couple of well chosen sharp edges.
Alicia has recently release four video clips where you can see her studio and watch her doing a portrait from a photo. I find the 3rd part to be the most informative and you can find it in my video collection.