The Pastel Society UK – Annual Exhibition 2015

Jan Munro - Red Chair and Apples
Jan Munro – Red Chair and Apples

The Pastel Society’s 116th Annual Exhibition is open at the Mall Galleries.
I never understood the connection between the award category and the sponsor names and thus I’ll skip the award names. To see the awarded works check the gallery below.
Mike Clapton,
Michael Norman PS,
Felicity House PS,
Joanne Last,
Caroline Bays PS,
Jan Munro,
Tony Allain
Matthew Draper PS,
Christine Watson,
Jenny Smith,
Melodie Cook,
Barry Freeman,
Richard Turner,
Liz Balkwill,
Jaana Fowler,
Qiaoxi Chen.

For the extensive exhibition report please check Making a Mark blog.

The Pastel Society UK Open Exhibition 2015

The Pastel Society Digital Pre-Selection closes on December 5th 2014! Go to and submit your entry!
Pre-Selection Notification: 12 December 2014.
There are a number of prizes and awards available to win, including: NEW for 2015: £5,000 Zsuzsi Roboz Prize for artists aged 35 and under.
Minimum price: £300

Enjoy the gallery of works from 2014.

Old Pastel Master: Francis Cotes

Francis Cotes Collage

Francis Cotes Collage
Francis Cotes Collage

Francis Cotes (1726 – 1770) was an English painter, one of the pioneers of English pastel painting, and a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768.
The son of an apothecary, Francis Cotes trained in the 1740s as a portraitist in pastels and oils. An early pastel portrait gained him recognition and even inspired a love poem, “Address to Celia’s picture.” By the 1760s, he had achieved wide-reaching success as the pre-eminent pastel painter in England. Cotes helped found the Society of Artists and became its director in 1765. Three years later he became a founding member of the Royal Academy. In his last decade, Cotes began to paint more in oil, a medium less labor intensive and more profitable than pastel. However, he remained renowned as a pastelist: John Russell wrote his famous 1772 treatise, The Elements of Painting with Crayon, as an explanation of Cotes’s pastel technique, and Cotes was referred to as “the Rosalba Carriera of England.” His inventive compositions, dramatic use of saturated color, bold handling of line, and informal naturalism contributed to Cotes’s fame. Tragically, his premature death at age forty-four cut short his career.
source: Getty Museum, LA

Mark Leach Raw Colors

Mark Leach

Mark Leach
Mark Leach

It is hard to save this post under Old Pastel Masters category since Mark’s abstract landscapes are so very contemporary, but a category master would be very appropriate.
Mark Leach was a professional artist from Sussex, England. He passed away suddenly in the summer of 2008. He was a leading figure in the world of contemporary pastel painting with many prizes and publications to his name. A self-taught artist, Mark quit a successful career in computers and management consultancy in his early 30s to become a full-time painter.
As a young artists, he wanted to do something that had never been done before. He worked in impressionistic style in acrylics, incorporating some of the actual soil or sand from the landscapes into the paint. After some time he began looking for the essence and spiritual elements in his subjects. This led him into the abstract realm where he began using pastel to get down his thoughts quickly. He used pastels in a colorist way even though his palette was many times made of pale colors.
He painted neither an plain air nor from the references but rather from memory which holds the essence and not the details of the scene. That essence is what he wanted to communicate. Most of his paintings are in soft pastels as he saw pastels as the most efficient and most rewarding medium for satisfying his color needs. Mark’s favorite pastels were Unison, partly because he found the color range more subtle than many others and partly because of their size. He also used Sennelier quite a lot because some of the colors are really strong— blues, in particular. He used to prepare mountboard with a mixture of acrylic gesso and pumice dust, then paint it with acrylic mixed with yet more pumice to ensure a good tooth. These underpaintings were generally very dark blue, red or orange. Leach preferred to work from dark to light because of the vibrancy it can lend the pastels. His rule of thumb was that the underpainting should be at least as dark as the darkest tone in the final painting. In his book, Raw Colors With Pastels, the artist explains that he regularly exploits color psychology to communicate mood. As a result, many of his paintings are close to monochromes—shades of blue that convey peace and coolness, or reds that speak of heat and excitement.
Mark was elected to The Pastel Society (UK) in 1994 and was an active member and regular exhibitor. He was elected to the Council in 1997 and was already elected to be the president in 2009, but did not live long enough to claim that honor.

Download the Pastel Journal article about Mark.

“I therefore tend towards the abstract. If the work is too figurative, this well may detract from what I am trying to say. If the painting is being viewed primarily as a picture of something then the qualities of that object will get in the way of the painting itself. If the tree looks too much like a tree then it is just a tree: the painting will have little purpose. I want my painting to be a lot more than this, more than just a representation, more than just a clever representation, it must have its own unique beauty. A balance of the emotional and the physical.” …for more, read the manifesto on his website.

Mark Leach book “I do not use color to reflect what I see, but to express how I feel, or want to feel,” Leach writes in his book, Raw Colour with Pastels. “Although artists should avoid the formulaic, it’s broadly accepted that red conveys a sense of energy, passion and excitement; yellow optimism and joy; while blue speaks of hope, peace and calm. Of the secondaries, orange denotes warmth and honesty; green is the color of youth, energy and nature; and purple or violet can be both feminine and erotic, religious or spiritual.”

Love Pastels 2012

Cheryl Culver "They Hang Suspended until Winter takes them All"

Cheryl Culver "They Hang Suspended until Winter takes them All"
Cheryl Culver

The Love Pastel is the 113th Annual Exhibition by The Pastel Society (UK) open to the public from 14-25th February 2012. During the 2012 exhibition, Members of The Pastel Society will be working in the Gallery. The Pastel Society will also run workshops during their Annual Exhibition. The exhibition is open for the non-members as well and if you would like to join this group of super class pastel artist consider to apply for the 2013 show.
The painting in this post is the Winner of the Henri Roche Pastels Award
“They hang suspended until Winter takes them all” by Cheryl Culver PS.
Katherine Tyrrell was at the exhibition and you can read a nice review together with some photos on her blog Making a Mark.

Old Pastel Master: John Russell

John Russell "The Sign Writer"

John Russell "The Sign Writer"
John Russell "The Sign Writer"

John Russell (1745 – 1806) was an English painter renowned for his portrait work in oils and pastels, and as a writer and teacher of painting techniques.
His extraordinary facility as a pastel painter brought him a fashionable clientele eager to have him execute their portraits. Russell was renowned for his ability to achieve masterful tonal effects by smudging broad areas. He then accented the painting by applying linear flourishes made with a hard-pointed pastels. Most of the hundreds of works he produced were portraits, although he sometimes depicted genre subjects such as children with animals. Russell’s achievements in the art of pastel were the result of his thorough understanding of its technique and materials. In 1780 he published The Elements of Painting in Crayon, one of a handful of known treatises on pastel written in the 1700s. At the time of its publication, it was considered a cornerstone for understanding pastel medium. Russell also experimented with pastel manufacturing, producing a recipe book for pastel making. In 1788 he was elected as a member of the Royal Academy and further distinguished by being appointed as the Painter for king George III.

The Pastel Society UK Annual Exhibition 2011

Roger Dellar "Line Chefs"

Roger Dellar "Line Chefs"
Roger Dellar "Line Chefs"

The following Awards were made during the 2011 Exhibition.
THE ARTS CLUB awarded to Roger Dellar
BUZZACOTT awarded to Chris Clements (Non-member)
DALER-ROWNEY awarded to Roy Wright
FRANK HERRING AND SONS awarded to Sarah Bee
ANTHONY J. LESTER awarded to Roger Dellar
JOHN LONGLEY awarded to Maureen Davies (Non-member)
PATRICIA PATTERSON awarded to Bob Last
PURCELL PAPERS awarded to Brian Gallagher
THE RANELAGH PRESS awarded to Rosa Roberts (Non-member)
BRIAN SINFIELD GALLERY awarded to Cheryl Culver
UNISON awarded to Roger Dellar
SCHMINCKE awarded to Eiko Yoshimoto

Check the 2011 Gallery here.

Malcolm Jarvis Autumn Landscapes



Malcolm Jarvis is an internationally recognized artist who holds the Diploma in Design from St. Martin’s School of Art, London, UK. He lives in the rural county of Norfolk, England, and has spent most of his life with the vast skies, the miles of inland waterways and the windswept coast. Although he tends to use watercolor on his travels, the soft pastels are his favorite painting medium. In many of his paintings Malcolm explores the effects of light on the landscape. Malcolm draws inspiration from the English countryside as well as from the Mediterranean light. His work has been exhibited in England, Washington DC, South Carolina and Spain and he holds regular workshops in England, around the Europe and Mediterranean.
Malcolm is the winner and the runner up of the latest Get Dusty competition, held by the Pastel Guild of Europe.
In his words, “I hope you see my pieces as a response to nature, to beauty, to life, to that sudden awareness of being in the presence of a mystery that baffles understanding.”

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