The Pastel Society of the West Coast brings its Pastels USA: 33rd Annual International Open Exhibition back to the Haggin Museum beginning Thursday, May 16th through July 14th.
The Pastel Society of the West Coast was founded by a handful of dedicated artists from Northern California. Some of the most elite pastel painters in the country enter the annual exhibition.
Since only about 100 paintings are placed in the show, acceptance is considered a worthy accomplishment. This year’s exhibition attracted hundreds of entries from many artists. Artists are allowed five entries, two of which may be selected for the show.
Pastel does not refer to pale colors, as the word is commonly used in cosmetic and fashion terminology. The name comes from the French word pastische, because the pure, powdered pigment is ground into a paste, with a small amount of gum binder, and then rolled into sticks. The infinite variety of colors in the pastel palette range from soft and subtle to bold and brilliant.
Many associate pastel with colored chalk, but chalk is a cheap, impermanent substance. Pastel is the most permanent of all media when applied to a permanent ground and properly framed. There is no oil to cause darkening or cracking, nor other substance or medium to cause fading or blistering. Pastels from the 16th century exist today, as fresh and alive as the day they were painted!