Monday August 02 2021



Village Art & Literature

In praise of pastels

Posted on February 28 2015 at 1:56:23 0 comments

Citadelle of Baux

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton extols the virtues of a colourful medium.

Painting is a bit of a palaver! The strong smell of linseed oil or turps with oil paints; lots of brushes, water and spillage with watercolour and acrylics, and the frustration of waiting for paint to dry.

How wonderful to be able to apply vibrant colour with a stick, to be able to mix, blend, and put in lots of detail without all the clearing up associated with painting. This is what pastels offer and I would like to sing their praises!

Pastels are pure powdered pigment which is ground into a pastel with a small amount of gum binder and then rolled into sticks. The wonderful variety of colours in the pastel palette ranges from soft and subtle to bold and brilliant.

There is no liquid binder that may cause other media to darken, fade, yellow, crack or blister with time. Pastels 400 years old can be as fresh as the day they were made.

Pastels are used by gently drawing the sticks of dry pigment across a slightly rough ground, embedding the colour in the paper or other surface used.

Many artists love to use pastels because it allows a spontaneous approach without drying time and no allowances to be made for a change in colour due to drying.

A group of artists who regularly work in pastel are the Birmingham and West Midland Pastel Society and they are showing an exhibition of their work at Artrix in Bromsgrove this month. The exhibition is called, very logically, The Art of Pastels.

The Society was founded in 1982 to provide a Midlands exhibition for artists working in pastel. The Artrix will be their first exhibition of 2015, to be followed in the summer and autumn by two more shows.

Check their website for venues and dates: At present there are approximately 30 members, many of whom will be represented in the forthcoming Artrix exhibition.     

It is worrying to read that Artrix may have its funding halved from £120,000 down to £60,000 by Bromsgrove Council. Bromsgrove and its surrounding areas are well served by this exciting arts centre with all the events it has to offer us – drama, music, dance, comedy, film and art exhibitions.

Artrix is always a great place to visit; we love the unusual movies on offer there and the art exhibitions which occupy the balcony and side galleries. It is a real community centre with lots of interesting events going on and really enriches our locality. 

With its pool of 60 volunteers, who keep the foyer, bar and front of house running smoothly, Artrix has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Do pay it a visit this month to see The Art of Pastels.

The exhibition runs from Wednesday March 4 to Sunday March 28; Artrix Gallery is open 10am–4pm Monday to Saturday and on performance evenings.

The exhibition is free and you can book seats online at for cinema, stand-up, music shows and the rest.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

Pictured: The Citadelle of Baux by Joanne Powell

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