Our second session of the art club has begun! For these 10 sessions, I have decided to have the students explore different types of art mediums and learn how to use them for different effects. They are also going to keep an art journal in which they will be drawing and sketching on a regular basis so as to improve their drawing skills.
In our first session, students learned how to draw and blend with pastels.
A little history lesson predicated the demonstration!
The name ‘pastel’ came from the Latin word pastellum, meaning ‘paste’. Pastels are sticks of pure powdered pigments combined with a binder. They were first manufactured in the 15th century and were used to ‘sketch’ an underpainting or for practicing numerous poses or folds of drapery. Artists would sketch many times before they started a painting. But these sketches did not last because pastels do not adhere well to paper. Nowadays we have ‘fixatives’ that help hold the pastel colors to the paper.
Above is a pastel made by the artist, Mary Cassatt.
The first artists to use pastels extensively in their work were Edgar Degas (French) and Mary Cassatt (American). Mary travelled to France to study art and became friends with Edgar. Both used the pastels in different ways as is evident in their styles.
Here is a pastel sketch done by Edgar Degas.
Claude Monet was accidentally forced to use pastels on a trip to London. His oil paints hadn’t arrived in time so he had to use pastels for three days! He made some beautiful sketches in pastel of the Waterloo Bridge on the Thames river.
Pastels can be challenging because mixing colors happens directly on the paper, not on a palette as in painting. Blending is fun for children but can make their hands messy, however, a little soap and water makes it all go away!
Here are some pictures of my students at work with the pastels!