Pastel art is basically a type of art medium which is often associated with crayons. One must be aware that pastel and crayons are 2 different mediums altogether where pastel is typically a type of powdered paint while crayon are more clay based. Naturally, pastel art is applied the same way as the way other coloured media are used in art which include the likes of watercolour and oil paint where all these mediums require a certain level of skills and techniques.
Pastel paintings are usually very rustic in nature while some artists have been able to master this technique to express a more colourful and vibrant image. In most circumstances, pastel paintings usually involve landscapes where they are usually the more popular subject matter for the artists. Typically, pastel sticks are combined with a binder and it is up to the artists’ skills in manipulating the powder to create an aesthetically pleasing artwork.
Soft pastels are the most common and popular type of pastel that artists use because they have more pigment and less binder which means that the artist is able to play with brighter colours and consequently create more vibrant paintings. Typically, this type of media can be smudged and blended with other colours which is the usual affect seen in pastel paintings. Other types of pastel include pan pastels, hard pastels and pastel pencils which are all used to produce their own respective type of artworks.
Apart from that, there are also oil pastels which are more buttery and require a lot more technique and skills from the artist to master. A water soluble pastel is very much like soft pastels but has water-soluble components which allow more transparency and blending. The techniques adopted in pastel paintings can often be very challenging because the artist would need to apply the colour onto the canvas or any other surface and then blended before the effect can be seen. Unlike other medium like watercolour or oil, the artist would not be able to try out the colour on the palette before painting it on the canvas.
Otherwise, the techniques used in pastel paintings are very much the same with other media like layering, blending and masking, among others. Coloured grounds, dry wash, feathering and impasto are some of the unique techniques used in this art form which cannot be replicated in other art forms. The argument against using of pastel in art is that it can create respiratory problems as the process would produce a dusty environment.
When blended nicely, pastel paintings can be very aesthetically pleasing and vibrant and this can be seen in Shahrin Shaari’s portrait work depicts a direct replication of a passport photograph with a blue background. The shading and blending of the texture and skin were well presented and painted by Shahrin which is often seen in his other works in the watercolour medium. Paintings like these demonstrate how well pastel can be used to help the artist clearly express their messages while displaying the skills and techniques of the artist.