Header image above: Cyclamen by Robin Warnes PS
Cheryl Culver is President of the Pastel Society and a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. Her serene pastel paintings of woodland and landscapes in sensitively beautiful muted palettes are often exhibited in prestigious London galleries including the Mall Galleries. The Jackson’s Art Blog asked Cheryl to tell us a little more about the forthcoming Pastel Society Annual Exhibition, which runs from the 10th – 21st June at the Mall Galleries.
The Pastel Society was founded in 1898, and the first exhibition was held in the Royal Institute in Piccadilly. Founder members and early exhibitors included Brangwyn, Degas, Rodin, Rothenstein, Whistler and G.F. Watts.
The Pastel Society exhibition 2014 will be the 115th Annual exhibition of the Society and although its official title is the Pastel Society UK, it is in fact a dry media society. Some Members do not show any works in pastel.
The Pastel Society is adventurous and broad minded in its approach to the work it selects to show and the selection of its Members also reflects this. Each Member has an individual approach to the use of pastel and other dry medium, giving the annual exhibition a vibrant and exciting diversity. Non Members work is also selected with the same values in mind. The Pastel Society celebrates an original approach with an awareness of traditional values.
The purpose of the annual show is to showcase the best in contemporary pastel/dry media. The exhibition is also an opportunity to run Workshops and hold Demonstrations of ‘Work in Progress’. The Pastel Society takes its commitment to teaching very seriously and there are a large number of workshops running throughout the exhibition in the Learning Centre at the Mall Galleries. Workshops are also held during August at the White Lodge Centre Holloway Hill Chertsey Surrey.
Key Works in the Show
Rather than mention favourite artworks, I would like to mention works which show the diversity of the Pastel Society exhibition.
I could easily include everyone, because as I have already mentioned, the work of our members is individual and diverse. From the Non-Members I would like to pick out Joss Rossiter ‘The Kiss’, David Napp ‘Goldrush’ and Liz Balkwill ‘Pestle and Mortar’ to illustrate the eclectic nature of our exhibition. For those I haven’t mentioned, no judgement intended.
Pastels are indeed a love affair. A love affair, because they can send the senses racing. A love affair, because like all great passions there is always a downside. The downside of being a pastel artist is accepting that your studio and everything you touch will never be totally clean again. But apart from grubby door handles and light switches, we are privileged to be artists who handle the nearest thing to pure pigment every time we pick up a pastel. To experience just a tiny aspect of this, go to an art materials supplier or even better a manufacturer of pastels and see the range of colour and then honestly say you were not tempted to buy and try.
In this year’s show you will see works by artists who have done just that, and more.
There are works in graphite, charcoal, pastel pencils, oil pastels and soft pastels and not one artist whose work could be mistaken for another. Each work vying for your attention; each work making its own statement, exhilarating and challenging. That is what the Pastel Society and the Pastel Society exhibition is all about.