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Welcome to Pastel Society of Tampa Bay

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate the artist and the public about pastel painting while promoting interest and enjoyment of the medium. We encourage artistic growth through education and sharing.

What is Pastel?

For those of you who are new to pastel, pastel is a medium that is made from raw pigment mixed with a binding agent that is then formed into sticks. These sticks can be cylindrical, square, rectangular, long or short. Their texture can vary from extremely soft and velvety to hard and very dense, depending on the pigment and binder combinations used. There are hundreds of colors of pastel sticks and dozens of manufacturers to choose from.

Because pastels often look similar to a piece of chalk, some people refer to pastel artworks as "chalk drawings". This is a misrepresentation. Pastels are not the same as the simple colored chalks used on sidewalks and blackboards. Depending on the brand of pastel, they are made from the same fine quality pigments that are used in fine oil paint, but are mixed with a solid versus a liquid binder. They are rich with pure color.

Pastel can be used as a drawing OR a painting medium! The artist can emphasize either crisp detail with varying thicknesses of lines or apply the pastels with broad, painterly strokes. Pastel is also water soluble and can also be applied as washes of pigment applied with a brush. Almost infinite combinations of strokes, direct color, and blending effects are possible.

Pastel requires no additional painting mediums or surface varnishes and no drying time. Dust and lint won't stick to the surface as it can on oil or acrylic painting. Unlike oil or acrylic paintings, an artwork done in pastel won't crack, yellow, or form a distracting glossy glare. It is a uniquely opaque medium that reflects light from the surface, so pastel paintings can appear to almost glow from their own rich, dense color surfaces. If a pastel work is done on a quality surface and properly framed, it can last just as long as an oil painting.

What We Do

Each year we sponsor a juried and judged show with awards, Possibilities in Pastel. In addition, as the opportunity presents itself, the group exhibits in other venues around the Tampa Bay area. The goal of our meetings is to share useful information about the use of pastel and art in general. We also sponsor a plein air paint day for those who enjoy painting the Florida landscape.  See our "Activities and Show" page for details.

Our yearly show, "Possibilities in Pastel X", will be held at the Stirling Gallery and Studios, Dunedin, FL, during February 2016 with judge Deborah Stewart. Click here for the Prospectus for the show.

We are a member in good standing with the International Association of Pastel Societies