Pure Pigment – Pittsburgh Pastel Artists’ League Member Show


Ocean’s Power by Jan Pini @2017

April 9 – May 20, 2017


“Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League (PPAL) dedicates itself to the medium of pastel.  But what is pastel?  Some people mistakenly refer to pastel as “chalk’ like the kind used on old classroom blackboards.  There is no comparison.  Pastel is Pure Pigment, the same pure pigment used in all art media such as oil and watercolor paints.  The only difference with pastels is the binder that is used to hold this pure pigment together that keeps it in a usable form, usually a stick form that comes in different shapes and sizes and from hard to soft in texture.  The minimum amount of binder is used when pastels are made (often by hand).  Just enough binder is used to enable the artist to grasp the stick of color between their fingers and not have it crumble when stroked across a support surface that is usually abrasive or sanded.  Because pastel binder does not contain liquid, this abrasive support surface, covered by pastel, will not darken, fade, yellow or blister over time.  Pastels themselves are pure, brilliant color that do not yellow with time; they have a velvety matte surface unlike any other medium and are a dry color capable of a wide range of effects.  All these characteristics are distinctive to pastel.  No other medium has the power of color or the stability of pastel.  When a pastel painting is properly framed, it is the most permanent of all mediums.

When the support surface is fully covered with pastel, the work is called a pastel painting, but  when most of that surface shows through, it is a pastel sketch or drawing.  Pastel paintings, made with a medium that has the highest pigment concentration of all, reflect light without any darkening refraction, thus resulting in very saturated colors.  Pastels come in literally thousands of colors, from the palest pale to the darkest dark, made by dozens of individuals or companies.  Pastel painters use the variety of hard to soft pastel to vary their painting techniques in order to achieve different effects and painting styles.  If the pastel painter still wants to mix or blend the colors for even more variety, though a challenge, this can be  achieved by mixing or blending directly on the working surface.  With pastels, unlike paint, colors you want to create through mixing or blending, cannot be tested on a palette before applying them to the surface.  They are a thrilling, challenging medium that we pastelists love.

Pastel artists understand the power of their medium and use it to full advantage.  The Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League is proud to exhibit our talented members’ work done in Pure Pigment.”

Pure Pigment runs Sunday, April 9th through Saturday, May 20th, 2017 in The Underground Exhibition Gallery at The Artsmiths.


Join us for a Sunday afternoon reception with members of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League (PPAL) for the opening of Pure Pigment on April 9th from 2pm to 5pm.   The reception will feature light appetizers and refreshments.


Linda Barnicott  •  Gail Beem  •  Cindy Berceli  •  Kuniko Binet  •  William Ceriani  •  Kristin Divers  •  Carol Donnelly  •  Karen Ferrick  •  Shari Finney  •  Doris Gottschall  •  Diane Grguras  •  Nanette Hought  •  Rita Kambic-Haldeman  •  Bill Karaffa  •  Renee Keil  •  Adelaide La Fond  •  Frances Marze  •  Brian McDermott  •  Colleen Montana  •  Diane Murray  •  Jan Pini  •  Linda Saksa  •  Marian Sallade  •  Christine Swann  •  Sally Taylor  •  Anne Trimble  •  Gloria Tutera  •  Patricia Young



The Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League (PPAL), formed in 2002, is a solely member-supported art organization. We are a member of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS), which exists to “unite pastel societies around the world in support of the fine art of pastel”. PPAL is dedicated to the promotion, use, understanding and enjoyment of the medium of pastels and to pastel artists. Our members’ levels of experience range from the internationally known professional to the very beginner. Anyone with an interest in the pastel medium is welcome to join and enjoy all PPAL member benefits.

We share ideas and news about the medium of pastel through quarterly meetings, a monthly newsletter, timely bulletins and through our member-supported website. These communications include information about workshops, classes, members’ news and accomplishments, exhibits, group excursions to galleries or other art venues and plein air events (painting outdoors) offered by PPAL and other local or national organizations.

Annually, we bring in an internationally known professional pastel instructors for a class. Members can also post images of their pastel paintings on our website gallery. At our quarterly meetings, members are encouraged to bring a painting (either one in progress or finished) for a group critique offering artistic advice, encouragement, and creative suggestions.