Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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The 125th annual exhibition of The Pastel Society is a very impressive event.I’ve heard a lot of positive comments from those who visited recently.

The Pastel Society Exhibition will be held on the afternoon following the Private View

It’s obvious to me that much effort has been put into making this an even better exhibition, marking yet another milestone in its history. It is the oldest pastel society on the planet, having held its first exhibit in 1899.

  • It had to be a 1300 entries– which 366 were hung (28%)
  • There were Private View yesterday had a great turnout 
Private View: Speeches begin in the evening
Sarah Bee’s vibrant artwork is behind the speaker
  • The content as well as the display of the exhibition are vastly improvedThe one I criticised last time. 
    • It’s This year, the colours are brighter and more vibrantIt looks better for it
    • Each wall is anchored by a strong paintingThe most obvious is the end wall of West Gallery, where Sarah BeeThe artworks of’s gallery are absolutely stunning.
    • The grouping of artworks is very effective – eg. a wall with landscapes
A Wall of Landscapes from different Pastel Society Members
    • There’sA wide variety of artwork is on displayFrom abstract to hyper-realistic
Malcolm Taylor, Abstracted Landscapes, on the Left
Ian Rawlings, Hyperrealistic still-life by Ian Rawlings, in the centre of a wall
  • The PS Annual Exhibition will also be back in its “near beginning of the year slot” I find that winter is the best time for art sales and exhibitions, because there is no competition from outdoor activities and holidays during summer. 
    • But “last year” only happened in May, just 8 months ago 
    • So the Society has done well to hold a second exhibition annually in such a short timeframe.
  • Although not all artworks were affected, the pricing on the wall suggests that many have reconsidered the price ranges that promote sales in this current climate. I was hoping to see evidence that artists are becoming more sensible, and this exhibition seems to be the first where pricing has changed. I still think the starting price should be £300. There’s a lot of room for sales at the lower end of the range.
Richard ReesThe President of the Pastel Society told me yesterday that out of 1300 entries 
  • A third were monochrome
  • A third of the images were portraits
I have to admit that neither are represented in the same proportions at the exhibition, although both are well-represented. Those attending the exhibition next year might want to keep this in mind.

When you have an abundance of a certain kind of art, competition for who gets to hang it becomes even more intense. To me, this is why the monochromatic art in this show is so strong. 

Grouped together, as most monochrome art is in the North Gallery – it looks more impressive and you can see the different techniques used in different media. You can also get a better idea of what subjects are best suited to monochromatic approaches. I always think that the latter plays a big role in developing successful monochromatic art. 

This is a very good exhibition for anyone who loves their graphite pencils or charcoal.

North Gallery (middle chamber) features a large number of monochromatic paintings in various sizes.

In my photos of the exhibit I posted on Facebook, I highlighted artwork that I liked. 

How to Visit the Exhibition

You can Visit the exhibition in person 

  • Mall Galleries
  • From 24th Jan to 10th Feb 2024 The store will be closed on Tuesday, 6th February.
You will need to check strike dates and changes if you plan to take the train from London. (see Information page). There are a number of problems between now, and the 6th February. However, it varies by day.

You can watch it onlineYou can find out more about this at 

Six still life paintings by Michele Ashby PS

Five artworks by Michele Ashby – hung on the Mezzanine.
  • This gives you an idea of the quality of the artwork. 
    • How many non-members selected artwork? 
    • How many of each artist’s works they selected. It’s usually one piece of art – unless the members are impressed, in which case they may select two or three.
  • The Pastel Society’s website is also very good. It also includes artworks from previous exhibitions. This is a VERY useful guide for anyone who wants to submit their artwork to an upcoming exhibition.I’d even go as far to say that the Pastel Society does very well when it comes to entries from younger artists, who prefer dry media.

2024 Pastel Society Sealed Bids

You may be able to get a good deal!

Events and Demonstrations

The Exhibition also has There are many events and demonstrationsThere is a lot to do between now and the end. 

  • Find out more at the Events ProgrammeMall Galleries on the web
  • Tomorrow (31stt January) is the themed Art Event evening from 6pm to 8:30pm This brings together two models for a themed drawing and painting session with Pastel Society members, including Roger Dellar, Jenny Halstead, Richard Rees and Simon Hodges.
All exhibition events take place in the East Gallery, “Studio”, except where otherwise stated.

Prizes and prizewinners

I did not know who won because I was gone before the awards ceremony started. The usual Mall Galleries news item has not appeared on the website. (Maybe someone forgot?) 

There are two brand new prizes for this year. There are two new prizes this year.

THE TOM COATES MEMORIAL PRIZE of £2,000

  • In memory of a former Pastel Society president (who passed away last year) 
  • The best non-member works in the exhibition. 
  • to be selected and presented by Tom’s wife, the artist Mary Jackson NEAC RWS.

THE PRESIDENTS PRIZE of £500

  • For the best work by an under-35 artist. 
I know who won because the President showed it to me. Thomas GaleYou can learn more about this by clicking here. Crystal Back Alley in a large sizeOn this website. He focuses primarily on the urban environment, and how the natural world seeps into the spaces when allowed. His use of color is a bit over the top and somewhat arresting, in a way that says ‘come here and look closer’.
The Pastel Society’s President’s Award 2024
Crystal Back AlleyYou can also read about how to get in touch with us. Thomas Gale

These prizes are on top of all the regular prizes that our sponsors provide us every year.

Candidates for Membership

Candidates for Membership wall


Curtis was just arriving as I was leaving and we had a short chat and exchanged some photos in front his artwork! 

Curtis Holder
With his two drawings of two coloured pen drawings
“The Costume Prop Maker” and “The Puppet Maker” in the East Gallery 

The diversity of styles was a good thing to see amongst those who were putting themselves forward as members.. The exhibitions of pastel art are made more interesting by choosing new members who DO NOT use pastels like the existing members!

I liked the colourful landscapes created by candidate Jayne Perkins. Her website indicates that she began using pastels after experimenting with oils and watercolours. It is interesting to see how this influences her landscapes.

Landscapes by Jayne Perkins

REFERENCE

The Society accepts all types of pastel, chalk or crayon including soft pastels, hard pastels, oil pastels, ink pastels, water-based pastels, conté crayons or sticks, sanguine, and similar dry mediums including charcoal and pencil. Mixed media works that use pastel or another dry medium as the primary medium are welcome.

You can view my archive of previous posts about Pastel Society Exhibitions.As you can tell, I have reviewed this exhibition every single year since 2006!

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