Pastel perfection: beautiful works of art from the Pastel Society UK

Pastel perfection: beautiful works of art from the Pastel Society UK

The Society's Annual Exhibition 2014 shows the remarkable work being done in pastels by some of our many talented artists

Garden 3 by Bess Avery, £700

Essex-based artist Bess Avery works in pastels to depict landscapes and nature. Pictured aboveGarden 3, £700. The Pastel Society UK's Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries in central London runs from 10-21 June and you'll see more than 250 works which are available to buy. Prices from £300. *Entry is free if you mention Deco magazine to the gallery desk staff. 

If you're among those who can't help feeling that pastels are a poor relation to oil painting, a visit to The Pastel Society UK's exhibition at the Mall Galleries (10-21 June) will dispel any doubts about the genre.

You'll see exquisite works in vibrant, intense colours that capture every nuance and detail of the subject matter - whether a still life or a landscape  - by leading British artists including Angela A'Court, Ann Wilkinson, Roger Dellar and Jenny Halstead

A still common misconception is that works in pastels won't have the longevity of oil paint, but this is nonsense: colours don't fade or yellow. And the great artists have always worked in pastels, including Leonardo da Vinci, Jean-Francois Millet, Degas, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lights Piccadilly by Roger Dellar, £1,400
Pestle and Mortar b y Liz Balkwill, £695
Ann Wilkinson's Fruit and Flowers on a Patterned Cloth, £850
Vintage Havana, Jenny Halstead, £850
Glasses with Bees, Angela A'Court, £1,100
Warm Rocks and Cool Water at Hayton Quarry, Darmoor by Sarah Bee. £1,450
Sardines in a Terracotta Bowl by Carol Moore, £850
Farms and Barns Yorkshire Dales by Norma Stephenson, £2,600

What is a pastel?

It's powdered pigment mixed with gum or resin to form a dry stick. It can be used to create broad strokes that appear buttery and solid like oil paint, but pastels also create precise lines and marks. A further appeal of pastels lies in their wide range of colors and blendability.


Yellow Cloth by Glenys Ambrus, £950
Janette Summerfield's Let's Walk Through the Woods, 74x58cms, £430

If you're on the look out for a piece of original art for your home, this exhibition is a good hunting ground, with masses of colour, fine detail and hugely varied subject matter. A lot of works do celebrate the natural world, with flowers, plants, trees and landscapes much in evidence. 

Sarah Bee's Warm Rocks and Cool Water at Hayton Quarry Dartmoor stands out for its intense blues, as does Jenny Halstead's Vintage Havana, which also captures the intense sunlight of the island. 

While works of art aren't something everyone can afford, prices here aren't prohibitive, starting at £300. And whether you can afford to buy or not, it's a pleasure just to see contemporary art of this standard.


When? 10-21 June

Where? Mall Galleries are on The Mall, London SW1.

Hours: 10am to 5pm, but exhibition closes at 4pm on the last day.
Tickets £3, concessions, 2.50. However, mention Deco mag on to gallery desk staff and you'll be admitted free.