It’s Fav Friday and this time we have Sally Strand on board to share her fav pastel.

In case you’re new here, each Friday I ask a Pastel Today Advisory Board member a question. The same question. This question:

What pastel stick (colour and brand) can you not do without? 

(If you’ve missed the previous answers, click HERE.)

Now let’s get to Sally’s answer!

“My favourite pastel sticks – among others – seems to be an odd choice: Olive Green 620.2 and 620.3 by Rembrandt.”


Sally Strand's fav pastels - Rembrandt Olive Green 620.3 (top) and 620.2 (bottom)
Sally Strand’s fav pastels – Rembrandt Olive Green 620.3 (top) and 620.2 (bottom).


Wow. That is a bit surprising. Especially the brand. I asked Sally to share more.

“When I started seriously using pastels, in the late 70s and early 80s, I only knew of one pastel brand that was affordable and accessible – Rembrandts pastels. They were pastels I still had from my student art school days. 

I was a watercolorist at the time but one day when I felt I had hit a plateau with my watercolour painting, I picked up some old pastel sticks and started scribbling over my painting on watercolour paper. I used that old pastel set exclusively for over 15 years to start my art career.

In those early days, my colour choices using the Rembrandt set were limited. I started using paint to paint the dark areas in darker than the sticks in my pastel box would allow. However, the great benefit from those years is that I learned, out of necessity, to directly mix the colour I saw in nature on my paper in layers. I did not have those specific colours in my pastel box. Nor did I have the great variety of colours and brands now available on the market. 


Sally Strand, "Poolside, White Hat," pastel
Sally Strand, “Poolside, White Hat,” pastel.


And so to the use of Olive Green No. 620… I found myself using it with linear strokes to neutralize colour, similar to the use of a “mother colour” for oil painting. In that it’s a harder type of pastel, I use it often as a sort of glaze, sometimes over entire areas or masses, both to pull the values together or to change the colour – mixing colours directly on the paper. I can’t do that with a soft pastel. Alternatively, I sometimes use the side of the Olive Green to scumble over large areas.


Sally Strand, Pastel demo for PSA Academy, in progress.
Sally Strand, Pastel demo for PSA Academy, in progress.You can see the Olive Green being applied to the background on the right and a bit far left.


Sally Strand, Pastel demo for PSA Academy.
Sally Strand, Pastel demo for PSA Academy.


Beautiful colour results from colour relationships. Olive Green No.620 helps me achieve those subtle mixtures found in perceptual painting but not otherwise found directly in the pastel box!”

Such an unexpected answer from Sally Strand. I’m going to relook at my old Rembrandt pastels. How about you? Let us know!



Meet acclaimed Iowa landscape artist Tom Christopher


I’d like you to introduce you to Pastel Live faculty member Tom Christopher.

Tom is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America and a Master Circle Recipient of The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). He works out of his studio in Central Iowa and regularly facilitates pastel workshops throughout the United States. 


Tom Christopher, "Old Friends," pastel
Tom Christopher, “Old Friends,” pastel.


Tom writes, “Living in the Midwest has influenced my style of painting and choice of subject matter significantly. Many of my pieces depict very common scenes I have experienced. As a child, I spent countless hours playing on the riverbanks and wooded areas in Central Iowa. Even today, I continue to be intrigued with nature and the way sunlight and shadows help define the landscape. I continue to spend my mornings hiking and sketching the rugged landscape along the Iowa River near my home. My goal is to paint relatively common scenes in a more dramatic and interesting way. Most of my finished works are the result of reference photographs and on-location (plein-air) studies.”


Tom Christopher, "Autumn on Ruby Creek," pastel
Tom Christopher, “Autumn on Ruby Creek,” pastel.


I hope you’ll join Tom Christopher and me on Beginner’s Day at Pastel Live 2022 on 17th August. The line-up on that first day of Pastel Live is spectacular! Check out this list:

  • Tom Christopher
  • Christine Debrosky
  • Rita Kirkman
  • Michael Chelsey Johnson
  • Susan Jenkins
  • Jane McGraw-Teubner
  • Gail Sibley
  • William A Schneider



And then there’s a whoooooole heap more to come on the following three days (18-20 August 2022). I can’t wait!!

And that’s it for this time!



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