I usually have the trigger of spotting something in the landscape that sparks ideas - often when out for reasons other than sketching. I then return for information in sketches and notes to take back to the studio

Sarah Bee PS on the brands that make up her palette, a good relationship with her framer and advice for artists on getting to know the members of The Pastel Society. 

Sarah Bee PS Stream, Cot Valley

You and The Pastel Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

It is a long-established art society, elected membership of which is an honour. It is known that the membership is amongst the very best artists working with dry media, and a point of reference for those looking for such work.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

It is an accolade to have work hung amongst the elected members in the prestigious Mall Galleries...and potentially inspiration to seek membership

Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

A buyer can buy from the Society safe in the knowledge that it houses established and respected artists.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

Without a doubt, my admiration lies with the past President of The Pastel Society, John Blockley. Without his inspiration and encouragement, I wouldn’t have even considered working with pastel. His work was exemplary...and I owe him a great deal.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

I have two favourite pieces in this year’s exhibition:

Cornish Pink by Jeannette Hayes PPS

September by Anne Magill 

Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I use Unison soft pastels with Conte a Paris and Caran D’Ache hard pastels and willow charcoal. I underpaint with several brands of acrylic paint.

Do you frame your own work? What framer do you use and do you always use the same framer?

I would not attempt to frame my own work, and have used the same framer here in Devon for several years. We have a very good working relationship...I appreciate his knowledge and perfectionism and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him

Jeremy Smith - Creeking Picture Framing

What is your favourite art supplies store?

Having no physical art supplies store near me I tend to buy from either Jackson's Art or Great Art, both online.

You, Your Work and Your Studio

Can you recall your first art sale at a gallery?

My first exhibition was of watercolours in the foyer space of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 1999 and my excitement at selling the largest one for £400 was massive!

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I produce my paintings in my studio, having sketched and made notes out at the location. I find it helps me to produce the essence of what I have seen and felt, without the distraction of extraneous information.

Sarah Bee PS Reeds to Soar Mill Cove

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

I usually have the trigger of spotting something in the landscape that sparks ideas - often when out for reasons other than sketching. I then return for information in sketches and notes to take back to the studio. Once there, and working, I do like music as a work accompaniment!

Where is your studio and what’s it like? Can you describe your studio space?

My studio is at the top of my garden and was once a garage space. It is therefore not huge, though perfectly adequate and with good daylight. Plans to enlarge it in 2020 had to be shelved. I have hopes it might happen in 2021.


What advice would you give a young artist starting out / wanting to join the Society?

Come to our exhibitions...study the varied work, and try different approaches. Follow PS member artists on social media and consider attending short courses that some of us teach. We occasionally also offer mentoring.

Then submit for the exhibition as a non-member. When you have had work accepted for a couple of years, you are eligible to apply for membership.

Importantly... don’t give up.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I now know that the possibilities are endless... and there is no right and no wrong. The only wrong is lack of self-belief...easy to say, and I need constant reminders!

'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up...Martin Goold PS

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