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Pastel Societies - Resources for Artists

Updated on August 1, 2017
makingamark profile image

Katherine regularly writes about art societies and art society exhibitions. She's also created comprehensive lists of art societies.

Introducing Pastel Societies around the World

This is the most complete list of soft pastel societies on the Internet. Find out about:

  • Pastel Societies which cover your area
  • Pastel Societies in other regions
  • Pastel Societies in other countries
  • Pastel Societies which are open to national and international members

Why not take a look at what other Pastel Societies are getting up to?

Pastel Societies in North America

Organised according to nation, region and then alphabetically

National Pastel Societies - North America

There are two national pastel societies in North America

USA - New England - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

Each of the states in New England has a Pastel Society - except for Rhode Island

USA - New York and Mid Atlantic - New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey

There is no Pastel Society of New York. The Pastel Society of America has its home in New York but does not represent New York artists as such

USA - Mid West - Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa

Pastel artists in the Mid West are very active

USA - South (Atlantic Coast) - Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida

Not every pastel society is dedicated to a State - some claim geographical areas such as the Appalachians.

Pastel artists are particularly active in North Carolina and Florida

The Coastal Pastel Society of North Carolina appear to have lost its website

USA - South (Central) - Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana

In the larger states such as Texas, pastel societies tend to be focused around the larger cities

USA - West (Mountain) - Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

Pastel artists are active in the Rockies and the Desert States of the South West

The Pastel Society of the Northern Rockies appears to have decided not to have a website any more

USA - West (Pacific) - Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii

Pastel painting is very active along the west coast. This is one of the areas with the most pastel societies relative to states


Two pastel societies in Canada below

The Pastel Book - by Bill Creevy

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars (80 customer reviews)

One of the books I bought very early on when learning about pastels, this book by a master pastellist remains one of my favourite books about pastels because of the extent to which it focuses on a very thorough review of how pastels are made and the different pastel brands. It's something which is rarely found in other books about working with pastels.

My view is shared by many existing and would-be pastel artists who have also bought it. It's a book which never goes out of fashion!

The Pastel Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist
The Pastel Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist

Paperback: 176 pages

Publisher: Watson-Guptill (August 1, 1999)


Pastel Societies in the Uk and Rest of Europe

Both the UK and Ireland have national pastel societies. Some European countries also have a national society and there is also an International Guild covering the whole of Europe

Pastel Societies in the UK

Within the UK, despite the population of the UK there is no tradition of having Pastel Societies or even branches of the national Pastel Society at a regional or local level - except in Leicestershire

The Pastel Society is over 100 years old - having been founded in 1898. Unlike other national art societies in the UK, despite its great age The Pastel Society does not have a royal prefix or charter. The Society joined the Federation of British Artists at the Mall Galleries in 1970 and has its exhibition base at the Mall Galleries in London.

The Pastel Society in the UK - Annual Exhibition

In the UK, the aim of The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition is to present paintings and drawings produced by contemporary artists which reflect the extremely diverse nature of dry media - which is classified as covering pastels, including oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine or any dry media.

This is an OPEN exhibition and is not limited to work by members, International artists can also submit work.

This is my review of the 115th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society in London in 2015.

  • see images of the exhibition
  • read about artists winning awards and see images of artists who caught my eye
  • what has stayed the same and what has changed - including observations about what I observed in terms of trends in work submitted and how work was presented for exhibition.

For those interested in learning more about pastels, it's worth noting that this is an art society that holds a series of workshop and an art event evening during the course of the annual exhibition.

Annual exhibition of The Pastel Society at the Mall Galleries in London. I go every year!
Annual exhibition of The Pastel Society at the Mall Galleries in London. I go every year! | Source


A Pastel Society in Ireland is a relatively recent creation. Started in 1988, the Society has two classes of membership - Full and Associate

Western Europe

There are pastel Societies in France, Spain and Malta plus one overall pastel guild - for all pastel artists in Europe

Eastern Europe

I've only found one Pastel Society in Eastern Europe and that has now disappeared. Moreover I feel sure there ought to be more - but maybe not with a website which communicates in English?

Pastel Societies in Asia and Australasia


Pastel Societies in Australia operate at the State level.

New Zealand

New Zealand appears to have only one pastel society

International Pastel Societies

International Pastel Societies

Other lists of Pastel Societies

Comments and Feedback - comments are welcome - but please do not spam

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    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 months ago from London

      Brenda M Colautti - I've added the The Pastel Society of Victoria to the Australia section

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina_writes 3 years ago from Dartmoor

      Very informative article. I found the rules for getting into the UK pastel society so daunting that I haven' t even tried!

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      @makingamark: and now we have a site devoted to oil pastel societies! See

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      @mariaamoroso: You could always start one! It may just be that we're not picking one up due to the language differences

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      @delia-delia: Sorry to hear that. I've heard of very few people who become sensitive so that's really unlucky. It's nowhere near the problems people have with oil painting! I have problems with skin allergies and have had no problem with pastels. However I've heard how some people make a point of using a barrier cream or gloves to handle them while others pay lots of attention to dust and ventilation

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      Squidoo Greeter here! Great link list for Pastel Soc. I used to do a great deal of pastels, but then became allergic to them.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

      Nothing for a Swede =(=(

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      @WildFacesGallery: To be honest I ummed and erred about oil pastels and whether or not to add them in. I guess partly because I see them more connected to oil painting (ie in stick form) rather than dry media. It's beginning to get very confusing as to whether we classify media by the shape or the medium which combines with the pigment.In the end I opted to omit them - however I will add in lenses which relate to oil pastels

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      Being an oil pastel artist tends to make me ineligible for most pastel societies. None the less you've put together another great resource.