My old wooden pastel box

When I was 9 years old my father brought home an old wooden box, full of soft pastels. It is a lovely old wooden box with three levels with three rows in each tray which holds 40 pastels which in total would be 360 pastels. The colours are amazing, with so many tints and shades. I quickly used up the dark rich midnight blue that was in the blue section not realizing I would never be able to replace it. The trays tended towards pink, orange, brown and ochre tints for e.g. Bordeaux, Caput Mortuum, madder lake, rose madder, Pozzuoli earth with a full tint and shade range in between them. There was a wide selection of warm and cool greens also. There were plenty of mauves and pink and purple tints; the only colours it didn’t contain were the purer yellows. If I ever decide to take up portraiture I’ll be well covered. The box contained a mixture of pastels marked Rembrandt and Talens & Zoon, N.V. Apeldoorn.

Maria Paterson Work 2542948 9 Flat 450X300 075 F

I began using this box straight away and then forgot about it. But years later when I was studying art at university I remembered the box and had it sent to me. Since then I have continued using these pastels up to the present day, 30 years later.

I have since then used many brands of pastel for their colour, depth of tone or texture and consistency, but I still love opening up this box and discovering new colours to use in my drawings. I can’t imagine how I would have discovered all these variations of one colour without this box, which I am truly grateful for. It has shaped the way I work with colour and the attention I devote to the use of colour. And yes, there are still days when I can’t quite find the right colour.

Maria Paterson, Australia,