Pastels are a strong and also colourful way of painting. The medium itself is dry and because of its powdery surface the light reflects well. So, with pastels, they give out very intense colouring, more so than any other medium.
Brilliant too, as you are working with a dry medium, you do not have the problems faced with other mediums of having to wait for the paint or paper to dry out. No frustrations as you can start putting pastel to whatever surface you happen to be using.
They will last longer too than oil paints and will not crack, or in fact yellow with age, as there is no oil or varnish included in the mixture.
Degas used this form of medium quite significantly for his artworks, which demonstrated how vibrant the colours can appear with the movement of colour and light showing throughout his work. Personally I loved his pictures of racehorses and ballet dancers.
Amazingly enough, pastels used in the 18th Century, are still lovely, bright and fresh today. You can frame pastels under glass as long as there is a mount mat between the surface and the glass, as you do not want the glass to come into contact with your picture.
It may, or may not, be widely known, that the same pigments are used in watercolours, pastels and oils. They are just mixed in other ways in manufacture. Take watercolours, they are a mix of pigment and gum. Oil is mixed with pigment for oils. Lastly, pastels are mixed with water and chalk together, with the pigment resulting in a fine paste.
When pastels are manufactured, after the colour has been checked and sometimes more pigments added, the paste has to be pounded to remove the air in it. Then it can be shaped into long, round, strips which then can be cut into short lengths for pastels.
They then need to go through the drying process, before they can be labelled and packed into boxes, with care, before they get damaged.
The strength of the pastel lies in how much of the binding agent has been applied to the actual mix. This will affect the type of markings the pastel will make. Some companies in the past did not bother to use a binding agent when they produced pastels. Rowneys, for one example, and I have to say that these lasted well and had a softness about them.
The tints vary, as for instance, if you have a lot of chalk in the mix, the pigment will be pale, by the same token if there is not much chalk in the mix, the tint will be darker. So, the strength of pastel colours is produced by the chalk factor mixed with pastel. As you can see, there will be varying tints in the colour range.
Pastels too, are graded from light tints to dark shades. To appreciate pastels at their best, just look at the works of Degas and how inspirational his paintings were and still are to the present day.