One of the criticisms I get from pastellists about my work (other than it is too vibrant) is that it is “too hard edged.” Pastels are soft and easy to blend. I contrast my hard and soft edges, but unlike most pastellists, I always favor the hard edge, because I like the result better. This is often juried as too brash or bold.
I take refuge in looking at fiber art– the kind with seams, which doesn’t apologize for their edges between elements. There are a lot of great art quilts out there with abstract themes that inspire me. Nowhere in the pastel world do you get this much clear cut, intense, hard edged juxtaposition. It thrills me to see it, and I’m not the only one that likes it!
These photos were screen shotted from my fiber art Pinterest board (hence the fuzziness of the photography); you can see my entire collection here. All work is done by others, and attribution, where known, can be found in that link.
To not limit your expression to the expectations of peers in your medium, sometimes it is best to look for inspiration in a medium that is not yours! See in this post some compositions and color combinations I’ve been studying lately.