Kay Raabe - Artist

Artist Statement for "Models in Pastel" Exhibition at the Phipps 2022



My art, like that of many artists, is inspired by light. When reflected off a surface, we perceive it as values (light to dark) and as an infinite array of color variations. It also defines shapes, lines and more. My art is my personal, creative response to the light I see.


Throughout history, artists have found the human body to be a compelling subject. The works in this show are inspired by the light reflected by the human body. These pastel paintings have been created at local figural drawing cooperatives. These artist-run "coops" hire models who stay in a selected pose for 3-4 hours, including breaks. The models are mostly women. They bring artistry to their poses, which I hope is reflected by my works. They are all uniquely beautiful. Recently I have also begun hiring models to pose, clothed, in my studio.


Because of limited time with the models in pose, maximum use of it is essential. I find that working with vine charcoal and pastel (hard and soft) allows me to work quickly and responsively. The paintings start out as loose charcoal compositions. For me, an interesting composition often means choosing a particularly appealing view and then bringing the figure, in whole or in part, forward until it reaches some of the edges of the paper. The backgrounds are kept simple. Pastel colors are then applied over the charcoal. The colors can be both local and arbitrary. They should be pleasing and enhance the composition. I seek to create works that have a degree of simplicity, expressiveness, and abstraction.


My pastel paintings are done on toned, sanded, archival paper. Sanded paper helps with the adhesion of the pastel particles to the surface. No fixative is applied as it tends to dull and darken the colors. Pastel paintings need skilled framing (matted and under glass) and some care in transport.


I appreciate your interest.

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