Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sharbat Gula, pastel portrait

In the summer I took up my pastels again after experimenting on the wonderful new paper Pastelmat.  This paper is really marvellous, it solves all the problems that made me give up pastels years ago.  There is no texture to detract from the painting, and the paper grips the pastels enabling the build up of lots of layers, and none of it falls off.  So I treated myself to the Portrait set of Unison pastels, and this was my first experiment. This is the photo of the refugee Afghan girl by Steve McCurry, made famous in National Geographic magazine.   Steve has very kindly given me permission to upload this picture of my painting to share with my friends - thank you Steve!.   It isn't for sale, and copyrightof the photo remains with Steve.  You can see more of his wonderful photos at  I have his book of Portraits, if you can get a copy it is inspirational.
Unfortunately I'm not such a good photographer as Steve, and my photo of the painting is a little dark and has lost some of the detail in the hair, but it's there!  16x12 inches.
I have been using the Unison pastels and the Pastelmat paper quite a bit this summer, on portraits and landscapes, more coming soon!


  1. This lovely Lesley, I love that vibrant red. Stunning.
    I have used pastelmat with coloured pencils and Derwent's tinted charcoal and like it for both, haven't yet had the chance to try with pastels, but it sounds like you are a convert.

  2. WOW this image used to be on a poster in my school library-I recognised those eyes immediately! so mesemerising, what a beautiful talent you have I look forward to catching up on past posting, thankyou for sharing :) Jules

  3. Thank you Jules, yes once you have seen those eyes you can never forget them.