Pastel is a fascinating medium that traverses the boundaries of both drawing and painting. In the hands of portrait artist Simone Bingmer it falls into the latter category, taking on the refined appearance of oil painting, but with a textural surface quality unique to the dry medium.
Bingmer lives and works in Cologne, Germany. She starts the portrait process with a phase she calls brainstorming. This is a search for the sitter’s personality that involves conversation and the taking of numerous reference photographs. From there she proceeds with an initial pencil drawing, which is then enlarged and transferred to canvas as the basis for the pastel painting.
Bingmer’s website features a gallery of her portraits of children, men, women and animals. She appears to find her greatest inspiration in portraits of women and young girls. The former allow her to engage in elegant rendering and classical compositions, the latter have the most emotional resonance, with her young sitters often displaying a vibrant force of personality.
The images in her gallery are linked to somewhat larger versions, but some of the most fascinating images are only available in the Flash slideshows that are at the top of the home page and other non-gallery pages. In those you can see larger details of the portraits that show the surface texture and her adept handling of the medium.