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Small portrait of a girl in a saintlike pose, in soft pastel on board, by Axel Saffran.
  • Downward Gaze

    Small portrait in soft pastel on rough pastel board.

    When I was in art school, I was very impressed by everything Wassily Kandinsky had made and written. A reproduction of an abstract painting of his adorned the wall of my student room. It took a while before I saw that actually he had depicted the encounter of two people in a way that portrayed both their physical form, plus what was happening on emotional and cognitive levels. Somehow, this was one of the most formative experiences I can remember. The painting had lost some of its abstraction. It also made me realise that even the most purely abstract art always references phenomena that we deal with in everyday life.


    Soft pastel on board

    30 x 30 cm (12”x 12”)


    I use no fixative on my pastel paintings, because the spray will always affect the colours of the artwork.

    In recent weeks I have framed this work in a custom made box type frame, closed off with Clarity glass. This is the least reflective glass I have ever seen, and its specs claim it blocks UV light by 99%. I have painted the hardwood frame so it matches the image. This is all one big experiment, and the piece has become very much its own thing. The overall impression is of a rather quirky object, that celebrates colour.

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