Definition of pastel in English:



  • 1A crayon made of powdered pigments bound with gum or resin.

    ‘future issues will demonstrate work with pastels and marker pens’
    [as modifier] ‘a pastel drawing’
    • ‘Blanding also paints landscapes and portraits in oil, acrylic, pastels and watercolor.’
    • ‘‘You can make colored pencils look like airbrushing, pastels, oils and watercolors,’ said Curnow.’
    • ‘Except for this short period, he always worked in gouache on drawing paper, sometimes accompanying this with pencil, pastel or ball-point pen.’
    • ‘In the oracle's back room, a long table was covered with butcher paper, on which pastels and watercolors were set out.’
    • ‘She had used different types of painting materials such as watercolours, crayons and pastels for every sketch.’
    • ‘Born in Toronto, Canada, this full-time painter and a graduate of Ontario College of Art works in a variety of media, including oils, watercolor, charcoal and pastels.’
    • ‘He used materials such as soft pastels, oil pastels, watercolor pencils and India ink, among others.’
    • ‘I think the hardest utensil to draw with is oil pastels and crayons because they don't have a point like pencils and pens.’
    • ‘The technique, which he said he invented, is based on the process of statically applying ground pigment and chalk pastel to several underpaintings.’
    • ‘Grab up those pastels, crayons and colored pencils - it's happy times in the art room.’
    • ‘Even Millet's use of pastels on tan paper or black conté crayon and pastel on paper changed the essence of the subject and his message.’
    • ‘True to a kids' art forms, I use pastels, pencil crayons and the great unsung medium of Jiffy markers.’
    • ‘She avails herself of acrylics, charcoal, copper, oil pastel, powdered pigment, flashe and graphite in applications too unmannered to be called autographic.’
    • ‘With the proper tools - paper, crayons, pastels, colored pencils, markers, pen and ink - we can all celebrate and explore our creativity.’
    • ‘DuBack's diverse repertoire of materials includes hand-colored paper collage, silkscreen, charcoal, pastel and watercolor.’
    • ‘Using gouache, acrylic, pastel, crayon and collaged paper, Judy's work is concerned with her direct response to light on landscape.’
    • ‘Barney's art has a kind of rococo artificiality - he loves powders and pastels - that's theatrical rather than false.’
    • ‘The art teacher came up to the lounge with a huge box of colored pencils, markers, crayons and oil pastels.’
    • ‘Others brought him pastels and charcoal pencils.’
    • ‘It consisted of almost two dozen oils - some small, some grand - rounded out by approximately three dozen drawings in pencil, ink, chalk, crayon or pastels.’
    1. 1.1A work of art created with pastels.
      ‘a pastel entitled ‘Girl braiding her hair’’
      • ‘His pastels reflect hours of layering colour over colour and read with the intimacy of a book; they are sensual pieces as compared to his more temporal watercolours.’
      • ‘He has kept a large number of his paintings and pastels with him, the best of them on the walls of his home - presences manifesting the life of feeling at many periods in his history, and mementoes of a life dedicated to art.’
      • ‘On June 15 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, his original pastels will be auctioned, with some proceeds going towards children's charities.’
      • ‘Do I want an acquarelle or a pastel or photographs?’
      • ‘The success of Jacquette's pastels, with their delicate, nuanced responsiveness, results partly from their directness and quick execution.’
      • ‘As well as large-scale oil paintings, there will be a selection of his delicate watercolours, pastels and etchings.’
      • ‘His reputation rests above all, however, on the delicate, haunting pastels that are his masterpieces.’
      • ‘Hoping to continue his relationship with the Coast Guard, he learned about COGAP on the Coast Guard's Web site, and submitted an original pastel from his book.’
      • ‘During the turbulent year of 1928, he created just four pastels of the park.’
      • ‘Work includes pastels by a mad woman from Taree, photographs by someone who really shouldn't be seen in the nude, and a guy who is so past his prime it's just embarrassing.’
      • ‘It is striking that many of the paintings and pastels of rehearsals on stage emphasize the great, empty stage as much as the performers.’
      • ‘The Kentucky Derby poster is a pastel rendering depicting a rich Derby day paddock scene with the twin spires in the background.’
      • ‘Having explored many different mediums including photography, oil painting and charcoal drawing, Andrya has returned to the softer look of pastels for this exhibition.’
      • ‘The whole game took about an hour to play, and was all painstakingly illustrated in the Potter style - all pastels and anthropomorphic woodland creatures, which is fine if you like that sort of thing.’
      • ‘When Degas had passed away, he left more than 2000 oil paintings and pastels and 150 sculptures.’
      • ‘The show includes more than 100 pieces, including pastels, drawings, etchings and several oils by Whistler and his artist-friends.’
      • ‘Prices range from £40 to £750 for Greenwood's soft pastels.’
      • ‘The only indefinite features in Degas's paintings and multi-hatched pastels are the gauzy skirts of his ballerinas.’
      • ‘The book is beautifully illustrated with paintings and pastels by the author who is a master pastelist.’
      • ‘She arranged the room to resemble a Venetian antechamber, or private salon, and it contains many Venetian objects as well as paintings and pastels by James McNeil Whistler.’
      • ‘When both women decided to hold the fundraiser they contacted individuals and groups from all over Ireland to donate paintings and received over 80 beautiful pieces in water colours, oils and pastels.’
  • 2A soft and delicate shade of a colour.

    ‘the subtlest of pastels and creams’
    • ‘Light yellow varieties, many shades of pink and delicate pastels need full sun to bring out the colorings.’
    • ‘Anjana has used linen, georgette, crisp cottons, and various non-crushable fabrics in whites, hunted colours, and pastels.’
    • ‘For girls, there's lots of pretty pastels and embroidery details on dresses, cardis and jeans.’
    • ‘Colours are clearer and fresher with brighter tones turning to pastels, making them softer and easier to live with.’
    • ‘The colours are dominated by delicate pastels and powdery shades of white, sand, cream and beige.’
    • ‘In soft pastels, the short and sexy dresses showing asymmetrical hemlines are unfinished with lace and ribbon, exuding the feel of a Parisian boudoir.’
    • ‘From pastels to bold shades of the rainbow, color came back with a vengeance at the Oscars, Hollywood's ultimate black-tie and often black dress affair.’
    • ‘The colors are pastel, the visuals are soft, and the characters are cute.’
    • ‘Builders citinge shades of soft pastels and muted earth tones as emerging favorites.’
    • ‘You can spend your day meandering through the maze-like cobbled paths that are lined with picturesque Venetian-style houses painted in rainbow pastels.’
    • ‘Meg stood out among the pastels and light colors that the other girls were wearing with her black baggy pants, homemade fishnet shirt that revealed her ivory arms and the black tank top that covered what was not meant to be seen.’
    • ‘To reflect this, and to evoke a sun-drenched atmosphere, a colour scheme of Mediterranean blues and soft pastels, with the occasional injection of Bordeaux wine tones has been used.’
    • ‘One can choose from an array of bed or cushion covers available in cotton or silk satins in floral motifs in pastels.’
    • ‘Soft off-white colours and pastels, chubby pillows and billowing curtains take the edge off a late night nursing or a restless bout of colic.’
    • ‘Odd pots in dark corners apart, I'd suggest leaving the strong shades to nature and opting for softer pastels that will complement your plants’
    • ‘Available in primary colours or pastels, wipe containers can be used with the flip-up lid left on or removed to make a see-through bin.’
    • ‘Of the 25 paintings exhibited, most use delicate colors such as pastels, soft browns and soft greens.’
    • ‘First and foremost, aim to colour your walls in lighter shades such as whites, creams and pastels, thereby avoiding the darker colours that dramatically reduce the sense of space inside a small room.’
    • ‘As far as the colours are concerned, it is going to be a varied one from ‘soft pastels to bright Indian hues and rich jewel tones’.’
    • ‘Monochrome colour schemes were a strong fashion trend this year but pink is still a clear favourite, from the softest pastels to bolder coral and lipstick shades.’


  • Of a soft and delicate shade of colour.

    ‘pastel blue curtains’
    • ‘‘Just a gift,’ he said, shyly, as she unwrapped the handkerchief, revealing a few satin ribbons in pastel shades of blue and pink.’
    • ‘He specialises in watercolours - finely-observed landscapes and street scenes in soft, pastel colours.’
    • ‘Outlining the trends of this season, Manu says long and short jacket in pastel shades with light embroidery are in vogue with bright electric ones for the flamboyant.’
    • ‘The decor is cool and minimalist - sophisticated pastel shades, pale wood floors, interesting contemporary artwork on the walls.’
    • ‘She had long pastel blue hair; pale crème colored skin, and icy blue eyes that had no pupils.’
    • ‘Designed for summer, the colour palette includes pastel shades like sunny yellows, soothing pinks, lime greens, creams and beige.’
    • ‘Her skin was the colour of the morning sky, that light pastel blue.’
    • ‘The lighter, pastel shades are of a higher vibration - softer, more gentle and uplifting.’
    • ‘Talia's room, when we reach it and I actually take the time to observe it, is decorated in varying shades of pastel blue, more or less coordinating the curtains and the bed sheets.’
    • ‘We next visited the island of Burano, where picture postcard houses line the canals in contrasting shades of pastel colours.’
    • ‘Key colours include pastel pinks, baby blues, soft yellow, crisp whites and flashes of poppy red.’
    • ‘While the fish are vivid and flamboyant, the corals are soft pastel shades: ivory and primrose, lavender and peach.’
    • ‘The whole church was decorated with pastel shades of blue and huge white flowers.’
    • ‘A fondant coating has an attractive, soft gleam and takes colours as pastel shades.’
    • ‘If the lamps add the glow to your home, the delicately woven throw rugs from Europe, in pastel colours and soft texture, promise to add more warmth by the hearth.’
    • ‘I've seen one painted in stripes of palest pastel rainbow colours, which looked wonderful under the dappled shade of a tree at the bottom of the garden.’
    • ‘The mirror seemed so show her a wet girl with a pastel pink hair and green eye staring at her reflection as she was soaked to the bone.’
    • ‘The sea and sky were two different pastel shades of blue, the breeze was just strong enough to roll away the heat, and Mt. Rangitoto looked like an assured and benevolent giant.’
    • ‘At the demonstration councillors agreed in principle on a white light to enhance the columns outside the arches and a slightly contrasting colour, possibly pastel blue or lavender, for inside the arch.’
    • ‘Summer brights include red, various shades of pink, sunshine yellows and lots of pastel shades and candy colours.’
    pale, soft, delicate, light, light-coloured, light-toned, muted, subtle, subdued, faint, soft-hued, low-key, understated
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Mid 17th century: via French from Italian pastello, diminutive of pasta paste.