THE STORY BEHIND THE
AUSTRALIAN PASTEL EXPO
Showcasing, expanding, and uniting pastel artists in Australia
“A very successful Expo...here’s hoping that another one will be on the horizon!”
- S.C on the 2018 Expo
““The Australian Pastel Expo ‘lolly shop’ – it’s been tough, I had to buy another bag to bring all the loot home.”
- J.G on the 2018 Expo
In 2018, the very first convention specifically celebrating the pastel medium was held in Australia. The idea for the Australian Pastel Expo was first proposed by members of the Pastel Society of Australia who had participated in the International Association of Pastel Artists convention in Albuquerque, and believed a similar national event could provide a platform for pastel artists to gather, develop their skills and connect with others passionate about the medium.
'Expo 2018' was held at the Events Centre in Caloundra from September 12 to 16, and had over 250 pastel artists from Australia, New Zealand and the USA flocking to Queensland's Sunshine Coast. It featured International Guest Artist Liz Haywood-Sullivan and some of the best national instructors including Pauline Adair, Chris Blake, Christine Clark, Louise Corke, Lyn Diefenbach, Leoni Duff, Penelope Gilbert-Ng, Joan Macnaught, Lyn Mellady, David Newman White, Karol Oakley, Ross Paterson, Robyn Receveur, Tricia Reust, Hettie Rowley, Betty Sutton, Tricia Taylor, Sandra Temple, Margaret Turner, Mako Waki, Max Wilks, Anne Yang and New Zealand’s Maxine Thompson.
The event was supported by the Queensland Government RADF Major Arts Grants, the Sunshine Coast Council’s Major Grant for Cultural Development, and the Mayoral and Councillor Discretionary Funding Program. It was also generously sponsored by Art Spectrum, Oxlades Art Supplies, softpastels.com.au, Schminke, Chroma, Blue Earth, Friends of the Caloundra Regional Gallery, Artable, Unison, Clairefontaine and Canson.
Expo 2018 united pastel artists from across Australia, with attendees representing all levels of experience form absolute beginners and those trying pastel for the first time, to intermediate and seasoned artists developing their creative vocabulary. A very special Tutor Exhibition created an opportunity for attendees to view teachers’ work up close, and showcased the breadth of artistic talent in Australia and New Zealand in the medium of soft pastels.
Packed with workshops, demonstrations, plein air sessions, a fun ‘paint-around’, silent auction, trade show and abundant opportunities to connect with like-minded artists in a beautiful location, the inaugural convention was a resounding success. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from participants and sponsors, the Australian Pastel Expo has now become a much-anticipated bi-annual event in Australia’s creative calendar.
After postponing the 2020 Australian Pastel Expo due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, we are thrilled to be returning in 2022!
Here’s what attendees of the 2018 Australian Pastel Expo had to say
“I feel excited and enthusiastic about taking my art to a new level. Learnt a lot"
- M.H, 2018 Expo attendee
“Thank you for the great workshop today… My first ever waves, can’t wait to practice more and develop my skills.”
— K.H, 2018 Expo attendee
“Heartfelt thanks to the organisers, volunteers and suppliers who made this first Pastel Expo such a wonderful experience for all attendees.
Congratulations on this huge success – look forward to the next time.”
- D.O, 2018 Expo attendee
— S.M, 2018 Expo attendee
“Exciting being surrounded by so many passionate pastelists! Big thanks to all involved in such a big event. Much appreciated.”