Pastel Society London

My portrait ‘Harriet’ is one of several images of older women in this year’s show. As such I was asked to contribute to an article in the Mall Galleries blog;

‘Older people are physiologically complex and interesting to paint’ says Penelope Milner. ‘When the sitter is able to be themselves and allow the artist access, it’s both a privilege and a fascinating discovery. I am less concerned about documenting the degenerative effects of age on the skin and the blemishes, than in understanding the individual.’

‘Unfortunately, older women can be harder to paint than men; they often feel less at ease with their self image. But what happens to the muscles and the lines in the face tells much about the way a life has been lived, and there can be a real beauty in that. While painting the portrait of my mother, Harriet, I saw glimpses of her child self and young woman self as well as the person she now is.  The onset of my mother’s dementia has made her less self-conscious about her physical appearance too.’ 

Featuring works created in pastel, pencil, chalk and charcoal, The Pastel Society is recognised as foremost in it’s field showing work of some of Britain’s leading contemporary artists. Visitors to the exhibition will see a variety of approaches, showing what a versatile medium pastel can be.

The Pastel Society’s annual exhibition will be on display at the Mall Galleries in central London between the 5th to the 16th February 2019.

penelope milner pastel
Harriet. Pastel. 68 x 55cm.

For more information, or to see the exhibition online:

Admission £4, Free for under 18s, Friends of Mall Galleries and Free for Readers on mentioning this publication at the Gallery Desk.

On wednesday 6 February, 6pm to 8:30pm, there’s the annual art event evening, full details which can be found at

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