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Live Interview With Lana Ballot

Interview with Lana

When did you start painting with pastels?

I began with oils when I started being serious about art. When I moved to the US I decided to pursue my passion - art. First I painted with oils, well some drawings, some watercolors but never really with pastels. Then I had about 6 credit hours left before graduation. I took summer classes, one of them was pastels. That was a kind of introduction but I didn't fall in love with the medium there because the teacher was not inspiring maybe...Eventually, I couldn't paint with oils after graduation since I didn't have a proper setup in my small apartment and good enough ventilation. I think oils are closest to pastels. And one day I was just looking outside the window and saw a beautiful view that I wanted to capture. I didn't have time to set up watercolors or oils so I grabbed a box of pastels and made a very quick sketch. It was not a perfect sketch but the mood of the day, the light of the day were there.

What was the first piece you got framed?

It was the one I was trying to put to the local exhibition on Long Island.  It was a still-life with clementines. I was sending it to the show and wanted to be prepared. Though it was rejected I still have it and like it. It's ok, you get to develop your skills further and further.

I kind of want to give myself a fighting chance to begin with. If I know it's a show where they traditionally would rather go with more abstract works then I don't submit there. There are shows where they emphasize more abstract artists rather than more realistic. Another thing is from the beginning I was submitting a lot to the pastel shows. It's nice since you will see where your work is amid other pastel artists' works rather than comparing with other mediums works.

How to deal with show rejections?

I got rejections but I realized that I really love the medium and painting process that it didn't really matter to be in the show, at least at this point. And then you develop as you paint and you'll see that you get better and better. So don't get upset, don't get it personally. And we have to be honest with ourselves. In a couple of years, I look at the rejected paintings and see where it was weak.

What are your favorite pastels?

My first set of pastels was Sennelier, which was a wonderful introduction to this medium - a great range of colors, soft and creamy. Since then, I’ve added a lot of other brands to my pastel palette. Some of my favorites are Terry Ludwig, Mount Vision, Blue Earth, Giraults and others. Last year, I also collaborated with Richeson pastels on several sets.

The full video is available on our IG TV and here. The interview is by Dasha Jamison, Blog by V.Udovikina and Video Editing by Katya Zaytseva. Special thanks to Lana Ballot for being our guest.

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