Featured Artist Jean Hirons

Artist Jean Hirons uses soft pastels and a harmonious color palette to create luminous, welcoming landscapes. See more of her stunning work by visiting her website.


Pastel landscape of a back alley by Jean Hirons

“Back Alley Blues” Pastel, 20” x 24”


In 2011, the Pastel Journal dubbed me the “Architect of Color.” I loved it as the name speaks to two of my passions—painting buildings in a landscape, and using expressive color.


Pastel winter landscape featuring Great Falls Tavern by Jean Hirons

“Great Falls Tavern in Winter” Pastel, 20” x 16”


Raised in New England and now living in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, I frequently incorporate houses, barns or city buildings into my pastel landscapes. For me, buildings both speak to a region and help create more interesting compositions.


Pastel of an autumn landscape in Adamsville, RI by Jean Hirons

“Autumn’s Brilliance” Pastel, 16” x 12”


Color is instinctive to me and I think of myself as a “color harmonist.” I like colors to be both complex and harmonious and I often use limited palettes. I also frequently work from black and white photos in order to supply the color I find most pleasing.


Pastel landscape of a French village by Jean Hirons

“Morning Walk in a French Village” Pastel, 16” x 20”


I also find passion in using and teaching the use of soft pastel. For me, the medium provides maximum control, flexibility and beauty. I have taught the use of pastel since 2004, and in 2012 I published my book Finding Your Style in Pastel. In my book, I define various “looks” that can be achieved by using different materials and techniques.


Pastel of a foggy day in Port Clyde by Jean Hirons

“Foggy Day, Port Clyde” Pastel, 20” x 16”


My paintings fit into the “oil paint look” as I prefer rich applications of pastel that cover the surface. I further define my style as that of a “painterly realist.” My paintings are all based in reality but I take great liberties with color and composition—plus, I want them to look like paintings!


Pastel landscape of the C&O Canal in Georgetown by Jean Hirons

“C&O Canal, Georgetown, #5” Pastel, 24” x 20”


For many years, I preferred coastal or rural subject matter, due to my upbringing on the coast of Massachusetts. In 2015, I began a series of paintings of Washington, DC. Instead of the familiar monuments, I focused on the C & O Canal in Georgetown and the back alleys of Capitol Hill, later adding Chinatown and Dupont Circle to my collection.


Pastel cityscape of Chinatown in Washington, DC by Jean Hirons

“In Chinatown” Pastel, 20” x 24”


I love finding beauty in the unexpected. I’ve also begun adding figures for the first time.


Pastel landscape of houses in Clarksburg by Jean Hirons

“Spring in Clarksburg” Pastel, 16” x 20”


Over the years, I have gained success with shows, awards and other honors. I am now a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a Master Circle member of the International Association of Pastel Societies, as well as past president of the Maryland Pastel Society. I’m called to jury local shows or give demonstrations to artists’ groups. I truly enjoy sharing my love of pastel painting with others.


Pastel landscape of an Amish farm by Jean Hirons

“Amish Farm Revisited” Pastel, 24” x 20”


I am a member of Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville, MD, where I paint, teach and share my work with the public. I also have a blog where I share my painting process with other artists.


Pastel landscape of a house with pink hydrangeas by Jean Hirons

“Pink Hydrangeas” Pastel, 16” x 20”


Painting and teaching bring me great joy, and I think this is reflected in my work.


Artist Jean Hirons invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and her Blog.


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  1. Honored to have a small collection of your work!

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