I am not a finicky person, so getting my hands dirty to get a job done is
totally fine with me. But with painting, I can get so uptight and hesitant that
the physical joy of it all goes right out the window. I'm trying to be better
about what I'm calling my straightjacket tendency, and one way I'm doing so is
by exploring pastel painting a lot more.
|Birth of Venus by Odilon Redon, pastel painting, 1912.
an incredibly freeing medium. It almost begs you to loosen up and make flowing gestural
marks or rub it around with your fingers. In fact, the pastel painting lessons
that I've learned always emphasize the artist's hand as the most important tool
we have. This up close and personal aspect of pastel drawing can make you feel
comfortable and more fully engaged with your artwork, which is key.
appreciate that there are traditional and nontraditional ways of using pastel. Since
building up layers isn't always the easiest thing to do with the medium, you
can vary strokes, colors, and ways of blending. You can tone your entire paper
and then pull out the light with an eraser or careful blending, or you can use
colored paper to instantly create values in a work.
One new resource that has crossed my path is Pastels Unleashed, and it has
been an eye-opener for me in terms of the techniques artist and instructor Margaret Evans uses and the great
work she produces working with pastel, showing that the real sweet spot for
artists is a combination of freedom with the medium and strong technical skills.
If you feel like you want to loosen up in your own practice, this resource just might be the
one that helps you get there. Enjoy!
And what inspires you to loosen up when you are working? Leave a comment and let me know!