Wednesday, September 3

Discovering Pastels

Today’s Image

In the Studio

Still haven’t decided on the next 'big' project to work on yet. Big for me is one that will take several days to complete, maybe even a week or more, and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the physical size of the canvas or whatever.

That being the case, I’m more or less just tinkering with a few ideas. In the meantime, I enjoyed working with pastel on canvas last week. So I did another one yesterday. Being near the end of summer, and since I don’t live on a tropical island, I had to make do with a reference photo of one. Although I have several different brands of pastels, including Rembrandt and NuPastel, I used my old beat-up set of Mungyo Soft Pastels again on this one. I really like the way you can hold the short sticks and really get in close to the surface. I’m sure the pastel purists (as I call them) are rolling their eyes. Whatever, I like the texture you get with this soft pastel on the rough surface. I used several blues, turquoises, and greens with blue in them. I like to think it has a rather Impressionistic quality, but you can judge for yourself. It’s Today’s Image.

Is That Pastel?

I mentioned a few blogs ago how I like to loosely plan what medium to work with. When I was in my getting-started-again phase, I really wasn’t thinking about pastels at all. I was thinking about drawing with pencils (graphite) or charcoal, which I was somewhat familiar with, and getting more into painting, which I wasn’t familiar with.

So how did I find out about pastels? Well, this is how I got interested. I had been drawing quite a bit using pencils and some charcoal, and had re-ignited (that’s how I describe it) my renewed interest in art. I had practiced and sketched up a storm to refresh some of the drawing skills I had once had. But after a while you feel you’re ready to move on.

I wanted to do something that had some color to it. Of course, I was exploring online and reading about all the different media, and some artists liked this and some artists swore by that--blah, blah, blah.

Then one day, I was in big-chain bookstore and was wasting time at their extensive newsstand section. There was a whole section of periodicals about art, architecture, and photography, etc. There must have been 20 different publications on art of all kinds—drawing, oil painting, watercolor, art galleries, Southwest US art, etc. But the one that drew my attention was called The Pastel Journal, the Magazine for Pastel Artists.

I thought, what an odd name and what a specific audience to be able to support a whole magazine on the subject. What caught my eye was the cover with a beautiful painting by Albert Handell. It looked like an oil painting to me, but I knew it wasn’t oil, and it had to be pastel. So I was intrigued enough to find out more about pastel and how you can draw/paint such beautiful pieces with it.

I still have the October 2007 issue and refer to it when I need boost of pastel confidence.


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