Saturday, August 22, 2009

Working in Pastel

I'm trying to work with pastels, a totally new medium for me. I had to cancel a trip to Creede, CO the first weekend in September for a 3 day workshop with my good friend, Jan Thompson. She is an amazing pastel artist. So, I subbed in a little 3 hour session close to home. Didn't really learn a lot other than what kind of pastels and what kind of paper. OK. So, it's back to being "self taught" for the moment.

My first effort was with a subject that I've worked to death in other media - old barns. I love their character and history. I'm not wild about the result - maybe a B- on this effort - but I learned a lot. I'm debating whether to offer it for sale really inexpensively - maybe $35 - and see what happens.

My next effort was a total flop. Then I decided to play with putting other media on top in the "nothing to lose" vein. I added acrylics first. Now, that is a challenge! Adding a wet medium on top of pastel is a trick requiring lots and lots of brush rinsing as the brush picks up the pastel beneath. Charcoal went on top of that in places. Funny thing is, I rather like the effect! The paint brought a sheen to the painting, and the charcoal added some dark definition.

I have two more to put up here, maybe this afternoon. Both are meadow scenes with wildflowers. I'm not a landscape painter and don't want to be one, but it is an easy practice in learning pastels - lots of colors, lots of depth to work within.

I've never understood calling pastels "painting" - it seems like drawing to me - but it has opened a new dimension for me. I don't see myself becoming a pastel artist; however, using it as part of mixed media very much appeals to me. I told Scottie a day or so ago that we need to get the windshield on the Scion replaced - there is a big crack - and that I want the old glass. He replied something like, "of course you do," and gave me a very strange look. The thing is, there is a mixed media piece stuck in my brain that cries out for sparkly safety glass.

On that topic, am I the only one that gets stuff like that stuck in their brain? It's like having a bit of an old song that won't go away swirling around in your head. I'm guessing it happens to all creative types. It will drive me nuts until I DO IT. Keep watching this space.

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