When I was in Junior High, my teachers told me that watercolor painting was hard. “We will not use watercolors in this class. We'll start with something forgiving, like oil paints,” said my art teacher in junior high. I knew that pastels produced the beautiful pictures of ballet dancers in the hands of Degas and mesmerizing landscapes of Wolf Kahn. Pastels were not on my radar as an artistic medium until much later.
When I started night classes in drawing after work in 2007, we used graphite, charcoal, and pastel. The drawings I produced were powerful for me, but not because I created a great final product. The creation process itself was powerful because I had an immediate way of expressing myself that was grounded in something of nature (a flower or landscape). I fell in love with the process of drawing with color and producing immediate results.
I first used pastel as an adult while in a watercolor workshop one day where we were experimenting with different ways to use watercolor. Combining watercolor and pastel to produce a final product was magical for me. It immediately brought back the childhood joy of art before being told that oils were the only way to go as an artist in Junior High.
I wasn’t able to take classes in pastels until I started working as a self-employed creative person. This painting was created using the methods taught in my pastel class. It depicts a bluebird facing the rising sun early on a cold, fall morning. I painted it from a picture I took while out for a pre-dawn walk. I find birds and landscapes to be something that I can depict best in pastel, so you’ll see more on the blog in the coming weeks and months.