When I grew up my mom only used her china dishes for “good occasions.”

Christmas and Thanksgiving usually. I thought they were so beautiful and even as a young child I could appreciate the care she took with them. But recently I have decided that every day is a good occasion to enjoy something beautiful. Breakfast with my son? China-worthy. Late-night snack snuggled with a cat? China-worthy. Half- burnt toast? Yep.

I am using my china every day because life is too short to not have joy in the little things around me. And life is too short to wash it by hand either, so into the dishwasher it will go… I am betting that I will wear out before it does.

So it made me think about the artists that come into my workshops with precious sticks of pastels and then want to save them for the “good paper” or the very carefully planned “good painting”.

It’s all good people.

Pick up that stick and break it. Pick it up and put it to use. Creating IS the good stuff. It could make ya happy like putting oreos on a china, gold-trimmed plate for no apparent reason. And if the milk is in a plastic cup, who cares? When did we get so caught up in what is “right” or “wrong?” I have decided I am seeking my own approval.

(wow-  turning 50 really does make you more sassy)

Last weekend I was in New York at the National Arts Gallery in Manhattan (wow) where I was asked to paint a demo from life (more on that later.) AND I got the chance to talk to the president of Sennelier Pastels. He is now making these giant pastel sticks available here in the United States. He was kind enough to sell me his demo sticks from his booth at the the end of the day. The “heft” of them is unbelievable. I was so excited to get one in my new favorite color- lemon yellow …

And then I did this……
 

Now some artists that already saw this on Instagram sent me notes of sympathy…. “Oh no!  the money that was wasted!!!”  But ya know what?  I enjoyed every second of smacking that large stick and shattering-  yes, shattering it – so it left a mess all around my easel.   (I have issues to work out……)  

It was worth every penny.  What a  feeling! I think I have a new direction for some paintings and it took not caring about breaking that stick in order to break into something new.  Will the work be “good?”  Who cares.  It was that much fun.  

A Pastellist?  Want to change your life?  If you are serious about painting with pastels, buy a Roche pastel in the blackest-black that they have. Yes, it will be $20… Buy a few more colors when you can. Then use them. Enjoy the power. Enjoy the decadence. Make all the paintings “good.” Even the failures. Little joys sustain me. And using a Roche in a painting is a joy. And slamming a very, very, large, very breakable Sennelier onto a very, very, large surface (Billy Idol in the background) was a joy.  Trust me on that one.  

Ok- next week, more art and less philosophy. Promise.