Pastel Is a tactile medium.
My daughter actually doesn’t like the feel of pastels on her fingers. And I simply love it. It is funny because she used to play the guitar and I could not stand the feel of the strings against my fingers.
To each their own.
I recently started a painting and I realized that I do a curious thing with a blank sheet of paper or canvas before I start. I run my hands across the surface. Just restlessly looking and searching for the image. I actually find myself talking to it. (Is that the first sign of “losing it?”) I find my self asking, “Where are you? Can you fit here? Can you live… here? I touch the surface and run my hands across it. Searching. I think about how the layers will be built and where the focus will be and where the image won’t need so much attention. Talking…
A painting is a communion between an artist and their materials. And only after a serious struggle, and a dialogue back and forth can we then communicate to the viewer. So starting a painting “for a show” is putting the cart before the horse. How can you communicate effectively before you know what you want to say? And figure out how you are going to say it? As much as art is a selfish thing for me- a creation, and a “high” to see what I can do, I never ever forget that a painting is a visual novel. It is chapters of what I want to say. An exploration of color, texture, space, materials and most important- a story. And a story needs a reader. So I talk to the painting first to see what we can say together.
And I think one reason that I love pastel so much is the feel of it- it is a sensual medium. Soft and gentle. Captivating and yet powerful. Different sticks have different weights and textures and abilities. I have written before that you have to be a little in love with the medium that you work in. Jamie Wyeth said he could eat his oils paints because he loves them so much. I am not ready to eat my sticks, but I sure do love pastel. She can be a bitch sometimes, but I love her.
And if you don’t love what you are building with your partner (the medium) then you are going to have trouble along the way. Become restless and be tempted to cheat with another medium. If I am trying to create something outside of my wheelhouse and try to create something that I don’t really love doing, I find I won’t give it as much devotion as it really deserves it takes way longer than it should and then I wonder why I am having issues straying off on other tangents.
So love what you do. Love how you do it… and just love each other people.