I hadn’t used pastels in quite some time before this, for a few years or so I think, and this one was done back in 2013 while staying at my Grandmother’s house.
I really like some properties of pastels – notably the colours – you can get really strong, vivid, vibrant, wonderful hues. I also like their softness, malleability, the blending you can achieve for a perfect gradient and flawless finish. However I do then often get frustrated with the lack of detail and accuracy I can achieve with the medium, I find pastels a little clumsy and clunky. It might only be an issue dependent on the scale/size of the paper and the subject of the artwork.
Pastels seem perfect for wide expanses, expressive skies and sparse landscapes full of light and contrast, but I’ve never (successfully!) used them to create a photorealistic life like artwork. Then again I know it is possible [check out the wonderful work of Ruben Belloso Adorna for starters!], I admire and envy pastel portraits that portray and mimic every hair, pore, drop of water or sand etc, having said that I am tempted to try, maybe, one day… on reflection I think it also might be down to the tools that I use (primarily just my hands and fingers!), maybe there are instruments out there that allow you to achieve the attention to detail and precise accuracy I like to reproduce [see some of my other paintings here and here]. I find you just have to be more vague and loose with pastel, which does have it benefits – there’s a limit to the time I spend on pastel pieces, the agonising worry/anger that often hits me while painting is lessened by the fact you can’t get so worked up about the small things as pastels don’t allow you to do that, I know that with a pastel artwork I’ll ‘finish’ it much quicker and be happier with less! Impressionism all the way!
Note: Painting upside is a wonderful trick if you haven’t tried it before, I’d highly recommend it. Suddenly your eyes ignore all the recognisable elements and just sees forms – shapes/colours/shades etc, your attention is taken away from trying to make it look like what you think it should look like and instead see things for exactly what they are and draw what you see.