Friday, May 13, 2011

Exploring Pastels

There was a time when I would never publicly share the early stages of exploring a new art medium, but then I went to graduate school and spent two years learning how to accept and live with my "inner critic".

The past few months I have been reading about Henry Matisse and observing the style of his figure drawing and paintings. He has been inspirational to me. Although Matisse did not use pastels, he did draw and paint the human form in many other mediums. I think his paper cutouts from later in his life are some of my favorites.

My first few pastels are child like, simple forms with bright colors. I am exploring pastels and will continue to refine my drawing skills. It feels liberating to be using a medium I know nothing about (pastel) combined with a subject I have never studied in depth (figure). It can only go uphill!

Two nights ago I was fortunate enough to go to an art demonstration by Clayton Curtis, a fabulous local artist who at one time was the head of the art department at the high school. As luck would have it, his demo was "still life" using pastel.


  1. I love your wonderful post, Robin! I am a big fan of Matisse, too.

  2. I love the look of pastels, but can't deal with the dust. I admire your courage to ignore your inner critic. Something I have a hard time with. I chose Matisse as one of my subjects in the last journal workshop, but I didn't have the courage to post my pages. I really like the white figure on blue.

  3. Have I seen some of these images before, Robin? I'm not sure why, but a couple of them look super familiar to me. LOL (Ok, call me nuts. My kids do.) It looks like the demonstration artist uses cross-hatching to build his paintings?

  4. I appreciate your comment and support, Casey; I am a big fan of you!

    Eva, the dust is definitely a bummer, and I have not used an easel yet but know that helps the dust to fall off the paper rather than muck it up. I never would have been able to post these drawings if I hadn't dealt with my inner critic last year.

    Yes Sherry, all but the last 2 images have been on my blog before but I needed the group to be shown together hopefully showing a slow progression in my drawings?

  5. I like oil pastels better because of the dust problem. You've really captured Matisse here! Such vibrance.

  6. There is definitely progress in these drawings. Love the bottom one.

  7. The progression is quite delightful. My favorites are the first and the last. Enjoy your experiments and thanks for taking us along.


  8. Thanks Mark, I can relate to color best, drawing and pastels, not so much.

    Hallie, I actually had the nerve to submit the bottom drawing to a show last week! The theme of the show is "Bumpy, Lumpy, Obstructionist..." and I wasn't going to even mention it to anyone unless by some miracle I got into the show! I will keep you posted.

    I think the first one is also a favorite of mine too, Don, because it's playful and somewhat innocent. Thanks for joining me!

  9. Yes, I too see the progression and I'm amazed at how you do art so well, in any medium.
    I'm thinking your drawing will make it into the show!

  10. It seems you were right, Pam. :)
    I will be posting about the show later (or tomorrow).