Today I gave up the charcoal pencils and two pastel pencils I was using, trying to channel Jim Dine, for my Sennelier and Girault pastels, still in just a few colors, yellows, golds, blood red, and black/gray/white. I’ve never been able to limit my palette before. I’m not sure I always want to do that, but I like it in this picture. I think it’s the Dine influence, still a bit there, letting me do that.
Pastel is definitely my medium. I just love its richness, despite the nuisance of the mess, it often feeling like I’m drawing with a broomstick, the difficulty of framing and preserving them, etc. The richness and texture and depth of color trumps all that. In the background of this picture it is thick enough, even on this Strathmore pastel paper – no grit – to let me smoosh it around, my absolute favorite place to find myself with pastels. People often can’t figure out why I use Senneliers, because they’re so soft, but they do that smooshing thing so nicely. I love them.
I discovered the Giraults when my across-the-street neighbor, Gail, came to the door and presented them to me, a beautiful set bought in Paris, clearly long, long ago. She had inherited them from a woman who was around 90 when we moved into our current house just across the road, but so ill I never saw her. Gail runs a drawing group started by her mother Claire, along with Andie, the woman who was dying when we moved here, and Priscilla, a lovely woman who lived down the street. It was started when they were young, and they have all since died, in their 90s, maybe 80s for Priscilla. So it has been going on for decades. I was privileged to be able to draw with Priscilla in the group before she died.
Gail is not a fan of drawing with pastels herself but knew I was, so she presented the pastels to me when Andie died and she inherited them. I don’t think she knows what a wonderful gift they have been although I have tried to tell her. I bought myself some new Giraults to have a wider color range, but the old ones are just the best. The perfect harder pastel to go with my Senneliers.
Here is today’s version of my latest effort.
This is still a work in progress, but I am liking it much more than where it was yesterday before I embraced my medium. Finished it a few days later, finished state at beginning of post.