I decided, the week after Christmas – the one week of the year when I don’t have to do anything and when I try to take the time for myself after the onslaught of the many have-tos of the season – that I would do a pastel per week. I am way, way, way too slow to do a drawing/painting a day as many people do. (A pastel that covers the entire page is called a painting but I still feel it odd to name pastel pieces that way.) So I thought one per week would be doable. So I started a painting of a bizarre set of Russian nesting dolls that accidentally came my way, but I just couldn’t get it to a point where I was happy with it. I kept trying to decide whether to keep working on it or abandon it. This took a lot longer than a week.
Then along came Valentine’s day. (So, yes, it was more than a month on the damned dolls.) So I thought I’d make a pastel for Isabel. A break from the dolls and an opportunity for something upbeat and fun. I thought it would take me 2-4 hours. It took a lot longer, of course – what did I expect from my egregiously slow self.
I had a breakthrough in terms of the time I give my drawing: I have been running consistently, adhering to a schedule, putting it at a high priority. You can read about my motivation in my other blog, runninglate.blog. It occurred to me that I was giving priority to one thing that is important to me but not to another thing that is far more important to me. I hope that realization will keep me working consistently. It won’t make me faster, but at least it may help me to produce a body of work, rather than always finding there’s no time.
One challenge with this picture was getting the background not to fight with the pops. I started out making it yellowish with some purple, then quite green. Finally I stirred all that about (which one can do nicely with Sennelier pastels, which is what I mainly use), then eventually added quite a bit of pink. The actual background I was working from is an off-white bowl, which lended itself to any shading I fancied.
This picture, as with all, had the challenge of how to keep it loose, but still read as Tootsie Pops, and with the pastel being beautiful in and of itself. I never, never shoot for photographic accuracy. If I wanted that I’d just take a picture. The texture of the strokes is an important part of a pastel for me. Yeah, and don’t get me started on NFTs. ;-)