So - I chose not to work in pastels. It was a matter of not wanting to copy. More likely, it was a matter of not wanting to repeat my mother's work. If I worked landscapes in pastels, it would look just like my mom's. Think of the children of rock stars who go on to make albums. They can't help it - they sound a lot like their parents. Me - I wanted to be me. I wanted my art to be uniquely mine.
Fast forward to my 20's. A colleague of mine was an art therapist. She passed all her sets of chalk pastels on to me. Still, I resisted using them. I tried oil pastels - YUCK. That was not fun. I started using charcoal and ended up sketching out a lot of self portraits. One set of 12 were in the A.K.A. gallery with a group show! (I bet you never knew that - December 1995.)
In my 30's I unburied those self portraits to take a look and immediately thought, "Wow! Was I ever messed up," and I threw them out. !? Yeah. well... I was dealing with some personal trauma at the time and no longer resonated with the images. I did keep photos of them.
Fast forward to the next decade of my life. The forties. I still have the pastels in a box in my basement. I never threw them out. Good gosh they are TWENTY YEARS OLD NOW! You know my dilemma with sketching before I stitch? I've tried pencil, ink, watercolor (epic fail), and settled with pencil crayons (or not sketching at all). THEN I went to Margot's house and asked her if she sketched before she stitched. She pulled out her book full of soft pastel sketches! I was dumbfounded. How easy would that be for me!? Why the resistance? I can manage chalks, so why do I keep avoiding them? I decided, "Hey Monika, it's time to get over it!" I got home, hauled out the 20+ yr old pastels and did my first sketch in my pastel sketchbook. (Yes - I actually have a pastel sketchbook. Meant to be?) It's like I want to, and I know I can, but I won't let myself.
I take a breath, let it go, and pull up this photograph.
|photo I took from my mom's place last summer|
I love that photo. I love being up in that pasture. When I tweaked the contrast, those pretty little blues popped out of the green grass. I haven't stitched this out yet but it is most certainly on my to-do-list. Why not chalk it up first? I pulled out the painfully dry and brittle pastels and did my first pastel landscape sketch. I taped my paged onto a board just like mom. I went outside to sit & sketch on the ground... just like mom (even though I was working from a photo). haha I set out my chalks and away I went.
|20 minute pastel sketch|
Sweet! I did it. It worked. BONUS - I ENJOYED IT! It's now up on my design wall waiting to be stitched. It made me so happy to sketching all the little grasses and blue flowers in the front. It sets up exactly how I will place my threads. I love dotting the chalk and then blowing off the excess - POOF - dust in the wind. I feel like I'm channeling my mother, but that's okay right? She was my teacher after all.
Fear # 427 conquered. ; ) I actually look forward to making more!