Pearls from artists* # 95
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Not enough people believe in the cracks in the universe that you have to wiggle into to get anything new established. There are cracks – places that are not filled in that need to be filled in, so the edifice doesn’t crumble. And if you believe in the arts passionately, they fit into those cracks, because without those connective tissues of understanding all we are are people who go to war every so often.
Zelda Fichandler in Conversations with Anne: Twenty-four Interviews
Comments are welcome!
Q: Why do you have so many pastels?
A: Our eyes can see infinitely more colors than the relative few that are made into pastels. When I layer pigments onto the sandpaper, I mix new colors directly on the painting. The short answer is, I need lots of pastels so that I can make new colors.
I’ve been working exclusively with soft pastel for nearly 27 years. Whenever I feel myself getting into a rut in how I select and use my colors, I look around for new materials to try. I’m in one of those periods now and plan to buy soft pastels made by Henri Roché in Paris. (Not long ago I received a phone call from their artist’s liaison and was offered samples based on my preferences. Wow, what great colors!). Fortunately, new brands of soft pastels are continually coming onto the market. There are pastels that are handmade by artists – I love discovering these – and new ones manufactured by well-known art supply companies. Some sticks of soft pastel are oily, some are buttery, some more powdery, some crumble easily, some are more durable. Each one feels distinct in my hand.
Furthermore, they each have unique mixing properties. It’s an under-appreciated science that I stumbled upon (or maybe I invented it, I’m not sure since I can’t know on a deep level how other pastel painters work). In this respect soft pastel is very different from other paint media. Oil painters, for example, need only a few tubes of paint to make any color in the world. I don’t go in much for studying color theory as a formal discipline. If you want to really understand and learn how to use color, try soft pastel and spend 10,000+ hours (the amount of time Malcolm Gladwell says, in his book, “Outliers,” that it takes to master a skill) figuring it all out for yourself!
Comments are welcome.