A: I have been devoted to soft pastel for more than thirty years. In this blog and in countless interviews online and elsewhere, I continue to expound on its merits. For me no other fine art medium comes close.
I have developed my own original methods for working with soft pastel, pushing this venerable 500-year-old medium to its limits and using it in ways that no one has done before. I have created a unique science of color in which I layer and blend pigments. When viewers (including fellow artists) see my work in person for the first time, they often ask, “What medium is this?”
My self-invented techniques for using soft pastel achieve rich velvety textures and exceptionally vibrant color. Blending with my fingers, I painstakingly apply dozens of layers of pastel onto acid-free sandpaper. In addition to the thousands of pastels that I have to choose from, I blend new colors directly on the paper. Each pastel painting takes about three months and hundreds of hours to complete.
My subject matter is singular. I am drawn to Mexican, Guatemalan, and Bolivian cultural objects—masks, carved wooden animals, papier mâché figures, and toys. On trips to these places and elsewhere I frequent local mask shops, markets, and bazaars searching for the figures that will populate my pastel paintings. How, why, when, and where these objects come into my life is an important part of the creative process. Each pastel painting is a highly personal blend of reality, fantasy, and autobiography.
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* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little. I have lived enough around painters and around studios to have had all the theories – and how contradictory they are – rammed down my throat. A man has to have a gizzard like an ostrich to digest all the brass tacks and wire nails of modern art theories. Perhaps all the theories, the utterly indigestible theories, like nails in an ostrich’s gizzard, do indeed help to grind small and make digestible all the emotional and aesthetic pabulum that lies in an artist’s soul. But they can serve no other purpose. Not even corrective. The modern theories of art make real pictures impossible. You only get these expositions, critical ventures in paint, and fantastic negations. And the bit of fantasy that may lie in the negation – as in a Dufy or a de Chirico – is just the bit that has escaped theory and perhaps saves the picture. Theorise, theorise all you like – but when you start to paint, shut your theoretic eyes and go for it with instinct and intuition.
D.H. Lawrence: Making Pictures in The Creative Process, edited by Brewster Ghiselin
Comments are welcome!