I've been trying out pastels for a bit here and there before, but never really quite got into it. But I felt like taking them out again the other day, and spending a bit more time with them, and I'm really beginning to like them a lot. I'm not so fond of all the dust and mess working with them involves, but they seem like a perfect medium to use for a quick, loose colour sketch in the evening, after work, when I'm too tired to get out my paints. And definitely a better alternative than spending all evening in front of the telly.
The chunky bits of pastels also mean that you have to work quite loose. At least if you're not using anything else with them. I gather there are lots of tools and techniques that allows you to work fine details with pastels too, but that's not really what I want at the moment. It's the looseness that appeals to me, having to let go of some of the control, and just adding layer over layer until I'm happy with the result. I definitely want to use them more often, along with charcoals.
So here's portrait #31, done in pastels, a quick evening sketch done in about 20 minutes. This is Katherine Blackmore, a young, intelligent, headstrong woman, living at the beginning of the 20th century, and one of the few women studying at Cambridge university. She's getting top marks in all of her exams, but because she's a woman, she won't receive a proper degree like her male colleagues. But her education will still allow her to pursue an intellectual career, and as a writer and editor, she'll fiercely fight for the rights and independence of women.