Thursday was an eventful day, in terms of artistic new beginnings.
First I got a call from BCC Continuing Ed asking if I’d like to take over the instruction of a summer non-credit course called Painting with Pastels, as the scheduled instructor couldn’t do it — of course I said yes, though it’s been a while since I’ve used pastels. I re-wrote the course description somewhat, ran out to the bookstore and the art supply store, and brought home an excellent book called “Pastel Pointers,” by Richard McKinley, and a new set of soft pastels to replace the old incomplete set I had. I have until June 6 to brush up my skills and put together a lesson plan, and I’m psyched. Until then, I’ll be working only in pastels. They’re similar enough in working method to colored pencil that I’ll have my skills and know-how back well in time. I love teaching. I also love being pushed back into a medium I once knew well, and will soon know even better.
While I was out shopping for pastels, a former colleague at the New Hampshire college where I worked as a designer until 2010 — she’s now the head of the department — called to ask if I’d be interested in doing some freelance design work for the college. I surely would. I loved working there, did some of my best design work for them, and know all or most of the people involved. It was an exploratory call — nothing for sure yet, but I’m excited and hopeful.
Then in the evening I finally got myself to the mostly-weekly figure-drawing circle at the Windsor Whip Works Art Center — a real breath of fresh air. I haven’t drawn from a live model for several years, and have missed it terribly. It was a small, friendly group, with a good (if very chatty) model, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m pretty pleased with the results, for the first time out in so long, but in live figure drawing the process is more important than the product, as far as I’m concerned. It’s like yoga for artists — immediate payback in stretching, relaxation, sociability, and play, and long-term benefits in attitude, confidence, and eye-hand fluency. I must make this a regular part of my practice, even if I can only make it once a month.
Here are a few of the pieces I brought home last night — all except the last one are done in Prismacolor Stix (colored pencil in the shape of a pastel stick). For the last — a longer pose — I broke out the new pastels. (I’m not planning to offer these in my online shop, but if you’re interested in buying a print of any, let me know.)