I'm teaching a workshop this week, and yesterday, I painted four small pastels. By the time I got to this one, which is the fourth and last, I was pretty tired. The left, verbal side of the brain had switched off, and I was painting purely from the right side. My color choices were automatic, going straight from the eye to the hand, bypassing that part of me that consciously articulates and narrates. This painting, as they say, painted itself. I like the movement and dynamics of it. I wish I could paint like this all the time.
Pastel, by the way, is wonderfully suited to this kind of "automatic" painting. The color choices and the value choices are all right there in your box - no mixing required, no brushes to clean between strokes. When I want to go out and paint simply, I choose pastel over oil.
If you haven't heard, I'm teaching two pastel workshops for the Sedona Art Center this winter. On Saturday, January 31, I'm teaching a one-day studio workshop for beginners. I'll show you two of the methods I use to paint in pastel, and we'll have lots of time to work with different materials and techniques. Then the week of March 23-27, I'm teaching a five-day outdoor workshop for all levels. I'll show you how best to use pastel in an outdoor settin, and we'll have fun exploring some of my favorite painting spots. I hope you'll join me for one (or both!) of these workshops.
Michael Chesley Johnson