My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Going back to go forward

It is twenty years since I last worked in pastel, and then only spasmodically. Since Degas (1834-1917) and Whistler (1834-1903) pastel has suffered a similar fate to water colour: its innate vibrancy has been reduced to timidity. On that score, I am determined to turn the tables.

My interest has been revived through my experiments in paper making. Commercial pastel papers lack the individuality in surface and colour that I’m after. But my hand-made papers from sugar cane, bamboo, banana stems and pineapple leaves, offer distinct possibilities.

The next step is to make my own pastels as my requirements are different to what’s on the market, both in colour, tonal range and hardness. Besides, neither paper nor pastels are available off the shelf on my island.

The first picture shows my last pastel sketch from twenty year ago. It is followed by the one I made, on the spur of the moment, the day before yesterday. My model, expecting my usual water colour washes, was impressed. Or at least that is what I took her “hmm” to mean. But I have a long way to go to get back to where I was twenty years ago and even further, to move forward with vengeance. 

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