I am suffering. This morning I travelled to an Art Group about 35 miles away to give them a demonstration on pastel painting. I am usually quite well-organised but life is a little fraught at the moment because, as I type this, George is repacking his bag (for about the fourth time!) because he is off on a homesit by himself for a couple of weeks. Anyway George`s activities and the careful laying out of stuff meant that I couldn`t lay out my art gear. Yes, we live in a very small bungalow – it is that small!
I haven`t used my pastels for ages and was dismayed to discover the state they were in. A friend had given me an art box minus the inners (which keep the pastels separated and thus clean) and I had happily tipped my expensive handmade pastels into the new box. Oh my! They were filthy having rubbed against each – black against white (you get the picture?)etc. There was no way I could turn up to teach with such scruffy looking pastels. There is one cure – I got an empty icecream carton and tipped some rice into it. In went the pastels I intended to use for the demonstration and. after a few shakes there they were – clean as new.
The Art Group secretary has visited my art website and told me the painting they would like to see reproduced. `February in Spain`. Without going into too long a story, this was painted from a photograph I took in Spain – in February (of course) whilst on a passenger ferry crossing the River Ebro. There was a wonderful weak sunshine reflecting on the river which was broken up by the wake of the ferry.
Armed with clean pastels, my special abraded paper (sanded surface which I nearly always use) clipped to a board to go on my easel, wet wipes (essential to clean hands whilst working) I headed off.
There were about 30 people in the group – they were a wonderful audience. I beavered away. Now when I use pastels I usually blend them in. The pastels I use are very soft and don`t respond too well to a tortillon or rolled paper blender – so I use my fingers. As I said earlier, it is some time since I used my pastels – ouch! I have hardly any skin left on my fingers on my left-hand (yes, I am left-handed) and, dear reader, it hurts to type. Ouch!