Joining the ranks of the pastel artists can feel like crossing over to another world; upon introduction where one is welcomed with curiosity, we mention our “medium” and this apparently already says a lot about us to the pastel artists. Like how we approach a piece of paper, and what color our paper usually is (white, in the case of watercolor people). Everything we have learned is just the opposite in pastel, where among the pros the affection for this medium is a self-declared addiction.
Like every other endeavor, there’s a certain initial outlay that’s unavoidably necessary when seriously endeavoring to take on a new medium. Pastel has its own papers and tools. I started with a box of 96 NuPastels and was quite amazed at the colors they produced. But for blending and other effects, the more experienced all have additional favorites, and it can “add up” pretty quickly. (I was really glad the NuPastels worked so well as I felt less compelled to immediately go out and stock up on the allegedly even better stuff.) In addition, pastel pencils are necessary for finer details. There’s lots to experiment with… Most of the members of the group I’m learning with have a headstart and produced wonderful things some of which seem like frescos ready for display. There’s another exciting journey ahead! And another medium, pretty well-suited to urban sketching, by the way, to add to those I’ve already adopted.