Sketchbook: More abstract pastels

After my creative spurt last week I had a few days of feeling terrified I wouldn’t be able to do that again. Then on Saturday morning in that space between being awake and asleep I started to see – or rather feel – two colours, a kind of orange and purple, and had a strong feeling regarding some shapes and how I could represent on paper the feeling of how safe my husband makes me feel.

I got up and drew the picture below. Again using the A3 Bockingford watercolour paper my dad gave me and the Unison pastels my husband treated me to. I started with the sweeping shape, which to my mind partly was representing a curved spine, then worked the colours around it to represent emotions; the darker colours to the top right my uncertainty and fear, the warmer colours in the foreground the warmth of love and feeling safe.

At this point I paused because it felt like something was missing. I had deliberately created a sense of drawing the eye to the point above the base of the curve as that to me was an important point of intersection, between love and fear. I decided to add the orange dot as the focal point for this juncture for reasons I can’t really explain.

This drawing is not a landscape in the physical sense, although it looks like one. It continues on from my other pastel drawings which are about emotional landscapes, our interior spaces and what inhabits them. I am in love with the result at a very personal level because this very strongly feels ‘me’ and I have conveyed not only what I saw in my head but the incredible depth of emotion I wanted to get ‘out’ and onto paper. I asked my husband what he thought it was about and he said a journey. I suppose it is as our relationship is a journey and his presence is creating new emotional vistas.

on your sures

I have not consciously tried to emulate any artist when drawing these last four pastels pictures. This has been about me trying to draw emotions and exploring the funny new technique I’ve developed for applying pastels. Perhaps I find it so enjoyable as I can be freer, I’m less (almost to the point of not being) critical of myself because there is no ‘right’ in non-figurative work that inhabits the world of the emotion. I really enjoy looking into all of the artists my tutor recommends to me, but more often than not if they are not surrealist artists I don’t feel excited – although I do of course appreciate and admire – their work.

My husband commented there was something a bit Turner-esque about my recent pastel drawings. When I went to look at some of Turner’s paintings again I can kind of see what he means as there are shapes that look a little like clouds. I smiled when I came across this painting which I hadn’t seen before by Turner, Vermillion Towers, as the colours are complementary.



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