Working with pastels

“Chalk is a lost medium” or so says Alec Baldwin in his recent credit card commercial. Degas would certainly disagree. Personally, I have been working with pastels more this year since downgrading to a small apartment. While I do not work on my artwork nearly as much as studying, I do find small pockets here and there to squeeze my creative juices.


I have seen a dramatic decrease in my creative output since beginning school this past August. Much to my dismay, there is much I would like to get out on paper, canvas, or clay. What provides me solace is the opportunity this summer to generate the works I have been dreaming.

While many of my peers plan foreign service trips or research projects, I am excited to grasp my old paint brushes, stretch a few canvas, and swirl some paint around. Part of me believes that my art is not as significant compared to the research and service projects my classmates will pursue. The other part does not really care. When I stand before a large, blank canvas a cool rush of excitement washes over me. There is no more invigorating a task than to put paint on a canvas. Painting becomes a journey, and each new work is a different road to explore. You do not know where it will end, if it will at all, but there is more to gain in experience than outcome.

I hope to have many experiences painting this summer, as well as giving some time to help patients in local clinics.

The head study above is a pastel drawing done late last year. I like the fluidity of the dry medium. It is like no other. Pastels are a little tricky to use at first, but with practice any one can master them. If you ask who the image is based upon, I may tell you it is a self-portrait (before shaving my Movember beard) or I may say it based on the portrait of a collector by an early modern master. You just may be baffled!

3 comments

  1. Pastels have been my favorite for years. I can do so much with them! Looking forward to reading more!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  2. I’m very happy to have been introduced to your blog. I like your vivid description of the painting experience. I am not an artist by any means, but I have noticed a similar thrill and fascination I have with creative writing. I am an amateur hoping to get better. Actually I was looking into potential combined MD/MFA in med school. Anyways, it’s awesome to have found your blog, and I look forward to hearing about how you weave your artist identity into being a med student and future physician.

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