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In the summer of 1974, I met the love of my life for the first time. I was just fourteen years old and had never felt such excitement before. From that moment on, I embarked on a journey I’ve never regretted. My life was forever changed. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to have started this love affair at such a young age. I had no experience, expectations, or assumptions, and I was able to experience such a fresh, affectionate, passionate, and devoted relationship.


Today, that love is stronger than ever. PASTELS. They remain vivid, pure, and intense and never lose their charm over the years. It’s always a thrilling experience to feel their delicious, velvety, soft surface.


I love that I can access them quickly at any time, and even better, I can make adjustments without any significant commitments. Pastels are always reliable, maintaining their true color upon application to any surface. They never disappoint me, and I can always count on them to deliver what I expect.


Pastels come in various forms, some slightly hard and some buttery soft, round, or square, which allow you to achieve a wide range of strokes. My favorite way to work with them is to gently layer colors, build up to a delicious, rich color combination, and then gently move the color around with my little finger, creating magnificent effects. Sometimes, I let them blend because they know exactly how to create the most beautiful results. The possibilities are endless when working with pastels. And the colors, don’t get me started; their colors are breathtaking. Once you see the hundreds of colors available, it’s easy to become addicted. It’s like being in a candy store and having difficulty choosing the colors because you want all of them! It’s simply impossible to pick just a few. However, I will always love my beautiful pastels and will never stray to another medium. (wink, wink)





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Creating a painting often involves two foundational stages: underdrawing and underpainting. These essential stages lay a strong foundation for your final artwork.


Underdrawing

  • The underdrawing is the initial sketch or drawing created on a desired surface before applying pastels. It serves as a blueprint for the composition, helping establish the basic shapes, proportions, and placement of elements in the artwork.

  • The underdrawing is typically done using pastel or charcoal pencils to refine ideas, correct errors, and plan the painting’s design.

  • The underdrawing helps work out the composition and decide how the final painting will look. It’s an essential step for ensuring the artwork’s accuracy and cohesion.


Underpainting

The underpainting is the initial layer of pastels applied to a surface after the underdrawing. It serves several purposes:

  • Tonal Value: It establishes the painting’s fundamental values (lights and darks), helping to create a sense of depth and form.

  • Color Blocking: It can show the composition’s initial color palette or color relationships.

  • Texture and Surface: It can create texture or provide a base layer that affects the final texture of the painting.

Underpainting can be done using monochromatic or limited color schemes. It can be transparent or opaque, depending on the desired effect. The underpainting helps establish the overall mood and structure of the painting. It allows for corrections and refinements before proceeding to subsequent final layers of pastels.


The bottom line is this: the underdrawing stage is a way to plan, and the underpainting stage is about laying the groundwork by establishing values, colors, and textures. Combining these two steps is essential to produce an exceptional painting that portrays the ideas while maintaining a sense of cohesiveness throughout the piece. The result is a beautiful work of art!






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Did you know that creating art can have numerous positive effects on your health, both mental and physical? Here are some reasons why making art is good for your health:


Stress Reduction: Engaging in artistic activities promotes mindfulness and relaxation. The creative process reduces stress and anxiety by helping the mind focus.

Emotional Expression: Art allows for nonverbal expression and helps process emotions.

Self-Expression and Identity: Creating art allows for self-exploration, discovery, and affirmation of identity and values.

Boosts Self-Esteem: Creating art can boost self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

Improved Cognitive Function: Artistic activities can enhance cognitive functions such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. These skills are valuable not only in art but also in various aspects of daily life.

Enhanced Focus and Concentration: Creating art requires concentration and attention to detail, helping improve your focus and sharpen your skills.

Social Connection: Participating in art can be a social experience through group classes or sharing work online. Social interaction and a sense of belonging can improve mental health.

Alleviates Depression and Anxiety: Art therapy is a recognized form of psychotherapy that uses creative expression to improve mental health. It can be beneficial for those struggling with depression and anxiety.

Pain Management: Engaging in creative activities may reduce pain and improve well-being for those with chronic pain.

Brain Health: As we age, creating art can promote neuroplasticity and maintain cognitive function by stimulating different parts of the brain.

Sense of Purpose: A creative outlet can provide a more positive outlook and a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Improved Physical Health: Creating art can improve physical abilities such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

You don't have to be a professional artist to reap the benefits of creating art. Art is a personal and subjective experience, and the advantages can be gained no matter your skill level. Whether you enjoy drawing, painting, writing, playing music, or any other creative endeavor, adding art can enhance your overall health and wellness. It does for me.







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