It's tempting to get mad when I go to the bathroom at night and see wet washrags tossed into the tub, left to sour as they dry if I don't hang them up, but it also means my filthy preteen and teen have washed their faces before bed. Which struggle is more valuable right now? Which battle is most in need of winning? Hygiene first. We'll master housekeeping later - once I'm certain they aren't walking greaseballs.
It's this tension that brings about creative expression in me. The moment where I pause between telling my kids to get up and hang up the towels versus doing it myself and internalizing a greater meaning regarding the decision. Creative expression is in every moment. It's not reserved for sketchpad or notebook The rewards of taking pause and allowing the conflict to play out its role are expansions. Expansions provide a greater view and then can be expressed. This is how it works for me anyway.
Is there any greater restraint shown by a child than in this picture? My mom's hand isn't actually holding me back, her touch is merely a sign of possession for posterity in a family reunion photo. No I'm literally drilling myself in place energetically only as long as required. There's a sense of a rocket about to go off, but it will obey and wait for count down.
This is the story of my life.
Most pastel work is quick and intuitive compared to laborious oil painting or detailed pencil work. What has to be captured, the essential in my opinion, is the tension that exists because the subject is caught in a moment. Both a person holding a pose and a photograph are static. Pastel portraits are one frame of stop motion, so even if the person is not in movement, you feel they will be the next time you blink.
When I am drawing a face, it's that conflict, the thinking behind the eyes and the turn of the mouth that I'm looking at to capture the person. I took a course once on pastel portraiture where the teacher proclaimed that once you had the mouth, you had the face, and that was a turning point for me in understanding. The rest is merely geometry.
Relatedly, my fascination with small mammals, I do believe, comes from a sense of camaraderie that I've always felt with them. Something of a shared disposition, especially with the ones that have little fingers that keep clenched and rest their faces in displays of concern or confusion. And knowing when to spring to action and when action will get you eaten by hawk.
Tonight's small animal is a collared pika, which lives in Alaska and can't handle hot weather at all. It pops up and around rocks as if it has jumping beans in its paws. It's related to rabbits but looks very much like a giant hamster.
This is a Chacoan mara.