Life – drawing in colour

I’m hoping for a little fun at life drawing this week. I work mostly in pencil sometimes charcoal. I quite like the woodless graphite pencils too – except I dropped my new one. Oops. Warning: those things are really brittle and once broken into small pieces are useless.

This week I’ll be trying some Faber Castell Polychromos pastels. They’re harder than a normal pastel but not really hard like I had imagined. More like a Conte crayon with colour. Lots of colour. A whole rack of colour. I didn’t buy a box but rather went through the rack and selected ten more muted colours: ochres, pinks and grey blues and green. The sort of colours I imagined I would use for a life drawing. Then bought a cheap little plastic box to keep them organised and voila – a beginning.

Polychromos pastels in a plastic box

Polychromos pastels

Why so good you ask? Alright you didn’t ask but this is my blog so I’m going to tell you anyway. Most sane people don’t get so excited over a few fairly dull pastels.

One of the problems I have with colour is that I love the bright colours but don’t actually use them. I mean I have a veritable box full of lovely media like Pitt pens, pastel pencils, watercolour pencils and even a small box of soft pastels. Some I chose myself, others were gifts. All collected up over time. Mostly untouched. I really love the colours but when it comes down to it I don’t use them.

Time and again I take something different along to Life Drawing but reach for the charcoal or the stumps of my Conte pencils instead. Dull colours like black, grey or sanguine. What gives? It’s happened too many times to be forgetfulness. I think. I can’t remember.

I don’t think I’m afraid of colour. Not with sculpture or paint anyway. Just drawing. I thought about it and figured that maybe everything I have is just too bright. Too unlife-life. So on the recommendation of a friend I headed off to the art shop (any excuse) to look at Polychromos. This time, I showed great restraint and chose only the more muted colours. Just ten. Enough to experiment, not too many to get scary.

I can hardly wait until Life Drawing this week. I think I’m on to something.


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