The oil pastel drawings I've been exhibiting since Spring 2013 are part of a larger collection I've worked on since the 1990's. I was first exposed to pastels and oil pastels in life drawing classes in college. In January 2013 I began to focus on them as a way to loosen up my approached to oil painting.
The Town series developed out of the time our family spent care-giving for my ailing mother-in-law, Marty, who lived near the surf at Hammond’s Meadow in Santa Barbara. She passed on in November 2015. She was the best.
With a small box of pastels I'd run down and draw the very early or late scenes at water’s edge. Besides being easy to carry the small size of the drawings helped me limit the scope and time on each piece. They gave me private moments of solace during Marty's slow decline.
Some of the drawings are produced on a heavy Wallis brand paper. It has a ‘tooth’ to the surface like sandpaper and grabs the pastel crayon revealing the textured surface and the underlying colored ground - if one doesn't push down too hard or overwork an area. It has a similar effect to underpainting on a canvas.
My pastel box was inherited from my friend Linda Kiewit who passed away from breast cancer in 1999. They don’t blend as well as soft French pastels without the oil base. It makes it more difficult to find the right value and hue but I like the results. Some of the compositions in the Town & Country series are split in half by a horizon line. Sky and mountains above, sea and coast below, for an equal emphasis on both: heaven and earth. <br>