I like subscription boxes. As long as you can find one which is consistent in quality and matches your general taste without becoming predictable. A few years ago I regularly got the CraftBox subscription and it filled up my stash with embellishments and ephemera beautifully, then the style of it changed and I cancelled the subscription. The current monthly joy is now provided by ScrawlrBox, a box that comes complete with art supplies, paper, inspiration and a sweet! Occasionally, the contents will duplicate something I already have (and nothing is going to make me want to change from my Copics to any other alcohol marker), but that’s inevitable. More often than not, it’s something different.
January’s box contained a small set of Rembrandt soft pastels and three pastel pencils. I’ve never used pastels like this before, they’re a much more expressive, imprecise medium than I’m used to — doing mixed media pieces has helped me tone down the controlling aspect that used to mean I would sooner spend hours stippling with a fineliner than pick up a paint brush, but I still like to at least have a clue what I’m doing before I start.
So, they sat on the side, waiting until inspiration struck in the form of a tweet. This image of a cormorant lifting off from a Venetian canal caught my eye and, before I could start thinking about how I would do it, I grabbed the pastels and just started on it.
And… it’s not awful.
Having since watched a couple of YouTube videos by pastel artists, I now realise that I overworked it, but the shapes aren’t far off the original and the colours are as close as I could get given the limitations of the set. So, while I’m not going to be hanging it on the wall any time soon, I am pleasantly surprised by it. Not too bad for a first attempt.