“I can’t even draw a stick figure.”
Have you ever said that? Have you ever heard someone say it? It’s usually said with a bit of embarrassed cynicism.
I’ve said it. Guilty as charged! And I believed it, too. From a small, seemingly insignificant event in my early childhood, I somehow got the idea that the ability to draw and paint was limited to people who were “born” with something that I wasn’t born with.
How sad to discover so late in life that it was all a myth—that I could have been sharing the beauty inside me so much sooner.
Dear Reader, YOU and I have beauty inside of us. We have beauty to let out into the world, and this world is in such need of more beauty. Your beauty—no one else’s will do. The door to let it out is simply to acquire the skills.
This is where I got the message wrong during my impressionable years: I wasn’t missing an inborn talent. I simply hadn’t been exposed to the skills I needed.
I discovered painting back in 2015, and pastels were the gateway. I’ve been in love with them ever since! My thought process was this: “these colors are luscious. I wouldn’t have to learn to draw, just color things in. There aren’t any brushes or strange-smelling liquids. Maybe I could do this!”
So I bought some pastels and some paper and began the exciting journey of discovering that the ability to draw and paint has nothing to do with being “born” with talent and has everything to do with simply dedicating the time to learn the skill sets so that the beauty inside has a portal into the needy world.
What is it that I love about pastels? I love the swashbuckling sound of the pastel traveling over the sanded surface–swish, swash, swoosh! I love that the colors are so brilliant. I love that one swipe of a stick of color is magically a leaf, or a rock or a petal or a cloud or the sparkle in the eye of my beloved puppy. I love that there is no waiting for things to cure or dry or bake. Just swish, swash, swoosh and a painting is begun!
I also love—and perhaps you will, too—that pastels really are great for beginners who’ve never done art before, and who are planning to teach themselves. The supply list to begin is small, the resources for learning on your own are diverse, numerous, and readily available. The medium is extremely forgiving—making a mistake is easily corrected. And in the end, if it turns out this isn’t the medium for you, the pastels are easily re-sold: there are plenty of addicts out there who will gladly pay to take them off your hands!
Guess what? I also finally learned to draw! The principles I learned for painting with pastels are so very similar to those needed for drawing that I was able to learn something I never thought I’d ever be able to do. But I’m living proof that you don’t need to know how to draw to begin painting with pastels–or to give your beauty a doorway!.
This summer I taught my first pastel art class to children. I’m determined to help others to discover the artistic skills to share their beauty with the world: because the world will be impoverished without the art of each one of us.
Why not pick up a pastel and begin to share your beauty with the world? Don’t waste another moment believing in a need to be able to draw a stick man. Discover the beauty inside you. Swish, swash, swoosh!
Esther Jones was delighted to discover, in 2015, that she had been a lifelong artist. A self-taught pastelist, she now paints to expand her knowledge of the world and worship her Creator. She delights in sharing his gift of art with others.
“My art is about the quiet wonder, inspiration, and joy I find in the world’s beauty. Currently I am finding my sense of joy and life in showing the wildflowers’ dance with God and trying to give a sense of their movement on the page.
“It is also about discovering the what ifs: what if there is a magical part of you that you haven’t discovered yet? What would it be like to swish pure color around on paper and realize that it actually looks like something? What if there are bits of you that just need a tender brush off and touch up to be beautiful? And then even more what ifs; what if I use this color? What if I try to paint that subject? What if it’s awesome? What if you like it too? And instantly, magically, a community that didn’t exist before that moment is created.”
When she’s not painting, she teaches music to elementary school and other students. She lives in central Texas, enjoying her purple-painted bedroom and three energetic dogs.