Purity Complex

Pastels are, without contest, the purest medium you can use. Although pastel may technically be considered a drawing medium, it’s often referred to as a painting medium because of how generous and workable the soft, chalky marks are. I say “pure” because of how minimally the binder visually shapes the pigments. When you look at an oil painting, the luscious oil has just as much presence as the pigment itself. Pastels don’t operate in this fashion. The pastel binder has very little presence, only asserting itself enough to hold the pigments into the shape of a stick and to loosely adhere them to the surface. Essentially, the pigments are able to operate chemically and optically with very little influence from the binder itself. Now, I don’t say “pure” as a qualitatively good thing or a bad thing– don't be wooed by the notion of purity as idealistic. For my work, the physical presence of the binder and its countless possibilities for manipulation is pretty essential, as we've been over before. I personally find pastels to be a bit too loose and difficult to have autonomy over. But man, do I love to make them.

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