The notion of doing a very large pastel was solidified the moment I saw Maurice-Quentin de la Tour's painting, "Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux", at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I had been contemplating a very large figurative piece for some time, one that would portray both the beauty of light and life's beautiful distractions. The resulting composition was an outdoor figure in the landscape.
It was a formidable endeavor to commit to a painting this large. I had to prepare my own surface. I had to carve out the space in my small studio. Finally, I had to be prepared to commit financially to the highest quality framing.
Overwhelmingly, the energy that paved the way for this piece--from start to finish--was a single-minded wave of inspiration that wouldn't let me go: the notion of "beautiful distraction". There is so much beauty all around: light, warmth, music, color, birdsong, flowers, the poetic musings rambling about in our own heads, and I often want to "swallow it whole".
Finally, with the stage set and the logistics worked, I posed my model outside against the rock wall. Clutching my old flute and a sheet of music, she too became lost in the distraction of beauty. I felt tears bite at the corners of my eyes and also felt the simultaneous urge to shout with joy. Once I put pastel to surface, this painting largely painted itself. I rode the wave and enjoyed every single stroke as the wonder of life's beautiful distractions emerged into visual expression.