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.
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.