Last week’s Let’s Face It lesson was again taken by Ivy Newport but this time the subject was the creation of a 3/4 portrait using chalk pastels. I have not used chalk pastels for a long time, a very long time in fact. My set are over 26 years old and I think they only made the cut to cross the Atlantic with us for nostalgic reasons because I never think to use them. I learned fairly early on that I have little aptitude with pastels and I am also too messy an artist to not smudge and smear them while working with them without intense concentration and a great deal of frustration. I, therefore, procrastinated over this lesson until I finally decided to just give it a go. My compromise was to not even attempt a realistic portrait but instead use the pastels as the medium for an illustration. I sketched the drawing out in charcoal before adding colour in the charcoal and that helped me a bit. Nevertheless, my drawing is a bit wonky with regard to the foreshortened eye. I had real problems layering the pastel beyond two layers: blending the next layer just seemed to scrub up the previous layers. I also have nothing smaller than the medium sized chunks of pastel so that made it tricky to add small areas of pigment or small details to the piece. I determined to not even attempt to create a realistic hair colour so I went with blue hair simply because I had five different shades of blue in the set of pastels. I must admit that the drawing turned out better than I expected (because my track record with chalk pastel is pretty dire) but this lesson confirmed that pastels are really not my thing. At least I tried though. Maybe I will try again a decade from now.