Many artists yearn to express themselves in a freer, less representational way. One such artist is Libby January. The former primary school teacher, whose lifelong love of art took her back to college as a mature student, faced a long struggle to find an approach that satisfied her creative needs.
“I did a lot of observational art and painting, but I didn’t know how to make it come alive,” the British artist says. “I was constantly trying to make my work look like something, as opposed to making it be something.” She discovered the work of a pastel artist while on vacation, and upon returning home, bought a box of pastels. “I found I could make random marks and do all sorts of uncontrollable things with them.”
Finding the right medium was very much part of the breakthrough Libby was seeking. Her attraction to pastels can be summed up as the “three Fs”—fast, flexible and forgiving, all of which are important to the way she works: fast, because she had found working in oil frustratingly slow; flexible, because of the range of techniques now open to her; and forgiving, because a painting will go through many, often drastic, changes before she’s satisfied with it.
Learn more about Libby and her pastel—and mixed media—approach to all manners of subjects in the June 2014 issue of Pastel Journal, available at www.northlightshop.com in print and digital format, and on newsstands May 13.