Women's Mud Run
Chalk Pastels and Vine Charcoal on 18"X24" charcoal paper
This took about 2 weeks to complete; about 6 hours total.
I enjoy working with the chalk pastels because they are so much easier than paint.
The colors blend so smoothly. Mixing colors to create shades or tints happens right on the paper instead of the laborious, time staking, and expensive process used with mixing paints to get the right colors before applying them on the canvas.
The process of applying the color to the paper by means of a rubbing stick, tissue paper, or finger can feel magical as the powdery bits of colored earth create the illusion of form by means of defining light and shadow around forms in the composition. The process itself as it unfolds through a passage of time by means of conscious decisions about where to apply each color on each chosen XY coordinate of the 2 dimensional world of the paper serves to the artist as a window to opportunities to conjure up anything out of nothing.
The experience can be quite gratifying and empowering. Here is the photo reference used to create the drawing:

It's not photo realism. In fact, I am aware of the errors made in regards to proportion of the woman's head of the figure to the left of the composition, and the color of the woman's arm on the figure to the right being significantly lighter than in the photo reference. The way I justify the differences between the photo and the drawing is that the photo is seen only as a starting point to give the artist inspiration and ideas. The drawing shows the result of a process in which the artist has methodically explored composition, forms and color in the photograph without the intention of duplicating the photo, but to express what the artist feels is interesting about the photo, and display the results of the artist's exploration and study of the photo to the extent that can be viewed within all the qualities of the drawing. It is about the journey, not the destination. The differences between the photo and the drawing show how the artist is human and while he has been patient and focused on capturing details the flaws show his limitation and how he continually strives to surpass that. This struggle is an expression of the human condition. There is also the limitations that the medium of the chalk pastels present to the challenge of photo realism. This drawing not being an attempt at photo realism; the chalk pastels are intended to be seen as an expression of light and present a quality unique from other art forms. Rather than observing this drawing with technical scrutiny, it is intended by the artist that it be admired for the artists time and focus in which he endeavored into a process without a specific destination or goal in mind, but an exploration. The final result is astonishing as we look upon something with new eyes as if we have never seen before.
From this point the artist is exhilarated and fascinated by the outcome from his journey and longs to repeat the process with a new subject.