O R I G I N A L S  P A S T E L S

I began painting with pastels as a high school junior.  I can say with some honesty that my first attempt at portrait painting was not very good.

You see, I was following the techniques used for generations by oil portrait painters.  Lights, darks and then you build the face out from there.

I couldn’t seem to mentally understand this traditional technique. Hence the not very good first attempt.

In my senior year, I decided to add two pastels for my Senior Graduation Project.  This might have been a very foolish idea since my grade was dependent on my success. I selected the pastels anyway.  Ah, youth!

I painted most of these two paintings at home and away from my teacher. It was during this time that I turned away from proper techniques and decided to paint in a way that seemed right to me.  The result was starling!

I am, at my core, a left-brained artist.  There it is . . . the truth.  I begin my portraits (either of humans, animals or birds) at the top of the subject.  I work down from there confronting each feature, feather or fur as it comes.  The only thing I can compare this to is an old dot-matrix printer.  The image appears line by line.

The two portraits on this page were completed through my own way of painting.  They were both painted when I was seventeen years old.  The Richard Boone piece is owned by his niece and god-daughter.  The second piece hangs in my home and is the only surviving artwork I have from my high school years.

Although these were but the first of, my exclusively portrait period, I still marvel at what I created when I found my own voice as an artist.

I have often been asked to teach my painting technique.  I always decline.  Not because I wish to keep it to myself, but because I know that the techniques originally taught to me are correct for the majority of new artists.

So, what’s my message?  Find your own voice and follow it wherever it leads.  

Click on the  Portraits and  Archived Portraits Galleries to see Shandel's paintings.


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