The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art. ~Junot Diaz

If there is one medium that requires patience and time, it surely must be coloured pencils. The layering of colours required for the correct shading, the countless colour adjustments, the blending, and still, I am not quite satisfied.

Mya -coloured pencil portrait

This portrait sat on my art table for months. I really did listen to the art… For a long time I resisted the urge to sit and continue working on it when I could only devote 30 minutes of my time to it. As the days went by, Mya kept asking me when her portrait would be finished. I repeated what my mother used to tell me, “You must be patient! Good things take time.” And then, one weekend, I did find the needed hours to immerse myself again in the whole process of painting her sweet little face.

With each portrait, I learn something new. On this one, I learned to overcome my fear of drawing teeth and I even was able to add the coloured braces very accurately. I am most proud of that.

However, I ended up hiding most of the pencil with pastels. I started with just a touch of pastel shading and liked the effect and then added more, and then more, and you know how that goes, right? It’s somewhat like a teenager trying on Mom’s makeup for the first time. More is better. Before I knew it, it looked like the whole face had been done in pastels. So much quicker really!

Still, there is something really satisfying in the hours spent laying down the buttery colours of the pencils on paper, seeing all the subtle transitions (and the very obvious ones, yikes!), trying to soften the edges of the pencil work to blend them together, all very hypnotising and therapeutic in this fast-paced world.

A year later, I painted Mya again in my sketchbook.

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