There Will Be Chalk Dust


I’m a big-time smudger. Ever since I was a child who proudly wore her grubby cuffs ringed with graphite, I’ve avoided the crisp-edged side of reality, preferring my world pushed into impressionistic blur across a page.

I like to use my fingers, really get into the grain, smoothing out wrinkles on those foreheads of landscape and still life. And while my sketch pencils need to have sharp wits about them, the pastels should lay out soft as new love.

I favor big sheets of textured paper and a long enough ruler to start out straight before a rip tide of color takes me off to faraway lands, where petals move on a slight breeze and flesh glows with every shade other than the wax of its crayola namesake.

There is no better bliss than the suggestive tint from warm afternoon windows, tunes cranked up a little too loud, a wineglass full of ruby, and time stopping to take a look at what flows from under this dusty hand. Why do I always forget how good this feels once underway, counting back the years I’ve been stalled like some stubborn old man with too many regrets in his pocket to begin again.

None of those sinkholes from the past matter when it is just for you.

6 thoughts on “There Will Be Chalk Dust

  1. Words are my medium. I envy your smudged fingertips. I loved the softness of pastels and though I haven’t held one in decades this article brought to mind the feel of them smearing onto the paper and their unmistakable fragrance. I’m adding a box of pastels to my cupboard for my grandkids.

Comments are closed.