"Golden Fields"

by Isabella Fassler

Most of my pieces are inspired by nature, by all its moments, colours, and textures. For this specific piece, it came into existence randomly when I stumbled upon an image of a field filled with nothing but flowers and long grass. There wasn’t anything exactly special about this specific photo, but when I looked at it it vaguely reminded me of a dreamy forgotten memory. During this time I was constantly thinking about how our memories are changing aspects to our past and how the concept of a home didn’t have to be a place, but could just be a feeling. Maybe this is why the image intrigued me, but for whatever reason I ended up with this strong desire to put all these feelings from this picture into an illustration.

I started to contemplate which medium to use for this piece in the beginning. Back then, I only worked with pencil crayons, ink, and graphite, and I only remember thinking “I don’t want to spend time worrying about getting bright colours and I don’t want to go through the effort of even laying out paints.” Up until this point I’ve never really worked in oil pastels, but I did remember working once with oil pastels and I thought, okay why not try them again just for the fun of it. So, with no pre sketch or any plans for how this was going to turn out, I bought a pack of the cheapest oil pastels I could find and just started laying down the brightest colours.

I remember trying to feel out textures that reminded me of that image I first saw and just trying to think, how can I make this look like a lush field without the ability to show detail? After the base colours went down, I started to layer darker colours on top with more flower-like shapes. But it started to feel heavy instead of my initial intention of airy and whimsical. With a loss at what to do, I started scraping back the dark colours with my only tool available to me at the time.. my long, sharp and very badly manicured nails. It was such a mess, but it worked. I was able to dig out the lightness again. With my hands, I mimicked the same motions and mark makings I was using with the pastels.

When I finished, it felt so different from what I’ve ever done before that I didn’t think the oil pastels would be enough. So I threw some bond paper over top and started to overlay a graphite drawing of more defined details and forest-like accents. But once I scanned both in to clean up, I realized that the oil pastel version didn’t need the extra additions or definition of shapes to be able to read as a wild field. It all clicked together for me in that moment of how you can express feelings through solely visual representation of colour and texture.

I constantly struggle to draw things for myself and when this piece came about, it was during a a very stressful time where I was also tired of working the same way. This piece broke up my regular routine within the art I created. I’m still not sure why I was so inclined to complete this piece in oil pastels and how it even came to be, but I’m so glad that I let myself go into unknown territory to experiment and try something I never thought would work with my work. It opened bunch of new questions for me to answer within my work, but I’m happy to have an avenue that just allows me to play around with the medium and to go into something with basically no plans or forethought. It’s very refreshing to just let your hands do whatever they want for once, and enjoy the process as much as the final image.

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