Is it time to move on?

I feel like I'm at an incredibly frustrating point in my art. Partly, I put this down to my recent troubles with the Thief of Joy; negatively comparing myself and my work with others and their work. However, I am also wondering if I have reached the end of the road with oil pastels and can go no further. My work has changed, as have my goals and aspirations - the things I want from my work - but my medium has not.

As much as I adore my oil pastels, I'm just unable to get the 'look' I want with them. Whether it's me or the medium itself is anyone's guess. Mediums are in themselves restrictive; you can't make watercolours look like oils. Maybe oil pastels are simply not suited to the direction I am now travelling in my art journey. Maybe they are a medium with which simply I lack ability; I know I still have infinitely more skill with a pencil or a paintbrush than I do with oil pastels, even after years of working with them. My current choice of subject; the inner and outer beauty of all different kinds of men and their secrets and emotion, still excites and inspires me, but I think it might well be time to move on from oil pastels.

I'm an obsessive creature full of loyalty to the people and things I love, so this decision hasn't been easy. I have bought the portrait painting set of Sennelier dusty pastels, and am planning to spend the next few days playing with them...

the absolutely gorgeous Sennelier portrait painting half stick soft pastel set

It's two days later, and I've made a really good start on my first dusty pastel painting in almost twenty years. I didn't waste time faffing about with drawing, just went straight in with wide swathes of colour, blocking out areas using the pastels on their sides, and then spent the next 100 minutes refining those shapes and layering colour:

work in progress, Sennelier portrait soft pastel set on A3 (11.5" x 16.5") Clairefontaine Paint-On Gris

Oh my goodness the whole process was just so much easier. There was none of the normal fighting with the medium that I go through with oil pastels, just gentle, gliding sweeps of colour over the paper. Colour covered the paper quickly and fluidly, it was such an enjoyable process. I can't wait to get back to the easel to finish it.