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About This Work
Mitchell made drawings in a variety of mediums throughout her career. With pastel, Mitchell could work with color almost as pure pigment and, since the medium and the tool of delivery are one, she often made long, continuous marks. The powder of pastel transfers easily—to the paper, to the fingers of the artist—and smudges easily. It is a fragile and sensitive substance with vibrant and powerful color. In Mitchell's hands, the contradictory qualities of fierceness and vulnerability coexist in works that can be, as critic John Yau said of Mitchell's pastels in a 1992 essay, "heartbreaking."