Some artists have said that oil painting is like drawing with a brush. Indeed, one can do a “sketch” or drawing executed in oil. Some artists, including myself, start their paintings with a drawing done in charcoal or thinned down oil paint.
I don’t think it is necessary to make a distinction between drawing and painting. First of all, a good artist must be able to draw well before they can paint well – even in abstract work. There is no substitute for the hand-eye coordination and skill in being able to draw realistically. Even if later the artist chooses to do work that is abstract. The work of Picasso and the cubists are good examples of artists with classical drawing and painting skills who knew the rules before breaking them.
In using pastel, much is the same as painting with a brush, except you don’t have to deal with solvents, mixing colors, and the rules that govern oil painting. There is often a perception by the public or art dealers that works in pastel are drawings, and somehow lesser works of art. Surely anyone who is knowledgeable about art would never say that the glorious pastel paintings by Degas, Mary Cassatt or Delacroix were “just drawings” or lesser works of fine art. Yet, their excellent drawing skills are very evident in the masterful execution of those paintings.
The exquisite drawings of Rembrandt, Da Vinci, or Michaelangelo –executed as drawings on paper or oil sketches – were often used as studies in preparation for a painting. Yet they stand on their own as great works of art, regardless of the materials used or how “finished” the drawings are.
So, is painting better or considered more “fine art” than drawing? Drawing and painting are both essential components in the creation of art, as well as each being equally valid forms of “fine art” on their own.