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-- 24 August, 2005 --

Wine bottle in oil pastels

Sennelier oil pastels
Sennelier Oil Pastel Card 9" by 12"

I have had this pad of Sennelier oil pastel card for a while but I forgot about it and so have never used it. It is a lot thicker than the Ingres pastel paper that I have been using so the oil from the pastels does not seep through the thickness of the card. The thickness also makes it more stable, not buckling or folding when pressure is placed on the sticks. The card is slightly textured which explains the small white dots that are showing through the pigment.

I am not in the habit of using a white surface with either soft pastels or oil pastels so I found this a little disconcerting. I am used to just concentrating on the shapes and shades of the reference and perhaps a slight shadow to 'seat' the objects on the page, leaving the colour of the support to take care of the background. This painting just didn't work without a background so I just had to make something up as I went along. It's not too bad, I think.

I also experience some difficulty with layering of different colours. Some times it seemed to work really well, especially in the open pot on the left. With the jug on the right, the colour in the top layer seemd to just scrap off the pigment underneath. I am not sure why. Next time I will have to remember to take some transparent medium sticks.

Posted by robynls at August 24, 2005 7:04 PM

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Looks like you're back with a bang - good for you. I'm afraid that I'm a novice with pastels so I can't provide tips/hints re using the medium, but the fact that you're drawing regularly again is great.

Posted by: Detlef at August 24, 2005 9:18 PM

Had you not mentioned the problem with the pots I'd not noticed any difference at all from this end. :-)

I wish my drawing desire would kick back in. I'm playing with learning the Paint Shop program and am quite fascinated with it right now.

Posted by: Bonnie at August 25, 2005 5:46 AM

oil pastel is really hard, I think. I played around with some in high school but they just got smeary and went all over the place. I think it's harder than watercolor. You have my admiration for taking on such a challenge!

Posted by: Karen Winters at August 30, 2005 2:23 PM

Oil pastel is really tough. When I was in high school some people in the art class above mine did oil pastel paintings on masonite and they used rubbing alcohol to blend the colors. You couldn't tell that it was oil pastel at all.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 12, 2005 11:09 PM

There are oil pastel technique tips in the archived newsletters of the oil pastel society. http://www.oilpastelsociety.com/
There are also oil pastel tutorials at www.wetcanvas.com. Here's a sample!

One tip I recently learned is that oil pastel artists will use scrapers before laying down highlights if they haven't planned for the highlight in advance by leaving the paper blank. This may prevent the smearing effect that you spoke about...It also helps prevent muddy colors if the blended color is not what you had in mind.
Another trick is to lay down the lighter color first. For example, you could paint a yellow or white moon, then paint the whole sky blue. You could then scrape the blue off the moon and most of the original color would remain because the lighter pigment has protected the paper. Then all you'd have to do is touch up the color.
A good instruction book is Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner by John Elliot. An out-of-print book (1990) called Oil Pastel by Kenneth Leslie is a great reference, but rather pricey if you can't get it on interlibrary loan...originally it sold for $29.50 and now hard to find at $60.00!
Good luck!

Posted by: Oil Pastel Society Info at October 18, 2005 10:01 AM

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