Thursday, November 18, 2010

Drawing Conclusions

Recently, while demoing mixed media painting (watercolor and oil pastel), it occurred to me that I've never really used oil pastels on their own merit. At least not since I was very young. And perhaps that's why we may tend to think of oil pastels as a really fancy crayons for less sophisticated art projects. Something we might have used at an arts and crafts camp.  

Clearly though in skilled hands, as some of may know first hand, oil pastels can be a beautiful and unique medium. FYI for this painting, I used a "vintage" set here by Grumbacher (who I believe no longer produces pastels) but I've also used high quality brands like Sennelier, I particularly love their gorgeous iridescent oil pastels.

Given their nice blending qualities, I found oil pastels to be a perfect choice for some quick abstract oil painting planning. Here's a helpful Oil Pastel 101 article about how oil pastels can be a convenient, affordable, colorful medium to add to our artist tool box. I found the Oil Pastel Society also has lots of interesting tips and info. 

In these quick (less than 30 minutes) paintings I approached the overall work much as I would paint with a brush in oil or acrylics: I begin loosely (which means only left handed drawing for me) with broad, gestural lines to help define spaces and larger shapes. As I begin to layer in strokes of color, layering along the way, I focused on mind my primary painting composition goal: Variety. 

While these are not refined works, I have to give a big multi-hued thumbs up for oil pastels. (In fact, I think it's that "fancy crayon" feeling that makes them kind of a comfort media.). So next time you are looking for a fresh perspective, try a new medium or revisit one you gave up on long ago. You might just discover a new BFF or rekindle a long lost love! Enjoy!

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