Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sketching with Oil Pastel

Years ago my father gave me a beautiful set of Holbein Oil Pastels.  Oil pastel is a medium I've never been able to manipulate very well.  Although I do admire those artists who can produce spectacular results with oil pastel. 

Today, I was tidying up my work area when I noticed my box standing faithfully in the corner.  I guess it called to me, so out they came and I tried my hand at this city scene that was inspired by the front cover of the latest Herrschners catalog.  

My Holbeins have sat faithfully in their box for many many years, accommodating only a few attempts at using them.  I love the colors, but most of all I love the creaminess of them. What's amazing is the pastels themselves are made with pure pigment, suspended in mineral oil which is inert, and therefore will never dry.  They're soft and responsive, but controlling a line or depth can sometimes be a challenge.  

 Storage of a finished work can be difficult because Holbein recommend you don't fix the surface once complete.  I think most artists display an oil pastel painting behind glass as a way to maintain and protect the finish. I used these in my sketchbook so I'm going to have to fix them in order to close the book.

I sometimes use a latex glove when working with them because I get called away often by one child or another and cleaning the oil pastel off my hands can take some time. This downhill bicycle scene was inspired by a photo I found somewhere on the internet (I can't remember where).  I think I need quite a bit more practice and would love to do more in this medium when I have a proper studio space (one day). Right now I work out of a box at the quiet end of our dining room table.
Have you used oil pastels? Do you have any tips? I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for checking in. xx