May 25 Oil pastel painting
My passion for art recently rekindled, I’m so excited to try every medium out there. I enjoy soft pastels, but I am too sensitive to the fine dust I unknowingly inhale. It gives me a scratchy throat. So I decided to try oil pastel which is just like crayons that kids use.
Unlike “soft” or “French” pastel sticks, oil pastels consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder. The surface of an oil pastel painting is therefore less powdery, meaning less messy. Oil pastels provide a harder edge than “soft” or “French” pastels but are more difficult to blend.
Oil pastels can be used directly in dry form; when done lightly, the resulting effects are similar to pastel chalks. Heavy build-ups can create an almost impasto effect. Once applied to a surface, the oil pastel pigment can be manipulated with a brush moistened in white spirit, turpentine, linseed oil, or another type of vegetable oil or solvent. Alternatively, the drawing surface can be oiled before drawing or the pastel itself can be dipped in oil.
Oil pastels are considered a fast medium because they are easy to paint with and convenient to carry; for this reason they are often used for sketching, but can also be used for sustained works. Because oil pastels never dry out completely, they need to be protected somehow, often by applying a special fixative to the painting or placing the painting in a sleeve and then inside a frame. There are some known durability problems.
Paper is a common surface but this medium can be used on other surfaces including wood, metal, hardboard, canvas and glass. Many companies make papers specifically for pastels that are suitable for use with oil pastels.
I quickly rendered an apple bowl on brown pastel paper. I think it looks much like oil painting. But will I use it? Although I like the fact there is no powder too deal with, I’m not sure… because it requires a special fixative and there are some known durability problems. Well, it was fun to try once.