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What I Learned Using Oil Pastels

Recently, taking a break from working on my website and the past Arts and Crafts Fairs, I decided it was time to try some new oil pastels that I had purchased.

The oil pastels I used was Mungyo Gallery Artists' soft oil pastels. This is a 48 assorted color set.

I used Strathmore Pastel Paper for some of the paintings I did.

I also used Mungyo Pastel Paper for some of the paintings I did.

I also used Turpenoid to thin the pastels to provide a smooth painterly finish.

You can purchase these through Amazon using the following links.

Mungyo Gallery Artists' Soft Oil Pastels

Strathmore Pastel Paper

Mungyo Pastel Paper

Oil Pastels are like crayons. You can draw and color in the design. I choose a design. Then I chose my paper. For the first painting I planned a sea scene on a bright day. I decided that a light color sheet. I then took a charcoal pencil in white and sketched a preliminary design of a sky and ocean. By using white charcoal or soft chalk pastels pencil, you can create a design and the color of the charcoal or chalk will not change the color of your design. I chose the colors I wanted to use. and started to outline my design along the lines I had sketched. Oil pastels require a sketched design before you start; this helps you know where to place the colors and with layering. You go from dark to light layering each color on top of the other.

Oil pastels give a grainy, crayon appearance until you start blending them. I prefer a painterly looking paint, less of a rough coloring look. I like to see the design not the color; for me color should enhance not be the star.

After I have added my colors and layers, I start smoothing the painting. There are many techniques. You can use a palette knife (I have not tried that); you can use solvents (this is the method I will discuss).

I put a small amount of Turpenoid (odorless alternative to turpentine) in a solvent cup (inexpensive plastic cups you can purchase through Jerry's Artarama, Cheap Joes, etc.). For me Turpenoid works better than other solvents for oil like linseed oils, etc. I take a brush that I use for oil painting. Make sure it is a brush dedicated to oil painting; once you use for oil pastels or oil painting it cannot be used for any other painting like acrylic or watercolor as oil brushes can retain a small amount of oil paint after cleaning. Dip your brush in the solvent, and tap on a paper towel to remove any excess and then slowly start blending the colors. I work from top to bottom. After I finish blending, I check the painting and add color or white as needed. Make sure the Turpenoid has dried a bit before applying additional colors or white; blend as you add.

After you finish blending, you will have a painting similar to this. A painting that is soft with details.

The final step is to spray with a fixative for oil pastels. I use Sennelier Fixative Oil Pastels. This will help reduce the smudging of oil pastels. Oil pastels never fully set similar to soft pastels, charcoal or pencil drawings. Fixatives help reduce the smudging.

My final thoughts on oil pastels are positive. It is a fun medium to do. Messy yes, needs planning, yes, but a very satisfying medium when you finish a painting and it comes out as you planned. Planning is good whether you are using oil pastels, oil paints or acrylic paints. Your painting will be better for some planning.

Until my next blog....


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