Yesterday, I published a post showing some old sketches of mine. Amongst them was this pretty little watercolour of a poplar (aspen) tree. I decided to redo the painting with oil pastels, just for fun.
I am fairly new to pastels and am still trying to work out the glitches. I would like to master making a seamless background, but all in all, I am really happy with how the painting (drawing? I’m never sure which a pastel piece is) turned out.
Below is the oil pastel artwork made with:
Grumbacher oil pastels (set of 36)
Canson Bristol paper
Derwent Coloursoft coloured pencils
Below is the watercolour from 2008.
Only, one month to go until my art show. Ever year, the small town (Hamlet) I live in hosts one or two art shows and this year I am so excited to be showcasing my work. I have been busy making artwork, as well as matting and framing and trying to figure out how to price and sell my pieces. Making the art seems to be the easy (and fun) part. They rest is a lot of hard work. I have a new found respect for professional artists, who do this kind of thing all the time.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up in Alberta, Canada, I have been taking my baby on longer walks. I always take my phone with me, just in case there is something that captures my interest and I would like it as a reference photo for later. Eventually, I would love to be able to sketch or paint en plein air when out and about, but my baby has little patience for sitting still when there is so much to see.
One thing I love about living on the prairies, are the magnificent prairie skys. I tried to capture one such sky in the drawing as seen in the picture above, but you really have to see them to believe them.
This piece was completed on Canson XL mixed media paper, using Grumbacher oil pastels and Holbein oil pastels. The finer details of the trees were drawn using Derwent Coloursoft coloured pencils. Some Spectrafix workable fixative was used between layers. My name was etched using a pen lid (high tech stuff)!
I decided to play around with oil pastels and make my Mom a birthday card at the same time (I know; “a pig for a birthday card???;” but the inside will say:…and this little piggy wishes you a Happy Birthday!;” trust me, she will appreciate it.)
I did the base drawing in coloured pencil. This really helped me to figure out the colours I wanted to use. The majority of the visible part is oil pastel. I used pencil crayon for some of the finer details, since I was having trouble getting fine lines with the stick pastels.
The picture below is a coloured pencil drawing I completed in 2016. I was very happy with the drawing at the time, but as I worked more and more with coloured pencil, I began to notice that I wasn’t getting the saturation and deep contrasts that I wanted.
It may be due to the type of coloured pencil I am using; I have only worked with the Derwent Coloursoft. In retrospect, it is more likely that I am laying the black down over too many layers and thus not getting it as dark as I would like.
I sprayed some workable fixative on the paper and tried to darken the blacks. It helped a little bit, but didn’t make as drastic a difference as I had hoped. I then decided to experiment with markers and oil pastels on top of the coloured pencil. The result is below.
I am much more happy with the results (for now anyways). I may go back once more and clean up the background and some of the feather details.
Which one do you like better? The softer, muted tones of the first picture, or the more vibrant colours of the second picture?
Strathmore Mixed Media paper
Derwent coloursoft coloured pencils
Grumbacher Oil Pastels
Prismacolour Premier Brush tip marker – black
Spectrafix Degas Pastel Fixative (not over the marker; because it will cause the marker to bleed very, very, very badly. I am glad I did a text spray on scrap paper before spraying the final piece. It would have been a streaky, blurry mess.)