Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Guest Artist at The Oil Pastel Review, Bethany Gladkowski

I'm really delighted that Bethany Gladkowski is the Guest Artist here at the Oil Pastel Review!  Here are some examples of her oil pastel work and her review of oil pastel supports.  I know you will find today's post both charming and enlightening.  Thank you Bethany!

1.  Dawn 
2.  Dawn - wip 
3.  Peacock Feather 
4.  Rebecca 


First, let me say that I'm so honored to be a part of Oil Pastel Review. Connie's work has always been an inspiration to me from the time I first started working with oil pastels. We can all learn so much from each other as artists, and what a great way to share techniques. Thank you for having me!


Today I'd like to talk about my experience with hardboard. 
For such a versatile medium, there are very few supports made specifically for oil pastels. We find ourselves constantly experimenting with new surfaces to use. Hardboard, or its original brand name, Masonite, has a lot of great qualities for oil pastels. I’ve tried several and feel like I’m getting very close to the perfect combination of tooth and brand. Here are a few of my experiments:
1.       Masonite (1/8") with Gesso Canvas Primer applied with a 2” paint brush.                                                                            
2.       Masonite with Gesso Canvas Primer applied with foam roller, sanded between layers
3.       Untreated hardboard primed with Gesso Canvas Primer and Golden Coarse Molding paste
4.       Ampersand pre-primed gesso board with texture
The brush strokes in the first experiment provided quite adequate tooth for the pastels. I’d do this again. (Rebecca) I put three or four layers of Gesso on this board, front only. 
Side note: one benefit of the primed hardboard is that fixing mistakes becomes a breeze. Any irretrievable strokes are easily wiped away with rubbing alcohol on a cloth or Q-Tip. It’s like an eraser! That’s hard to do with unprimed paper.
The foam roller made a very smooth surface and the pastels just slimed over each other. Once I let the first layer of pastel cure a day, I was able to go over it with more layers, then finish the background with oil stick. It just didn’t supply enough tooth for my style of painting. I don’t recommend smooth rolled primer for OP’s. (Dawn)
The untreated hardboard is a bit thinner than the Masonite, more flexible, and super cheap. It is a perfectly good surface once primed (both sides – if you only prime one side, it will bow.)  The lighter weight is a big advantage if you frame your work or use larger sizes. The coarse molding paste was sooo much fun to paint over, but it literally ground up my pastels and ate them for lunch. Gesso sells a fine pumice gel, and you can also add your own sand to the primer, which I have done but not tried painting yet. Looking forward to that experiment.  (This one is on hardboard with coarse molding paste: Dawn 2 - wip)
Finally, my local art store gave away free 3x5” samples of the Ampersand pre-primed board that I was so excited to try with my new metallic Shiva oil pastels…sadly, even the board with a slight tooth did not live up to my expectations. It just wasn’t enough to grab, and it ended up smooshing the color around even on the first layer.  (Peacock Feather)
In summary, the pre-primed boards hold a lot of promise. The convenience of not having to prime the surface (as much?) and its sturdiness makes hardboard my go-to surface now for oil pastels.  Give it a try! 

Thanks so much, Bethany!  I know everyone enjoyed seeing your work and hearing of your experiences with different supports - it was a pleasure having you visit with us at the Oil Pastel Review!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Working on a Portrait - oil pastel WIP

Here's another one that's not quite finished, although a lot closer to the finish that the one on my
 Daily Painter blog.   I've discovered Art Spectrum's Colourfix board and I really really love it!  In addition to being a wonderful surface, it's very convenient for framing.  I even was able to use some Holbein over Sennelier, which I can't do very often since Sennelier is so creamy.  Am thinking maybe that's because there was enough tooth left.  A thought, anyway.  She (the model) looks kind of harsh, so I'm going to try and soften her up.  Since I don't have her to draw from, I'm on my own.  Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Blue Wallpaper - original oil pastel figurative

Just a doodle from an earlier drawing while I tried out a panel that's made for other than pastels. It works okay, but nothing at all like Pastelbord, Sennelier oil pastel paper, or Art Spectrum Colourfix.  They are top-notch and I'm really spoiled - nothing else even comes close.  As I've said many times, Strathmore Pastel 403 used to be for oil pastel - it was a barrier paper and really wonderful, but it's no longer good for oil pastel.  Canvas has just never worked for me for oil pastel, although I know others use it.   I ordered some Colourfix boards and can't wait to get them - will report on this support as soon as I've had a chance to try it.  If you have experience with any of these, I would love to hear from you!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pink - original oil pastel portrait

For this piece, I used a 7 x 5" art panel that is NOT specifically for pastels and it doesn't compare to say, Pastelbord or Colourfix paper.  I don't mean it was a nightmare to work on, but it didn't grab and hold the oil pastel,  either.  It just reminds me how wonderful those products are!  The lesson here:  Always go for the supplies meant to work with oil pastels.  Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Prayer - original oil pastel portrait

Here's a beginning cut at this one - or maybe I will do what my painting teacher often said to me 'just start a new painting', and that's probably the answer.  Lately, I've been so interested in the pre-Raphaelites and would like to move a bit in that direction with some of my oil pastels - am pondering how that approach would be most effective in oil pastel.  This one is done on 7 x 5" Pastelbord with Sennelier's gooey, wonderful oil pastels.💗

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nude Over Scribbles - oil pastel painting of a nude model

I had made a charcoal sketch on some of the smoother Art Spectrum Colourfix paper,  but decided I didn't like it and erased a lot of it.  Even though much of the image remained, I just did a nude painting over it.  It's more relaxing to approach a piece without feeling it has to be perfect - painting over the remains of another drawing is going to remain with me as a favorite method.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, February 6, 2017

On My Easel - oil pastel figurative in progress

I was just fooling around and ended up with this drawing on a 9 x 12" piece of Art Spectrum Colourfix (the smoother one) and then thought 'now what?'.  So I've decided I'll do more drawings on this piece of paper and maybe call it Tango Scenes.  They would be discrete, rather than a continuous scene.  But there's only room for one more, maybe two, depending on the poses.  It's an idea that I want to develop further after I finish this piece.  Below are the beginnings of this drawing.  The difference in colors of the paper in these photos is because I'm not a very good photographer - the second part of the drawing, where I was just starting to fill in is the most like the actual paper.  Thanks for looking!

Guest Artist at The Oil Pastel Review, Bethany Gladkowski

I'm really delighted that Bethany Gladkowski is the Guest Artist here at the Oil Pastel Review!   Here are some examples of her oil past...