Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How I Start a New Ballet Drawing - beginning gestural figurative sketch of ballet rehearsal

This drawing seems so much more stark than in real life, but as I've mentioned before, I'm not the best photographer.  Anyway, this is another in my ongoing obsession with ballet.  I took ballet for years and years, through college and even after, so I have lots of memories stored in my head and lately, I also have sketches.  

My central characters are of course, the two girls in the center, the other two will probably show up in a later drawing.  Mainly, this is the gestural basis for my piece and now that I look at it, I think the figure on the left needs to be moved closer to the edge a little.  I was looking for a casual chat between these girls and think it's a successful gesture.  

This piece is sketched on grey Colourfix paper (9 x 12") and while I may end up doing a bigger version, this is it for now.  I just drew freely - my favorite part - and then will use my finger or my finger wrapped in a paper towel to smooth out the background - and also not leave it that white.  I have a big white Sennelier oil pastel and it's so easy to just madly scribble with it.  Usually I use the regular size Senneliers, but I do have some of the big ones and they are also great to work with.  Give them a try! 
Will fill this in day by day and post my progress here.  Thanks so much for sharing my oil pastel journey!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Three Blue Nudes - using Sennelier oil pastels over acrylic paint on acrylic paper

I coated a piece of Strathmore acrylic paper, which is a really nice paper, btw, with some acrylic paint in 'Light Blue Permanent' (Liquitex Basics that I bought at Michael's) and it's very turquoisy, so I love it.  Then I drew from life the quick poses that the model took before she settled down for a long pose.  First I noted where I wanted the figures to be on the page with graphite pencil, then I began drawing with my black Sennelier lipstick-like oil pastel. Originally I had intended to just use black and white, but then decided the piece needed a little color, so added flesh tones and some darker blues in the background.  One thing always leads to another!
A note about drawing with oil pastel on this surface (acrylic paint) - it's kind of slick and the oil pastel can really slide around, which can be good or bad, depending on how you like to work with this medium.  Also, I have some of these pieces on this same kind of surface and have never sprayed them with oil pastel fixative,  but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks, then spray this one and report back on how it accepted the fixative - (does it seem well-protected?).  Whether I'm happy with the fixative result or not, as long as I frame it under glass (plexiglass), it doesn't really matter.
I really do encourage you to try working over acrylic especially on acrylic paper if you haven't already - it's soul-satisfying if you're a lover of working in oil pastel because the sticks are even more responsive than usual - and that's saying something.  Of course, this one is done with the very creamy Sennelier oil pastels, but if you would rather not have the slick feel, then one of the less oily feeling ones should do perfectly.  This piece is 12 x 12" - thanks for stopping by!
NOTE:  I sprayed with fixative and it accepted the spray perfectly - no worries!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tango Demo - original oil pastel figurative tango dancers

I have attended a few tango demos and have tried to remember all the other watchers, since it would be so obvious to be standing/sitting there drawing the other viewers.  This scene is from a tango studio which often featured guest dancers, who then gave instruction in the finer points of particular tango steps.  This piece is on 9 x 12" Art Spectrum Colourfix paper.  I used my unsharpened Sennelier oil pastels as well as a few CrayPas Specialists, which I really like to use on their sides.  They also have those corners that are good for details - maybe I should start using them in that way, too.  Not sure they would work very well over the Senneliers - will give that a try and report back.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Combining Sennelier and CrayPas Specialists

Just did this little sketch to show the CrayPas Specialist oil pastels in the background.  They work really well, especially with the square edges which lend themselves to drawing.  Plus they're not creamy, so the background greys are lovely to work with.  And they can also be used under the creamier brands.  I really enjoyed the Specialists and will keep using them.  PS - if you're wondering what the model was doing, she was smoothing lotion on her hands.  And, looking back at how I began this drawing, I've really changed her.  That's what happens when - in this case - I changed the channel, or when the drawing group is over.   Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

On My Easel - A Chat After Class - oil pastel figurative

A lot to do on this one, but I just decided to post it - I'm always spurred on to finish when I share the stuff I'm working on.  This piece comes from something I saw the other day - I had to remember it, because the "pose" was only for a minute or two and then there's the problem of being obvious when I sketch people, so it's a memory drawing.  On MultiMedia pastel panel, it's 8 x 6".  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What I'm Working On Today

I keep having visions of a girl in a kimono drinking tea, with a Chinese lantern or two in the background.  The beginnings of paintings are always the best part for me, maybe because it's mainly at the drawing stage and I am basically a "drawer".  This is pretty small 8 x 8", but really a favorite size for me.  On this one, I'm not drawing from a model, but from a TV movie when one of the actors had her hair in the same style and, well, I just took it from there.  And I love kimonos.  Will post this as a finished piece.  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Couple of Drawings - portrait drawing and painting prep

I love scarves and let this one be the centerpiece here on 8 x 6" mixed media paper, which is thick enough for oil pastels and very smooth.
The next drawing is a preparation for a painting on my Hackberry Street Studio blog - click here to see the finished piece.  I always LOVE the start of something and it's my contention - based on my experience - that the beginning of any artwork, if it's based on gestures, has so much life that is easy to destroy as one approaches the end of the painting.  I guess I'll just let you be the judge - and you will NOT hurt my feelings if you think I ran true to form on this one!
 Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Sketch of Mayre - oil pastel portrait drawing

I did this quickly on Strathmore 403, which was originally a surface for oil pastel, but doesn't seem to be any longer.  Gosh I see so much I could have done if I'd had more time.  The artist's lament, I guess. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 11, 2017

ACEO - Red Against Green - oil pastel portrait

Just about my all-time color combination - red/pink and green.  Trying to keep this tiny piece (3.5 x 2.5") loose, I used unsharpened Sennelier oil pastels and didn't completely cover the support.
  Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Headed to Town - original oil pastel figurative/landscape

Since I've been taking a landscape course, I'm really trying to apply what I've learned.  I hope it shows here that I've learned a little something, anyway!  For this one I used a 7 x 5" panel - not Pastelbord - but it was nice to paint on.  Thanks for looking!

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!