Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Little Copper Watering Can

I finally got a chance to try out my new oil pastels by entering the Daily Paint Works "Copper Challenge." I decided to do a small still life with a small copper watering can. I almost gave up--oil pastels are difficult enough, but the copper was even harder. But I persisted and I think the can came out looking like copper. Not sure about the perspective and flower though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Oil Pastels

I decided I liked working with Sennelier oil pastels well enough to order some new colors. I got them about two weeks ago and haven't had a chance to use the new colors yet. Also, I needed a box to keep all of them in (and a few extras) since they were shipped in five small separate temporary boxes. I checked the art supply web sites and couldn't find what I wanted at a reasonable price. So I decided to make one. I had a metal candy tin with a lid that seemed like it would be the right size so I made pleated paper dividers to hold the individual pastels. I used Bristol paper, but card stock or some paper a little heavier than computer paper would do. On the first try, I made the dividers too wide and the pastels didn't stay in place. I also didn't have enough spaces for the new ones and the extra ones I already had.

So I took the paper dividers out and cut them down to three inch width and glued the pleats (which made the spaces narrower) and put them back in.Then I added some Styrofoam dividers to further corral the pastel sticks. I could have used a third paper divider section, but I just used some thin Styrofoam strips to make four sections. I tried to organize the sticks by colors as much as I could.
I had a piece of Styrofoam that fits on top of the oil pastels when the box is closed to keep the sticks from moving around in the box when carried. To the right of the homemade box, is a set of 24 Sennelier oil pastels that I already had. Now I'm all set to use my new pastels, soon I hope.
While I was organizing the rest of my art stuff, I made a water color brush holder out of an old plastic desk tray. I used Styrofoam strips again in the bottoms of the sections and stuck the ends of the brushes down into it. It's easier to see what brushes I have--at least the ones I use most.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

September Seascape

I did the small seascape again slightly larger on oil pastel paper, the smoother side. I was determined that I was going to learn how to use oil pastels in a more realistic style. I watched a few demonstrations on oil pastel on YouTube and then tried again. I think I learned a few things in the attempt. I used Cray Pas Expressionist, Mungyo and Sennelier oil pastels. The Expressionist and Mungyo sets have a nice selection of colors, but they aren't as easy to blend as the Sennelier; of course the Sennelier are more expensive. The secret to getting a smooth painting is blending. I tried a paper blender, paper towel wadded up, a Q-Tip, and my finger. Using my finger works best for me, but I used a latex glove so I didn't have to worry about absorbing any chemicals that way. I also learned that oil pastels do dry some so if you want to go back and do white highlights, it's best to wait a few hours or overnight to do that. I may have gotten too much green in the foreground.  Since I only have twenty-four colors in the Sennelier set I was limited in my choice of blues and greens. I will need to get more of those if I want to do more oil pastels. Not sure about that yet. My inspiration is an oil pastel painter who does animals very realistically. Her web site is and her name is Sarah Theophillus (not sure of the spelling). I also like the seascapes of Oriana Kacicek on the Daily Paintworks website, but her paintings are done in oils. I forgot to mention that I did some underpainting with watercolor, but most of that got covered up anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ACEO Seascape

Here's a small ACEO to add to my vacation journal. It's a seascape done in oil pastel on a canvas textured paper from an assorted pack of artist trading cards by Strathmore. It's not from the same batch of vacation pictures as Beach Ballerina. It's from this September's trip to Florida. I think I'm going to have to combine photos for the journal from both trips since I didn't get very many photos this time. (I spent too much time and energy trying to keep up with my sons and their offspring at Disney World. If I stopped to take pictures, I'd get lost.) I really like the blending feel of oil pastels, but they are hard for me to control. I couldn't get the white very white if I tried to go over a darker area. I think, if I try this again in a larger size, I would leave areas where I want to put white, sort of like watercolor. I think acrylic paper would work too. The canvas and acrylic paper have a plastic type coating that lets the oil pastels blend without being absorbed into the paper. I haven't figured out how to put this in the journal since it can get smeared. I would have to find something that wouldn't stick either, like waxed paper.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beach Ballerina (version2)

I decided to do a little more detailed painting of Beach Ballerina on better paper (Arches 140 lb. cold pressed). As usual I didn't quit when I was ahead and tried to "improve" the tutu and I think I got it too dark. I tried to lighten it up by wetting the paper and blotting in places but I had trouble getting the white of the paper back. I then realized that I had used an Alizarin Crimson mix for the pink/purple tutu color and, if I remember correctly, that is a staining color. I also learned that if I wait a few days and let the paper dry very thoroughly, I can use a small battery powered electric eraser and lift off some color. I think I should quit at this point before I ruin it completely.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Beach Ballerina

Here I am back at square one again. I can't believe it's been over a year since I last posted. I think I might take a different approach to painting this time. Instead of feeling like I have to paint a masterpiece for every post, I might try to do entries in an art journal. If these small entries lead me to do a more thorough painting, that would be good, but not the main goal. I should have been journaling years ago with my garden and vacations. But since I'm so far behind, I think I will just start with my last trip to visit my family in Florida in February and see what happens. I decided to do the journal size of 9" x 12" and use Bristol paper for the pages. I can use artist's tape (on the back) to stick small works onto the pages. I can use some of my ACEO cards and experiment with different media. I hope I can fill the pages of the journal this year and maybe do a few other paintings too.