Getting to grips with Oil Pastel

I have been using oil pastels as a sketching medium prior to painting my pet portraits. They are very helpful tools in choosing and mapping color for a painting. However, I have been so enthralled with them, and the painterly quality that you can get, that I have started doing some more finished pieces using oil pastel. The pieces here are sitting in my studio and I find myself going back to them to add a bit more color, blend something, or scratch into areas. It's a lot of fun!

Reflections at Lake of the Pines

Reflections at Lake of the Pines

This painting was done from a photo. I am still learning how to apply the oil pastel and smush it around, and how many layers you can actually apply.  I bought some Sennelier White oil pastels and these go on top of my harder Mungvo Gallery oil pastels very nicely. I think you could get through the Sennelier oil pastels in a heartbeat tho' as they are so soft and buttery!

Sparkling light through the trees at Lake of the Woods, Oregon

Sparkling light through the trees at Lake of the Woods, Oregon

This painting is done from a sketch (below) and photos. In the early evening from our campsite the sunlight sparkled through the trees. I could see a line of green and a line of blue running behind the trees. I tried to capture the idea in my sketchbook, but it didn't turn out so well. This painting above though I really like.

This was my sketchbook page, done from memory, at the campground

This was my sketchbook page, done from memory, at the campground

Light through the trees on Mt Ashland, Oregon

Light through the trees on Mt Ashland, Oregon

This image is oil pastel on top of a failed watercolor painting. In this one the oil pastel is not blended quite so much and gives a different effect.

Park #3, Lake of the Pines

Park #3, Lake of the Pines

This piece is the second version of a painting of Park #3 at Lake of the Pines. This was done on dark green Mi Tientes pastel paper, which I discovered I didn't like working on.  Now I mostly use white drawing paper, or watercolor paper.

Visit to England

We just returned from a wonderful trip to England to celebrate my mother-in-law's 90th birthday. While over there I managed a few quick sketches.

These are part of the gardens of Littlecote House, a hotel we stayed at. The hotel had parts dating from the 12th century and a wonderful Roman mosaic preserved in the grounds.

These are part of the gardens of Littlecote House, a hotel we stayed at. The hotel had parts dating from the 12th century and a wonderful Roman mosaic preserved in the grounds.

This is the lovely view from our friends' house on Dartmoor.

This is the lovely view from our friends' house on Dartmoor.

Our friends' kitchen

Our friends' kitchen

A scene from Dartmoor

A scene from Dartmoor

Burnt swayling from Hay Tor

Burnt swayling from Hay Tor

Dartmoor is subject to wild changes in weather and this sketch was done during a foggy patch where the distant Hound Tor was covered in low cloud.

Dartmoor is subject to wild changes in weather and this sketch was done during a foggy patch where the distant Hound Tor was covered in low cloud.

Down on the coast of Devon this is the beach and headland at Budleigh Salterton

Down on the coast of Devon this is the beach and headland at Budleigh Salterton

The River Exe Estuary - a lovely peaceful spot to enjoy the view. The tide came in rather quickly!

The River Exe Estuary - a lovely peaceful spot to enjoy the view. The tide came in rather quickly!

Lyme Regis - famous for its fossils, and the movie "A French Lieutenant's Woman". A long stony beach, with The Cobb off in the distance.

Lyme Regis - famous for its fossils, and the movie "A French Lieutenant's Woman". A long stony beach, with The Cobb off in the distance.

Charlie and Alison's Garden.  All our family and friends were so hospitable and generous, they made it a wonderful trip.

Charlie and Alison's Garden.  All our family and friends were so hospitable and generous, they made it a wonderful trip.

Of course we had to ride some steam trains. This one was on the Severn Valley Railway - but there were others! Keith ran off with the train driver at one point!

Of course we had to ride some steam trains. This one was on the Severn Valley Railway - but there were others! Keith ran off with the train driver at one point!

Joseph D. Grant park Hike and Sketch

The paintsites group met at this wonderful park for another hike and sketch this week.  This was my last hike and sketch before my move, and it may be a while before I see some of my painting friends again so it was bitter sweet.  The hike and sketch events have always been fun though and this was no exception. There was an abundance of wildflowers, including poppies, miniature lupin and the largest swaths of Purple Vetch I have ever seen.

This was a view of the cookhouse.

This was a view of the cookhouse.

Creating an abstract painting

I seldom paint abstractly, which is a shame because I do like abstracts and I love painting in a purely intuitive way which lends itself to creating abstracts.  Anyway, here is a recent abstract painting.  Acrylic on illustration board. I started out with a few blobs of acrylic paint and a vague idea that I was going to paint mineral accretions based on a photo I took in New Zealand.  The painting went in a different way eventually.  See what your imagination makes of it!

This is the initial scraping of acrylic paint with a few additions of color glazes.

This is the initial scraping of acrylic paint with a few additions of color glazes.


This is the next phase with some gesso glazes

This is the next phase with some gesso glazes

Here I added more gesso glazes and some texture and scribbles

Here I added more gesso glazes and some texture and scribbles

The final piece

The final piece