Paint Using Oil Pastels Oil Pastels Step By Step

Paint Using Oil Pastels animation displaying the steps over time

Paint Using Oil Pastels – Cat Portrait Example

Paint Using Oil Pastels step 1
The first step is to sketch out the picture, and to put down as much color as possible.

I love oil painting, but have found that depending on the subject and style, it can take a long time to complete a piece. So I decided to change things up a bit. For this reason I thought I would see what it is like to paint using oil pastels. To start out with, I purchased a boxed set of 92 Erengi Art Aspirer Oil Pastels, in a sturdy wooden box.

For the subject, I chose to paint a portrait of Cecil, my Maine Coon cat. First thing I did was to sketch in the whole picture. Then build up the layers, with more oil pastel colors. I stopped occasionally to blend the colors. Sometimes I used a clean rag, other times a rolled up paper towel. When I oil paint, I use both hands; my left to lay down large patches of color, such as the background and sky. And my right for fine lines and detail. So I decided to do the same thing when I paint using oil pastels.

Paint Using Oil Pastels 92 Erengi Art Aspirer Oil Pastels
Sometimes I paint using oil pastels. My box of 92 Erengi Art Aspirer oil pastels is starting to get a workout!

To start with I used Erengi Art Aspirer brand oil pastels. They are relatively inexpensive compared to some other brands. However, they come in a wide range of colors. In addition they have good light-fastness ratings, and are easy to blend. As I worked, I found I needed more pastel shades. In addition I wanted some that were softer, so I could use them in the top most layers. Softer oil pastels tend to stick better than hard pastels when the layers have gotten thick. For that reason I use them as the painting draws near completion. Sennelier Oil Pastels and Holbein Oil Pastels are the brands I found best for softness. In addition both brands have quite a few pastel shades to choose from.

While working on the portrait, I ran low on white, and very light pastel colors. In the hope I could purchase some nearby, I made a trip to my local art supply store. The only brands they had in stock were CRAY-PAS EXPRESSIONIST AND CRAY-PAS SPECIALIST. I purchased a few to test, but I found them to be difficult to use. They felt dry and hard, and it was difficult to get the pigment onto the paper. Therefore I decided not to work with them.

Paint Using Oil Pastels blending color
A clean rag or rolled up paper towel does a nice job of blending oil pastels.

As I continued to work, I wasn’t sure when would be the best time to start to blend the colors. So I took my best guess. I worked the piece until some of the oil pastel was so thick it was balling up, and other areas still had white paper showing through. This seemed like a good time to blend. I used a paper towel rolled up on my finger to do the blending. Smoothing out the thick areas, and spreading color into the spots that still had paper showing through.

I continued to repeat laying down color and blending. Until I was happy with the result. Here is the finished oil pastel painting.

Paint Using Oil Pastels finished painting
The finished oil pastel portrait of Cecil.
Breezing is my first attempt at painting race horses.

Painting Race Horses With Oil Paint – Step By Step

Time lapse imagery shows the various stages this race horse painting went through.
Time lapse imagery shows the various stages this race horse painting went through.

Painting Race Horses – Breezing

Drawing horses has long been a past time of mine. But painting race horses is something new. Breezing is the first oil painting I have undertaken in many years. Not only are oil paints, and fine art materials expensive, but it is frustrating to have unwanted results after putting in long hours and using up all those creative juices. Before starting to paint, I decided to review the process of oil painting. I was on the lookout for tips and tricks from the experts whose styles I admired. Being a highly visual person, I decided to focus on watching Youtube video art tutorials. While there are many available, I found the series most helpful to me was Draw Mix Paint by Mark Carder.

Visit Mark’s Draw Mix Paint website for more information, and a complete list of his videos. Mark is an incredibly talented artist, who generously shares his expertise on Youtube, and on his own website. Mark’s work is world renowned, and he has painted fabulous commissioned portraits of two Presidents of the United States.

Starting Out – Adjusting Lighting

I started out with the best of intentions of following his tutorials to the letter, but for various reasons I was unable to. I did the best I could, using what I had. First, I couldn’t duplicate the museum quality lighting. I did however, use all spectrum light bulbs in all of my studio lamps. This helped a lot to create the illusion of natural light. However, because I was unable to precisely control the lighting his color matching techniques were difficult for me to achieve.

Preparing The Substrate

Per his instructions I tinted the undersides of my glass palettes. As well as the substrate (in this case, panel) with a mixture of Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd Burnt Umber and Titanium White fast drying oils. I was pleased with the results. The color was perfect, similar to that of corrugated cardboard. When painting I was able to cover any area with only one coat of paint – even with white.

I did not use a printed photograph to work from, which to do correctly should be the same size as my canvas or panel. Instead I displayed the image/photograph I was painting on my computer monitor. I set up my easel nearby so I could reference it. Instead of using a chalk pencil to sketch the design onto the board, I used permanent black markers. Reason being I was afraid the sketch would get rubbed off, before I had applied all the paint.

Painting Race Horses – Choosing Paint Colors

I tried to stick with the 5 colors suggested by Carder (Titanium White, French Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson and Pale Cadmium Yellow. Carter teaches that with these 5 colors you can mix all colors with a few exceptions (some vivid reds and greens). For the most part I was able to accomplish this. However, as I got near finishing the painting I mixed in some other blues, green, raw umber, and Naples yellow.

Back to the difficulty I had matching color. I found using some additional colors out of the tube instead of mixing helped me to be more consistent. Which was particularly helpful when I needed to rework a section. Yet there is a lot to be said for working with a limited palette. However it does take practice and some getting used to.

Simplifying The Composition

In conclusion, I worked through a number of iterations and continued to refine the artwork. After talking to a colleague, I realized that the background was too busy. It was drawing the viewer’s attention away from the subject. So, I simplified and removed various elements. The outcome was a field of muted grass and trees, and soft blue sky.

For more interesting blog posts, visit the Blog Archive page.

Emmanuel College Art Classes Interesting And Informative

Emmanuel College Art Classes - here is an example of artwork created during a class exercise. It is a pen and ink, with ink washes portrait of my professor, Michael L. Jacques, MFA.
Emmanuel College Art Classes – here is an example of artwork created during a class exercise. It is a pen and ink, with ink washes portrait of my professor, Michael L. Jacques, MFA.

Emmanuel College Art Classes

I majored in Studio Art at Emmanuel College. Markedly, The Emmanuel College Art Classes I took were interesting and informative. There my main areas of focus were illustration, drawing, sculpture, design and composition, as well as oil painting. Emmanuel is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Near the home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park. About 1919, the college was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. At the present time, it is a private coeducation liberal arts college. Notably the college offers excellent academics and many wonderful student life programs.

Emmanuel College Art Classes With Michael Jacques

Back when I was a student, our professor, Michael L. Jacques, MFA would often have us sketch during class. Frequently these exercises where allowed only various assigned amounts of time to complete. Sometimes we barely had a minute to complete the project. The drawing of the sitting figure shown here was created by dipping a stainless steel ruling pen into India ink to do the sketching, then using brushes India ink washes were applied. This class exercise was done very quickly. This particular piece is of Professor Jacques doing a quick pose reading a book.

First thing to do was to lay down the shapes with a drafting ruling pen which was loaded up with India ink. Afterwards washes were applied to the drawing. A drafting ruling pen used in this manner creates very fluid loose organic lines. Instead of the fine tight lines often associated with pen and ink. This drawing is now in a private collection.

I am very grateful to Michael Jacques. He inspired me, and he is one of the best teachers I have ever had. Not only a great teacher but a gifted artist, as well, he continues to create great art. His work is well known throughout the country, and is featured in many permanent museum collections.

Examples Of Artwork

Visit these pages to view current examples of my artwork including oil paintings, oil pastels, watercolors, and drawings.

Art Classes Are Key To Development And Learning

Art Classes Are An Integral Part Of Learning And Development

Art Classes At The Sisters Of Notre Dame de Namur

Life and Death of A Flower, is a painting I created using opaque watercolors. It was a homework assignment for one of my art classes.
Life and Death of A Flower, is a painting I created using opaque watercolors. It was a homework assignment for one of my art classes.
Africa is a poster featuring a zebra, created with opaque watercolors during art classes at Emmanuel College.
Africa is a poster created with opaque watercolors during art classes at Emmanuel College.

Art is a passion of mine. Art classes and school have been key to fueling that passion. Not just now but for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, on Saturday mornings my mom would take me to art classes held at The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Jeffrey’s Neck Rd., in Ipswich, MA. Art classes were taught by Sister Vincent DePaul.

Looking back on my time there I see the sun pouring into a spacious room filled with long tables. Here there were bustling children busy with their colorful projects. For the most part I made handmade ceramics. The tactile experience of working and shaping clay was very satisfying. The finished pottery was air dried. Next it was fired in a large kiln. There was much anticipation at what the final piece would look like after it had been fired. It is only then that one can see the true color of the glazes. It was always a surprise and a delight.

Art Classes While In Grammar School

Back in grammar school I used to draw on the half sheets of paper that were handed out in math class. I would sell those drawings outside at recess for a few pennies, or give them away to friends. Art classes were always my favorite. When I was in other classes I doodled in my notebook while listening to the lectures.

Art Classes While In High School

Art classes in high school were great, everyone got a chance to try new things. However, at the time we only had small school desks. I think big long tables are much better to work on. Throughout that time I would also work at home on various drawings and paintings. I enjoyed experimenting with many types of media including painting with acrylics and watercolors, and drawing with pencils, and pen and ink. The flower painting on this page is opaque watercolor on paper. I got permission from the local greenhouse to sit and create artwork, and this is what I came up with.

Art Classes In Emmanuel College

When I attended Emmanuel College, I majored in Studio Art. While attending Emmanuel I studied design and composition, illustration, sculpture, drawing, and oil painting. I enjoyed my time there, particularly the classes I took with Sister Vincent DePaul, (the head of the art department at Emmanuel).

Above is another piece I created during this period. Titled “Africa” it was for an assignment to create a poster for a foreign country. As often happens, I chose Africa so that I could feature an animal as the subject of my painting. As many people know, animals are one of my favorite subjects to feature in artwork. This piece was created using opaque watercolors on illustration board, and is in a private collection. After Emmanuel, I took a number of different classes at other schools. Visit my bio page to learn more.

Examples Of Artwork

Visit these pages to view current examples of my artwork oil paintings, oil pastels, watercolors, and drawings.