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BlueWolf's Howl

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January 31, 2020

Orange Flower - Oil Pastel

The previous "Corn" oil pastel was on watercolor paper. This next oil pastel was on Mixed Media paper.

The reference photo was by the same photographer (on PMP) - who gave me a like and comment on my corn painting. She has quite a few interesting subjects and textures in her photos. I'm saving some of them for when my skills improve and for other media. I think some would come out better in colored pencil (due to the detail).

I'm much more satisfied with this one right now. I'm finding that I'm noticing where I should blend and where I should leave raw pastel on the paper. The paper seemed to have a bit more tooth than the watercolor paper and I really preferred using it for oil pastels. I have two sets of oil pastels and some colors and some of the "crayons" layered better than others.

Once I get a bit more practiced, I may consider getting some better grade oil pastels. It's not a priority, though. From what I'm seeing, oil pastels are considered a "practice" medium. There are no "professional" oil pastels from what I can tell so far. Cray-pas seems to be one of the higher grade sets and I have those. I would like a larger set to give me a wider range of colors and lessen the need to blend to get the right color.

The same idea applies to soft pastels. If you need to blend 2 or 3 colors to hit the right color, you have fewer layers that you can lay down on the paper. It fills the "tooth" of the paper so the more colors you have, the easier it becomes to create the colors and effects you want. I've promised myself a "Karen Margulis" set of Terry Ludwig pastels for my next "me" present. It's a nice 60 piece set that was selected specifically for doing floral landscapes. They're professional grade and a bit expensive, so I can wait for it to be a special treat. They are not carried in Michael's or even the Blick Art store, so they have to be ordered and shipped.

One of the things I'm struggling with so far is not being able to shade any of my recent drawings. I know it lacks shading - both for texture and cast shadow. This leaves the drawing looking somewhat flat. It's not that I forgot to shade anything. I know it needed shading and I wanted to put shading. However, with the layers I used to get the basic picture down, I had no more tooth left on the paper for a layer of shading. One thing that may "fix" that is to identify and put the shading in as I'm putting the main color and highlights on the paper. I did some of that on the flower and you can see how it came out better than the leaves. Practice, practice, practice.

In contrast, watercolors don't really need the same range of materials. You can blend colors on the palette instead of on the paper. And you can use a few techniques to lighten and lift pigment. And it layers better. However - the tricky part that I find with watercolors is trying to get better detail. I have to practice using different brushes and making sure that areas are completely dry before adding layers and adjacent pigment. The day lily watercolor would have been better if I had remembered to use a small amount of masking fluid for the naughty bits of the flowers. I had a hard time putting that in on top of the paint already on the paper. You can see in the Orange Flower where I planned the middle of the flower a bit better.

Posted by BlueWolf on January 31, 2020 11:10 PM