Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Virginia Landscape in Oil Pastels

Painting a day "Birds and Fences" 18x24" Oil Pastel
I am often asked "What are Oil Pastels"? It always surprises me. Oil Pastels were my introduction to art and to oil painting. They are still the perfect medium for so many styles of painting - from realism to abstract and everything in between. They were a favorite of Picasso, and recently Wolf Kahn has beena champion of them, along with other artists.
In my Virginia landscapes I am particularly enamoured of the changing skies, especially around the Blue Ridge Mountains. With Oil pastels I can capture the light and the cloud formations quickly and easily on location and the have wonderful color studies to create larger works in the studio in Oil , Oil Pastels, and Acrylics.
Here is a link to the short history of Oil Pastels for those interested.
I have always loved Oil Pastels for the ease they afford me to switch between drawing and painting. If my landscape demands a lot of detail ( grasses, leaves. tree silhouettes, etc.) they can be used as a sharp drawing instrument. If I want to blend colors together I can use them as oil paint and mix them on the canvas. With their lipstick texture and their non-drying they are perfect for sgraffito techniques of scratching through for details. They don't have any of the mess of dry ( called "soft") pastels, and they can be used on a variety of surfaces from wood canvas, paper, cloth to metal. Oil pastels can be used with a liquid medium like Turpenoid, linseed oils, or mineral spirits to create transparent washes and used in a watercolor effect.
Collectors are only now beginning to understand and appreciate oil pastels, in part because art consultants, agent and critics have not fully understood or appreciated their versatility or their longevity. But the market for them is growing.
I am a member of the Oil Pastel Society of America. For more information and to see a number of artist who work in the medium check out their web page :
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!