An Online Artist's Coop for Artists who Paint on Location
The personal favourite medium is chosen for what we can achieve, some can work detail in oil far better than pastel, or visa versa, some preferring the lovely quality of watercolour ‘accident’. Pastels are great for outdoor work, especially loved for vibrant colour without mixing on palette, so sticks are first arranged in 4-6 tones you are working, then colour and temperature and painted direct on support. Of course if the traditional chalks are preferred then stay with those, after all Degas never complained with the dusty beauties and we know they can achieve magnificence.
But if you ever want to try a different pastel to the traditional hard chalk, highly underrated to her chalky ‘cousin’ try the buttery ‘lipstick’ feel of oil pastel, they are better for layering, are more open for experiment in differing techniques; scraping back and defining detail (exposing darker first layer underneath) with scalpel or razor blade, and they can be cut easier without breaking for finer linework. I prepare boards as most do for oil with a wash of light medium tone french ultramarine and raw sienna, sometimes with a sand or pumice base or a lively texture can be quickly achieved in one stroke by placing a rough surface design underneath paper support rather than making each mark. Oil pastel is great like chalks over watercolour, but these over just about any material, even dry oil paint, wonderful base for continuing in (washes with turps) or full on oil paint, use with oily chinagraph pencils for rough in. Although they need framed glass, if accidentally touched or rubbed they are not unduly damaged as chalks are. As with oil paint, fat over lean, so apply (darker) harder oil pastels (any brand) first working to (lighter) softer (brands such as Neopastel and the wonderful Picasso pioneered Sennelier brand. Almost all who try oil pastels never tier of them; those who are discouraged with them only try the harder cheaper brands. Also note oil pastels are not oil bars – oil bars are fully wrapped oil paint in stick form, they dry out and do not have the beautiful slippery qualities of oil pastel. I do not promote or sell any art material just wanted to share with my fellow plein air artists a medium that perhaps some may not have thought appealing to try for a change. I collect many brands, Portfolio brand are a creamy but cheap alternative they don’t have huge range. But the Sennelier brand oil pastels are a gem (see link below). Happy painting ;)