Monday, August 4

So What Is Oil Pastel?

The Weekly Poll for this week was posted on Friday, and asks ‘what subjects do you like to draw or paint?’ Please take a moment to vote and let us know. For baby boomers or new retirees who aspire to be artists, answer this question, and maybe it will help you discover the kind of art you want to do. I hope you are experiencing the freedom in retirement of doing what you like when you please.

Links We Hope you Like, Too

Don’t forget to check out the links in the right-hand column. In the blogosphere, this is called a BlogRoll, but we’re just calling Links We Hope You Like, Too. There’ll be new additions from time to time as we find ones that are informative and/or artful. If you have any candidates to suggest, just leave a comment for consideration. Maybe some blogger will put a link to Orbisplanis on his or her site?

Make Orbisplanis One of Your “Favorites”

Just a friendly reminder. Up there on your browser bar, there’s the icon you use to bookmark your favorite sites so you can find them easily. You know you want to—go on and make us a Favorite (thank you).

I Can't Believe I Found These Oil Pastels…

If you’ve been a viewer for a while (and I hope so), you’ve heard me talk about how I got back into my interest in art by sketching and drawing with graphite pencils. So last year, I had begun drawing and sketching, and time is rolling along, and I'm a happy camper with my drawing pencils and pens and charcoal.

Then one day…and I can’t remember exactly what I was doing, but way back in a drawer, I found this old box that probably hadn’t been opened since the Carter administration. The box label read: oil pastels-set of 12 artists’ size pastels-brilliant color. What in the world was this? Like an old Rolodex, my mind flipped through virtual card after virtual card trying to remember what these were, and why I had them in the first place. Hmm, oil pastel, what is that? I’m thinking to myself--I think I know what pastels are, a little like chalk you draw with, right, and they come in those pastel colors. At some point in time, I got a box of oil pastels, but I can't remember why or when (I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not that old.)

I opened the box and found what looked like a tired old set of crayons with the wrappers all peeled back or missing. I picked one up, and it felt similar to what I remembered a crayon felt like except not quite. It didn’t feel as waxy as a crayon, and it was a little tacky to the touch, of course, that could be because of age.

So what is oil pastel? Well, Britannica (remember Britannica Encyclopedia, well they’re online now, of course) says: oil pastels are pigments ground in mastic with oil of turpentine, spermaceti (I had to look this one up—it’s a wax extracted from whale oil, who knew?), and poppy oil. They are similar to other pastels but are already fixed and harder, producing a permanent, waxy finish.

In an earlier blog, I said how you should look around the house to see what old art supplies you may have lying around. That’s exactly what happened here—I happened to find this old box of oil pastels, and it set me off in a new direction. I’ll tell you about that in the next few blogs. Today's graphic at the top of the blog is my old set of oil pastels.

In the Studio

My next project is underway. It’s an acrylic on stretched canvas (20 x 16in/41 x 51 cm), one of my favorite supports. I’ll do a future blog or two on what a support is, but for now, let’s just say it’s what you’re painting (or drawing) on. The subject is a landscape with a full moon and mountains. I’m looking forward to starting it this afternoon in my “studio,” such as it is.

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