Taking a break from my painting to answer some really great questions I received from a fellow artist about oil pastel. If you are a subscriber, you may already be familiar with these two slideshows... but since there is no audio, it may be hard to tell what products I use and why. So thank you Diane Fairfield for your great questions! I post my answers for all to see!
For Slideshow Click Here.
- What is the support you use? My first choice is Ampersand Hardboard, or equivalent. It is smooth and archival and makes it "EASY" to frame. Wood doesn't buckle :). My second choice is bristol board 3ply or thicker. Easier to custom make your own size, but harder to wrestle with the framing process.
- What is the large can of some kind of reddish paint you use as a ground? Daniel Smith Acrylic Gesso Venetian Red. And to answer your next question, I mix the pumice powder into the gesso to create a tooth for the pastel to grab. It's fantastic! The surface is like fine grit sand paper. You have to play with the mixture, I am not very precise with measuring it out or anything.
- What do you do with the pumice powder? See above.
- I like the impasto texture you create. What do you do about getting it to dry? You are right. Oil pastels never dry. I use Sennelier brand oil pastels. Rich and buttery. They are wax based and very very heavily pigmented. With all that said, pastels DO dry to a certain extent. After about 2-3 days Sennelier's become more rigid on the surface... they kind of "set" so to speak. All that wet buttery feel becomes a bit less and the surface turns into more of a beeswax consistency.
- It is my understanding that oil pastels never do really dry and therefore need to be framed under glass. Is that your experience? Yes. It is imperative that oil pastels remain protected. Some artists like to spray varnish their finished pieces. Sennelier makes an aerosol spray that is pretty good. BUT I just don't like the results myself. So I frame under glass. Has a contemporary feel for my work anyway... I have a couple really great solutions for framing and matting oil pastels. Because I favor a wood substrate, I made a slideshow about that process too. It shows how you can "nestle" your finished piece in a hole you cut out of foam core, then mat the whole thing and viola! You can watch it by clicking the link below this next picture...
Follow me on Facebook to witness more of Jen Phillips goin' improve with her one liners.