How to Work With Oil Pastels

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When working with oil pastels, experiment by blending different colors together, using your fingers to blend the medium and incorporating drawing techniques into the piece. Discover the versatility of oil pastels with creative tips from an art instructor in this free video on using oil pastels.

Part of the Video Series: Oil Pastel Techniques
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Video Transcript

I wanted to show you about how to work with oil pastels. Oil pastels are a dry form of painting, and it is something that can be a very inexpensive art form. Or at the other end there is very high quality oil pastels so you can get very rich colors almost as you do in oil painting. So I wanted to introduce you to some of the materials, and some of the papers you can use for painting with pastels. This is for working with children we have very simple oil pastels that are non-toxic. They can be blended easily, and it is a great introduction for children to learn about painting and blending color. And in contrast we have very find quality oil pastels here, which come in small form or the jumbo stick for covering large areas of color. There are, when you touch them you will feel these are drier, the scholastic pastels are drier, the finer quality more buttery texture for more blendability, and the quality of the pigment is much richer, and the color results are also much richer. So other things you want to think about for oil pastel are what materials you use. It is very versatile you can use it on construction paper, heavier paper, and there are special pastel papers. Construction paper is a nice for children or for beginning work if you are just testing. But for long term projects you don't want to use it, because over time it will disintegrate. So you want to try to find papers with that are acid free for a long term projects or projects you will want to give in your work. This is bristol board very simple form of paper that will work well. It is very smooth, but you can blend on it. And this is pastel paper for oil pastel or for chalk pastel. It has a little tooth or bumpiness to it. And even stiffer than that, and rougher than that is something called pastel card, which almost feels like sandpaper. It has a lot of tooth, and will hold quite a bit of the pastel color. Other tools that you need for pastel painting are rags, because you want to keep your pastels clean as you work with them. As you are blending colors the colors will come on the ends so you always want to make sure that your materials are clean. These are a useful tool for pastel painting they are called blenders or stumps. And it is for getting into the small detail for blending color or for sharpening the edges. When you are working with pastel I want to show you a little bit how the paper will behave. So let's use the bristol paper, and things you want to look for how to make pastel look more like a painting instead of what usually begins looking like a coloring project. So if I take the children's pastels, and I start to fill in an area you will see that it looks a lot like crayon when you begin. If I draw for example a leaf, and I may fill it in. It may start out looking just like crayon. But the goal with the pastel painting is to develop it, layer it, and make it rich intense color. So usually you would find a color that is a little bit lighter, and add to it until the white of the paper will disappear. This can be done by pressing down with the pastel, it can be done by rubbing with your fingers. And some artist like to use turpentine on a brush to blend the color. You can see with this type of paper it is streaky, because the paper is more smooth. So you may have to work harder to build it up. Now let's try some of the heavier artist oil pastel on top, and see what it can do for the color. You will notice that it is thicker, it tends to cover better, and you get just a richer buttery effect. And you will notice that although I am working with green I am trying to find a variety of green so this looks more like a painting with rich tones, and instead of just color with an outline trying to develop some lights and darks.


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