Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oil pastels and watercolor pencils

Gosh I have been blogging a lot. I am bubbling with creative impulse and I want to capture the details so I can can conjure it up the next time I can only see gray. So today the kids and I played with a bunch of different stuff. I selected Paulette Insall's piece Blessings Abound to copy. Paulette's work is so amazing and each time I try to replicate her beautiful images I learn so much.

I started out using oil pastels on watercolor paper. This was my first time doing a face with pastels and I was completely clueless about the properties I'd be working with. I wasn't very far into things when I realized that outlining the sketch in black pastel was a BIG mistake. Every time I tried to fill in, the black smeared and distorted the color. I only had 12 pastel sticks to work with so I was relying entirely on blending to achieve the angelic coloration of the women's face. Oil pastels seem to be limited in their blending capacity. After a while the waxiness started to clump and I found I had very little control over the distribution. In the end, I decided to shade in the background with pencils rather than pastels for fear that the colors would smear into one another. It was a great learning experience but the picture isn't a very good replica. The poor woman looks like she has the plague.
Later in the day, the kids wanted to do some painting so I gesso-ed a page in my art journal and opened a new package of water color pencils. These were not high end pencils - I got 16 for less than $5 but the guy at the store said they were OK. There wasn't a skin tone or pale pink in the package but I was able to get them a la carte. This was my very first time working with watercolor pencils so I was a little hesitant to get started. What if I did it wrong? There was my committee holding me back again.

I went light on the shading at first not knowing what to expect. When I brushed over with water the result was sort of sudsy and erratic. But when I pressed hard on the pencils, then added water, the result was much better. I got rich colors and a thick consistency. The lighter shades were more challenging because it was difficult to keep the tones even, but I imagine I will get the hang of it with practice. I wasn't thrilled with the end result on this project either (see up top)- this time she looks like she is retaining water. I am, however, excited about working with the watercolor pencils -I can't wait until I have time to play again.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Jilliene! Love love love!!! (And geez, thanks for introducing me to yet another artist I LOVE and will surely spend money on!) :) Keep the artwork coming, I love it! :)