Plein Air Monday
This past week we went to a beautiful private home on Lake Winnispesaukee. We have had gorgeous weather every Monday morning, and today was no exception. Like last week, we had an abundance of lake views and flowers. I chose both. I've had some oil pastels sitting in a drawer that haven't seen much use. Some are cheap Craypas but some are lovely buttery Holbein sticks. Wish I had more of those. I brought a heather grey Canson paper to work on.
I also have a set from my childhood that are over forty years old!!! (You notice they weren't used much.) They still work fine though they are harder than the newer ones, probably drying up with age, but I'm sure they were also cheap to begin with. I brought them along because, like regular pastels or colored pencils, it's easier to layer buttery sticks over the harder ones. Check out those colors! I was happy to have all those greens. But really? Only four blues? One orange? No purples? And WHAT is with all those yellows? Regardless, it's still fun to have an old supply that I obviously treasured as a child.
A few years back I took an oil pastel class with Cam Sinclair at Artistic Roots. Cam does amazing stuff with oil pastels. His oil pastel paintings are not dissimilar to an impressionist painting. You have to constantly have a sharp edge when working his way.
This is a small painting I did in his class of a photo I took in Greece.
Back to Lake Winnipesaukee. I did not finish my painting on site but I blocked it in with enough information to finish at home. I have to say the scan looks better than the original. While working with the pastels, it felt like coloring with crayons. Ugh.
I lived with it at home for a few days before attempting to finish it. The tooth of the paper was nearly filled when I resumed working, so I tried a trick that I used on the painting above (I did not learn this from Cam. I suspect he doesn't need this trick. It's something I found on the internet.)
I gave it a coat of Matte Medium. Yup! You can do that with oil pastel provided they are not the water-soluble variety. Here you can see the shine while it is still wet, which dries matte. It buckled slightly but smoothed out when dry. After that you can go back and add more layers without worrying about mixing with the layers beneath.
Before I put on the medium, I cleared the painting of the crayon crumbs. Using a painting knife, gently (don't scrape) lift the crumbs off. Try not to drag them into another color. If you have any mishaps, you can usually scrape them off and touch up.
And here it is finished. This is a great technique for filling in the spots of paper left showing without pressing too hard on the paper.