Oil Pastel Paintings
Though oil pastel has ’oil’ in its name, this medium is absolutely different to oil paint and, basically, any other paint. Oil pastel is something between pastels and wax crayons. It consists of non-drying oil, colour pigment and wax binder which make it not ’soft’. This medium helps to get a hard edge, and the painting often looks less powdery.
Brief history of a media
The oil pastel was founded in Japan in 1924 thanks to little educational reform. In that time at schools children had to draw black and white ideograms, but Japanese artist Kanae Yamamoto offered an alternative way. He proposed to let children freely draw whatever they want involving as much colour as possible.
Oil pastel was an improvement of wax crayon that couldn’t offer a wide choice of bright colours and couldn’t be used for impasto technique. The first oil pastel was comparatively cheap so even youngest artists could afford it and start expressing themselves through painting.
The invention had a commercial success and was produced in many countries. Pablo Picasso managed to persuade a French manufacturer of premium quality art products to start making oil pastel. The product had a superior quality and was used for creating high quality works by professional artists.
Use of oil pastel and popular drawing techniques
Oil pastel is often called a fast medium as it is easy to work with and it is simple to carry. Many artists use them for sketching, but this medium is suitable for ’serious’ painting.
Artists can use oil pastel dry. The medium allows to apply heavy build-ups and get an impasto effect or, by adding vegetable oil or solvent and some brush work remain an oil or other paint work. The alternative to this method is to oil surface and apply paint on it.
As a surface most of the artists use paper, and manufacturers offer special oil pastel paper. But this medium can be used with wood, canvas, MDF, glass and metal as well. A fixative must be applied on a ready painting as oil never dries completely and the images can be damaged.
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