If I don’t try new techniques I’ll never know how far I can push oil pastels. So yesterday and today I’ve been playing with a complex scene (pine needles, pine cones and snow) to see the effects I can get with scraping through an acrylic underpainting (that was dry). Scraping through oil pastels is a great technique, but I thought I would play a bit to see what happens when it’s done through acrylic. Okay it wasn’t successful, but a few lessons were learned . . .
My thought was I could scrape through paint to create illusion of pine needles – here is the process I used:
- Used a 7×5 watercolor paper (no gesso used).
- Painted underpainting - a combination of: gray background upper-right, sap green on the rest of the surface (where I planned for pine needles), and finally white acrylic paint over the entire surface covering the green (except for the gray – upper right area).
- After underpainting dried I attempted to scrape out pine needles through the white acrylic paint. Didn’t work as acrylic dries rock-solid hard and to scrape out (had to use a razor blade) tore right into the paper and I immediately abandoned the planned strategy. Bad idea – good thing this wasn’t a serious attempt.
- Laid down oil pastels painting the snowy scene.
- I made new pine needle marks (laying down a bit of oil pastels then using a clay shaper I spread the OPs out to create thin pine needles – worked beautifully).
What would I do differently?
- Use at least 10×8 surface – watercolor or pastel paper (7×5 was much too small for developing snow with pine needles and pine cones - snow alone would be fine at 7×5 size).
- Develop acrylic underpainting as normally done.
- Paint the scene with oil pastels.
- Scrape through oil pastel (it never dries) to create thin pine needles peeking through the snow.
In a future post I’ll do an 8×10 of the same scene and scrape through the oil pastel to show how easy it is to create this effect. For now here is Pine Needles and Pine Cones,