Royal Elegance, oil pastel


Moving right along, the second painting in my purple flower series is finished.  I swear it took me longer to photograph the piece, then actually paint it (lol).

I’ve looked for a long time to paint a flower that exudes a deep, rich elegance and when I saw a photograph of a purple Clematis by my friend, Nicola – photographer with pmp, I knew this would be the one.  I love low-value purples and this would let me stretch the colors in lots of neat ways.

This oil pastel (5×7) was painted on Mi-Teintes cream-colored pastel paper.  For the darks indigo blue, prussian blue, violet and magenta were used, they seemed to give me the drama that I was looking for.  Clay shapers (like liner brushes) were my tools of choice to get into the tight spaces and for shaping the petals.

It’s Thursday and I’ve got to get drawing, didn’t want the day to get by me without finishing this piece.

Royal Elegance

Posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments

Dancing Purple, oil pastel


I paint with tenacity.  What that means to me is I won’t give up on learning how to paint a subject that gives me the toughest of challenges.  I have a need to conquer and here is my nemesis, painting a group of flowers.  Tiny realistic details are difficult to achieve with oil pastels when a painting is smaller than 11×14.  The question for me, do I go loose and painterly or tough it out get every detail and be a realist painter.  For me an impressionist style seems to be emerging in my works and I’m finding this interesting.

Oil pastels don’t dry, while they may slightly harden the OPs will never become bone dry – so it doesn’t take much to smear and create mud (as soon as the temperature rises they start to melt in my hands).   Oil pastels come in many colors, the colors are already mixed (unlike other mediums), this way less blending takes place and for many Oil Pastelists more pure colors emerge in their works.  One problem with pre-mixed colors you don’t always get what you might want for a scene, and then some blending has to take place for colors like dark greens or pale hues (purples, peaches) and you run the chance of creating mud.

Some Oil Pastelists use solvents with oil pastels to mix color combinations, thin the OPs either for making smooth brush strokes, or creating a glaze like appearance depending on the amount of solvent used.  As a personal choice, I don’t use solvents with my paintings because I haven’t read any good conclusions on the effects to a painting years later if solvents were used.

I’m working on three purple flower paintings.  The first completed is called, “Dancing Purple” (12×9) is on Canson Mi-Teintes cream tinted pastel paper.

Dancing Purple

Reference image was from Paul Sherman, a fabulous photographer from pmp.

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Thursday’s Drawing, Sorrow #8


Thursday’s here and I have to say it’s a darn good feeling to finally see the sun peeking through and temps reaching into the 80′s – nothing like it.

Drawing is very satisfying to me, I find it relaxing and allows me time to think about life and what’s going on.  But progress on Sorrow was slow today, definitely not as much as I would have liked.  I had to slow down and take time to examine the statue’s back, the flow of fabric, the lights/darks that are normal aspects to fabric folds, and finally the patina – nature’s wear and tear on this beautiful structure.

The drawing (12×9) is being done on Strathmore paper using graphite pencils:  4H, 2H, HB, B, 2B and a bit of 6B.  Finally I began to draw in some of the prominent patina that gives the statue character, guess I wanted to get a feel for it, so if you look closely on the right-hand side you’ll start to see the stains of rain.  Next week I plan to finish her back and where much of the fabric gathers at her knee, that will leave me in a good place to begin drawing her headdress.

Have a great weekend, don’t forget to smell the roses ~

Sorrow #8

Sorrow #8

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Freshness of Spring, oil pastel


Spring always inspires, right?  So I thought why not do one last floral to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

My friend, Nicola of pmp (a wonderful artist and photographer) recently took a photograph of a vase filled with daffodils.  Immediately I saw the painting – by adding a window and billowing curtain, a tabletop and table leg, and texturing the back wall it came together in a nice way.

Freshness of Spring is an oil pastel (14×11) that was painted on a gesso prepared hardboard with mostly Sennelier and Holbeins oil pastels – love them both and were perfect for this piece.  A great learning piece with many first time painting experiences: a table leg, window and billowing curtain.  The daffodils were a little difficult to paint as they were 95% varying shades of yellow and Senneliers are a bit messy, so I decided to do this piece with a more painterly feel.

I hope you have a wonderful Spring as we say goodbye to “Ole Man Winter!”

Freshness of Spring

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Thursdays Drawing – Sorrow #7


As I worked steadily on Thursday’s Drawing, I was amazed to realize that this week is almost over.  The floral painting that I’ve been working on, well I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day ~ yep, it’s been that interesting.

Today the portion of the fabric that’s wrapped around her upper body was started.  This is an interesting part of the fabric because it’s  draped side-ways, but the fabric fibers flow downward ~ so the foundation was drawn and then when the back and side are worked on the flow of fabric and fibers will become more clear.

I think of the heaviness of the fabric as it hangs off her body and wonder how she manages the burden of the load - it becomes a part of her.   She doesn’t notice as she hangs her head in sorrow.

Sorrow #7

Sorrow #7

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 4 Comments

Tex Mex, oil pastel


A few more still life paintings to complete and then I’ll be moving on to my favorite subject, landscapes.

I was in the mood to paint a bright scene that mimics a bit of the rough Tex Mex’s we have in Texas – where the establishments might look a bit worn, but the food is the best!  This oil pastel (8×6) was a combination of elements in three photographs and my imagination, the rough textured back wall resembles walls that are often found in old Tex Mex restaurants.  It was painted on textured cardstock paper.  Sorry my hand shock some when taking the photograph, the painting is a bit crisper than what’s showing here.

Hope you are having a great day – I’m going out to tend to the gardens today, things have been a bit neglected because of the cold temps we’ve had this winter and I can’t put off cleaning the beds.

Tex Mex

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Sunrise Brilliance, drawing


My first charcoal landscape drawing that was done for a monthly challenge.  The theme was to illustrate dramatic light.

This 8×10 drawing was done with charcoal (HB, B, 3B) and white charcoal on Strathmore paper.  As I assess the finished drawing, I learned a big lesson – before applying the charcoal be sure each position of subjects (can’t erase it) I should have stood back to check the sketched scene as a first step.  So what caught my eye?  The swan should have been about 3/4″ higher into the water as oppose to being in line with the vegetation – would have given the scene better balance.

Have a great weekend, hope to catch up on everyone’s posts later today.

Sunrise Brilliance

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Thursdays Drawing, Sorrow – #6


How is it that time moves so quickly?  My half-hour came and went today in a flash, but was able to make good progress and am ready for stage 2.

Today’s drawing (12×9, Strathmore Vellum Paper) time saw the entire bottom foreground portion of the fabric completed using 4H, 2H, HB, B, 2B and 3B, at least for now as touchups will happen throughout. 

I was really feeling the ebb n’ flow of the heavy fabric, silky-smooth and the wear n’ tear by weather elements – so it is we’ll keep the raw and naturally produced patina covering her cement skin.  The patina adds to her character, as many have stated.  Oh the emotion – the position, tears and hands, each keep her in prayer – how deeply she must feel.

Sorrow #6

Sorrow #6

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Lily in the Dark, oil pastel


My latest painting provided one of those experiences that I’ve written about earlier – what I call the “Endorphin Rush,” http://oilpastelsbymary.com/2013/01/31/ever-feel-runners-high-when-youre-creating/.   It hit while I was painting the first flower petal in this piece – can explain it, but I was definitely in the zone.  I know you guys know what I mean.

Lily in the Dark, an oil pastel (12×9) was painted on Mi-Teintes black tinted pastel paper giving the piece underlying dark tones that I love with still life paintings and suited this painting perfectly.  An objective I had with this piece was to use edges to define the piece.

Lily in the Dark

Viacheslav, a photographer from pmp, provided an image used as a reference.  The image was reversed, overall colors changed and dead leaves were added.

Posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings | 43 Comments

Thursdays Drawing – Sorrow #5


Thursday, my drawing day for 1/2 hour, had me continuing on with Sorrow.

Today I made an important decision on how to move forward with this piece.  Sorrow, for those that don’t know, is a drawing of a statue that shows all the characteristics of someone’s deep pain as they bow their face in pain and prayer.   The statute is outside and exhibits signs of being exposed to all kinds of weather.  There were two directions I could go with this drawing, 1) I imagined the statute as sandblasted (years of grit and grim that has accumulated wash away) and drawn as gleaming white, or 2)  leave what I call “elements of character,” the marks of what she has endured over her lifetime.

The decision – draw the essence (to a point) that shows her fight with what life has thrown her way:  sun, rain, snow and ice.  But really though, don’t you agree that these marks show her strength and tells her story.  Isn’t that the way life is for us, we wear the marks of our life – they define us and at times tell our story.

Sorrow will be showing her markings, characters of life – after all they are what brings us to feel the depth of her pain and sorrow.  Today I used graphite pencils 4H, 2H, HB, B and 2B.

Sorrow #5

Sorrow #5

 

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 26 Comments