My Oil Pastel Tools for Painting

Painting tools used for oil pastels (OPs) come in a variety of forms, sometimes unconventional, it’s a personal preference of the artist. There are a wide variety of tools that OP artists use like their fingers, paper tortilliums, or at times paint brushes. It depends on how they want the paint to perform and what look they’re after.

The image below contains many of the tools I use – this post is not meant to go into OP painting techniques.  OP Artists may use different tools from the ones described below. That’s why I love painting with OPs, it allows for an individualistic way to express yourself. Below is a reference to my tools and how I use them:

1. Paint Brush:  Paint brushes are used if I apply a solvent to move oil pastel around my painting surface.

2. Paint Knife: I have several different shapes and sizes. The knife allows me to scrap paint off the surface, or apply paint in a thick layer, and sometimes I use it to scratch lines or forms into the painted surface.

3. Paper Tortillium: These are made from tightly rolled-up paper and come in a variety of sizes. I use them to move paint around the surface or to paint in tight spots.

4. Kemper Wipeout Tool: I love using this for painting ultra thin lines like cracks on rocks and boulders.

5. Clay Shapers: These are great tools for moving OP around the surface, to move paint right up to an edge of a subject in your painting so an edge isn’t disturbed, or I use the shapers to make a variety of lines in the paint.

6. Foam Insulation Wrap for Piping: I know this sounds crazy, but I saw several soft pastel artists refer to this for brushing their pastel dust around and I thought why not try it with oil pastels. I take a a full length foam wrap and cut it into 1″ pieces.  I use the outside to spread the paint around large surfaces – this makes the painting process so much easier (especially on my fingers). If you use the inside of the foam wrap it will leave lots of bits n’ pieces on the painting.  For instance I’ll use the foam for painting large vast areas of water in my seascapes.

7. Fingers: Speaking of which, you’ll notice no fingers in the image! I still use my fingers for moving paint around, but less so since I started using foam insulation. Many OP artists use their fingers and end up with very sore finger tips.

Are you surprised by any of the tools mentioned above?


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Oil Pastel Tools for Painting

  1. Mary says:

    Thank you so much Timethief, appreciate your comment!

    I should also mention that some artist use colour shapers to do the same thing as clay shapers. Colour shapers are made from softer material and don’t hold up to the abuse it suffers when pushing the oil pastel around.

  2. timethief says:

    I’m an oil pastel lover. What a great tip this one is > Foam Insulation Wrap for Piping. Thanks so much for sharing it.

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