Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner, by John Elliot
Good book, it’s all about oil pastels (OPs)! The decision to paint with OPs was easy, finding a credible resource to give a novice like myself enough information to understand what oil pastels are and how to paint with them, wasn’t.
During my research I came across two highly rated books devoted to oil pastels that received excellent reviews. One is out of print and a rare find, but the other, as mentioned above by John Elliot, is readily available. Mr. Elliot wrote his book in 2002. The information is relevant today to both the beginner artist, as well as veteran Oil Pastelists.
The book covers a range of topics, it’s chapters: materials, still life, landscape, faces and figures, wash techniques using solvent, mixed media – oil pastel plus, and printmaking using oil pastel with solvent. The two chapters that I found most helpful were the wash techniques and mixed media.
The reason why I like the book is that Mr. Elliot, an accomplished artist himself, takes the mystery away that surrounds oil pastels making them less intimidating. Topics and techniques are explained with examples so the reader can understand what’s being described and follow-along. The reader is taught how to manipulate and move OPs around the surface, and he explains how to mix/blend them with other medium (like water soluble oils, or turpentine) for a more fluid flow.
Below is a project study I did after reading the book (vase with flowers – it’s on the books’ front cover).
If you’re looking for a discussion around the theory of color this isn’t the one. On the other hand, if you want to learn about oil pastels and how to get them to perform beyond just being a painting stick, than this book may be for you.