Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner, book review

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.

Vase of Flowers

Vase of Flowers

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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2 Responses to Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner, book review

  1. Fiona Jack says:

    Mary, I happened upon your website and must say your modesty and lovely paintings have greatly enriched my pursuit of and quickened my interest in oil pastels. Unfortunately it is very difficult to purchase the John Elliott book here in Canada. If I order from the States I pay twice as much as the book for transportation costs and if I order from Canada (you are going to love this) it is between $300.00 and $600.00. Thank God there are people like you and the members of Wet Canvas who so readily share their experience.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Fiona, I can’t tell you how much your comment meant to me. Thank you very much. There is a wonderful Oil Pastelist in Canada, Wendy Manning – she has a website if you want to see her work, it’s gorgeous. She is also a Moderator for WetCanvas. I hope you are a member of WetCanvas, if not please join it’s free and offers so much for artists (no matter what the medium). We all learn from each other, right? WetCanvas site and members have been of tremendous value to my learning quest. Would love to have you stop by at WetCanvas, of course the oil pastel forum so we can enjoy your paintings and learn from each other. Thank you again, I really appreciated your post.

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