WIP, Tulip Stems – oil pastel

I thought I’d share my latest work-in-process (WIP) called, Tulip Stems, in oil pastels.  This painting will probably take three or four more days, so I’ll try to get one or two more updates before I post the final.

There are several reasons for this particular oil pastel being painted on a 12×16 surface.   First, I am experimenting with a different larger-sized surface, it’s a light blue pre-tinted pastel paper (normally used for soft pastels) that won’t allow for a wet underpainting of any kind and it’s semi-textured, without a sandy-grit surface.  This means the oil pastel is applied directly onto the paper, the number of layers will be limited because of the light texturing and will make spreading the OPs more difficult and challenging.  Second, I wanted to try my hand at a larger floral without a lot of complexity, I haven’t painted flowers in 12×16 size before so this is my second challenge.

I’ve attached three images.  The first image is my sketch of the still life done in white pencil so it blends into the oil pastel as the OPs are applied:

Tulip Stems 1


The second image shows the initial background layers (~ 4 layers) of oil pastels have been applied so far.  The background for this piece is a cloth – so more detail will be applied once the flowers are completed.  Because it’s a no-grit surface it’s very difficult to spread the OPs – about three hours of work on this stage.  What you see doesn’t show too much different from the tinted paper, but it actually is and will show itself as the WIP progresses.  The three hours was because there’s no grit to grab the oil pastel:

Tulip Stems 2


The third image shows the first tulip stem and leaves being worked on.  This first stem is my basis for color and technique for all the rest of the stems:

Tulip Stems 3


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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21 Responses to WIP, Tulip Stems – oil pastel

  1. Pingback: Orange Tulips, oil pastel | Oil Pastels by Mary

  2. Petronette says:

    I like it, that you show us, your work in progress.

  3. Mary – this will be worth that effort for sure. Your composition is wonderful. The tulips are not only swaying but in tune with each other.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much! The blue background is a piece of cloth that will be finished once the tulips are painted ~ the color of the tulips will surprise everyone.

  4. It’s so cool to see how your paintings develop!! I *love* tulips, and it’s just fantastic how the objects come to life in your paintings. 🙂 I hope you’ll keep posting the progress??

    • Mary says:

      Hi Calee, thank you so much! I’ll keep posting – I’ve had to set the painting aside to give it a rest and hopefully can pick it back up today to work on it.

  5. I love how well you explain the process and the reasons behind your choices. I noticed you said this was a challenge, but you make it seems so easy, even I want to get my hands on those OPs. That leave is coming out of the paper!!! I can almost touch it! Love it.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Patricia, you are so gracious – thank you very much! For a large part of this painting I’m Senneliers Oil Pastels that are as creamy as butter for the first several layers – it’s about the only way I can get OP down because there is nothing for the OP to grip onto. Thanks so much about the leave – I might have to adjust it, but maybe I won’t and we’ll have a “leaf popping” session, LOL!

  6. Healthy A-Z says:

    The first image to the third image is remarkable. It’s fun watching you create!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Cyndi! Very nice of you – this one is both interesting and frustrating, but I’m looking forward to seeing what will come of it.

  7. Thank you Mary! It is illuminating for me to see your masterful OP process. Looking forward to the next stage and or finish!.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Elena, thanks very much – the process is a little different with this piece. So when I have one with an underpainting wash I’ll be sure to show that as well. You’re kind and I appreciate it!

  8. artscottnet says:

    There is nothing more exciting to me than a new experiment! Thank you for sharing your progress; It’s like the opening chapter to a wonderful adventure story, the kind where you know you’re not going to be able to put it down. You set an awesome example for trying new things! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Scott, thank you for your comments. Experiments are fun to do, right? I’m coming to conclusions very quickly about using this paper for larger-sized paintings. I do like using this particular paper for up to 8×10, but beyond that it’s a real question.

  9. i love seeing the flowers take form! thanks for the peek!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you! It’s so tough moving the OPs around I almost called it in yesterday morning. But I hate giving up on a piece, so I’m sticking with it to see what comes of this.

      • oh i know that feeling.. it’s a heavy weight of thinking, ‘i’ve invested all of this time, and is it really worth spending more or do i call this an exercise and move on?’ then i think, ah, give it fifteen or so more minutes, and later i’m happy that i stuck with it.

        or not!

        • Mary says:

          LOL you are so right! Although for all the times that I felt like walking away from my paintings while in process, I only have two set aside – seriously. I hate giving up, I guess that’s the tenacity in me. It’s probably because I don’t like going through the “ugly” stage and then when it comes together, oh yeah here comes the endorphin rush!

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