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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About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Dancing Purple, oil pastel

  1. Exquisite! I can reach into the painting and touch them.

  2. poppytump says:

    Your little flowers ring out Spring for me Mary , can’t wait to see the carpets of bluebells again …
    I love your impressionistic way working with oil pastels .
    And ‘mud’ colours … oh yes I find that the most easy one myself to create in waterclours *wry smile .

    • Mary says:

      Hi Poppy, those bluebells are on their way before you know it you’ll be snapping photographs right and left. Thank you for your generous comments on this painting! I never thought about how easy it would be to create mud with watercolors – probably easier than oil pastels.

  3. Lovely … they look like their floating in the breeze.

  4. raehering says:

    Mary, I love hearing insights into your process – I didn’t know that oil pastels are already mixed! Also, I connected with an artist named Ugo Paradiso. He said he found my music through Mary on Paint My Photo and I figured it must be you! Thank you for passing along my music to him. Now, Ugo is painting several portraits of me with instruments. I’m so glad that this new creative connection was made, thanks to you!

  5. ladyfi says:

    Wow – so beautiful!

  6. ‘I paint with tenacity.’, i love that Mary. and this beautiful, delicate image of flowers
    standing alone is the epitome of beauty and perseverance. just wonderful work!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much. One day I’ll be more satisfied with my flowers, today I continue on a quest to figure out how best to manipulate oil pastels in painting the beauties of nature.

  7. Only tenacity can produce such good work. Thank you, Mary, for sharing with us.

  8. Beautiful piece Mary! and I can relate with you in not giving up until you can master it.. heehee 😀

  9. Painting for Joy says:

    I think this painting is lovely Mary. You handled the subject beautifully and in my opinion every last detail isn’t necessary. I adore impressionistic styles, but as yet haven’t been able to paint that way. (BTW; do you ever dip a brush into a little painting medium to blend your pastels?)

    • Mary says:

      Hi Rhonda, hope you are feeling better. Thanks for your nice comments, I agree about the details I’m less worried today than I used to be – I guess that comes as my confidence grows. Good question on the medium, no I’m not convinced that there isn’t some effect on the painting over the long run – I’ve heard some horror stories on how the oil pastels started to peel. That was enough for me to steer me clear of using them.

  10. sefeniak says:

    Love it! Your tenacity is paying off! Well done. 🙂

  11. Oh, Mary, these flowers are dancing! So beautiful, my dear! 🙂 Happy April! xx

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Marina, I thought they looked like they were dancing too – thus the name. Hope you’re well – Have a wonderful April too!

  12. it´s stunning!!!! since i´m in a cybercafe i have the luxury of seeing this on a big screen and wow! it´s great great work!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Z, you are so nice! I’m smiling as I read where you are finally able to get your internet connection, you adopt to your circumstances so well.

  13. M-R says:

    Just add it to the parcel, OK, Mary …? Might as well wait a bit before sending: I feel there may be more … [grin]

  14. Fabulous! It is so realistic. I think you attained your goal of realism. Very interesting about the OP’s. I look forward to the next two in this series.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Kerry. Oil pastels are fun, but challenging – it’s a learning experience every time I paint with them. I’m looking forward to the next one – just started and hope to post tomorrow. How are you doing with the soft pastels?

  15. Ogee says:

    If I wanted realistic detail…I’d take a photo. Your beautiful paintings are so much more.

  16. Craig says:

    Mary – not only is your technique growing with amazing speed, you are proving most capable in articulating with other artists how to work with the assorted limitations and benefits of a given medium. You are becoming quite professional artist in every sense of the word.

    • Mary says:

      Craig, your generous comments are more than appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to understand what I’m doing – glad you are enjoying the process.

  17. Madhu says:

    Marvelous! Love the blurry backgrounds.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Madhu – I do like playing around with the backgrounds. There are lots of great museums in Paris, hope you get a chance to visit some while you are there.

  18. Francesca says:

    Simply lovely! Absolutely yes to the impressionist style! My favorite!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Francesca – many of my landscapes are in the impressionist style, but I’m thinking my florals might be headed in that direction. I too really enjoy that style.

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