Lily of the Valley, oil pastel

 “You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat.” Pierre Auguste Renoir

Lily of the Valley, an oil pastel (10×8) was painted on black Mi-Teintes pastel paper with Sennlier, Mungyo-Gallery and Holbein brand oil pastels.  Tools used were my fingers for spreading the paint and a razor blade for special effects.

I used to struggled getting a rich dark background to show on black paper, then I made a little discovery – begin lightly coating the background with Senneliers Mars black pastel – the OPs has an oily feel to it and is a wonderful rich black.  From there you apply/layer whatever background colors you want to use – the Sennelier black underneath gives a nice foundation to mix with top colors.  In this case Indio Blue and Magenta were used to get a rich and very dark feel to the background, although I’m not too sure the photograph has picked up the colors all that well.

Thank you for checking in – hope you enjoy this special bunch celebrating summertime.  Click onto the image for a larger view ~

Lily of the Valley




About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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94 Responses to Lily of the Valley, oil pastel

  1. Love your composition and dark background here!

  2. Love it love it love it! This is one of my favorites of yours. Quietly magnificent. ~Rita

  3. lesliepaints says:

    I have always marveled at your darks, Mary. They are superb!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Leslie – the darks gave the lily just the right contrast to showcase the flower in this piece. Thanks for your compliment and noticing.

  4. Amy says:

    The rich and very dark background is great! Beautifully done, Mary! 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    Oh this a SUCH glowing canvas Mary ! Wonderful velvety richness in your colours …and the scent from those little bells is gorgeous 🙂

  6. Another fabulous quote, and I do LOVE this image….very beautiful Janet:)

    • Mary says:

      Happy to see you Janet – glad you are back. The quote is pretty cool and if it isn’t true! Thank you so much for your lovely feedback, you know I always appreciate your encouragement and support – hope you have a lovely week ahead.

  7. wildsherkin says:

    Mary, this is absolutely beautiful. I have been following you from a quiet distance but feel the need to say this!

  8. Lovely. A bit of time held delicately in paint.

  9. Jess says:

    The background is gorgeous! Lovely contrast to the cream colored flowers.

  10. Lovely work, Mary. I particularly like the vase.

  11. violet says:

    So beautiful! Loooooooove it dear Mary❤️❤️❤️

  12. I of July says:

    professional and eye pleasing Mary, as always!

  13. dsaquarelles says:

    a marvelous blue on the black! it’s like velvet!

  14. I love everything about this – the flowers, the dark background, the mason-type jar as vase…

    This piece is one of my favourites.

  15. mihrank says:

    beautiful and such elegant…

  16. How beautifully it stands out in this rich background! 🙂

  17. Fritz says:

    Beautiful painting. I was not aware one can achieve such rich darks with pastel – you give me hope!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Fritz, thank you very much for visiting and commenting – much appreciated. The Mi-Teintes black paper is too dull for me, so to get it richer before I lay in background colors I lay on a thin base coat of Senneliers Mars Black oil pastels (they highest quality OPs that has a nice level of oil in the formula). So layers of colors that are put down over the Mars Black tend to take on a beautiful and rich tone – in this case indigo and magenta. I hope this helps. I saw your blog, you have a wonderful collection of paintings. Thanks again, very nice to meet you.

      • Fritz says:

        Many thanks for the information Mary. I am just getting started with pastels, and have a lot to learn about surfaces. This is quite helpful. Thanks for the comment on my paintings!

  18. Resa says:

    This is my fave painting of yours….ever! It is the flower my mom loved most & I adore them and the scent is heavenly. Lily of the Valley and Lilacs are very meaningful to me.
    You really outdid yourself here!

    • Mary says:

      This is very special response Resa – I’m so happy that I was able to touch you in such a way with this painting. Lily of the Valley are so precious as flowers – the scent is fantastic! Thank you for your beautiful compliment.

  19. Fabulously tactile and so stunningly beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  20. Gallivanta says:

    My lily of the valley will be out in about 6 weeks from now. In the meantime I can enjoy your beautiful take on one of my favourite flowers. I am in agreement with all the other commenters on how superb this painting is.

  21. Rebecca says:

    Wow Mary, you totally knocked my socks off with this one! 🙂

  22. Wow! This is incredible, Mary. The colors are gorgeous. Well done!

  23. Lovely luminescence with a gentle palette

  24. 🙂 Wow, amazing!!! Looks like photo – Excellent painting, Mary!!!!

  25. debiriley says:

    very lovely; and the balance of your Lighter tones to the dark, is just so wonderful!!!! just right Mary. 🙂 I do love Renoir

  26. I love this! Especially the colors.

  27. Do you sell your paintings? This is beyond gorgeous.

  28. Yes!!! Love this bunch for summertime. So, so rich and yet delicate. I have been behind on reading posts so I know I have missed some of yours but glad I did find this one.

    • Mary says:

      That means a lot Coastal, thank you for taking the time to visit and commenting. I’m so glad you enjoyed the painting. I don’t want summertime to end.

  29. Absolutely gorgeous, Mary. I can almost smell their fragrance. 🙂

  30. Heartafire says:

    stunning, Mary.

  31. The contrast between the flowers and the background is great and make them stand out. And the glass of the vase is so realistic…really a great painting, bravissima!

    • Mary says:

      Truly enjoyed reading your thoughts on this painting Robert and what captured your attention. Thank you so much – loved working the vase on this one, lots of great colors came through.

  32. swo8 says:

    This is lovely, Mary.

  33. Susan Feniak says:

    I stopped, I gasped, I said “Oh Mary!”.
    This one is stunning. The contrast between the flowers and back ground and the lighting is superb.
    My oil pastels are officially collecting dust while I play with water color. Perhaps I will challenge myself, get the oil pastels out and play with them one more time.

  34. neihtn2012 says:

    That black background and paint really make the vase and flowers stand out. I like this painting a lot!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Hien – the black background has a lot of indigo and magenta, giving it the richness to let the flowers take center stage. Thank you for noticing – I really appreciate it.

  35. Eva Xanthopoulos says:

    Absolutely stunning, Mary! 🙂

  36. Victo Dolore says:

    That is especially gorgeous!

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