Having recently finished an oil pastel painting of our late black Labrador, Haze, I decided to create one of our beautiful Yellow Labrador Storm. Since Storm is 14, every day with him is precious. I have not yet completed his portrait, so I thought this composition would make the perfect portrait.
Read on and discover the step-by-step process behind my oil pastel painting of Storm. You'll gain a better understanding of how everything comes together and the techniques I use to achieve my results, particularly insightful if you are looking to book a portrait of your own.
When it comes to my oil pastel paintings, I prefer a loose style that is reminiscent of traditional oil paintings. These highly pigmented pastels boast a vibrant and striking colour palette, and help to create a textured finish that adds depth and character to the overall composition. My goal is to accentuate the unique features of each subject through careful layering and definition, ultimately bringing the portrait to life in a way that feels both authentic and captivating.
I loosely apply the base colours, ensuring they are blended smoothly for a soft finish. Using paper stumps of varying sizes proves to be extremely helpful in manipulating the pastels. I usually work with large and small oil pastels from Sennelier, so I can quickly cover different areas.
For my paintings, I exclusively use artist-quality, lightfast oil pastels from Sennelier and Neopastels by Caran d'Ache. I use a surface by Ampersand Art called Pastelbord, which is an archival medium-textured and highly absorbent surface coated with an acid-free clay and gesso ground with a marble dust finish. To explore the products mentioned and learn more about them, you can easily access their individual pages on my other website Step by Step Art. If you are an artist, you may find the articles helpful.
If you are interested in my oil pastel paintings, I invite you to my oil pastel commissions page. There, you will discover my other pastel works. I am always happy to collaborate with new clients and create a unique portrait that captures their vision. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss your ideas further.
I recently completed an oil pastel painting of the renowned 'Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland. Using highly abrasive paper helped me apply the pastels more efficiently and with greater speed, ultimately resulting in a beautiful impasto finish.
Upon careful analysis, the application of pastels is deliberately loose and patchy, creating the illusion that it is resting on the surface of the paper. This particular approach imbues the artwork with a distinctive quality, providing a fresh interpretation of the subject matter. This is a unique rendition of a very popular subject.
A little background on the subject
The Sycamore Gap Tree, also known as the Robin Hood Tree, is a popular attraction near Crag Lough in Northumberland, England. It stands next to Hadrian's Wall and is situated in a dip within the landscape, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and rising walls. The tree gained its alternative name from its appearance in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In 2016, it won the England Tree of the Year award. The National Trust owns the wall and the land around the tree, a favourite spot for tourists and photographers. It is visible from the nearby Military Road and is considered one of the most photographed trees in the country, possibly the most photographed point, even in all of Northumberland National Park.
If you're interested in commissioning an oil pastel portrait, you can contact me or visit my commissions page for more information on how to book your own personalised painting.
I enjoy using oil pastels to create portraits in addition to coloured pencils and acrylics, and I find it to be one of the most versatile mediums available. When it comes to creating beautiful and unique works of art, oil pastels offer an unmatched finish that can be applied to any subject with ease.
One of my latest portraits is of our late black Labrador Haze.
When creating my oil pastel paintings, I use professional pastel brands such as Sennelier and Caran d'Ache. One of the most significant advantages of using Sennelier and other soft pastel brands is their superior coverage and pigmentation. These pastels offer a rich and vibrant color that makes each stroke stand out and come to life. On the other hand, harder pastels such as Neopastel enable me to produce fine lines, which is essential when creating intricate details and textures in my portraits.
When it comes time to store or frame my oil pastel portraits, I always take great care to ensure that they are protected. Since oil pastels never dry, it is highly recommended to store them in a secure location until they are framed.
When framing, I highly recommend using glass to prevent debris such as hair and dust particles from damaging the painting's surface. Improper removal of debris can damage the painting's surface, but utilizing glass can prevent this from happening. Upon completion, this portrait will be framed and an image uploaded to this blog.
Overall, oil pastels are an incredibly versatile and beautiful medium that can create stunning works of art. Should you wish to inquire about ordering an oil pastel portrait, please get in touch.
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Karen M Berisford