Oil pastels and those acrylic skins

Meant to update this yesterday as 2 days later and lot is forgotten.

Arrived at the class a little late this week but fortunately nothing had been started as everyone was peeling off their acrylic skins from the freezer paper.  After that we were instructed to soak some 140lbs water paper in the sink.

Whilst that was soaking  we did a critique of the self portraits we did last week. Again a good variety of styles.

Then we retrieved our soaked watercolour paper, soaked up the excess water and then stretched it on a board.

A an elaborate still life was set up in the middle of the room but before we started we sketched a scene from outside.



quick sketch

Once we had finished out quick sketch, Linda show us how to use oil pastels overlaid with thin washes of acrylic paint and some mineral spirits to blend the oil pastels.  Our task was to combine our sketches with the intricate still life in front of us.


still life with persimmon


Linda really does manage to put some amazing still life groups together. ¬†The colours are amazing, one day I will get that blue just right. ¬†So this week I really managed to wrong foot myself as I completely forgot to bring any oil pastels with me. ¬†Everything else bar the kitchen sink was in my huge bag of stuff. ¬†So I had to borrow pastels from Linda and mineral spirits from another student. ¬† With this in mind, (you can’t work as freely if you using another person gear) I used a smaller sheet of watercolour paper. ¬†Then I had to think about combining my very basic sketch with this very elaborate set up in front of me. ¬†I started with the main feature of the sketch a large branch of a tree and then the purple bottle. ¬†Once I had established the main features I decided to tear down the sheet to even smaller space. Then it was just a matter of working into the painting. ¬†It was actually easier to do than I imagined. ¬†The method used reminded me of a painter I greatly admire – Mary Fedden,

As the evening went on I was wondering what we were going to do with the acrylic skins we so lovingly created last week and eventually towards the end of the session I had to ask. Basically you used them as you would any other collage material.  This is one aspect of the this class I am not enjoying.   I would rather she show us this sort of technique and then we do it at home, rather than spending half the class faffing around on something we might used the following week.  For example we were told to bring along objects like plastic fencing, netting, doilies or other things that could be imprinted (the reason I forgot the pastels as I was concentrating on these objects).  So we bring out our objects, just for us to be told to coat them in acrylic medium if they are absorbent, like the doilies.  I could and will do this at home but we had to spend 20 mins faffing around coating our objects, in the meantime it was getting darker and darker outside.

still life with acrylic skins


You can see quite clearly where I have used some of the acrylic skins on the branch of  the tree and the persimmon in the foreground. I must admit I enjoyed this exercise more than I expected.   It actually takes off the pressure of trying to do the still life as you are considering so many more aspects of the painting surface, like how do you link 2 completely different aspects on to one plane.

Next week we experiment with imprinting.