I use Canson pastel paper for my oil pastel pieces, most often. Occasionally I do an oil pastel piece on other paper or on canvas, but canvas eats pastels very quickly! I start my pieces with a charcoal pencil sketch, outlining main shapes and marking the paper like a bit of a map. I started my oil pastel landscapes with Cray-pas, and this is how I executed my Horth Hill series.
For my Ocean series I added Sennelier pastels to the mix. Senneliers are an indulgence, due to cost. Senneliers have a buttery texture in application, they don’t leave a crumbly residue like Cray-pas. Application can be thick and added a very luminescent quality to sky and water reflections in my Ocean series.
My River series was started out of an excitement of yet another line of pastels, the Gallery collection. The Gallery pastels added more opaque colours that were saturated with white and grey. This resulted in the leaves in the foreground of my River series to really pop up front, creating depth.
I have also added chalk pastels to my toolkit. When applied as a base layer, chalk pastels create a new texture for when the oil pastels are applied on top. Oil pastels applied over a chalk pastel base layer creates a mottled look that you can see as a background in one or two of my Floral series works. Chalk pastel can also add highlights of colour when mixed in with saturated areas of oil pastel.
I have not had success with fixatives for my final pieces, yet. VOC’s and obnoxious smells are a concern for me. I tried a natural casein product that came with a pump nozzle and it ruined one of my pieces- a good reminder to always try new product on a sample piece! So, I will continue my journey to find a good fixative.
Looking for a reference photo and finding inspiration is my first step. Nature is my go to. I am a keen observer in nature; sights, smells, textures, movement… nature hikes affect my soul deeply. Feelings, response, breath, thought… I leave reluctantly.
When creating my oil pastel pieces, I use a photo for reference. I select photos based on my relation to them: does the photo trigger memories, awake emotion, am I transported by this photo? I take many photos when on hikes and walks. I have to remind myself to just ‘be’ sometimes, to remember that nature will impress itself on my soul, and it’s this ‘being’ that I paint from.