Using Iridescent Oil Pastels & Iridescent Acrylic Medium on Deep Sea Art

"Using Iridescent Oil Pastels & Iridescent Acrylic Medium on Deep Sea Creatures" (blog post) | |

Deep sea creatures are really fascinating — they range from the frightening to (in a couple cases) the really cute. There are not a lot of art pieces out there depicting them, so it seemed a fun and different project to tackle making a couple of deep sea pieces.

One was a frilled shark, one of the scarier-looking, more stereotypical and weird deep sea species. The other was just the opposite: a cute and comical flapjack octopus.

Oil Pastel? Acrylic Paint? How About Both!

It seemed a bit bland to depict deep sea creatures with regular oil pastel. Though it’s a great art medium, it just didn’t seem right for bioluminescent animals. At the same time, acrylic paint didn’t seem quite right, either. For these pieces, it seemed like it would be fun to somehow show the phosphorescence of the deep sea environment — though that’s impossible for these two species, since they don’t have any bioluminescence of their own. The solution? Using iridescent art materials with just a bit of reflective quality.

And it’s impossible to see in the photos, but the method really worked well.

"Using Iridescent Oil Pastels & Iridescent Acrylic Medium on Deep Sea Creatures" (blog post) | |
“Deep Sea Creature: Frilled Shark” (oil pastels and acrylic paint on mixed media paper)
Iridescent Acrylic Medium

If you’re unfamiliar with iridescent acrylic medium, it’s like any other acrylic medium that gets mixed into acrylic paint. Used at a 1:1 ratio (though you can use it however you like), it creates just a little bit of a reflective quality or sheen without actually being too sparkly. In fact, it almost makes acrylic paint look a tiny bit like oil paint.

In these pieces, black acrylic paint was mixed with iridescent medium for the deep sea background.

"Using Iridescent Oil Pastels & Iridescent Acrylic Medium on Deep Sea Creatures" (blog post) | |
“Deep Sea Creature: Flapjack Octopus” (oil pastels and acrylic paint on mixed media paper)
Iridescent Oil Pastels

Iridescent oil pastels (by Sennelier) can be a lot of fun to work with. You really can see the iridescent sheen, which turned out well with the half-iridescent acrylic background. They blend just like the other Sennelier oil pastels, being very “buttery” and soft. You can blend them with a blending stump or even paper towel.

The bodies of the animals were mainly done with the iridescent oil pastels (the eyes were regular oil pastels).

"Using Iridescent Oil Pastels & Iridescent Acrylic Medium on Deep Sea Creatures" (blog post) | |
Close-up of “Deep Sea Creature: Frilled Shark” (oil pastels and acrylic paint on mixed media paper)
Success: Simple Deep Sea Art!

These are by no means complex pieces, like the oil pastel carousel horse, but they were fun to work on and depict animal subjects that need to be drawn and painted more…even just for fun.


Materials used:

Also used:
Iridescent Acrylic Medium
Black Acrylic Paint

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Literary Cookies (in Theory)

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

Just about everyone loves cookies — and while that’s obvious with Cookie Monster (though he’s not really a “literary” character), other characters could be huge cookie fans, as well. So what cookies might our favorite characters go for when they have the munchies?

Count Dracula: Strawberry Cookies

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |
As usual, Dracula would opt for something with a mushy or liquidy red filling, in this case, strawberry-filled cookies.

Orpheus: Kourabiethes

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

These were also the pick for Orpheus’ “Literary Holiday Food.” These Greek cookies would be Orpheus’ favorite cookie for the holidays and otherwise, hands-down.

Scrooge: Shortbread

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

Any sort of decadence in a cookie would be sheer ridiculousness to Mr. Scrooge — why pay any more than necessary for such a simple snack? For Scrooge, only the least expensive shortbread cookies are even worth a look.

Frodo: Oatmeal Cookies

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

Frodo’s favorite is bound to be something good and earthy, something easily baked in an oven in Hobbiton.

Winnie the Pooh: Animal Cookies

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

Technically, these are animal crackers, but Pooh doesn’t mind. They are so sweet and fun to eat that Winnie the Pooh is happy to call them his favorite “cookies” instead.

King Arthur: Chessmen Cookies (Pepperidge Farm)

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

With symbols harboring pieces from the timeless game, Chessmen Cookies would be the perfect snack to serve to the King of Camelot.

Dorian Gray: Macaroons

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

Unlike Scrooge, Dorian Gray would find a simpleton’s cookie a complete abomination! The only cookie worthwhile to consider for Dorian Gray would be the best of macaroons.


And for one of my characters, Archaeologist Anna Purgitt: Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Literary Food: Cookies (in theory)" (blog post) | |

She may be an archaeologist who has traveled the world and explored exotic places, but Anna would always come back to her tried-and-true, good-old-American favorite: chocolate chip cookies.

Anna Purgitt is featured in the short story, “Revvel’s Tomb.”

Check out other posts in the Literary Food Series.

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The Benefits of Oil Pastels: A “Happy Medium”

"Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |

Oil pastels don’t seem to be used nearly as much as other art mediums—they’re not even used as much as chalk/soft pastels. Yet they can deliver amazing results.

Even on the Internet, if you’re looking for information on oil pastels, there’s little about them. Surely, everyone needs to find his or her “happy medium.” For this particular drawing/painting of a carousel horse, based on an original photo, oil pastel was perfect.

"The Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |
Underpainting done in Faber-Castell Gelatos for Carousel Horse Oil Pastel

First, the underpainting was done with Faber-Castell Gelatos. It probably would have been best to skip the background underpainting so that the softness of the oil pastels would simply create a more blurred look when blended. Still, the whole underpainting worked.

Drawing (or Painting) the Carousel Horse

Depending on what you prefer, oil pastels are either considered drawing or painting. We’ll just use both interchangeably here.

All of the oil pastel portions (almost the entire painting) were blended, either with a blending stump for smaller areas or a make-up wedge for larger areas (as a sidenote, try to use make-up wedges where the holes of the sponge are not as obvious, as these will last longer and are less likely to disintegrate as you go).

The decorations on the saddle, the “bar” areas of the saddle and a few other areas needing more precision were done with conté crayon, and for really small areas, a wax-based colored pencil.

One Major Con of Oil Pastels

The one major disadvantage of oil pastel is that it’s difficult to deal with mistakes. It seems that you either have to somehow work the mistake into the piece (e.g., creating a shadow) or hope that you can blend it out (doesn’t always work). You cannot paint over it; you cannot erase it.

"Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |
“Carousel Horse.” Oil pastel on mixed-media paper.

Oil Pastels: A Beautiful Art Form

If you’re open, oil pastels are a lovely medium to try. Don’t let the fact that they’re not as commonly used thwart your efforts: They’re totally worth it!


Materials used:

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