Oil Pastel Experiment: Acrylic Underpainting Pros and Cons

"Oil Pastel Experiment: Underpainting Pros and Cons" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Oil pastel is perfect for those who want something between drawing and painting — something with more of the control of drawing but some of the flexibility in blending available with painting.

Oil pastels on their own can be very striking — but underpainting can help fill in some of those little spots that show underneath. This is the first experiment with underpainting mediums for pastel and trying to find the right one.

Since canvas worked for some previous oil pastel pieces, canvas seemed to make the most sense when working with acrylic painting as the underpainting; a matte varnish was added over the acrylic to make it easier to blend the oil pastels. So that’s what was done here. An earlier “mini experiment” ended up having no varnish over acrylic underpainting, which ended up a bit rough for blending the oil pastels on top.

The subject was a collector Barbie doll from the 1990’s: Renoir Barbie. Dolls make a great subject because they have a face to work with but aren’t as difficult as real people at the same time. For a piece that’s basically just an experiment, that works perfectly. 🙂

Materials used:

  • Acrylic paint: Grumbacher Academy and Winsor & Newton Galeria
  • Liquitex Matte Varnish (over the acrylic underpainting)
  • Sennelier and Faber-Castell Oil Pastels
  • Conte Crayon (for fine details)
"Oil Pastel Experiment: Underpainting Pros and Cons" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com
Underpainting in acrylic for 1990’s Renoir Barbie oil pastel. Sorry for the glare!

The underpainting for this piece was done in all gray tones, as the finished product was to be black and white.

Pros

The oil pastel blended very smoothly and easily with this method. Not only was it easy to work with, but it also made it easier to scrape off mistakes. Unwanted marks came off pretty well without much left behind.

Cons

It was difficult to build up white pastel very well with this method; the same went for any semi-transparent or lighter grays. Any sketch lines also showed easily underneath.

Also, conte crayon, which has worked well in the past for fine details on top of oil pastel (e.g., eyelashes) did not want to stick to the pastel when it was on top of the acrylic underpainting.

The finished piece turned out decently, though.

"Oil Pastel Experiment: Underpainting Pros and Cons" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

So overall, this method may work well if using very faint (or no) sketch lines drawn in beforehand. If bold colors only are used, then the transparency when blending wouldn’t be an issue — but clearly, there’s probably a better method out there.

Stay tuned for another experiment….

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A Good Reason to Write Under a Pen Name

 

"A Good Reason to Write Under a Pen Name" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

There are a lot of good reasons that a writer may choose to use a pen name (also known as a pseudonym or nom de plume). Reasons vary, from privacy to writing in different genres to wanting to get a new start in the writing world.

There’s also the reason of not wanting to get confused with another writer—especially in my case.

It’s a good idea to find out if any other writers share your name, anyway. You don’t want your work to get mixed up with someone else’s.

That idea is tripled, though, when someone with your name also happens to write erotica.

No, that’s not a joke. There’s another writer who writes under my real name (“writes under” because she chose my real name for her pseudonym), and works in the genre of erotica.

It’s kind of funny, actually. Having done freelance writing (under my real name, since those pieces are also a part of my work portfolio), I feel it’s best to have any fiction published under a pen name, anyway. This situation just makes it all the more necessary. 🙂

 

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Literary Donuts (in Theory)

Donuts are so important that we have National Donut Day, which is observed the first Friday in June every year. So naturally, we need to explore what types of donuts would be the favorites of some of the most well-known literary characters, should they ever be able to set foot in a modern donut shop.

Count Dracula: Jelly Donuts


With that flowing red jelly goo, raspberry-filled jelly donuts would be at the top of Count Dracula’s donut list.

Orpheus: Greek Donuts

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Wanting to opt for something a little more “classical,” Orpheus would likely want to prepare some of his own Greek donuts with honey.

Scrooge: Glazed Donuts

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Something simple yet bearing the sweetness of Christmas would be the perfect donut for Scrooge, leading to his choice of glazed donut.

Frodo: Chocolate-Covered Donuts

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Rather than donut shop varieties, something like an easy-to-pack chocolate-covered donut would be the pick for this hobbit during his long quest.

Winnie the Pooh: Donuts with Rainbow Sprinkles

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Oh, what a happy day Winnie the Pooh has when he starts his morning with some rainbow-sprinkled donuts!

King Arthur: Maple Bar

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

The maple of this donut represents the sturdy, down-to-earth nature of the ruler of Camelot, with the ultra sweetness of these donuts reflects its fantasy-like atmosphere.

Dorian Gray: French Cruller

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Why on earth would someone the likes of Dorian Gray settle for an ordinary donut? It is unthinkable! Only the best, most luxurious of French crullers will do!

***

And for one of my characters, Archaeologist Anna Purgitt: Crumb Donuts

"Literary Donuts (in Theory)" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Crumb donuts are simply the best donuts to an archaeologist drawn to withering, “crumbly looking” sites.

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

Check out other posts in the Literary Food Series.

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