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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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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Why Not Try Faber-Castell Gelatos for Big Art Pieces? (Experiment)

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | |

Faber-Castell Gelatos are a medium that are often used for art journaling, card-making and other paper crafts. They actually work well as an underpainting layer for oil pastels on mixed-media paper, too.

But what about using them as the main medium for a larger project? That seemed like at least a fun idea to test. And while doing a full-on scene could work, it seemed best—and quickest in terms of this experiment—to do fairly simple images.

But first, what are Faber-Castell Gelatos?

Gelatos are a pigment often compared to lipstick, at least in texture. They are very creamy but are different from oil pastels in that they are softer. As mentioned, they’re often used in paper-crafting.

To test how they would come across in a larger art piece, we decided to do an 80’s tribute and tried two different images of vintage My Little Ponies.

Drawing with, and Blending, the Gelatos

Gelatos are especially fun to work with because they’re so soft. They go on easily and blend with very little effort (if you choose to blend them). The drawing of Bowtie (below) shows best how the medium blends, as the blue on the body was blended (or rather, smashed into the paper). Blending Gelatos is often done with a baby wipe.

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | |

The areas with the mane/hair were blended underneath, then a layer of the strands was stroked on above. Those areas were not blended and can be seen best on the drawing of the sea pony, Wavedancer.

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comIt may actually be more effective, if doing a really large or complex piece, to do the Gelatos for larger areas and the detailed parts with something like chalk, soft pastel or conte crayon.

For more on art Gelatos, also check out “Oil Pastel Experiment: Trying Gelatos for Underpainting.

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