Oil Pastel Experiment: Trying Gelatos for Underpainting

""Working in Oil Pastel With Gelatos for Underpainting" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

In the last post, we looked at using acrylic paint as an underpainting layer for an oil pastel piece. This time, we’re going to look at a medium that is probably not commonly used for underpainting: Gelatos®.

Faber-Castell’s Gelatos are a stick pigment often used for art journaling. They aren’t pastels, but they do resemble softer oil pastels in their consistency—but they are much more “mushy” and are in fact often compared with lipstick in texture. There are several sets of Gelatos available; for this piece, the pastel color set was used to match the subject: a retro Peaches n’ Cream Barbie.

Gelatos offer a lot of flexibility. They can be used dry (and blend into the paper easily) or can be used with water. Once they’re dry, they don’t budge—which makes them great as an underpainting layer if you want it to stay put. Also, you can draw pencil marks on top of it, and nothing will smear from erasures.

Gelatos aren’t noted to work well on canvas (from my research), so a mixed media paper was used. Mixed media paper also seems to work well with oil pastels, similar to bristol board, in that it offers a smooth surface for blending.

Materials used:

  • Faber-Castell Gelatos: Pastels Set
  • Sennelier and Faber-Castell Oil Pastels
  • Conte Crayon (for fine details)

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the underpainting layer. It looked similar to the underpainting done in acrylic paint but was obviously done in pastel colors.

All Pros—and No Cons

The Gelatos made a perfect underpainting layer for the oil pastel! They were applied dry and blended in large areas with a baby wipe; small areas were blended with Q-Tips. At a certain point, it was obvious that the outline of the nose was not drawn in (which I meant to do), so I went in with colored pencil to draw on top of the Gelatos. Even though some mistakes needed to be erased, the Gelatos did not move.

The conte crayon used for finer detail did well when used on top of all the mediums underneath when Gelatos were the underpainting.

 

""Working in Oil Pastel With Gelatos for Underpainting" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

So the verdict is in! Gelatos are great as an underpainting layer under oil pastels. They’re fun to work with, and are readily available at places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels—plus, you can use coupons there. I will definitely be purchasing more Gelatos for future projects.

Follow Artistically Writing by Email

Advertisements

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….

Follow Artistically Writing by Email

(Art) Experimenting With Various Media

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

One of the funnest things about art is trying out different media. Taking a good drawing class is a great start—and the best drawing classes not only teach you to draw but encourage trying out different things to draw with.

Some examples follow from a couple of great art classes that really inspired us students to experiment and find media that worked for each individual artist.

Graphite Drawing from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comThis piece was a final project for a first-semester drawing class. We had to choose a hard subject to draw—something complex—and this scene from the movie fit the bill nicely. It took some time, of course, but the end result worked out well.

Interestingly, the night of final presentations, the teacher asked how I felt about the final. Hearing an answer of “okay,” the instructor then said that it must have turned out really well—that usually, the artist says, “I wanted to do this with it and that with it.” She was right, actually; for once, the final drawing was not cringe-worthy. 🙂 (It does, however, look a bit warped in the photo, because of the angle at which it was photographed.)

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comChalk Pastel Piece: Model in Ad

This is a piece done in chalk pastel, which is unfortunately not quite as blendable as some might hope; then again, some people swear by it, so there’s living proof that what works best all depends on the person.

The image was taken from a magazine ad showing a model sitting on a couch with some sort of fashionable purse.

Charcoal and Conte Crayon Drawing: Sheltie

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comMy first sheltie was the subject of this drawing, and unfortunately she didn’t receive any justice at the hands of my lack of charcoal skills at the time. Still, charcoal is a beautiful medium. It has been used for ages and has the most amazing look that just draws the eye in.

The only bummer about charcoal is that it smudges so easily that it must be set with an art fixative. If there is plenty of ventilation, that’s fine; but it’s something to be aware of.

Chalk pastel also requires fixative for the long term.

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comChalk Pastel Piece: Violin on Top of “Memory” Sheet Music

This was another final piece for a drawing class, this time the more intermediate level.

This piece was done from a photo I took of a miniature violin and lute sitting on top of sheet music (though the lute does not show too much in the final).

At least as of this writing, this piece is shown in the main header.

Ink Drawing: Seashells

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comSeashells are popular ink drawings, and it’s easy to see why. Their shape and the patterns on them can really be brought out by ink.

If you are using an ink pot and nib, it can get messy. Just be careful. If using a “regular” pen, this can be avoided, but it lacks the fun and antiquity of using a nib.

"Experimenting with Various Media" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comOil Pastel: Collector Barbie

This is the first oil pastel I ever worked on after learning to draw, and a piece like this can get you hooked on a certain medium—not that it’s perfect, but it definitely is one that’s a little more artistic. This Barbie is actually from a group of collectable dolls: the Midnight Tuxedo Barbie from the 90’s.

Another collector doll oil pastel is in the works…to be posted at a later time.

The only bad part about trying out various media is the cost; but if you can do it, it’s totally worth it.

Follow Artistically Writing by Email

 

#art #pastel #drawing #painting #lotr #barbie #fanart