Ever wondered how to use oil pastels? How many people have a box tucked away in a box or a drawer unused? These were the opening thoughts of our demonstrator, Steven Cheeseman, at Friday’s meeting. So many of us have opened the box, tried to draw with the pastels and given up thinking they were just another type of crayon.
Steven spent the next two hours showing us that this is not so and demonstrating his method of using them to paint a picture. The secret ingredient is solvent! How many people have thought to do that? There are many solvents on the market, turps is OK but smelly but there are others with little or no smell. Steven’s preferred solvent is Zest-It and he mainly uses Sennelier pastels. There are many other varieties of pastels too but he explained that he likes Sennelier best for their soft creamy texture and good colour saturation. The down-side of Sennelier (apart from the price) is that they NEVER dry so they need to be sprayed with fixative and the only one that works is the Sennelier one designed especially for the job. However there are other, less pricey, options which are good too and will air dry so they don’t need a fixative.
Steven’s chosen subject was racehorses which he drew first in a sketchy way then added colourful lights and darks, blending the colouring marks with a rough brush dipped in the Zest It solvent. The picture evolved during the demonstration, with Steven gradually adjusting the composition, the darks and the lights as he went along - as can be seen in the pictures below.
And here are a few quotes from the afternoon...
‘ Ask a trusted friend to tell you just one thing that would make your picture better’
‘Don’t be too precious about your work’
‘Remember that this is intended to be a DEMO not a MASTERPIECE’
You can find out more here http://www.stephencheeseman.com/