Posted in Week #5 - Harvest & Oil Pastels 10/1 - 10/7 2016

Oil Pastels: Not as Scary as I Thought (But it’s Only Day 1) – Harvest #1

Whether you’ve been following me, or just casually stumbling across my blog, you’ll notice that although I’ve experimented a tiny bit with charcoal and colored pencils, I’m primarily comfortable with just pencil sketches.

This week, I’m taking a plunge: oil pastels. This came to me as I was driving to my monthly astronomy club meeting last night and noticed all the farmers were out. This is an hour and fifteen minute drive for me, so my mind is always thinking about stuff, and since it’s Saturday, and I need a new theme in less than 24 hours, sketching is usually on my mind.

I realized that it’s October and harvest season. I also decided that oil pastels would be a brilliant (pun intended) way to attempt to try to capture all the colors and “smudginess” of Iowa at this time of year. It comes from all the dust in the air as the farmers collect their crops as well as the subtlety of the changing colors. It may seem as if leaves go from green to red instantaneously, but if you look closely at a leaf, there’s a lot of shading going on there.

Now, pastels of all sorts scare me. Remember, I suck at art. They’re messy, and I try too hard to be precise. They smudge easily, and I try too hard to be precise…and am terrible at shading. But I’m going for it.

In doing some research, I learned a lot about how it’s OK to pencil sketch (lightly and with little detail) first, then layer on the colors just a little bit at a time, adding detail in much the same way. Once I started the sketch (thanks, https://www.tes.com/lessons/UZQjgokKRpQxDw/pastel-pumpkins!!) I realized that the colors were layered on much in the same way I’ve done it in those “wine and canvas” acrylic painting classes, and I don’t totally suck at that.  (I do struggle with smaller detail layering, but I’m really good at background shading. I may post some here in the future….maybe when I’m on vacation and have to write some blogs in advance.)


Hey, I know it’s FAR from perfect, but it’s my first legitimate attempt using the medium.

(I did some experimentation when I first got some pastels. It was totally unguided and mostly consisted of trying it out, experimenting with blending and how it felt on paper. It looks like this:)

True confession time: there’s a strong chance that the harves theme is going to turn out as just pumpkins. I wanted to start with an apple, but I really do need the step by step in the form of photo stills (not a video), and I’m having trouble finding that. Initially, I envisioned landscapes with barns and fields, etc., though because. I suck at art, starting small is probably a better choice. (Plus, I had fun doing today’s sketch.)

I’ll keep looking, though. I think there’s value in sketching a pumpkin a day. There’s also value in sketching different objects and experimenting.

I want to keep pushing myself and challenging myself, but I also don’t want to get discouraged. There’s a greater potential for artistic disaster this week, so wish me luck!

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I'm a humble little Anglophile with obscure talents.

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