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Vision of Comfort, 5 x 7" on watercolor paper primed with Colourfix primer, with color Conte hard pastels. Also known as "Teapot," it's the latest painting I've done for Exploring Soft Pastels: Still Life the Colourful Way taught by Colourix on WetCanvas.com in the Soft Pastels Talk forum. I've got a new assignment to do and one that I skipped that needs to be done. "Bullies" with the pomegranate menaced by two pears is the assignment I skipped to go right to "Teapot."

The setup for "Teapot" has put Kitten's favorite herbal tea teapot, ie her Medicine Woman teapot, out of commission for weeks. She's been kind about that. I have it posted on the forum now and may be making some last tweaks to it on teacher's critique, but when she says it's done, I can return Kitten's favorite little pot. I love how it looks. It really has been very cool working on this one.

I want my table back though. Most of it is taken up with this still life. The next one is going to be Very Small Objects, a single pastel stick and a piece of white quartz and maybe a marble. I'm going to stick everything to a small box lid with blue tack and put it under my lamp to light it, then be able to move it out of my way when I need to. Hm. Putting it to my right would also let me swing my magnifier down in front of it for details.

I also started another still life, this time in Oil Pastels.



This is the sketch for Apples in Blue Silk from a reference posted at WetCanvas in the Reference Image Library, which means I can't repost the reference without permission. I am going to message the photographer though, so that if she's willing to let me post the reference on my site with credit and a link I can put it on Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com. If not, I'll do something else though.

I may make the first step by step articles on the site fairly simple ones rather than involved paintings -- like post this painting but do a step by step of doing one apple with a rumpled cloth around it. I love the swirling "contour map" shapes of the background cloth, it's cool even in sketch form.

I also finished and sent in my Bird of Paradise: Remake article for The Oil Spiel, newsletter for the Oil Pastel Society. I will be putting articles in every issue and so will a friend of mine, Dr. Bill LeGrande. Bill's doing scientific research on the surfaces and mediums and pastels, he's going to examine the surfaces under a microscope so we can compare the grit and tooth of papers seeing them blown up and many other cool things. His collection of oil pastels is much bigger than mine, though by the time I get my February art supply order I should be caught up on the main brands.

I'm going to be reviewing a cheap brand too next month. I've seen some extraordinary paintings on YouTube and WetCanvas done in Pentel oil pastels. I looked at the Blick listing for Pentel oil pastels out of curiosity, since Blick lists these as Scholastic. IE so cheap no self respecting artist should ever sell anything done with them. Not necessarily so...

Pentel Oil Pastels are definitely in a price range with Loew-Cornell and all the kiddie brands like Crayola. However, people are doing good art with them and this is a quote from the description: "They offer the artist clear, brilliant, long-lasting, and fade-resistant colors."

Not exactly "lightfast" as a mention but they might not be as nastily fugitive as some of the cheapies. I will be getting them next month, trying them and putting some tips in my review on how to make them handle like the more expensive artist grade oil pastels. I have a feeling these are miscategorized and should be up in Student grade rather than Scholastic.

Once I pick up boxes of all the available brands including all the super-cheap ones, I am going to start a comparative lightfastness test at home -- basic strips of color marks, cover half the mark with cardboard and tape them into the big windows of the Cold Room. I'll take them down and scan them after a month, a few months, and a year once I get that set up. So it won't really be till 2010 that I can safely say whether Pentel lives up to this claim. But given that it's at least claiming that it's fade-resistant and that I've seen a lot of good art done with them, I'm going to put them at the top of the list for what to get if you don't have any money to speak of.

The big Pentel set of 49 colors, 50 sticks has two white just like the big Loew Cornell set. It's only $5.69 at Blick so it is a whim-item. Canvas boards, canvas pads or just drawing pads are cheap too. This may put a decent art medium into the hands of people who are dead broke -- and finding out if any of the cheap-cheap oil pastel brands are good enough for people to sell art without a "this is fugitive, don't hang it on the wall" warning is important. Once I have done the lightfastness test, I may have lists of colors that are safer than others if you have to resort to cheapies.

Fluorescent color oil pastels are never lightfast. Even Sennelier makes them but the nature of the pigment makes lightfastness impossible, it'll degrade every time you look at it in a black light or with any UV. It breaks down in light to create that day-glow effect.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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