Oil pastel experiments – Swirls

Saturday I felt like doodling and since the Drawing Lab Challenge I had missed involved doing exactly that, I did some. I grabbed my oil pastels, a piece of watercolour paper and just drew some swirls. No plan, no design beyond the idea that I’d like to play with some graduated colour (I followed the order of the pastels in the box mostly :D).

For the challenge I was supposed to listen to something distracting, but since I can’t afford the time to be totally switched off at the moment, I just listened to my kids playing with my sister. My attention was half taken.

Doodle done, I then wanted to experiment. I was inspired by the transparent effect I stumbled across in my last oil pastel experiment and decided to explore the use of white oil pastel to create that effect. So I did some more swirls.

This is simply white and a few other very pale shades of colour directly on top of the other colours. I was really happy with this effect and plan to explore it further.

The piece as it was didn’t satisfy me as a composition. It needed more, so I experimented some more.

Please excuse the poor quality of the picture, we had moved inside as the weather had deteriorated and the lighting wasn’t crash hot.

I added some white swirls with acrylic. Initially I just painted in a basic line swirl, but I followed it up with some light wash over the top to give the swirls more body.  I wasn’t as happy with this effect as I was the white oil pastel swirls, so I continued to fiddle.

The composition lacked contrast, so I added a thin dark blue wash in places that could give the white swirls more dimension. Still not happy and beginning to wonder if I should never have gotten the paints out in the first place. Then I hit upon another idea.

I scratched off the white lines.

I’m much happier with it now as the remaining wash highlights and shadows are now just as transparent as the second layer of swirls and the whole piece has much more dimension. Scratching those lines back to the first layer colours also brought some more vibrancy back into the piece as those colours are brighter than the washed and the white oil pastel swirled surfaces.

But it is still not finished and this is where it stands at the moment as I try to think of what to do with it next. I’m tempted to cut one side off to make it square which would balance out the composition much better. I’m also thinking of a silhouette in either black or a very dark shade, maybe a tree or something else swirly. I’m not happy with the lack of contrast.

But anyway, this is my contribution for today for Art Every Day Month. I did most of this over the weekend, but I did finish the scratching off today. There is no way I can complete a piece of art everyday, but I can DO SOMETHING every day, so that is my challenge.

My favourite bit

Oh, and it should be mentioned that since the weather went bad, we all ended up in our kitchen and it turned out to be a fantastic afternoon. KJ and Sis joined in the arty experience and soon the kitchen cupboards were adorned with drying paintings.

So even if I end up trashing the painting, it was worth the memory we made.

(who had a great day with family)


17 responses to “Oil pastel experiments – Swirls”

  1. Beverley Baird Avatar
    Beverley Baird

    Love your description and photos of your process! What great effects you achieved! Love the different stages as well!

  2. Melissa Dinwiddie Avatar
    Melissa Dinwiddie

    Ooh! I love this! Thanks for posting pics of your process! Can I get you to guest post on 365 Days of Genius, pretty please?

  3. White Violet Art Avatar
    White Violet Art

    Mind blowing as usual! Love love love your experimenting! 🙂 Great effects!

  4. girlunwinding Avatar

    I love your swirls!! o my gosh, they are so great each step looks fantastic. They are already "mandala like" as it is so you have a head start on creating a mandala this month. Thank you for your nice words on my blog post. Much appreciated. Enjoy!!!

  5. oh gorgeous effects, here! looks like you had fun swirling!!!!!!

  6. really, really love those swirls and thanks for sharing the process too

  7. Ya know, those macro shots make the pictures look like candy! I'm almost finished my doodle, hopefully I'll have it up by tomorrow. One of the things I've recently discovered about oil pastels is the power of the white. Astonishing!

  8. Love all your swirls, I myself love using oil pastels.

  9. I love the layered effect! And I especially love the last pic. 🙂

  10. I love the colors and the effects.

  11. Kristin Dudish Avatar
    Kristin Dudish

    Fantastic seeing the progression…
    It looks great with the scratching!
    And your favorite bit could be a print all on it's own… gorgeous 🙂


    p.s. I love that it turned into an art party in the kitchen – so fun!

  12. Dave Rowley Avatar
    Dave Rowley

    Wow, I just loved watching this piece evolve, and you ended up with a beautiful piece of art. Nice to see the detail shot and the table full of cuties at the end as well!

  13. Jenny Blair Avatar
    Jenny Blair

    Wowee! swirls upon swirls! What a fantastic effect! I think my favourite bit of all is the second photo you took but the end result is amazing! 🙂

  14. Ann Freeman (mafswife) Avatar
    Ann Freeman (mafswife)

    So cool and a pleasure to read through your process but what made it for me was the photo with your family at the end – just like our house!! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Marianne@RuffHaven Avatar

    i could watch you paint all day long,

  16. dandelionlady Avatar

    I loved seeing your process! And beautiful work! My house looks a lot like yours!

  17. […] mine to get my art going and funnily enough it has worked for today. The above is a close up from a previous oil pastel experiment. As part of joining the community, I uploaded a few of the bits and pieces I have completed or […]