I did this piece as a test of a new set of Mungyo Gallery oil pastels along with a new DVD art lesson on how to use oil pastels effectively. As I followed the instructions and sketched out the goldfish with my new oil pastels, I quickly realized the beauty of the lines and colors, and decided to finish it into a completed painting.
A vivid and colorful goldfish changing direction effortlessly and gracefully in the blue water, its scales seem to change from a deep gold to a fiery orange. This is not a complex piece of art, but elegant in its simplicity.
My mother has claim on the original piece, which is oil pastel on 14 by 11 inch primed paper and sealed with Mod Podge to prevent smudging. She also has a watercolor I tried to do of this image, but made a mistake on and my husband refused to use it as a fire starter for our woodburning stove. Mom agreed with hubby, so I gave her that, along with my first ever oil painting, of the exact same subject on flat canvas. Mom complained that I did not sign either the watercolor or the oil paint pieces, so I promised her this one after ensuring it has a legible signature and date.
Prints are available through my Pixels store, and shirts and accessories through my RedBubble shop. Update: RedBubble has started offering pet mats, and one is in a general fish shape, intended for cats. I love it! It appeals to my (probably corny) sense of cute.
A vibrant red rose in bloom against a grey-blue background, with the brilliant green of the leaves and stem catching the light. Done in oil pastel on an 11 by 14 inch canvas panel, this was only my second big oil pastel piece. The oil pastel on the canvas makes an interesting optical effect, and gives it almost a 3D look.
I really like the overall effect of the rose in oil pastel, but had not yet worked out how to get the colors close enough to avoid the white outline. While I plan to do more red roses in the oil pastel medium, I would like to do them larger … like maybe 18 x 24 inches, as I now have the panels. The downside of working so big will be that I won’t be able to scan them for prints as my scanner only goes up to 11 x 17 inches. I also have 12 x 16 inch oil primed paper, which I can scan with only half on inch off (which will make the original different than prints).
Of course, there are many more colors of roses to draw and paint as well. I personally love pink and yellow roses, even more so than the red ones. There is also the challenge of doing a white rose in color, as I’ve only done those in black and white.
A charcoal still life of a squash, with a quarter cut out and a wedge sliced off to reveal the rich flesh and seeds within. Vegetables are a popular subject for still life works, right up there with flowers. I did a little research into still lifes, and discovered this was an art category that women play a prominent role in, even back into Renaissance time.
The original is roughly 12 by 9 inches (23 cm by 31 cm, made in France), on 100% cotton paper, with a coat of fixative, and available. It is currently on display at El Amigo Restaurant in Crescent City, Florida. If you live outside the area, you can purchase the original through Daily PaintWorks and have it shipped to you. Prints are available at my Pixels store, and accessories and more styles of prints are at my RedBubble store.
I revisited the idea of charcoal still life drawings again, with my Apples 3 in charcoal being the one I like best (so far). Even more charcoal artwork is here, and I will continue to add more simply because I enjoy the medium so. I will also be doing more still life art, because there is just something classical about it that appeals to me – and on occasion, I even manage to bring in some produce from my attempts at gardening, including more squash.
This technically-a-drawing* of a pink rose was my first project using oil pastels on black canvas paper. It scanned nicely, but like oil paint, oil pastel just looks better in person. There is a quality to the work that neither camera nor scanner is able to convey, which is one reason I am announcing that this (along with Red Tulips and Electric Yellow Rose) are going to El Amigo Restaurant in Crescent City for local display later today. I should probably note that artwork on display is also for sale if anyone wishes to purchase the originals.
* I define a drawing as anything where the original surface is still visible, while a painting has the entire surface – whether paper or canvas – completely covered with the medium (watercolor, pastel, etc.)
Oil pastel notes
As is probably obvious from the scan, I did not blend my oil pastels as well as usual. Instead I was trying for a looser and fresher, more spontaneous look to this piece. I was still experimenting with this medium, and even though blending can be a very important factor in oil pastel paintings, I wanted more a drawing feel to it (if that makes sense). I’ll also note that the original drawing is sealed with Mod Podge to prevent smearing (and cat paw prints!).
Rose drawing notes
Just a few relevant notes for this: I used a reference photo, and to be honest I don’t recall which one. I have a folder full to bursting of reference photos for roses, and will crop and edit them as needed and sometimes forget which went into what drawing or painting. But the reference photos serve one major purpose for me, and that is to grid out the petals, which is what I did for this one. The second reason I use ref photos is to get the shadows right. I can’t even say for sure the rose in the photo I used is even a pink one, because part of holding an artistic license is the privilege of changing a flwoer’s color when I want.
I finished up this close-up watercolor painting of a yellow rose this evening. When it was dry enough, I showed it to hubby who immediately commented, “Wow, electric!” That’s where the electric part of this painting’s name comes from. Hubby says the combination of yellow with purple (or violet, if you prefer) just pops in a beautiful way.
I should mention that I saved the contour sketch for future artwork, probably in different media just because I am very pleased with how well the simple line drawing captured the shape and layout of the petals.
Another reaction to the painting
Along with my husband’s reaction to it as soon as it was dry, Elizabeth at El Amigo was amazed when I told her I painted it with watercolor.
“Wait, THAT is watercolor?! It’s so bright!” was her remark.
I told her I found a brand of paint from South Korea (Mijello Mission Gold, for those curious) that had wonderfully vibrant colors. Apparently, the general perception is that watercolor paintings have delicate, light color. Or perhaps people think of those student sets that have low pigment and really terrible brushes. Either way, I love bold and vivid colors most of the time, and will work to achieve them in whichever media I use.