Remember that sad-looking overgrown dahlia I drew last month? Oh, it was depressing. That oil pastel painting was — in part — responsible for the art funk I slipped into. As much as I hate to show it again, here it is in all its less-than-magnificent glory.
I was so frustrated when I tried drawing/painting this dahlia that I ended up deliberately ruining it, intentionally making it even more awful than it originally was.
At the time I was just beginning to work with oil pastels — for the first time since early 2016. I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with those colorful sticks of pigment. I hated this floral painting, and as far as I was concerned, I never wanted to see a dahlia again.
But then a couple of things happened.
First, I started having fun with my oil pastels, so much so that I wanted to learn more about using them. I also bought a few new sets of oil pastels. I’m glad that I did. I now have a variety, I know how one set differs from another, and I’ve learned a lot about how to use them properly. For a quick review of what I’ve learned, you can re-visit this post: How to Use Oil Pastels.
Second, I came across a 15-day “Floral Drawing Challenge” on Facebook. Since I’d been doing a lot of floral studies in Joy Ting’s Creative Bug “Color Play“, I wanted a chance to keep going and push myself a little more. I wanted to practice the new skills I was learning.
On Day 3 of the Floral Challenge, I winced a bit. Our prompt was a “Dazzling Dahlia”. Oh, dear. After that awful dahlia I’d done… well, no. I refused to look back. I’m a better oil pastel artist now than I was a month ago, so I looked at this as an opportunity to redeem myself somewhat. I knew I could use my oil pastels and create a much better dahlia this time.
Maybe it’s not really “dazzling”, but I think it’s definitely an improvement over the first. By the way, I used the same reference photo as before.
You’ll notice I didn’t “ruin” this one by scribbling in a background, and I was careful not to let it become “overgrown” with petals. Hopefully you can see some improvement in my oil pastel techniques.
I’m happy to see myself making progress, and I am thoroughly enjoying all of my oil pastels. There’s been one more addition. I saw a box of 6 Paul Rubens white oil pastel sticks, and we all know, of course, we can never have too many white pastels!
I ordered the white sticks, got them the next day, and I am absolutely in love with them. They are almost as soft and creamy as my precious Senneliers. They blend easily, or I can use them to make unblended highlights. I’m definitely pleased with the purchase and am considering buying a color set of the Paul Rubens oil pastels.
So, let’s look again at these two oil pastel paintings done about 30 days apart.
I’m excited to see the progress here and I can’t wait to see what my oil pastels will look like in June… in July… and beyond. I’m so glad I have re-discovered oil pastels. I am really having fun with them.