Posts Tagged ‘oil pastels’

Oil Pastel and Museum Board

My favorite support for working with oil pastels, (other than handmade paper) is Museum Board. Awhile back, Angela Finney asked me what museum board actually was. So here is my reply, only with a few more facts thrown in, instead of stuff off the top of my head.

What is it?

Museum board looks like matboard and is made by matboard companies. It can be used for matting purposes, archival framing or as a work surface. It is 100% cotton fibers pressed into a board the same overall dimensions as matboard (32×40.)

Museum board looks like matboard and is made by matboard companies.

It comes is varying thickness’s like 2ply (similar to 140# hot press watercolor paper) 4 ply (slightly thicker than matboard) 6ply, 8 ply (very rigid, thicker than 2 sheets matboard) and also a 12ply which I’ve never used.

It comes in a several colors: grays, tans, beiges, white, off-white, black and rouge. Both Bainbridge and Crescent mat companies makes around 25 different shades. I’ve tried the rouge and grays, but really prefer the white. Because Oil Pastels aren’t completely opaque some of the board color effects the OP color. (Though I imagine color pencil artists would be more knowledgable as how to work on colored surfaces than I.) Unlike matboard the color is solid throughout.

It costs more than matboard. I think on average it costs me $12-14 per sheet, (for 4ply, 2ply is less and 8ply more) where acid free matboard cost me $6-9 per sheet. (I’m talking the cost or a retailer, meaning if you purchased it at your local artshop or frameshop, it may well be twice that.)

Why I use it.
I mostly use the 4 ply because the 8ply is a bugger to cut even with a matcutter. I prefer museum board to matboard because it is considerably more rigid (despite being a similar thickness) and to be honest it sounds sooooo much better on artshow applications. (Wordage is very important for these kinds of things.)

Which sounds better?

Oil pastel on matboard.
Oil pastel on Museum Board.

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A New Giraffe

I decided I needed a quickie, (in terms of artwork that is.) So I pulled out the photos from my recent Blank Park Zoo trip and selected a fun angle. I’ve done four giraffe paintings and am feelin’ the need to have another in the gallery, as the others have long since gone to their new homes. The upper left photo is about 1 hour of playing around. This again is another one done on the handmade paper, so it is 10 1/2″ x 13.”

Here, I have about 2 hours in. I changed the mouth. I had planned on having it open and chewing on acacia, but then opted for a more dignified look. Thus without the branches coming in on the right, my giraffe is now a little off center (kinda like the artist I suppose.)

I may well just change my mind again in the morning and have her blissfully chewing away by the time I finish her up, which hopefully will be tomorrow.

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Don't Mess With Mamma

Tiger – Oil Pastel on handmade paper
10 1/2 x 13
Copyright by Mona Majorowicz

Don’t Mess With Mamma is the tentative title for this painting. All of my handmade paper pieces before had been descriptively titled like Blue Rhino, White Wolf and Purple Buffalo. However I think in this instance a real title is in order.

I love this tiger and I’ve painted her several times, just reincarnating her into different species (or is it sub-species?) of tiger. She has a great intensity about her that I find appealing. She is an Indo Chinese tiger that I photographed at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha a few years back.

At the time she had two cubs that pestered her mercilessly. Whenever she would try to nap, her playful cubs would take advantage of her being unawares and would fly at her full tilt, practicing the fine art of attacking prey. So this very aggressive attitude is really just mom trying to get her kids to behave.

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Blue Rhino on Hand Made Paper
Oil Pastel 10.5 x 13
Copyright by Mona Majorowicz

It was another good month for selling originals and surprisingly (or perhaps not so much if you’ve been reading my blog) all were sold out of the gallery. (as in not at art shows)

I thought I would go ahead and show how I framed my Rhino. Since last I talked of it I was unsure if I would be tearing it up (creative cropping) or boxing it (as in putting it in a box and ignoring it.) Once framed my opinion of him dramatically improved.

My rhino is going to his new home because I utilized my mailing list and sent out an email (with jpeg) to all those who have expressed an interest in my exotic animal work. He sold within a week. No matter where you are at, beginner or professional, a mailing list is at the top of the must have’s. Start collecting names now!

Why do I need a mailing list?
Well it goes back to the if you want to make a living selling your work, you’ve got to market it. Here’s what I use mine for.

  • I send out postcards to patrons when I am returning to their area for an event.
  • I send out new print release postcards
  • I send out special invitations to gallery events
  • I send out Christmas cards to all my patrons (yes, that is a big job)
  • And lastly as mentioned here for the Rhino, I give first chance to buy originals to my patrons. Thats my way of saying “You’re special enough that you get first pick.” That kind of personal attention goes over in a big way. And of course I am appreciative of the fact that they are willing to pay for my art and keep me and my critters feed.

Where to begin
Gathering names is not so hard as you might think. Of course it does depend on how you sell your work but in general a good place to start is at the artshows or artfairs you participate in. You can put out an address book for your mailing list. Also from sales you’ve already had. Keep track of their names and address’s. It may take some time to build a list of decent size, but it willl grow as you do.

There are varying philosphies on collecting names. Some say put anybody on your list. Friends, family, coworkers. Just get something down and started.

I don’t know if it is just my nature but I rarely put out a mailing list book in my booth. This may well not be the best strategy. In the early days when I did put out a book, I got hundreds of names. These are people saying “Yes, please sell to me!” Which by the way, is exactly what your after.

For me, In the end most of the names resulted in no sales. Perhaps they would have given more time. But as you know I am a woman with limited amounts of time so I only market to my target audience. This is generally people who have bought from me before or have expressed an interest in some original work that I have yet to create. (for instance someone wants a rhino painting, but I don’t currently have one in my gallery. I put them on my list and contact them when I do.)

In an upcoming post I will discuss mailing lists a little more. Also I have started a new tiger painting and will post some wips of it tomorrow. (Forgot my camera at home today.)

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Snow Leopard on Handmade Paper

Well here it is finally. I plan to tweak it just a bit. I’ll probably fluff out the edging fur to look a little softer. I’m not sure how I am going to frame it, or if I even am. I am not all that thrilled with this one. I may just stick it in a box for the time being. Once again in order to cut down on scan time I did it in one scan, instead of two, (which would have shown the deckling and made it look so much prettier.)

I am pondering what to do next. Connie sent a fresh box of handmade paper (to replace the stuff that was too soft.) So the possibilitites are endless. I am thinking lillypads of somesort, maybe with a koi? I may also try my lambs again. The nice thing about these little paintings are, I can just do something on a whim.

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So in an effort to better manage my time, I began yet another painting on handmade paper. This really helps me to not force my bear painting along. I can take the time I need to make decisions, without feeling guilty about not painting. I think once I actually begin putting in color on the bear, I will work exclusively on it.

This White Wolf is on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of handmade paper. It does have deckling, but in an effort to get it in one scan, (instead of two) we lost the deckled edges.

The paper is quite soft, so my usual practice of drawing and erasing really can’t happen. To work around this, I could project the image. OR I could draw it out on something else, like tracing paper. Place the final drawing over the handmade paper and redraw the lines. This forms a barely visible indentation on the handmade paper. Carbon paper would also work, but the lines would be quite harsh and may not get completely covered by the oil pastel. (Besides, finding carbon paper these days, is like looking for something out of the stone age.)

Archivability on handmade Paper
Oils can cause degradation of paper, so it is always wise to research your art materials when working with oil pastels. Since I have started working with handmade paper, archivability is a concern. Thus I began looking in earnest for more information and started experimenting.

I tried a few different gessos and found the oil pastel didn’t adhere as well, as I am used to. I had almost given up hope of working with the handmade paper, until I looked at the various oil pastel brands. Most resources said that there is no need for a gesso or primer to be applied, if the oil pastels were made using inert oils (like mineral oil). Holbein and Sennelier are made with inert oils. I couldn’t find any information regarding my other main brand Caran D’Ache. Perhaps I will contact the manufacturer. If I do so I will post about what I learn.

How to make paper
I asked Connie to explain the process of making paper. She did such an excellent informative description of the process, I thought I would post it tomorrow.

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Latest Draft Horse WIP

Well, it has been a chaotic ten days or so. Budda has been sick. We’ve had multiple vet trips (the last one we traveled an hour away to get some blood work done.) He quit eating. Not entirely, but only a handful of pieces of cat food per day. He normally consumes about 2 cups. I even offered canned stuffs, not cheapo ones either. He got Fancy Feast chicken and cheese soufflé. Let me tell ya, I think had I nuked it and put it on a plate, Mike would have eaten it. Anyway, I have never had an animal with this sort of problem. After much $$$ turns out he is healthy. Or should I say, disease or organ problems were not the cause. Best professional guess is, he was partially impacted in the gut. As long as he ate something, it was a wait and see. Had he stopped eating entirely, it probably would have meant surgery. The good news is, he is back to being ravenous and is bouncing off the walls. (literally)

The other thing is, I have a patron coming on Saturday to pick up one (maybe two) original paintings. I’m not sure how far it is from Ohio to Iowa, but I figured I should at least clean the cat hair off from everything. Thus my blogging and art making has suffered a bit this week. I’ve got plans, though I imagine it will be a few days before I am back to doing anything artsy.

So for today, this is all I have to offer. I am not completely satisfied with my trailer, as of yet. I kinda wanted it to be very subtle and it is a little too prominent for my taste. (though in this photo it is very washed out. I think my camera flashed and I didn’t notice.) Also, I want to darken his butt and neck area up a bit. Give him even more pop. And lastly, I haven’t come up with a name for him yet. Field Day perhaps? I’ve done too many draft horse paintings to be creative with their titles anymore. As always any comments or suggestions are welcome.

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