Art Journal Wisdom :: Day 4 :: Oil Pastel Love


Welcome To Day Four Of Art Journal Wisdom!

Ok.  It’s true.  I madly, truly, 100% love oil pastels.

I’ve been using these juicy crayons of oily bliss since high school and they are without a doubt one of my all time favorite supplies to use in my art journal.

I’m always surprised when other artists don’t share my shameless amore!  But I think it’s because oil pastels are misunderstood.

To really reap the benefit of this medium you can’t be wimpy.  You gotta put some elbow grease into these suckers and be brave enough to layer and layer and layer until you start to receive the color and effect that gets your heart all a gooey!  And yes, some of that layering might take you through valleys of mud, but you just got to keep pushing through!

But the best part, if you ask me, is that they can cause awesome, awesome effects.

I have a teeny tiny art journal that I keep just for oil pasteling.

Here are couple of my pages from it so you can see what I mean.

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]

Oil pastels are great and fun on their own.  I use them solo a lot in my morning pages because they don’t require much set up or clean up — like paint does.  So when I’ve slept in or am short on time, I’ll honor my daily Creative Spiritual practice by simply doing a little oil pastel drawing and calling it a day.

Oil pastels are also fun under and over acrylic paint.  So I use them in my art journal a lot of times for drawing or even writing words and phrases.

Here are a few examples of when I’ve married oil pastels with paint.


I use two different brands of oil pastels and I generally use them together, even though they both work a bit differently.

#1.  Portfolio Series Watersoluble Oil Pastels

These oil pastels are so creamy they’re like drawing with lip stick!  But the best part is that when you dip them in water or brush over them with a water they turn chalky like and blend sweetly.  Personally I don’t add water to them very often.  I like their creamy consistency and will just smear them with my fingers or leave them as is.

#2.  Faber-Castell Goldfaber Studio Oil Pastels

In my 20+ years of working with oil pastels I’ve tried a lot of different brands at different grades and prices even, and I have to say that these babies are my all time favorite.  They are a different breed of course from the Portfolio watersoluble ones, and that’s really their charm.  These oil pastels are intended to be loved in layers.  You’ll want to layer color over color and build up both the texture and tone you are aiming for.  But don’t be intimidated if that’s not you’re thing.  They are still a great medium to use for more intuitive and immediate expression.  Like I shared with you in the three photos above, these oil pastels work great drawing and writing right over paint.  But, they’ll be messy.  After time they’ll leave a shadow on the page they are touching if you don’t put a shield in between (like wax paper).  I don’t have a problem with that — but I know there’s a lot of “purists” out there that worry about this kind of thing…so be warned!

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]

[vc_video link=’′]

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]

A couple years ago I hosted one of my DEEP FEARLESS® Painting workshops where I shared the video I posted above.

In it you’ll see the process behind the oil pastel drawing on the right.

As you can see,  I build up the drawing with layers of different colors and then I go ahead and scratch into creating texture with simply a pair of scissors.  I don’t know why I use that?  I many times simply use a toothpick, but I got to say it was a bit easier with the scissors.  Anyways, I’m happy to share the video with all of you in hopes it will inspire you to pick up an oil pastel and give it a try!

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]


[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]

[vc_video link=’′]

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ position=’center’ color=” thickness=’20’ up=” down=”]

Above is a little video I threw together years ago when I was still a full time public school art teacher.  It is based on one of the lessons I used to give my kiddos that involves oil pastels, chalk pastels and being inspired by the artist Rosemarie Fiore.  Her artwork is so freaking wild!!

Join The Paint Wisdom Newsletter!

My weekly newsletter is filled with studio updates,
announcements,& short musings intended to nourish your Artist Soul.