Oil Painting in Different Forms
OIL BARS, OIL PAINT AND OIL PASTELS !!!
Oil paint is a very well-known, classic medium everyone thinks of when they hear the word ‘painting’. Yet it comes in many different forms not only in tube form! Moreover, we’ve previously covered the new invention, the water mixable oil paint as well as the ‘regular‘.
Oil Bars/ Sticks / Paint sticks
What Are Oil Bars?
Oil sticks (also known as paint sticks and oil bars) are simply oil paint formed as a stick. They are made of wax and linseed oil mixed with pigment. They are rolled into a stick form and wrapped in paper. Oil sticks can be used for drawing and painting as they are. They can be mixed on a palette and applied with a brush or knife or used directly on the surface. They work just like regular oil paints; they can be mixed with different oil paint mediums. They dry like oil paint and grow a skin on the paint’s surface, however, it is debated whether they cure as oil paint or whether the wax prevent it from completely drying.
How to use Oil Sticks?
Oil sticks can be used on any surface that’s usually good for oil paint, although the canvas or paper should be primed with gesso or sized too. Oil sticks’ surface form a protective skin when they are exposed to air that looks like it dried. It can be removed carefully with a rag or palette knife to expose the creamy paint underneath.
Oil sticks can be used like oil pastels or crayons for drawing or like paint; diluted with turpentine. All oil painting mediums can be used with them. They are particularly good for plen air paining and for bold impasto effect.
As for varnishing and framing, there’s still a debate whether paintings with Oil sticks can be framed without a glass or not. Oil sticks dry like all oil paint but it’s questionable whether its wax content prevent them form curing completely.
What are Oil Pastels?
The first oil pastels date back to 1925 when the company Sakura created them; a new material that was a cross between crayons made of wax and soft pastels (hence the name cray-pas). They had the properties of soft pastels without the dust. While soft pastels were made of the mix of pigments and gum or methyl cellulose binder, oil pastels were the combination of pigments and non-drying oils and wax binder. Whilst oil pastels harden, they never actually dry completely. They remain the same viscosity on the painting, throughout all the layers and due to the wax content never dry by exposure to air.
How to use Oil Pastels?
The first artist quality oil pastels were made by Henri Sennelier in 1949 on the request of no other but Pablo Picasso, who wanted “a colored pastel I could paint on anything … without having to prepare or prime the canvas.”
And true, oil pastels don’t need a primed surface – they can be used on virtually anything; watercolour paper, pastel paper, regular drawing paper or indeed, canvas, wood metal and even glass.
There are many different tools you can use with oil pastels, from blending stumps / tortillons to tissues, cloths, q-tips or even your fingers! For a graffito technique, palette knives, paint shapers or the end of pain brushes work well too.
Oil pastels can be layered, but because they don’t dry, a new layer will always slightly blend with the one underneath. Although quite different, oil pastels can be used with oil painting mediums like linseed and thinners like turpentine to help blending and create painterly effects.
How to Seal Oil Pastels
As oil pastels never truly dry, they need to be protected and sealed once the work is finished. There are varnishes particularly made for oil pastels and they protect the painting from scratching, smudging and dust. It usually has a glossy finish and transparent that doesn’t alter the colours. For maximum protection it’s a good idea to frame the work behind (plexi)glass.