In oil pastel, but predating “Cats After van Gogh”, this was officially the first oil pastel of all my daily sketches.
I have more art materials close at hand in my studio and I’ve had this idea for working in oil pastel and Jelly Bean was the intended subject. Jelly Bean settled himself under my work lights as I had envisioned and voilà, there is a Grape Jelly Bean.
I frequently work in chalk pastel, especially for commissioned portraits, because of its versatility in application and range of colors from delicate to vibrant to deep. Chalk pastels are made from pure pigment in a binder ranging from fine clay to gum arabic or cellulose to form a shape to be held in hand to draw and are, as the term “chalk” would describe, a dry medium.
Oil pastels may have a similar name but that’s about the end of the similarity. A relatively new medium at less than 100 years old, the pigment is combined with a non-drying oil and wax which makes it more like a soft crayon, and that was exactly what it felt like when I first began to work with it years ago, a crayon! I put it aside, disliking the feel of it and my lack of control, but when I worked in an art supply store and frame shop, I framed an oil pastel drawing that absolutely fascinated me with how it had been applied with abandon, layered, and even had areas carved out of it nearly down to the paper to create visual and physical texture.
Where chalk pastel is blended like a powder, oil pastel is much more difficult to blend but may be done by drawing one color atop the other, using a burnishing tool or paper stomp or even using a solvent medium like linseed oil or turpentine, so I put all the techniques to use.
What I wanted to use was the way the colors do and don’t combine, using just about every color in the box to create the highlights and shadows. And though the Bean is a little black cat, there is not one dot of black anywhere on here. That was the other part of the assignment for me—non-representational color! After nearly a month of these sketches I feel a little more confident about loosening up, and in fact just dropped what I was doing, grabbed the little sketch pad and the red violet pastel and started sketching, adding other colors, layering, and overlaying.
The regular drawing paper I use would work okay for this, but that paper is rather thin and working heavily as I had intended with this would stretch and wrinkle the paper. I found a stack of little 5″ x 7″ sketch pads at, of all places, JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00 each. Who would be afraid to experiment with that kind of an investment? Intended for acrylic paint, this is thicker and has more texture than the usual sketch paper I use. This sketch is also smaller—the actual image is only 3.5″ x 5.5″; not sure why, that’s just the way it worked out.
I love Jelly Bean’s very roundness. While he is probably just a little rounder than he should be, he also has stocky characteristics and likes to bunch himself up so that he looks like a bunch of balls of yarn perhaps, all stuck together. In fact, I did an earlier sketch of him today entitled “Circles” which I will save for a day when I don’t have one where he is sitting crouched on the top of the stool at my easel just being very round from his head to his paws.
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Where to find this artwork
I have this artwork available in many different print forms—on paper and canvas, as a highest-quality giclee and as a mousepad, and now and then I use the image on a handmade item like a keepsake box.
Simply search the title, “Grape Jelly Bean” to find anything else I might have on hand at the moment (note that you can search only my shop from my shop’s front page, searching from a product or category page will search all of Etsy).
To find out more about my work in oil pastel and the development of this style, see Anniversary Sketch Reprise: Two Cats After van Gogh, and More.
For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Cat Art and Prints” section.
Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Two Years of Daily Sketches.
And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.
A collection of 34 images of feline artwork
Feline Style Sampler
Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.
or find this book in my Etsy shop.
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!