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 that day entitled “Circles” 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
The original is sold, but I have this artwork available in many different print forms—on paper and canvas, and now and then I use the image on a handmade item like a keepsake box or refrigerator magnet.
A New Member Thank You
You can get a free matted print when you register for an account on Portraits of Animals.
Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free matted print of “Grape Jelly Bean” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects.
The New Member print is a signed digital print of my oil pastel sketch “Grape Jelly Bean” made in archival inks on Epson Velvet Art Paper. This print is 5″ x 7″, double-matted in white with a purple liner for an 8″ x 10″ frame.
This print is only available as a new member gift during this month while it’s the featured artwork and desktop calendar, so make sure you sign up before the end of the month!
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.
If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.
How to download and use your desktop calendar
- Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
- For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
- For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.
Horizontal and HD monitors and screens
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Square monitors and screens
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Small Mobile Devices and Tablets
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Cell Phones and Smartphones
Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.
Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.
click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat
or visit Feline Artwork on my main website.
If you are interested in a print of this image, check Portraits of Animals 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.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.
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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!
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