A month ago, I was depressed. Not hugely depressed, but enough to be annoying. And I wasn’t making any art. I stop making art when I’m depressed, and I knew that I needed to start again to get un-depressed, but of course I was depressed so I didn’t feel like it.
On top of that, Messiah Conference was coming up, and I was supposed to put together a couple of posters for events that Hero was running. So that was a second reason that I needed to make art. I still didn’t want to.
Finally I was telling my sister N about all this, and she suggested that I switch mediums.
My sister is a genius.
It took some discussion to find something appropriate (having small kids means I rely on media that are a) non-toxic, b) quick to set up and clean up, and c) not easily ruined by household accidents) but I ordered a big set of oil pastels and some gesso later that day.
Happiness is a big set of oil pastels and a big chunk of gesso’d paper bag.
This is one of the posters. (I didn’t photograph the other, but it was much simpler.) I added the necessary text in the white space, then brought it home and painted over the text. It’s around three feet tall and I love it.
It took me about an hour and a half to do – I outlined the red curve and added a few more random curves inside the space to serve as markers and destinations, and then just added lots of blended filling. My fingers got very messy :)
(I finished it with several coats of Krylon acrylic spray, and that seems to have stabilized it. I ended up signing it in frequently-wiped sharpie, since I couldn’t think of anything better. Following a search online, my other oil pastels have been signed by scraping into the pastel rather than writing on top.)
Since my fingers aren’t great at detail work, I knew I needed some sort of blending tool. My pre-conference haircut was a couple doors down from an art supply store, so I picked up a tool like this one to help with blending.
Since then I’ve done a few other things:
Page in an altered book, done during the conference. Don’t really like it, but the little bird turned out really well. It was useful for getting to know the blending tool.
Then there’s this:
This started with the cloudy blue background, and I love the tone-on-tone lettering. The problem is that I didn’t have anywhere to go next. So I painted on the yellow flower (which I kinda like), added puffy paint circles, decided I disliked them and scraped them off, painted the red thingy, and gave up and left it on the shelf for a while. Now I’ve added a bunch of pastel, and I still don’t much like it – but at least it’s further along than it was. Maybe I’ll work on it more. Maybe I won’t.
The girls have joined me in the fun. I love that pastels are cheap and not very messy, so I can let them play all they want. Kitten has done a series of scribbles, and Beauty has been coloring my hastily-sketched depictions of the characters from Frozen.
That’s Princess Ana, Princess Elsa, and their father. Princess Ana has a purse, at Beauty’s insistence.
And then there’s this, which I love:
You may remember this flourish painting, which has since been named Vivant. (It was Carnival Flourish for a while, but I never much liked that.) I pulled it out and did what my high school art teacher used to do: cut a window out of a piece of paper and moved it around until I found a composition I could blow up for the next artwork.
I intend to give it to my sister C, because I decided it felt like her about halfway through making it and Beauty spontaneously commented that it was for C when she saw it. So she’s stuck with it.
Maybe I’ll give the next one to N, seeing as this is all her fault in the first place.