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Working with water soluble oil pastels

When I first encountered water soluble oil pastels, I thought "Now that's something that could have been left uninvented." But I bought some anyways. I think artists are a curious lot, and I'm no exception. I bought the larger set and secretly mourned the margarita and Dinner that I could have gotten with the cost. I brought them home and left them on the table for a few days while I considered the best images to try with this mysterious medium.

I've been an artist and a picture framer for over thirty years. I've been a gallery director and I sold art supplies for years. I like to rely on first hand experience when talking about a product, so I'm more than willing to use different mediums and grounds to see how everything works together.

I dug out my stash of print making paper and found an image that I thought might work. I started lightly, planning my layout and deciding where my lights and darks were going to go. I planned to treat them more like watercolors than oil pastels at this stage of the painting. They come with a white, but at this point, I didn't know how effective that would be to cover the buff paper color or to blend with the other colors.

I must say that I was completely surprised by how workable the crayons were. Some of the colors were easier to blend than others, but all and all they exceded my expectations. I was using a quality paper that responds well to being wetted, and I recommend that you do the same if you decide to try these, but they worked equally well on a lighter weight paper.The finished look was slightly more rumpled, but the amount of pigment was actually a little bit better.

The packaging leads you to believe that these are for junior artist and beneath your consideration, but I found these to be more than suitable for fine art and more importantly, quite fun to play with!

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