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Video 13: Oil Pastels

The majority of this course has focused on the use of hard and soft pastels. There are,
of course, other options available to the landscape artist. This module takes a look at
the use of oil pastels for landscape painting. Oil pastels have a different binder than
soft or hard pastels. Oil pastels feature an oil-based binder. This means that they will
behave differently on a surface than traditional soft pastels. While many application
techniques will be the same, some differences in the two media will need to be
considered. Oil pastels are considerably less powdery than soft pastels and as a
result, more difficult to blend with a finger or a blending stump. Oil pastels are also
more difficult to cover completely with subsequent applications of color. For this
reason, a bit more attention may need to be paid to the order in which colors are

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

A dull orange paper is used for this

demonstration. This color is chosen
for its relationship with dominant
greens and subtle purples in the
photo reference. The work begins
with the areas of light in the
background. Shapes of white are
laid down initially.

Dark and light greens are applied

next. Applications of these colors
remain light. Too much pressure or
heavy applications early in the
process are discouraged.

A variety of greens are layered over

the area of light in the background.
As confidence grows in the accuracy
of chosen colors, heavier
applications can be made.

Attention is paid to fields of

color rather than details. The
goal in the early stages is to
lay down observed colors and
match them to the observed
shapes as accurately as

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Darker areas are established with a

dark brown or umber and then
layered over using a dark value of
green. No black is used at this point
in the process. Using black on its
own can make objects appear

The light that filters through is

highlighted on some of the leaves of
trees. This illusion is created by
using a light and intense yellowgreen.

Dark gray is used in the background

to create light silhouettes of the
trees that exist there. Some of the
lighter values of green underneath
will mix in, making this area lighter.

With the area of extreme

background initially defined, the
edge of a dark brown pastel can be
used to draw the trunks and
branches of smaller trees in the

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

A bit of purple is introduced on the

trunks of the trees in the distance.
This purple will be used to unify the
image by harmonizing the orange of
the paper and the green of the plant

Working outward from the

initial area of light, darker
values are addressed first,
with lighter greens layered

Light yellow-green and white are

used to lighten values on the leaves.
As white is layered, it mixes with the
greens underneath to produce
lighter greens instead of areas of
pure white.

A short stroke of white marks

the beginnings of the water at
the base of the distant trees.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

With a dark brown, a few more lines

are added for the trunks of the trees
in the forest on the left side of the
picture plane.

The area of forest on the right side

of the picture plane can be
addressed next by following the
same progression of steps.

To create the illusion of the texture

of the leaves, short marks are made
with different values of green.

A light gray is used to make a few

marks for tree trunks deep in the
forest. Using a variety of colors for
the trunks of the trees will lead to
more natural-looking results.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

The lower portions of the forest will

be darker in value. A combination of
dark brown and blue is used to
accomplish these darker values.

The upper portion of the canopy

of trees is lighter in value. A light
yellow-green is used to lighten
the top parts of the trees.

A few leaves that are closer to the

viewer are receiving stronger areas
of light. Yellow-green is used for
these areas as well.
Instead of
defining broader shapes with this
color, short strokes are made to
mimic the actual leaves.

Yellow is used to make a few

areas on these leaves stand
out and make the light appear
more intense.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

To add a bit of variety on these

leaves, a few marks are added using
a white. The white should mix with
the green underneath to create light
green leaves.

A dark brown is used to create the

illusion of tree trunks.
Again, a
broken line is used so that groupings
of leaves appear closer to the

Attention is now turned to the middle

ground. A combination of white, light
green, gray and brown is used for
the water and is applied using
horizontal strokes. Rocks are
developed as work progresses down
the picture plane.

Brown is used first, followed by dark

blue for the shadows. Light green,
gray, white, and yellow are layered
on top. This sequence of colors will
be repeated on the majority of rocks
in the scene.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

The darker areas in the water are

addressed with a dark brown. The
water will consist of a combination of
dark brown, light green, light gray,
and white. No blue will be used.

Marks are made to mimic

the directional flow of the
water around the rocks.

Directional lines are used in every

area where the water flows over or
around rocks. By layering lighter
marks over the established darker
areas, a more natural illusion of
moving water is achieved.

The initial shapes of rock

formations are continued into
the foreground area using a
dark brown.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

Blue is layered on these rocks in the

areas of core shadow, followed by
the same progression of colors used
on the distant rocks. Light gray, light
green, white, and yellow are layered
to give the rocks texture and form.

Since the rocks are closer to the viewer,

there is greater contrast in values. To
create this contrast, a small bit of black
is added in the shadowed areas.

As the rocks are developed, the

water can be filled in.
horizontal marks are made to
contrast the marks made for the
moving water.

These marks are continued down

around the established rocks. Some
level of transparency is preserved so
that the darker browns underneath
are not totally covered.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

Directional marks should not

be overlooked on the rocks.
The direction of the marks
can be used to further the
illusion of form in these areas
as well.

Black is added in the darkest

areas underneath the trees in the
middle ground and foreground.

Light green is layered on top of the

light gray using horizontal marks to
add depth to the color of the water.

Light gray is added to lighten

compromising the variety of
color created by the previous
application of green.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

White is used to highlight the water

in both the calm and cascading

The same collection of colors are used

for the water in the foreground, again
with consideration for the directional
movement of the water.

Light gray is used to lay in a base

color for the rocks in the foreground.

This color is carried over

onto the rocks on the right
side of the picture plane
as well.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery

Green, white, and yellow are

layered on the foreground
rocks. Marks are purposely
made to create the illusion of
visible texture.
Black is
added for this reason as well.

The purple that was used on the

trees in the beginning stages of
the drawing is used in the midtone
areas on the rocks.

This last step unifies the artwork by

implementing a color triad of
secondary colors.

The finished image.

Copyright (c) 2013 Pastel Landscape Mastery