“Strength and Glory” is the working title for the Percheron Horse Team (parade hitch) that I am currently painting. It is the complement to the “Power and Passion” painting of a Belgian team that I have just completed.
When beginning an oil pastel piece I first must have a complete drawing. This is different from my water soluble pencil work in that with the pencils I could draw in, change and erase as I pleased while working on the piece. Oil Pastel never really dries so it smears and the eraser bits will adhere to the pastels sticky surface. So most of my decision making needs to be done in advance. For my substrate I like to use 100% cotton rag board. I especially like it’s rigid surface for propping a piece up for viewing while working. Hot press water color paper also works well but it is not something I use.
Part of my dilemma for this piece is creating enough contrast between my black horses and their black tack. It is a struggle for me to create believable black horses without using black excessively. Also true black horses are a rarity in nature and so creating an accurate color as well as an interesting work of art is a bit of a balancing act.
I am still in the process of learning the ins and outs of oil pastels. The thing I most like about oil pastels is the depth of color I can lay down. I love color and the pastels let me feel more free to explore color’s nuances. The biggest downside is they are somewhat unforgiving. Once a color is down there is a small margin for changing it. Most shades have a staining effect on the underlying substrate. So to a degree I have to be pretty sure about the color before laying it down.
The other quality I really like in the oil pastel is the way I can lay down marks. Many of my images take on a realistic quality from several feet away but on closer inspection you notice it is a variety of several short strokes of different color laid next to each other. Overall up close, my paintings are quite impressionistic. When asked to describe my work I usually say I am a realist with strong impressionistic tendencies.
Text and original graphics copyright © Mona Majorowicz, 2000-2018.