An unused box of oil pastels I had bought several years ago bugged the miser in me to do something about it, so this weekend I took a workshop with Lisa Semerad at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. Oil pastel is waxy pastel that doesn't behave like the traditional chalk pastel at all. It doesn't produce dust for one thing. Art is great, but with cadmiums in some paints, who wants to breathe in toxic stuff and die young?
It's gooey, tactile, and versatile. You can combine this nifty medium with oil, acrylic, watercolor, and colored pencil; you can paint on paper, canvas, metal, glass, plastic, or whatever! If Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec had had these babies, he would have created an even wilder oeuvre.
There were ten students in the workshop, and we shared the attitude of fun, experiment, and childlike fearlessness. Since we didn't have much experience with the medium and didn't burden ourselves with the expectation to create masterpieces at the end of the day, we didn't get frustrated and remained thoroughly cheerful. Guess what! We did make some good art! Look at "Black Tulip Dress". Does it look like my usual artwork? When I thought I had been really brave, Lisa came around to ask if I was ready for some crazy stuff. Gasp. I said "sure." She began to scratch with a couple of colored pencils all over the paper! I continued the wild act and signed my name. What a weekend!