Oil Pastels: Purple Irises (demonstration)

While re-organising my art supply cabinet the other day, I found a box of Sakura Cray-Pas Specialist oil pastels that my parents had brought back from me on a trip to America many years ago and was still in its shrink wrap. I hadn’t done any oil pastel drawings for years, so I thought I’d give them another go. This drawing is based on a photo by Sei Nakatugawa in the Photos for Artists Facebook group.

Oil Pastels
Sakura Cray-Pas Specialist Oil Pastels
-Cadmium Lemon Hue
-Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
-Yellow Orange
-Cadmium Orange Hue
-Permanent Yellow Green
-Middle Green
-Hooker’s Green Deep
-Viridian Hue
-Prussian Blue
-Dioxazine Violet
-Titanium White

Watersoluble Pencils
Caran d’Ache Supracolor

Stillman and Birn Nova Trio 150gsm sketchbook paper (black)

Step 1
Transfer the outline of the irises to a piece of black paper with an opaque white pencil (I used a Caran d’Ache Supracolor white pencil). Switching to oil pastels, go over the lightest parts of the stems with Permanent Yellow Green and the darkest shadowed areas with Viridian Hue, using Middle Green and Hooker’s Green Deep for the shades in between. Outline the flower petals with the Titanium White pastel, and colour in the lightest and whitest parts of the flower as well. Add in some of the light yellow parts of the flowers with Cadmium Lemon Hue.

Add some Ultramarine to the bluish areas of the flowers, using a firm pressure for the dark areas and gradually blending it into some of the white. For the flowers with a more purple hue, do the same with the Dioxazine Violet, switching to Mauve for the few flowers with a more red-purple colour. For a couple of the flowers, use both Dioxazine Violet and Ultramarine.

Step 2
Continue building up the dark areas of the petals with Ultramarine, Dioxazine Violet and Mauve. For the darkest areas in the centre of the blue flowers, add some Prussian Blue and blend this out gradually into the lighter colours (if needed, add some Prussian Blue to the dark areas of the purple flowers, but do this sparingly). Apply a light to medium pressure layer of Titanium White over some of the dark blues and purples, making sure to keep the centre of the flowers as dark as possible. Using your finger or a blending tool, lightly start blending some of the colours of the stems together and some areas of the flower (use different blending tools or fingers to avoid contaminating the blues and purples with green etc). Re-define the yellow parts in the centre of the flowers with Cadmium Lemon Hue.

Step 3
Using Ultramarine for the blue flowers and Mauve and Dioxazine Violet for the purple flowers, add a heavy final layer for the darkest areas, adding more Prussian Blue to the dark centres of the blue flowers. Put a heavy layer of Titanium White over the white areas of the flowers, and a lighter layer over some of the purple and blue areas, again blending these smoothly.

Add a little Prussian Blue along the darkest shadowed areas of the stems and leaves, then go over this with a little Viridian Hue to blend it in, leaving some of the Prussian Blue showing. On the upper left sides of some of the stems, add a highlight with Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue. On the flowers, go over some of the yellow areas with Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue and add some touches of Cadmium Orange Hue for some flowers.

Finally, using Middle Green, sign the drawing.

I hope you enjoyed this little demo. It was a fairly simple one since as I said, it’s been a while since I used oil pastels, but even though it’s a little more impressionist than I was aiming for, I think in the end it turned out alright.

This entry was posted in Demonstrations, Oil Pastels, Pastels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.