Introduction to Artists' Oil Pastels with Roy Simmons
Oil pastel may be one of the most underrated mediums for artists. This may be due to the fact that there are many cheaper varieties available, but they're harder than the artist types, and don't blend as well.
Proper Artist quality Oil Pastels contain more pigment and wax/oil content. Sennelier are one of the most well known brands, but are expensive by comparison. However Mungyo make a version quite comparable, We will use Mungyo for colour and Sennelier for white as it is exceptionally good. Also the Mungyo pastels are larger which helps when creating broad areas of tone and colour. See below for details
We will look at the various materials and tools we will be using, the main 'tools' though are your fingers! Warm fingers soften the pastel and aid blending. We will begin by doing some simple exercises, to familiarise ourselves with how oil pastels behave. Concentrating on blending techniques and ways of drawing into the pastel. Layering the pastel can produce fascinating results, especially combined with scratching through the layers to colours beneath. We will also discuss using other materials and solvents with oil pastel. You can use different coloured papers to work on, smooth surfaces are best.
For our first painting I will demonstrate step by step for you to follow along. We will always keep in mind 'Start with unity, then add variety'. Using one or 2 colours to start with really helps with initial unity. This first painting will be a landscape with good lighting to exploit. After lunch I will demonstrate a painting with trees and more elements to really push the various techniques that are possible with this exiting medium. Then you will do your version.
There is a nice story from the Sennelier website regarding Picasso... “In 1949, Parisian painter Henri Goetz approached Henri Sennelier the famous artist materials manufacturer, about creating a wax colour stick for his friend Pablo Picasso. Picasso, a long-time Sennelier customer and a frequent visitor to their store across the street from the Louvre Museum, was looking for a medium that could be used freely on a variety of surfaces without fading or cracking. Their collaboration produced the incomparable SENNELIER oil pastels.
” We should though mention the fact that Oil Pastels were invented in Japan, by the Cray-pas company. This is from Wikipedia... Teachers Rinzo Satake and his brother-in-law Shuku Sasaki read Yamamoto's work and became fanatical supporters. They became keen to implement his ideas by replacing the many hours Japanese children had to spend drawing ideograms with black Indian ink with free drawing hours, filled with as much color as possible. For this, they decided to produce an improved wax crayon and in 1921 founded the Sakura Cray-Pas Company and began production.
About the Swallow Barn:
“I’ve been thinking about last week’s workshop session. I am SO impressed with the loveliness of the Swallow barn. In the midst of this COVID world of chaos and uncertainty, it’s such a calm, safe space and I’m sure that everyone who visits will agree. I also appreciate the abundance of extra safety/hygiene measures that you’ve put in place. It works so well. Also, as Gwen mentioned, the extra space and its layout has made for a more social environment - it’s easier to chat and to look at what others are doing. I’m so glad I came, I feel uplifted, somewhat healed and much more positive as a result. Oh... and the salad lunch was just wonderful! “
“Attended an art class with artist Margaret 23 August and was extremely impressed with the tuition and the venue. All possible precautions were taken to maintain social distances and enable personal sanitization. The Swallow barn was a fantastic place to paint, light, airy and very peaceful, all mod cons were set up to show tuition and display our work on a screen. The lunch food was homemade, three types of soup, hunks of bread and two pudding choices. I couldn’t fault any of the day and look forward to going back if any more art courses are run. Well done all’
We spent the time during summer 2020 lock down upgrading a first floor barn and our very spacious ‘Swallow Barn’ is now up and running! The new Quirky Workshop studio allows plenty of distancing for up to 10 people using 8 separate tables, two hand washing stations, a one way system, 2 stairways, sanitising and a large screen on which to project the live stream of tutor’s detailed work, allowing students to stay at their desks for all the previous ‘gather round’ moments.
Lunch is provided on separate trays and brought to each student at their desk by staff wearing masks. We’ve had very positive feedback from students remarking how safe they feel, whilst still being able to enjoy a favourite crafting day out, under as normal as possible circumstances.
Here are some of the measures we will have in place, both within the Swallow Barn and its environs, to ensure the safety of us all during the workshop day:
• Each student has their own desk unless you have booked with others, in which case we could seat you together at the same table.
• Hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers will be available at key points, on entry and within your room. You will be asked to wash your hands frequently, especially just before and after breaks.
• There will be several windows open to ensure the room is well ventilated throughout the day. So please also bring ‘extra layers’ if the day outside is cooler.
• Lunch will be provided individually on trays and students can take this at their desks. Of course, you can bring your own lunch if you prefer.
• You will keep your allocated mug for the day, the usual hot drinks will be available and served at arm’s length.
• Please bring a face mask with you. Although, during the normal course of the day the wearing of face masks is optional, they may be required if you're moving about or in the event that close tutor contact is necessary for whatever reason - in which case both tutor and student should wear masks.
• We have a camera in place that films the tutor demonstrations close up, allowing a projected live feed to a large screen at the front of the room. This means all previous ‘gather round moments’ have been replaced with students remaining safely at their desks watching from afar.
• Sanitising procedures for ‘shared use’ tools will be in place. Many tutors will provide sets of tools for each student.
• There will be one-way circulation with distancing maintained in compromised spaces, including stairs ‘up and down’ for students.
We look forward to welcoming you here in Cumbria and the Lake District.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
Welcome drinks: fresh coffee & home-made biscuits; a lovely 2 course Aga lunch served on individual trays at your desks or outside on the Tea Lawn if it's warm enough. To finish off the day, a freshly made Cream Tea (including Aga-baked scones, cream and jam).
Our days are considered special treats; many come back time and time again and often combine it with a short break to the Lake District.
We have been hosting and organising 'Quirky Workshops' since 2005, from what was the original C2C Greystoke Cycle Café situated on the northern fringes of the Lake District. It was with sadness that the Cycle Café was closed to the public in 2018; we since have become ‘Greystoke Craft Garden & Barns’. All our tutors are carefully hand selected professional experts and many are considered as national leaders in their field.
This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.