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Oil pastels and oil sticks what are the differences
It often thinks of oil painting as a technique linked to the past and firmly anchored to tradition. When compared to acrylic paint, few products are innovative, or that explore new creative directions. It is not entirely true. And if you keep reading, I’ll show you a concrete example. Today we are talking about Oil Pastels and Oil Sticks (also called oil bars), two products that you surely know and are part of the family of oil colors. What are the differences between oil pastels and oil sticks? Let’s find out together!
Are Oil Pastels and Oil Sticks the same?
While sharing many characteristics in the composition and method of use, they make them very different. Both Oil Pastels and Oil Sticks are composed of Oil, wax, and pigment. Thanks to their rich and deep colors and particular technique, they are perfect for obtaining extraordinary results on our works and are excellent allies for outside painting. The critical difference between Oil Pastels and Oil Sticks is that oil pastels contain non-drying mineral oil that prevents the color from drying completely. On the other hand, the Oil Sticks dry and solidify like oil paint, as they are oil colors in solid form!
As I said initially, a misconception among painters is that oil painting is not capable of renewing itself and experimenting with new formulas and new products. Oil pastels are a relatively recent invention. Created in the early 20th century to meet the practical needs of some artists, they first appeared under the Sakura brand in 1925. In the following years, other manufacturers created and developed similar products until, in 1949, Henri Sennelier launched the extraordinary Sennelier oil pastels on the market. It is interesting to note that the recipe produces two great artists, Pablo Picasso and Henri Goetz. Both asked for a tool to draw sketches under the oil paintings of Drawing Ideas and soft pastels that would allow them to paint on various supports such as wood, glass, paper, ceramic, or canvas.
How are oil pastels used?
The binder used for oil pastels is inert, which is why they do not dry after use. Also, thanks to this wax-based binder, they can be used without problem on various surfaces, such as paper, canvas, wood, and metal, without any necessary substrate preparation. They are often used for preparatory sketches of oil paints, but they can use for complete works without any problem! The color can be blended using your fingers, which is an excellent feature to be exploited absolutely! The heat of the hands heats the paste of the pastels (and consequently the wax contained in them) and makes the color malleable and easily mixable, even after being deposited on the support.
In this way, we can also overlap different colors or create layers with different shades, mixing to give life to excellent results. However, be very careful if you work “outdoor,” that is, outdoors, and don’t forget your pastels in the sun! Essential advice: since the oil pastel will never dry completely, it is necessary to protect our work after finishing it. It is highly recommended to use a fixative for pastel when the job is finished. Alternatively, it is essential to preserve the piece behind glass to expose it and prevent it from degrading over time.
What are Oil Sticks
Oil stocks are oil paints in solid form. They are cylinders composed of pigment, linseed oil or safflower, and a part of wax, which allows it to take on this particular shape. Their versatility lies in the fact that they can use in two complementary ways. You can paint using the cylinder directly, almost like a pastel, adjusting the intensity of the lines and colors with more or less hand pressure. Or you can use them as classic oil paint by preparing the color on the palette (mixing it with mediums or auxiliaries if necessary) and spreading it with a brush or palette knife on the surface to be painted.
Some characteristics of the Oil Sticks
Many of the Oil Sticks on the market are produced starting from the classic oil painting, with some modifications to the recipe to create the characteristic cylindrical and solid shape. The pigments used are always of the highest quality, and the result is always up to expectations!
Before use, it is necessary to remove the thin film that forms on the surface of the cylinder. This film creates automatically after a few days of non-use (for the same reason that oil paint dries and dries) and protects the inside of the stick. For this reason, the Oil Sticks are very easy to keep. Finally, it is essential to note that the Oil Sticks are, on average, much more significant than oil pastels and consequently contain more paint (in solid form, of course). It allows us a prolonged use, but, therefore, the price will be with the quantity!
Some tips for using oil pastels, oil sticks, and oil paint together!
The question we are often asked is: “Can I use oil pastels or oil sticks together with oil painting?”
· Oil pastels and oil sticks can be used as a base for oil paintings. By command, I mean they can be used to sketch the design or to fill in areas of color. However, do not overdo the color used and make sure that this base is not too thick. When you start working on it with oil paints, the mediums in the paint will partially dissolve the ground, and the colors will mix.
· We have already mentioned that Oil Sticks are oil paint in solid form. However, they are more “fat” than classical paintings due to the painting contained in them. Don’t forget this when you use them for your paintings. Using auxiliaries or mediums, you can make them more fluid and easily workable.
· Since oil pastels never dry completely, you have to be very careful to use them as a base for oil painting. As mentioned in point 1, try not to create a too thick base (i.e., with a layer of color that is too thick). It could give unexpected results when the overlying Oil paint surface dries out, and you risk the paint cracking or peeling off.
· When used in combination with oil painting, oil pastels work best in creating the finest details or for final accents. However, try to make sure that the underlying oil paint is dry or that the color layer is thin so as not to “lose” the color of the paste
l in the fresh oil paint.