For this exercise use a textured coloured paper A3 in size and equip yourself with a good range of oil pastels. Set up a colourful group of fruit or vegetables or a combination of both, concentrating on creating a group of contrasting colour, shape and texture. Select a number of pastels to form the main colours you plan to use, making sure to include lights and darks.
Not having used oil pastels before, I started by testing out the pastels in a mark making and colour study exercise, which wasn’t as successful as I first hoped. Not having used this medium before, I found it strange and very unsure of how to use it.
The exercise asked for toned textured paper and because I was unable to find any (the coloured pastel papers didn’t seem to have enough ‘tooth’ to grab the oil pastels) and all the textured papers were white, so I stained an acrylic paper that had texture with tea to give it colour.
I chose a tomato on the vine, a yellow pepper and three raspberries for this exercise.
Light source is backlit from right hand side. I drew the basic outline of the objects using the main colour.
I stared with the tomato, using a primary red, making the areas in shade a deeper tone. As the tomato is very shiny I constantly looked for the reflections and highlight so as not to obliterate them. As the tomato has loads of different colours, I tested mixing red and orange with an overlay of brown for the darker areas. By laying over the orange and red over the brown I achieved a good colour gradation. I attempted to achieve a gradual subtle change of colour by blending colours together using a roll of paper and a damp cotton bud.
For the raspberries, I experimented making different reds. I put down a dark purple base, again leaving the highlight and overlaid with the primary red, this gave a pleasing colour, fairly representational of the raspberry and completely different from the bright red of the tomato. Mixing red, orange gave a bright red toned down by brown. I put in the shadows and overlaid different colours to achieve darker greys.
One of the issues I found was that sometimes the pastels smeared together making a muddy colour rather than sitting separately on top of each other. If this happened, I scrapped off the layer of pastel (which gave a nice ghost colour) and laid the colour down again until I achieved the desired result.
I used a marble plate which is definitely lacking in this drawing and doesn’t looked finished. I’m not sure that the toned stained background has added anything to this drawing or composition.