Branching Out?

I remember the day, sometime in 2015, when my son offered to buy this set of oil pastels from Sennelier for me. Ah. I was completely in want. Totally.

I had been reading books on surface design and learned that Caran d’ Ache Neocolor II Water Soluble Pastels could be used to color fabric. I mentioned these to my artist son and he immediately said, get Sennelier.

The fact that one set was oil based and obviously the other water-soluble was puzzling for a time. The fact that one set was by Sennelier and the favorite of Pablo Picasso was a huge factor in favor of the Sennelier set, plus the fact that I had actually been inside the very same shop that Picasso frequented put the final choice firmly in the Sennelier set.


I have used this set often, but not in ways that I wanted to. Instead of creating something with them, a picture for instance, I used them as a rubbing medium. Today, that’s going to change.

There are some people who can draw with a few strokes of a pencil and make a beautiful picture. I am not one of those people. My talent lies more in cutting up pieces of fabric and putting them back together. Or in sprinkling dye colors that appeal to me on a PFD piece of cloth and spraying it with soda ash water. Things like that. Not things like this


I will be the first to tell you that fabric is flexible. Anything you can think of, you can do. You cannot make a painting like this ……. for that you must know how to draw, or at least be handy enough to figure it out. I think I can figure it out.

Years ago, before my oil pastel set of 120 colors landed at my home in Maine, in fact before I lived in Maine, I painted. I painted everything I could get my hands on. I drew and although I do not think I drew well, compared to others in my family, I still drew.

And I used watercolors. I swear that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Oil paints were much easier to deal with – none of that wash stuff going on, just blobs of color forming a design. Luckily the oil pastels are more like oil paints than they are watercolors. I still have those watercolors ……. hmm. Second new thing?

Today I’m breaking out of the cutting out fabric rut for just a bit. Spreading my aged wings, so to speak, getting out the pencil, sketching in a design and finishing it with oil pastels ………. all on paper, not on cloth. Will it work I wonder? I sincerely hope so ……. and if Picasso could make beauty out of his set of Sennelier oil pastels, why can’t I? Fear stalk me not!






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