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sennelier oil pastels

Sennelier oil pastels -These pastels make even a cranky artist smile.

Van Gogh Starry Night in Sennelier oil pastels
Van Gogh Starry Night

These vibrant colored pastels

can be used to paint on anything; wood, metal, paper or canvas to name a few. If you like using crayons and soft pastels, but are looking for freer, gestural qualities, Sennelier Oil Pastels may be the answer.

They come in two sizes. Standard, which is about 2 1/2″ x 3/8″ and is about 20% larger than most regular sized oil pastels, and Grande, 5″x 3/4″ which is about the size of eight regular sized oil pastels, which are perfect for working in large areas.

Important to note is the fact that the pastels are acid-free which makes priming the surface being worked on unnecessary against deterioration of the color from acid. They are made of high quality pigments and are combined with a pure synthetic binding medium and mineral wax. The binding medium doesn’t oxidize so it won’t affect the stability or surface of your work.

Because of the neutral pH of the mineral wax, the texture of these oil pastels is a very creamy, almost like lipstick. And, there are no worries about hardening, yellowing, or cracking.

The nice thing is that they can be thinned with mineral spirits or turpentine to make the color translucent for washes or to soften strokes, or the Blending Medium stick may be used for a plethora of effects.

pears in oil pastel
pears in oil pastel

These lovely pastels

are available both in sets and in open stock with 120 colors to choose from ad include fluorescent, which by the way are NOT lightfast, metallics and iridescents. The sets offer assorted color ranges from landscapes, still life and portrait as well as sets with a medley of colors, non-specific to a need. They also have test packs which come in a tin with six pastels so you can try it out before becoming more monitarily invested.

The pastels have wrappers that are easy to peel just a bit to protect the stick and your hand while using them. Or the wrappers can be removed for artists to prefer to work with the side of the pastel. Your choice. They are also the softest oil pastels available to artists today.

Some colors are toxic,

having Cadmium and Cobalt pigments in them. The toxic ones are clearly labeled so you can avoid using them if necessary. The down side to that is that the colors with the heavy metals are the best bright opaque colors in the line, the Cobalt blue, and Cadmium reds, oranges and yellows. Couple in Rain in oil pastel

Couple in Rain

However, the biggest problem is not skin contact, it is inhaling the dust, so clean hands and perhaps a mask when handling them is a better options than not using them at all.

Since they don’t have the firmness of other brands, they are rather soft and slippery. A painterly quality is the likely outcome of using these pastels because of their softness, so if you are looking for hard edges and lines you may have to incorporate other mediums into your work for that effect.

apple core in oil pastel
apple core in oil pastel

They mix well on paper can be blended so that it is difficult to tell if the work is painted or in pastels. Because of its softness it is ideal for covering large areas of the surface. You can put them in the freezer before use to keep them a bit harder for a while during use.

If you need more layers in a painting painted in another medium, Senneliers will work over it. The pastels can be made either transparent to lightly glaze or tone. And opaque colors will allow for changes where the underlayment needs to be covered up. So easy!

Senneliers Oil Pastels

are a must have in any artists studio if you work in a mixed media environment. They work well either wet techniques or oil mediums and utilizes a soft touch to blend or draw.

Versatility is the watchword here. Mix them on a palette and apply to the surface with a palette knife. This is a personal favorite of mine. Work can be easily modified, especially when you need to make changes, because it never really dries or sets. It needs to be sprayed with a fixative a week or more after the work is finished and placed under glass to protect it.

Depending on which set you buy, or if you buy open stock you will find that the pastels are boxed in either a cardboard box, metal box, or wooden box with thick foam slotted to hold the pastel sticks. On many of the boxes color swatches and numbers are listed for easy replacement after having torn off the wrapper.

landscape in oil pastel
landscape in oil pastel

One of the best things

about these pastels is that it is possible to mix the colors you don’t have from the colors you have. They travel well, with no spillage or mess. They are compact and travel easily, not taking up much room.

Oil pastels in general and the Senneliers brand specifically is a pleasure to use. Regardless of the surface used, the pastels give an artist the freedom of large open movements. Blending is done beautifully, and can be softened more on the surface with a colorless blender, water and a finger, or even just a finger.

They come in many types of color palettes. You can also buy the entire line and spend time just gazing at the lovely colors. Just remember, mess them up, use them hard, or soft, use them in conjunction with other mediums or alone. It doesn’t matter.

As long as you feel what you are doing, there is no wrong way to enjoy being an artist. So go out there and make a masterpiece.



P.S. I’d love to see what you’ve created so leave a comment with your work.

Circles in oil pastel
Circles in oil pastel
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