Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing: Tutorials and Workshops Singapore

This week’s article places emphasis on oil pastel techniques, and more importantly, on oil pastel still life drawing. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to try your hands on this medium, you’d probably know that it’s easy to use but difficult to master. Artist Celine Chia takes us on her journey to create her own rendition of Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing, as well as explain the techniques applied to her oil pastel works of art.

What is Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing?

Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing is essentially a semi-realism painting of a subject while giving it a bold style, depending on the blending and strokes of your oil pastels. One can choose to blend the colours to smoothen it or leave the strokes to emphasise on the shadows or highlights of the subject without blending.

Let’s dive deeper into Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing through Artist Celine Chia’s works.

Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing – Sunflowers (2021), Artist Celine Chia

Here are the steps to recreate your own sunflowers oil pastel portrait:

First and foremost, use light coloured oil pastel to sketch the outline of the sunflowers. In this case, we use light yellow to sketch out the outlines.
Next, outline the circumference of the middle part of the sunflower with dark brown oil pastels.
Following that, we add an inner layer of orange around the dark brown layer.

After the orange layer, add an inner layer of yellow.
To achieve the colour gradation, we use light brown oil pastels to blend the transition between  the orange and yellow layer.
After you are done with the middle part of the sunflower, we proceed with outlining the petals with light orange oil pastels. 
Repeat this process for the other sunflowers.

For the petals, apply the stroking method (stroke the oil pastel according to the shape of the object) using light yellow. 
Next, use Cadmium Yellow (lightest yellow) for the transition between light yellow and the rest of the petals.
We then use Juniper Green oil pastels to outline the veins as well as the margin (edge) of the leaves.

For the leaf lamina (inner parts of the leaf), we use Olive Green to fill in the spaces. The olive green adds a transition layer between the lamina and the margin.
As for the areas of white between the leaves and around the edges, you can consider using pine green and blend using grey.
Once you’re done with the leaves, we move on to the roads, the fields and the houses. We use Grey Oil Pastel and the stroking technique for the road. 

After the roads, we use Dark Yellow Oil Pastel to apply streaks of yellow across the fields. 
This is followed by applying streaks of light brown, followed by blending with Dark Brown Oil Pastel. These two colours are used to place emphasis on the colour gradation between the two tones.
Apply this same technique across the whole meadow. Once you’re done with the field, remember to use Dark Brown Oil Pastel to add in the fences. 

For the houses, we use grey oil pastels for the base of the houses. Next, for the roof of the house in the foreground, we use orange, followed by Vermilion Red for the edges of the house.
For the house next to it, we use Tangerine Orange oil pastels for the roof, followed by Peanut Brown for the edges. Repeat this process for the houses in the background.
For the shrubs, we use Pine Green for the base and Shamrock Green for the rest of the shrubs.

As for the clouds, we outline them using grey oil pastels. Next, for the trees, we use Pine green for the base and Sage Green for the rest of the tree.
Moving on to the sky, we use Navy Blue for the sky and Baby Blue to emphasise the skyline.
To further add definition and gradation for the sunflowers, use Orange Oil Pastel where applicable.
And we are done with the first of the Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing – Sunflowers! Here’s the final image if you’re keen. 

Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing -Sunflowers (2021), Artist Celine Chia
Sunflowers (2021), Artist Celine Chia

Next, let’s dive into the second of our Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing Artwork by our artist – a cute pug portrait! The same techniques applied for the sunflowers are relevant here.

Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing – Cute Pug Portrait (2021), Artist Celine Chia

Here are the steps to recreate your own Oil Pastel Pug Portrait:

Firstly, we start by using Sand Beige Oil Pastel to sketch out the rough outline of the pug. 

For the highlights and shadows of the pug, we use Reddish Brown Oil Pastel to add more definition and contrast to the subject. 

To achieve the “fur” texture, fill the spaces of the pug by stroking. The direction of the strokes will determine the shape and how relaxed/natural the pug will look. Note that too much blending of the colours in this case will make the drawing look flat.

Next, we use Black Oil Pastel to outline its eyes, and blend slightly with White Oil Pastel.
Clean the tip of the white oil pastel (with dry tissue/cloth) before colouring the middle part of the eye to avoid the black from smudging in the middle.
After you’re done with its eye, we follow up by using Light Grey Oil Pastel for its snout. 

Following that, we use Reddish Brown Oil Pastel again to add contour lines to the pug’s facial features.
White and Light Pink Beige Pastels are mostly used for the blending and the highlights for the pug in this art piece.
These help to soften the darker colours (reddish brown & dark grey) so that the pug’s fur will not appear too dark.

Note that the original/main fur colour for the pug is white/cream colour, therefore the Reddish Brown and Dark Grey Pastels only serves the purpose of highlighting the shadows and contour lines to differentiate the pug’s body parts.

Where applicable, use Light Grey Oil Pastels to add definitions to the highlights of the pug’s fur.
Next, we use Dark Grey Oil Pastel to add more contrast to the pug’s paws.
Leave Black Oil Pastel for the last to avoid smudging your beautiful work of art.
Here, we use Black Oil Pastel to add a layer of darker contrast against the pug’s snout, its ears as well as along the folds of its forehead.
Blend the edges of the strokes to create a lighter tone (light grey/ light pink beige/ white) using the stroking method as well.

In order to further supplement the layer of black and place emphasis on the colour gradation, we use Reddish Brown for the transition areas between the ears. 
For the pug’s eyes, we use Brown Oil Pastel to draw two ovals
After you’re done with the brown layer, we then follow up with using Black Oil Pastel to complete its beautiful round eyes.

Following that, we use the same Black Oil Pastel to add further definition and contrast to its facial features. (Snout, ears and neck).
Remember to touch up the darkened areas by blending/stroking the edges of the strokes with a lighter tone.

Last but not least for the background of the Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing of the pug. We use Green Grey for the floor that the pug is sitting on.
We follow up by transitioning into a layer of Light Grey and lastly Light Pink Beige. These three colours used in conjunction with one another provides a transitional layer that showcases the shadow beneath the pug.

End this cute pug portrait with a layer of Pastel Purple around the pug, followed by blending it with Light Pink Beige Oil Pastels.
The consistent use of pastel/light colours will create a softer and more aesthetic vibe to the art piece. Here’s the final artwork for those interested!

Cute Pug Portrait (2021), Artist Celine Chia, Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing
Cute Pug Portrait (2021), Artist Celine Chia

Here’s something extra for those with more experience handling oil pastels:

Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing – Ice Cream Parfait (2021), Artist Celine Chia

The Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing of the Ice Cream Parfait will require a certain level of control and deeper understanding of the blending techniques,thus it is not advisable for beginners. However, for those who are more experienced, please feel free to try it out!

Ice Cream Parfait (2021), Artist Celine Chia, Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing
Ice Cream Parfait (2021), Artist Celine Chia

If you’re keen on learning more from Artist Celine Chia, feel free to sign up for our Oil Pastel Still Life Drawing Workshops or stay tuned to our socials for more content!

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