How to Get a Mottled Background in Oil Pastel

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” ~ Henry Moore

Nature often makes interesting arrangements of plants.  I took some artistic license in this oil pastel taken from a picture of coneflowers growing along a walkway.  To make the painting more interesting, I added the white flower to the mix, and, abstracted the background that was otherwise a tangled mess of bushes and weeds that added nothing to the composition.

As well, by abstracting the background there is something there already so you don’t have to add much leaves and other greenery to have a finished look like blurring the background in photography.


A bunch of coneflowers on an abstract background

Coneflowers Oil Pastel on Mi-teinte paper $75.00

In acrylic paint you would dip a sponge in paint and dab it on to the canvas to smudge in a mottled background.  You can use many colors making sure that where the colors overlap you are getting secondary colors you want.

In Oil Pastel, I discovered, you can color a square on a piece of scrap paper, dip your sponge or a cotton ball into mineral water and pick up the color from the square.  You need to add a lot of color to your square and will repeat the process applying the crayon to a dry spot on the paper until your mottled background is finished.  Remember to take a clean cotton ball for each color change and have fun!





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