Oil Pastels As the New Kid on the Block
You may have heard that pastels and oil pastels are in the same category. The difference is in the binding agent.
Both mediums are pigments in stick form. They are bound together using mineral oil and a bit of wax, whereas in chalk pastels the binder is gum tragacanth. Because they have more binder than pastels, their colors are not as vibrant.
They are a relatively new medium; first put on the market in the sixties. My first memory of using them goes back to my elementary school art classes in the 70's. Instead of using crayons like many children in the U.S. do, we used the Japanese-made Sakura brand. They came in numbers varying from 8 to 24. I remember their oily, buttery feel. I assumed that all school children used them until I had my own children. Then I discovered that nowadays they use crayons, which are not at all the same as those I used. In retrospect, I am glad I was exposed to this medium early on.
I did not use them much as an artist until I become very proficient with oil paints and pastels. I picked them up again some years ago, after I saw an artist who had incorporated them into his oil paintings. The oil pastels really shone on his paintings, and I was intrigued.
I bought a full set of Holbein Artist's set
(there are 225 sticks) and fell in love with them. They have been an integral part of my art ever since.
I find them compelling for many reasons: