I don’t have a background in art, but I have been able to take a few courses and visit some amazing museums in my life. My two favorite art styles are about as different as they could be. I love the geometry and industrial themes of Precisionism, and I love the loose landscapes of Impressionism. You might have glimpsed a few nods to Impressionist artists around The Mad House. I leaned a Van Gogh print on the baker’s rack in the Mad House dining room and used a Monet poster as part of my Anthropologie-inspired art plates.
When I decided to play around with a box of oil pastels, I took inspiration from Impressionism and created an abstract water motif on a canvas shaped like an ampersand. If you are familiar with Monet’s Water Lilies, I hope you can see how I was inspired.
I remember using oil pastels for an art project in grade school, but beyond that I have no experience using them. I was given a box of them and have been looking for a low-risk way to use them ever since. I found this canvas ampersand at Michael’s and thought it would be a great base for a simple pastels project.
I picked out the pastels from the box that matched my memory of lovely impressionist waterscapes. First, I experiment with using cotton swabs and water to blend the pastels, but I found that loading up the canvas with pastels and then blending with a dry swab worked the best. Even using the cottons swabs to blend, I still ended up with pigment on my hands.
I blended the blue shades together to create the “water” at the top of the piece. On the bottom half, I colored a layer of greens and topped that with a layer of blues. I blended all those pastels together to create the “lily pad” portion of the project.
My ampersand is no impressionist masterpiece, but I really do love how it turned out. I haven’t yet decided if I should spray the piece with sealant to keep the pastels from rubbing off. Any suggestions on that front?
Which is your favorite art style or period of art history?