This week we continued to work on still life. We both studied the inspiring work of Jim Dine. If you are not familiar with his work, he created a series of amazing charcoal drawings, exploring tools as the subject matter. If you would like to see some of his work you can visit our pinterest board here.

We also both tried oil sticks for the first time. Although we were hesitant at first, we both found that we really enjoyed them. (more on that below.)

If you missed our other Still Life Study Hall Posts, the links are below.
Still Life Study Hall 01
Still Life Study Hall 02

Kim Rene' - Oil Sticks

ToolsWelcome to Study Hall!

I would have never guessed I would enjoy charcoal this much. I find once I have my music on and charcoal in hand I sink deep into a blissful zone. I don’t claim to be an amazing artist…not even close, but I do enjoy the process. I like where “Art Night” takes me after a very long week. I have a passion for art if you haven’t already noticed. 🙂

This week I created two pieces; one with charcoal and white pastel and a second using charcoal and oil sticks. Recommended by Thomas, I now have titanium white, antique white and two transparent blender oil sticks. They are a little pricy, but well worth every penny.

The tools you see are part of a very large collection from my husband’s antique tool collection, which he uses. For most collections they sit on a shelf collecting dust, but not Marks. He picked out his favorites – a very rare plane, his dad’s axe, a draw knife and a hammer.  Our inspiration this week was the artwork created by Jim Dine. I love how he creates such contrast with soft and hard edges and the level of detail is amazing; almost a ghostly mood.

The first one (Axe & Hammer) I created using just charcoal and pastel. What a struggle! I find that the paper arrives at certain point of not accepting charcoal…very quickly. Overall I think I did okay. If I were to do it again I would make the top even lighter. The bottom I feel is as dark as it can be.

The second drawing was created using oil sticks and I love them!! Love!!! They go on like butter. I do need a little more practice using them. The first step in using them is to cover your entire canvas or paper with the transparent oil blending stick. Then sketch your subject matter with a pencil on top. Working back and forth between the white oil sticks and charcoal. Enjoying the process. Before long the oil started drying so I was unable to continue. If I could I would add a sharper edge at the bottom of the plane and create that ghostly mood at the top of the plane. There is always next time…

Thomas - Still Life Scissor Study

Whew – don’t try to say that 10 times in a row really fast. 🙂

I am really pleased with this piece. I included is my reference photo to the left. I will admit I was not sure something like a tool would hold my interest long enough to create something worthwhile but I really had SO much fun. I spent close to 4 hours on this and could have easily spent even more time had it not been so late at night.

I also know that I have a tendency to really overwork things and since I was really happy with it at this point and I decided that this piece was finished.

This is something I definitely see myself exploring again. I really love the way the charcoal works with the oil stick, it is so easy to smudge and make corrections. I can see why Jim Dine did an entire series.  I will admit after trying the transparent and white oil sticks I went to to see what other colors this particular company had to offer. It was not easy to leave without buying anything but I managed.  It is so easy to get carried away with art supplies and I already have a giant collection of impulse buys so I decided at least for now I would hold off.

There isn’t anything that I dislike about my drawing which rarely happens. The only one thing I didn’t care for was the smell of the oil sticks but it was certainly not unbearable. I did, however, find the products we used to be good quality. The oil sticks we used are below.

Jack Richeson Shiva Oil Paintstik, Colorless Blender

Jack Richeson Shiva Oil Paintstik, Jumbo Titanium White

For More Inspiration

Visit the Elusive Muse Blog to explore a wide variety of artists and resources.

Elusive Muse Blog
Elusive Muse Flickr Page

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