art journal

Oil Pastel Love

9:33:00 PM

Oil pastels... I know its nothing new. In fact a few years ago when I did my first mixed media painting I used some of the sticks to add depth to my painting, so why all the love now? I don't know haha... It funny when you are a supply addict like myself, sometimes you just end up rediscovering your own supplies.

Or... you're curiosity is sparked by something and then you go digging around your own stash to procure the said supply or something like it. For me it was a little historical tidbit on how the artist grade oil pastels came to be.

According to, the invention process began in 1921 by Kanae Yamamoto. His book, 'Theory of Self-Expression', promoted unrestrained learning without a teacher. Yamamoto, his brother-in-law Shuku Sasaki, and Rinzo Satake decided to improve on the design of the wax crayon and founded the Sakura Cray-Pas Company. In 1924 they created the oil pastel in 1924 and in 1927 added stabilizers that prevented melting.

In 1947 Pablo Picasso and Henri Goetz requested a higher pigmented version from Henri Sennelier. Sennelier then went on to produce roughly 50 oil sticks for Picasso in gradation of grays as well as what is now considered classic hues. You can still find the 50 oil pastel set for purchase today.

Which brings me to the question... to get some Sennelier or not... well as an aside. It interesting... as I am writing this blog, I realized the mixed media realm isn't my first experience with the medium. I forgot my amazement of my first set of cra pas from Korea when I was 8. That was also the first time I was aware of things such as sketchbooks... but I digress.

Cra pas is the children's version although I remember them being quite messy, I really enjoyed them back then. In fact I still have a couple of my original sets that I kept around and then gave to my daughter.

image from

Anyways... if you are thinking about playing around with them, this is a good time to get Sennelier items. It seems Sennelier is celebrating their 125th anniversary and in turn, many art supply websites are having interesting deals.

I had a lot of fun today playing around with my cheapy Crayola Portfolio version of the water soluble oil pastels, but I think I'm ready for the next step... how about you?

Music of the Day:
Stephane Wrembel & Roy Williams : Bistro Fada

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