A few years back a conversation with a customer led me to the discovery of one of my absolute favorite brands, Sennelier Oil Pastels. Previously I’d always had a pretty tough time enjoying playing with my existing oil pastels, which I had found to actually be more akin to crayons at times due to the lack of pigment content. I had also had some difficulty in mixing and blending colour as what I was using was fairly hard.
I was immediately impressed as a read the blurb on the back of the packaging, which handily stated,
‘Created by Sennelier for Pablo Picasso, the Oil Pastel offers freedom of creation for everyone’
Some research revealed that in 1949, Picasso had requested though Henri Goetz that Sennelier produce hand-held pigments that had total coverage. Sennelier Pastels are designed to be used not just on paper or canvas, but for a huge array of mixed media applications. These oil sticks can be easily used in conjunction with Acrylic and Oil painting, wood, metal, glass and ceramics.
The first thought is how true the colours are (and the available range is HUGE), secondly when you feel the tip of the pastel you’re immediately taken with how soft and creamy they feel. They have an extremely high pigment content and are held together with a non-oxidising and very pure synthetic binding medium.
Actually using the pastels on paper is the real revelation, I was amazed at how little force was needed to make a good solid mark on the paper surface I was using. Colours can be blended effortlessly and they can be mixed with a wide variety of mediums and thinners. The creamy, oily nature of these pastels means they will not naturally dry, so the use of Fixative is a must.
What I love most about Sennelier pastels is not just the freedom of use with a variety of media, but how free they feel in just regular, playful expression.
Sennelier Oil Pastels are available at Frames and Art in a wide variety of single colours and sets, including iridescent colours.