If you are like me and have a preference or more practice with oil based mediums, then you will be very pleased with the quality of oil-paint sticks. Oil- paint sticks are exactly what you would guess: oil paint in stick form. What keeps the paint from bursting out is the addition of special waxes, which enable them to be molded into this stick form. Along with painting, oil-paint sticks can also be considered a drawing medium.
In my Pastel class, I have been learning more about the different brands and types of oil pastels. I am using oil-paint sticks similarly to pastels, as a drawing and blending tool, which allows me to utilize various pastel techniques. Here is what I have discovered:
For first-time use, brand new sticks must have the protective skin of wax film removed off of the tip of the paint stick. It’s easy to do this with a cloth/ paper towel. After a day or two the wax coating reforms to keep the paint from drying out.
Ah-Ha, the wax sealing reveals the creamy oil paint… Now, you’re ready to go.
Once the paint stick touches your desired surface (can be primed canvas, Masonite, acid-free sized paper, or fabrics), you will see the richness of the oil color and the difference when applied lightly or with pressure. I have noticed that the oil sticks become creamier in texture when using a slight force of pressure. I prefer this result, as I like to make expressive, gestural lines.
Oil-paint sticks are compatible with a range of drawing and painting mediums, including oil, alkyd and acrylic paints, oil pastels and pencil. I recommend using the painting sticks on top of painting mediums, opposed to trying to mix and blend the different mediums.
For blending and brushing, there are special colorless paint-sticks available, which increase the transparency of the colors. You can also use the same brushes and thinning mediums that you use for oil painting, such as Turpentine/Turpenoid. By adding a thinner to your paint stick you improve the flow of color. Being a fan of texture, my go-to method of blending is applying paint in thick layers, and then modeling it with a paintbrush or knife. This way, the paint remains workable for several hours.
Several brands of Oil Sticks include:
*Note, because there are variations in chemicals, texture, handling properties and drying time among different brands, I advise against mixing brands in the same art work. Instead, try sampling each brand individually.
Still Life, Oil-Paint sticks on paper by Margaret McClung
I hope that you can find your own use for oil-paint sticks, whether it is for painting/drawing, touch ups, outdoor painting, or another means.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on painting with oil-sticks: http://www.ehow.com/video_5996013_paint-oil-sticks.html
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