This is a photo I took just outside Billings a couple of weeks ago.  Yes.  They’re haybales.  And they’re still out there in the field.  People around here have a habit of not picking them up right away, which could be a mistake, as today it’s raining, about 47º F, and likely to snow in the next few days.  That’s their thing, though.  Whatever they want to do with their haybales is their own business.

I took photos of them for purposes of creating some oil pastel artwork on a black base, such as black paper or canvas.  I think I’ll start with paper, at least until I get better at it.  I’m not bad at it now, but I want to truly have a masterpiece in mind and some more experience under my belt before I go for the black canvas.  I found a place here in town that sells the black canvas already on a frame and everything!  I’m holding off on it for now, though, for said reasons.  I can get it later.  Paper isn’t a bad base to use, anyway.  It takes up way less space and you can trim it to whatever size you need it to be, which is handy (trust me!).  Sometimes you need an odd size and if you don’t want to built your own stretcher bars for an off-size canvas, paper is the way to go.  Finding nice heavy black paper can be a challenge, but it’s out there.  It really depends what you’re doing with the paper, too.  Since oil pastels are not a wet medium, 90-100 lb. paper is okay.  There’s no gsm rating on the black paper, though, which is frustrating, because in watercolor, which is a medium I work with a lot, gsm is everything!  It’s a measurement of the weight and thickness of the paper, which is critical if you’re going to get the paper wet!  Oil pastels are proving to be fun.  I’ve worked with them before, but not for about 20 years.  I didn’t understand how they worked very well.  Now I’m getting the hang of it and liking oil pastels a lot.  I need to get some linseed oil to thin them with and see what that does!  Anyway, my pastoral haybale scene is the first real “project” I’ve chosen, mainly because it’ll be a challenge and my spouse will love it if I get the colors right!  It might even end up being frame-worthy!  Let’s hope…

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