Abstract Art

Sharing my process videos on my YouTube Blues 31 Maychannel has become a place for me to show how easy it is to create art. In my case, art made with oil pastels & art that is more often than not abstract. I’ve received some lovely feedback from people, including a young woman showing me her version of an art piece she made following one of my videos. The feeling of knowing I’ve inspired someone to make art is difficult to describe but its a feeling I cherish.
However YouTube isn’t exactly the best place to share much in the way of writing. Who knows if people even read the artist statement I put in with each video? So I thought here would be a good place to share a bit of the feelings that went into a piece or perhaps an explanation of why I created it. It kind of makes sense, now that I’ve written it down 🙂
The photo here doesn’t actually have a process video. I realise that content is king as far as YouTube is concerned, but making art simply for making art is important to me. This abstract, which I’ve been thinking about calling Blues, is one of those pieces. I made it on May 31. I was exhausted & frustrated, lacking in artistic motivation but wanting to create something. I sat down, opened my sketch pad (a Toulouse Paper House 100 page drawing pad) & then proceeded to stare at my oil pastel set for a while. Shades of blue were calling to me – no surprise considering how I was feeling. I thought about going against what I was feeling, to create with opposite colours on the colour wheel, but I’m sure if I’d have done that the result wouldn’t have made me happy.
It took me about 30 minutes to make this. When it was finished I felt a little better, but best of all I now have another completed page in my drawing pad. I’m at the halfway mark of this pad. I don’t think I’ve ever completed so many pages within an art book before! It’s an exciting feeling,, knowing that I’m progressing my skills & making so much art. Perhaps I should share other pages here?

An Abstract For Every Mood

Recently I was chatting with a friend about my newly discovered love of making art with oil pastels. It has taken me by surprise. Never before have I found myself wanting to create as often as I am, with any other art supply. I’m particularly struck at my urge to create abstracts. I’ve always loved them, but haven’t made many in the past. Currently I’ve got two of mine hanging in my art room plus at least 10 more in my sketch pad.

Jane (the aforementioned friend) summed up abstracts perfectly. They’re a way to make mood based art, using colours to represent my mood at the time. I love the idea so much, I wish it was mine 😉

I’ve done enough research into colour theory to know that colours can and do effect mood. I know myself well enough to know that when I’m incredibly angry I feel the best thing to create is from pouring black paint onto a canvas & going from there. But I also know I like to challenge myself, using colours that I don’t normally think of using. The second image above I made with those particular colours because I rarely use such muted tones. I challenged myself to see if I could make something I was happy with, with those colours. To not make it dull, I deliberately used pale blue as a contrast. I’m really happy with the result.


I’ve come to realise these abstracts are a good way to ease my anxiety. For the hour or so it takes to make one, my mind is focused on the art only. Even if I’m recording my work to share on my YouTube (check it out here, if you’re interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nmC8Y68CsQ ) I’m not aware of my phone recording, sitting on a tripod beside me (even though it’s a weird thing for me to have accompany me as I create) or anything else for that matter. It’s just me, the oil pastels & paper. There have been times when I’ve finished an abstract & have fought the urge to make another immediately. That’s how much I love them 🙂

A Change Of Artistic Direction

A couple of months ago I was recording an episode of the Art Supply Posse podcast, when my guest Ana Reinart – of the Well Appointed Desk – challenged me to use my most unused art supply, which was a set of Mungyo Gallery oil pastels that I’d bought over ten years ago.

Ana is the founder of the ASP so we invited her to be our guest for the 100th podcast episode. An expert on all things stationery, Ana gave me a couple of pointers for using them. A few days later, I grabbed a piece of butchers paper & made my first sketch. Instantly I was hooked. The bright colours & speed of producing art using oil pastels speaks to me. I like speed in my art, because I don’t have hours to spend making it.

I’ve found some great artists on YouTube sharing their oil pastels & have learnt a lot; I can link them below if you’d like me to – let me know 🙂

I haven’t felt this enamoured by using an art supply, probably ever. I still love making art using other supplies, but there is something about oil pastels that has my heart. I’m grateful that I was challenged to learn how to use them.

So, what about you? Do you have art supplies stashed away, that haven’t seen the light of day in years? Why not get them out & use them. Most of us have way more supplies than we actually need, although want & need are two totally different things! Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with your old supplies. And if you don’t? Give them away. There’s no point putting them back in the cupboard if you don’t like them, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who would be grateful if you gifted them.

An oil pastel abstract, created January 13 2021

Oh, if you’d like to see a quick process video, take a look at my YouTube