I was looking for solid oil sticks that would dry faster than normal oil sticks. While searching on the net, I discovered solid oil sticks used in home decor and DYI to make stenciling. I ordered some colors from my UK supplier “Jackson’s art supplies”. Here then, along with some products from the Gamblin brand, are the Markal Artists Paintstiks.
Originally used in industry, these paint sticks are a variation for artists. As with all oil sticks, you must remove the “skin” covering them before starting to work. Paintstiks Markal are composed of drying linseed oil, pigments and wax.
I removed the film that covers the tip of the sticks. This “skin” is very elastic. I used a cutter to make a light cut and a knife to “peel”. As it is very messy, I work with gloves and small rags.
When I paint, I fix my canvas, cutted to the desired size, on rigid supports, with upholstery seeds not fully sunk. This allows them to be easily removed with pliers, and to make only small holes in the margin. The blue adhesives hold the canvas together while I stud. Otherwise, I would need at least three hands. This adhesive is lightweight, reusable, does not damage support (canvas or paper), does not leave sticky marks when it is left in place for a long time, and is strong enough to prevent the canvas from moving.
I started my painting, with a vague idea of a floral subject, letting myself be guided by the very limited palette that I have at my disposal of mauves, pale blue, salmon, roses, Naphthol orange, etc … These sticks Markal are less creamy than the Senneliers, they have more consistency, which suits me well. The cardboard envelope makes it easier to keep your hands clean. (But it is better to wear gloves … ;-))
Mixing colors is easy, right on the canvas. You can do forms or lines. Writing can be more vigorous than with Sennelier oil sticks. It’s really a medium that suits me well. With a palette knife, or a silicone wedge used with cold wax painting, I spread the dough, reducing the thicknesses where I want, making fades, transitions.
A stick of transparent medium makes the colors transparent. It also allows colors to blend together by adding a little transparency. With my silicone wedges from Catalyst, I blend the medium into the color. The less thickness there is, the faster the siccativation.
I often use the photo editing application on my cell phone to experiment with color and composition. So I don’t touch the original painting.
Here is the finished painting. These solid oil sticks are a nice find. They really allow me to write the painting, and that’s what I was looking for. The palette is quite current, with in particular this bright Naphthol orange and a very useful warm white to avoid the plaster effect of titanium white. Paintstiks are dry to the touch in 24 to 48 hours, it all depends on the colors. In more humid atmospheres, (as in my troglodytic house ;-)) the drying is longer, but shorter than normal oil. They can be mixed with normal oil mediums, alkyd mediums. Here I also used some Alkyd Violet Tube for some areas and it is perfectly compatible with the Markals. Once dry, the paint has a beautiful matte appearance, very contemporary.
So, I ordered other colors from the Markal Artists Paintstiks range to complete my palette. In particular, a beautiful variation of colored grays, and stunning reds! I forgot one last point: the smell of linseed oil is very pronounced … more than a classic oil.
Another artwork, also made with Artists Paintstiks: