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How To Make A Fiona Rae Inspired Oil Pastel Drawing

Artists of Any Age Can Make This Cool Art!

About the Artist: Fiona Rae

Fiona Rae is a contemporary British artist. She uses lots of shapes to paint abstract works of art. She's a part of a group called the YBAs, or the Young British Artists. Some other famous artists who are part of the YBA are Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Ian Davenport and more, who all became very successful young artists! Her compositions are made up of circles and smears all over the canvas. Her art is purely abstract and she's well known for her juxtaposition of geometric shapes with more flowy, organic shapes like splatters or smears of paint. Juxtaposition means putting two things together that look really different. If you want to learn more about Fiona, check out her website!


What You'll Need

- Sheet of white paper (card stock or watercolor paper is ideal)

- Masking tape, for the frame

- Oil pastels

- Paper towels

- Pencil

- Circular things to trace, like lids, Tupperware, soup cans, plates, and more, of all different sizes!


First, let's use masking tape around the edges of our paper so that way, at the end of our project, we can take the tape off and our art will have a border, like a frame. Beautiful!


Step 1: Build Your Composition

Grab one of your BIG circles to trace because we're going to start building the composition of our artwork today! You can use a pencil to trace your circles or if you're extra careful, you can use an oil pastel to trace, too. Use any color you want to trace all the way around. If you're using watercolor paper, go around your tracing two or three times to make sure the oil pastel is super thick and saturated.


PRO TIP: it's easier to trace if you hold your pencil up and down around the circle, rather than at an angle!


Now, find a shape that's a little bit smaller, and put it inside. Try and measure where the middle of your big circle would be. Find another color oil pastel and do the same thing: trace! Add a third inside of that circle too. Fill in between your smallest circle and your middle circle.


Step 2: Add Streaks

Once you're two circles in, we're going to do a smudge area! Pick three colors for this next step. Now we're going to find an area on our paper to do a scribble with the three colors you chose. Just scribble in one small area outside of your circles to add a Fiona Rae style smidge area to the drawing. To make it a smudge area, take your paper towels and roll it into a stick - this is like a blending stick. If you have a blending stick, you can use that, too! Once you've got your stick, smear it with a lot of energy to turn the scribble into a streak. Once you've got one done, let's do one more on our paper.


Step 3: Add More Circles

Now, just like step 1, we're going to add more circles into our drawing. Only this time, if our new circle bumps into one we've already drawn, don't cross over it! Stop where the circle intersects so that way it looks like there's layers of your circles on the paper. Make sure they're all different sizes, thicknesses, and colors! Get really creative with this drawing. Try to add 8-10 circles total, but you can decide on how many you want to add.


PRO TIP: All of these decisions of where circles go and what color they are, how thick the rings are, are all decisions you're making up as you go. You didn't make a design before we started and then sticking to it... you're making these decisions as you create!

Step 4: Add More Smudges!

Just like step 2, we're going to add a few more smudgy spots again! These can be in the middle of circles if you want. Again, choose a few colors that you like, and use your blending stick that you made to make more smearing spots across your drawing where you want them to be. You can even rub through your circles, too.

OPTIONAL: Check out the original painting we show you in the video. You'll see big blobs of color that Fiona Rae uses across the whole drawing. If you want to add big blobs of color, you can do that, too!


Step 5: Add Background Colors

Fiona Rae uses organic shapes and blobs in her paintings. We're going to add some more colors in the background area or negative space left on our drawing. Negative space is any area that's still white: in this drawing, that can be the background, or in between circles that you've drawn. Pick a color, and a smudge area. Start coloring next to the smudge and around the circle you want to color in. Pick 3-4 areas to color in with your color.


Before you take your tape off of your watercolor paper, make sure you wipe your hands off! Oil pastels get smudgy and you want to keep your frame intact.


The Final Product!

And Remember... Keep Making Cool Art!

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