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In the winter months I close down my outdoor studio and move indoors. During these months I transition from oil paints to less toxic and smaller creations. I do this for many reasons.

1- Ventilation. Paint thinners are carcinogenic and are harmful without proper ventilation. My indoor studio does not have great airflow so I limit my oil painting from 8 hours a day to 4 hours.

2- Time constraints. As an art teacher, the winter months do not leave me with much time to create. I become limited to studio weekends. For this reason- my paintings and drawings become smaller to meet my limited studio time.

3- Faster Mediums- Oil painting requires patience and can take days to dry in between layers. In the winter I switch to mediums that require minimal set up time and wait time to be more efficient with my busy and stressful schedule.

4- Variety- it is fun to switch things up and experiment with different mediums and styles. My winter creations are very unique from my summer creations. They are treated as a way to clear internal blocks. They are more Whimsical and surrealistic, breaking from the natural world into my internal one.

5- Favored mediums- in winter months I am drawn to ink, watercolor, but mostly OIL PASTELS. OmG. I love oil pastels. It has come to my attention that many people do not seem to know much about this medium. Those that do know about this medium do not care for it much, and I do not see it represented much in Fargo's art scene. So here are some facts about oil pastels.

1- they were invented for Pablo Picasso. They provide drawing accessibility and paint like qualities in one compact easily traveled stick.

2- they are relatively non toxic if you don't mix with thinners. (Which you can do if you want to paint with them.) Just put on liquid gloves and you're good to go.

3- they never dry- (which is why most people don't prefer them. ) This can become an extra challenge for displaying drawings. All drawings must have substantial matting to prevent glass frame from resting on the surface.

4- they can be sealed with an oil pastel varnish. This will prevent light smudging and add a nice sheen.

5- they are versatile. You can heat them up and melt them, you can press different materials into the surface and they will hold. You can scratch, layer, paint- and use them on ANY surface! They are pretty playful like that.

6- they are messy. Not gonna lie. They get everywhere. In my opinion still better than dusty soft pastels because the color pay off is rich and bold.

Anyways. If you stuck through this long post then you know a little bit more about my yearly process and creative transitions. You also know a little more about the under represented oil pastel. HUZZA!

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