View Full Version : New Derwent ARTBARS - Demo WIP - Ontario Garden Centre

03-04-2012, 03:38 PM
Hi I wasn't completely sure where to post this as it is a totally new and different medium.

DERWENT have just launched a completely new product called ARTBAR


available overseas from Jacksons.co.uk and also from Derwent and the SAA in the UK

First impressions:

They are waxy yet brittle and crumbly. Extreemly easy to break. They can be broken off to be used on their sides for larger areas. Now you will see lots of commercial demos on these but I thought I'd share my own unbiased expereince of these.

Within 20 mins of opening them I had snapped 3 whilst making swatches. Here are my first swatches:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2012/179312-Feb_12_Artbar_swatches_and_experiments_2_744x1024.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2012/179312-Feb_12_Artbar_swatches_and_experiments_1_744x1024.jpg

They don't mix easily and i was stuck for not having the right colours so I had to improvise with layering.

They are waxy and not like an oil pastel OR a dry pastel. The closest thing I would suggest would be NeocolourII water soluble oil pastel except they are harder.

Many techniques can be used with them. Many of which I have used in this WIP.

They recommend using on a heavy weight water colour paper. SO I experimented on a lightly textured 300gsm paper.

Dry layering - Apply dry and then add another colour on top
Wet and dry layering
Apply dry, wash with a wet brush, apply dry on top.
Taking off the stick with a wet brush and using like pan paint
Placing dry side by side and blending with fingers
applying dry and blending and smooting with tool/fingers
Dry use.
Applying dry to wet paper
Some examples of techniques


ART BARS are divided into 4 ranges:


I have the 24 set

Here is the ref by justjean from this week's WDE that I will be using...

It is fairly complex but the 'easiest' of the ones there and the ones that would accomodate my set of colours.


So here we go then....

This may take several posts so please do not post until I have finished - it may take some time as I will be explaining as I go....

My report comprises...

This post - the what and first impressions
My techniques in a demo
My conclusion/opinionI hope that you will find this useful and give you an idea as to whether you wish to try them....or not.

03-04-2012, 04:01 PM
1. After sketching out the ref onto 300gsm A3 SAA watercolour paper taped to a piece of foamcore for support, I use a broken off piece of the pastel blue and using it sideways I lay down the sky


2. With a damp brush I wet it into the paper for the sky....


3. Using various colours dry I lay down the colours for the ground, path and foreground.


then the dark areas of the rocks - again applying dry.

4. I then use the wet brush again to wash these to form an underpainting of the key areas.

There is no grey in the 24 set or pale violets or any colours that work realistically with the rocks so I chose Indio for the dark area.

5. After this had dried I applied some alizarin crimson, pacific blue, raw umber, blue lace and beige. (I also applied some darks to other areas at this point)

then washed this over with a wet brush too.....

6. Next I applied dry colours very loosely to the background foliage. I used forest green, dark indigo, honeycomb, spearmint and a little kiwi. (You will see some washed indigo areas that I did atr the same time as the rocks)

7. I continued to block in other areas with the nearest colours I could find and washed them with a wet brush to form the underpainting....

Close up:


so far, so good.......

03-04-2012, 04:10 PM
With all the key areas mapped out with the underpainting it is time to work on the specific areas.....

8. Next I start to add a new layer on the foliage using the same colours but scumbling dry and overlapping.


I then try to 'blend' and 'mix' with a colour shaper.

This is where they differ from oil pastels even neocolours. They are very hard to smooth and blend with a shaper. I found it hard work esp on textured paper.


This is the best I could get:

Some views of the effects of layering dry and using a shaper on the textured paper: - as I said - hard work....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2012/179312-ART_BAR_Demo_on_WDE_2_Mar_12_-_Ontario_Garden_Centre__15.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2012/179312-ART_BAR_Demo_on_WDE_2_Mar_12_-_Ontario_Garden_Centre__16.JPG

9. I then started to add the darks and 'features' on the trees.....

NOTE how awful the dry application of the Art bars look at this stage after attempts at mixing and blending with the shaper. They aren't too malleable when dry.

close up


10. Now back to the rocks again with further dry applications.......



11. Having struggled with the blending using a very firm colour shaper I decided to try my fingers. This did require some force to apply. They are much harder than OPs.


I didn't have the right colours in this set for rocks so I laid beige over the undercoats and spread it over with my fingers. They are quite opaque but the darks still showed through.


03-04-2012, 04:56 PM
11. I went over the whole picture applying colour dry as appropriate....


By now the paper was getting sturated and as they are waxy there was little grip to the surface and no absobency so time to change technique.....

12. I wet the brush again and applied it straight to the bar working up some thicker colour onto the brush....

and applied to the chair....

Despite having sharp corners these do wear down as being used to lay down dry so for smaller areas where more control is needed a brush is also useful.

No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get these looking tidy - maybe needed a smoother paper.


13. Now to the final area the flower beds.

By this time the small broken off pieces (some deliberate some just broke while using dry) were getting softer. They were warming up and sticking to my fingers. Nice and squishy for applying 'lumpy' bits of texture.


After just this one painting this is how my set of 24 Artbars look now.....


and the painting

(Will be posted for comments with a second piece I did for WDE so this is a demo thread for artbars not for comments on the picture itself ;) )


close up:


My thoughts/findings:

I think when using again I would avoid a heavily textured paper as the dips, although ok for final scumbling in preferred areas like gravelly pathes, mde working very difficult.

Although opaque the dark colours will show through as a glaze.

They blend more easily if warmed in the hand.

Are incredibly brittle

Not easy to layer, unlike Oil Pastels, these set waxy and shiny.

Some nice, intersting colours and I like the way they divide into groups but never the right colour and mixing is NOT easy either wet or dry.

Blending is best done with the fingers

Not easy for 'fiddly bits'

When mixing wet they very easily can go muddy and also have a sort of cloudy look about them.

Not sure what category they fit into - VERY similar in manner of use to CD Neocolour II water soluble oil pastesl, but a lot waxier and harder.

May work well with watercolours for mixed media work

I found certain aspects frustrating but I think it was just inexperience with the new medium.

I think they might grow on me but I would need to experiment on more supports, by which time they will probably be pretty broken up.

They seem to get used up fairly quickly, especially the broken off bits that can just melt into the fingers with a lot of use.

I have not charted good/bad features, just noted my own experiences. You will see many pro demos but I thought i'd give an unbiased account as an unprofessional user.

It's up to you - I'd say give them a try.

btw if you are a member of the SAA you can get one free to try by using the voucher in 'Paint' magazine.

ok...... now you can post....................

Vivien Maloney
03-04-2012, 09:26 PM
Thanks for this Lin. A great trial and very informative. I was really interested in your comments. I'm not sure whether they would appeal to me or not - but maybe. I'm a real sucker for new Art Mediums and I probably won't be able to resist trying them when we get them in New Zealand.

Valri Ary
03-04-2012, 10:41 PM
They seem like alot of work and although you were able to make a nice painting out of them - your comments have left me feeling like I will pass on them....I did love the demo and all the pics and comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this all together!!

03-05-2012, 12:42 AM
I already have and enjoy Caran D'Arche Neocolors water soluble crayons and Neocolor 2 smaller ws crayons and a couple of Dan Smith same thing. Not needing any more since I'm happy with these. Thanks for the demo.

Your painting is very bright and pretty and a perfect subject for your demonstration.