Well, once again it's been a while since I blogged here.

I have been working on my new website: www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com and doing a lot more small format art, fewer ACEOs lately. I set up the first page in mid December and have been adding one to three pages every good day that I get.

Ever since 2000 I have been planning to write an art instruction book. Last October, I bought a package that included hosting, software and a business plan from www.sitesell.com aka SBI! (SBI! stands for Site Build It!, the software that's included.) The hard part was the setup and choosing a topic so that I'd have a perfect-scale topical niche for the project.

I didn't expect that to be an entire art medium but when I googled on oil pastels in order to find information on them... lo, the only sites I found were art supply stores selling them and a few artists' personal sites and the Oil Pastel Society, which I joined.

There was my niche. I planned to create a site with basic information and then sell my book print on demand, knowing that any topical nonfiction with a real but narrow readership will pay out and become a permanent reference. Around page 20 or so, I began to understand the site is the book.

It can go a bit larger than it would in print format. I've got well over 50,000 words on it and that's a conservative estimate. In the process, I keep editing my older pages as I see places I could tighten or minor formatting errors. One happy result is that I seem to be writing better nonfiction lately.

So check it out if you've got any interest in art. I have a Basic Drawing section with several art lessons in it already that aren't dependent on oil pastels and a Techniques section with more that do use oil pastels. If you don't have a lot of money for art supplies, some of the student grade brands run $5 and change for a honking big set of 50 or 60 sticks, more than enough to get started with a cheap sketchbook and not worry about using up expensive art materials.

I am trying to get this to upload an image, since I have got plenty of good new art and wanted to share one of my latest with you. Unfortunately, that function doesn't seem to be working right now. Ahh, there it is. The uploader was in another window and didn't layer over this one, that's why I missed it.

Apples in Blue Silk was painted in Erengi Art Aspirer oil pastels on watercolor paper primed with Colourfix clear sanded primer -- a wonderful surface that holds soft pastels or oil pastels to many more layers. Good for colored pencils too. Also makes a great barrier layer for watercolor or graphite underpaintings and sketches, so that nothing dissolves up to mix with your pastels.