Sarenae (
Sarenae by Heather Miller

Title: Sarenae
Year: 2009
Size: 10″ x 12″

Sarenae was created using melted oil- based pastels on artist’s paper.

The Story:

I’m writing this story in 2016, the piece was created in 2009 so I’ll do my best to remember.

I remember how I made Sarenae, I just don’t remember why or how it even occurred to me do this.  This is one of two paintings I made using melted oil-base pastel crayons.

At some point I realized that oil-based pastels melt (I probably read it online).  I also happened to own, but rarely used, an electric frying pan.  When I was young my mother made cakes and chocolates for a little side business she had.  I remember that she used the electric frying pan to melt small cups of colored candy melts to paint into the candy molds she used.  She would place the cups into the pre-heated pan and carefully add water to the pan (you can’t get melted chocolate wet or it seizes).

I did the exact same thing except with pastel crayons instead of candy melts.  In my case, I had no idea what temperature the pastels were going to melt at (or maybe I did but don’t remember now).  It was a trial and error process.  Amazingly, I don’t remember burning any.

I had some nice watercolor paper left over from art school (even though I didn’t take any painting classes).  Because of it’s thickness, it made a nice medium to paint on.  I took old and inexpensive paint brushes and brushed the melted pastels onto the paper.  Melted pastels don’t work like paint at all.  They are thick, even when melted, and re-harden quickly.  This doesn’t allow for a lot of trial and error with technique.

As I said earlier, I created two of these.  The other one I ended up destroying.  I think I actually needed the frame for another project and since I didn’t really like that piece, scrapping it wasn’t that hard.

I’ve never revisited the medium because it was just too much of a pain-in-the-rear.  The results were interesting but that’s about all I can say about it.

The title Sarenae (SAR-ee-nay) comes from my handy list of names.  Once upon a time I toyed with the idea of creating my own video game.  I decided to write a list of characters, places, animals, plants, etc.  That’s where it ended because I’m terrible at telling stories.  I keep the names in a spreadsheet and use them when I’m stuck for a title.