View Full Version : Help with blending OP

08-19-2003, 06:43 PM
I've never used turps or baby oil or any of the substances that make blending OP (I guess) easier, or at the very least provide new opportunities for creating washes and the like.

My question, then, is that since they are pigment with wax as a binding agent, and since they do not really dry, how does one apply the blending medium? Do I apply the OP and then rub it with a bit of turp/oil/whatever? I'm confused!

08-19-2003, 07:13 PM
join the rest of us...we're all confused too lol! Well, maybe Mo isn't...They kind of dry to the touch...just never go bone dry...you can apply it like you said and then brush turp on lightly, or brush turp on and then rub in the ops, or rub a turp filled brush over an op or actually mix some together in a container...small turp, more OP, and try that...why don't you experiment on a small piece for the weekly thread?? Something quick and simple...try it different ways! That's how we learn.

08-19-2003, 07:22 PM
Hi Martha.:) You can blend op's the same way as soft pastls, it's just a littlemore difficult to obtain good blending, it takes practice... you can use your fingers, tortillons/torchons, cotton buds, paintbrushes, soft and hard, your fingers, kitchen roll, (my favourite) folded into a little square, then use the point of the square... you can use turps, Liquin, yes baby oil or linseed oil..... I haven't tried using more oil myself... when using turps or oil or liquin or any other that thins the pastel, be careful with your usage... when I use turps in the main it's for the initial wash...to spread the colour over a large area and flatten/dry it..turps will do this, then when dry apply the op's ove rthe top and blend with a light touch, if you are heavy handed you will lift colour rather than blend.... some use colour shapers, but I personally don't like them, I find they just move the pastel around also lifting it out, the best tool I have found is your fingers and kitchen towel, also when you blend do little circular motions clockwise an anticlockwise to get greater coverage, then finish up with a light directional movement.....also remember to let the painting 'rest' i.e harden a little for a while before you apply a fresh layer, or with continuous blending you will end up with a muddy mess.


08-19-2003, 07:32 PM
Thanks, you two! I bought some baby oil and I'll play and see what I come up with!

08-19-2003, 07:59 PM
I like the color shapers, but they are not as good as old fashioned digits at the end of ones hand.


08-20-2003, 08:09 AM
Good Morning, Jen (wipes donut crumbs from keyboard and puts coffee down)

I have learned the value of keeping a roll of paper towels in the studio, I can tell you! I'm more familiar with the digits than the shapers. I have a variety of goodies that I use including stumps, and makeup wedges, cotton swabs, and anything else that seems like the correct size and shape, but I'm not sure what people are referring to when they say "color shapers."

I just bought John Elliot's book and I am really enjoying it, but I haven't seen a "color shaper" yet. Can you show me?

Wally's Mom
08-20-2003, 02:49 PM

Colour Shapers are like paintbrushes, except that where the bristles would be there is a small piece of rubber (latex, or something like that). They come in different sizes and shapes, and 2 different hardnesses.

The link above will take you to the appropriate page in the Dick Blick catalogue, so you can see what they look like.

08-20-2003, 03:25 PM
I find the "hard" color shapers too soft. And I keep wishing they had a finger shaped one :)


08-20-2003, 06:56 PM
Thanks, Jen and Becky! I'll check out the link!

I was looking at beauty supplies the other day and wondered about the usefulness of some of the cuticle pushers as "movers and shakers" for OP. I was looking for more makeup wedges, which I did find somewhat useful.

Speaking of wishing for fingershaped items makes me think of "rubber fingers" which I recall an old lady I used to work with using quite often in the office. I never could decide why she wore the silly things so much, but she did do a lot of filing, so perhaps they helped; anyway I was thinking if such things are still on the market perhaps wearing one "thimble" style while blending with the digits might have a useful affect. Who knows?

08-20-2003, 07:21 PM
Colour shapers.....I appreciate lots of you use these...but personally I think you are throwing good money down the drain... okay I'm ducking here.:D..... my personal opinion is that it's a gimmick... they IMHO do not do a good job...there are so many other items that will do a much better job... okay go ahead and waste your money... but it will not produce a masterpiece for you, that comes with knowing your materials and what you can do with them.


08-20-2003, 07:43 PM
Okay, don't duck Mo! I'm trying not to buy every new gizmo the art shops push, really!

I must say that I'm becoming a sucker for reinventing the inexpensive things I find in discount stores and "odd lot" places. If I see a collection of oddities for a dollar or less, I can't help but ponder what I might do with them in some way or another! That's how i found makeup wedges help me with some blending of OP. They were in the .99 cent bin and I bought just one package to check it out! Cheap cotton swabs are another cool tool, and I'm still wondering about some of those cuticle pushers and the like! Seems to me someone recommended an old credit card being useful for removing pigment from a painting. There's a way to use it without running up the balance!