View Full Version : January 2013 Oil Pastel Challenge

12-31-2012, 11:17 PM
Hi there and Happy New Year, my name is Steve and i'll be hosting the Oil Pastel Challenge for January 2013

The 'challenge' is for ALL abilities and you can experiment with new techniques, just sketch or leap out of your comfort zone and try an unfamiliar subject. It's entirely up to you.

The following photos were taken by me and so there are no copyright issues, feel free to crop, manipulate, or use as a starting point to an imaginative abstract.

You're free to post as you go as a 'WIP', either if you'd like to show us your process, which we love to see, or if you get stuck and need help and advice. We are all friendly and happy to help. We don't bite!

When you post your finished piece it's really useful if you state:

What Support you used including any surface prep The Finished size of your painting or sketch The brand of Oil Pastels used Whether you have used anything under the OP as an underpainting

it's not mandatory, we are just a nosey bunch

Other mediums may be used to complement, but the work must be primarily Oil Pastels.

OIL BARS may also be used

You have the whole month, but if you are unable to post by January 31st the threads do remain open...So come on don't lurk in the shadows, get stuck in and have a go.

To start us off, a still life....this was taken New years eve and by the time everyone sees this pic I'm certain the bottle will be empty :lol:

Next a couple of birds from my garden, a robin and a blue tit


A sunset taken a couple of days ago over the Dee Estuary

For the flower lovers here is a bluebell taken this spring in the woods near where I live.

And as none of my friends or family would pose for a portrait I've added another landscape...this is a folly castle called 'Mow Cop' it sits on a pretty high outcrop of granite and is a prominent local landmark and can be seen from 60 miles away.

Have fun everyone!!

01-01-2013, 12:23 AM
These are all so beautiful I want to do them all! Thank you for hosting Steve

01-01-2013, 12:49 AM
Wonderful choices! I would jump on #1 right away... Not sure I will have time this month to do so, but maybe... Thank You for hosting, Steve!

01-01-2013, 09:20 AM
Wow!!!! I want to do them all!!!

Pat Isaac
01-01-2013, 09:33 AM
Beautiful images, Steve, love the birds.
Thanks for hosting this month.


01-01-2013, 11:10 AM
I LOVE the birds! I will have to break out the OPs and give this a try!

Happy New Year!

01-01-2013, 01:09 PM
The sunset and the castle are awesome.

01-01-2013, 03:01 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Jan-2013/1111142-309360_446232388771718_1708131056_n.jpg 29*37cm:wave:Mungyo and Gallery oil pastel on art board

01-01-2013, 03:44 PM
So pleased you like the photo selection, i find it such a tough job to guess what will appeal to a wide audience.... the still life was the best out of about 50 shots of varying composition.... thank goodness for digital photography if we were still in the days of film I'd be bankrupt :)

Jiemin, you should get an honorary award for fastest challenge submission in history, this is a great version of the sunset, you've captured the golden light brilliantly. Well done :clap:

01-01-2013, 04:54 PM
Thanks stee71,your photos are so great,so after this afternoon I saw them, immediately ,I wanted do it. It is a little rash ,but I I'm exciting.;)

01-01-2013, 07:38 PM
I'd heard of Mow Cop when I lived up that way but never knew what it was until now.. Will TRY to find time to do something this month but will have to see what's what. Should be a quieter month. I like the still life.

01-02-2013, 03:06 PM
Wonderful photo selections Steve, your skills at mastering the camera is fantastic.

I'm in love with the sunset and will have a go at it, after working on a sunset I started yesterday at the request of my husband.

Hey Jiemin, you are too good. Love your rendition of the sunset, beautiful loose feel to the scene. Your light baths the scene. Wonderful!!!

Pat Isaac
01-02-2013, 04:03 PM
Jiemen, you are really fast....nice job with the sunset and nice carry through with the warm colors.


01-02-2013, 05:39 PM
wow nice ref pics thank you, I just got some oil pastels and haven't done any since school (many years ago) so can't wait to try those cute little birds, someone sure got on with it already with a nice sunset.

01-02-2013, 09:50 PM
Here I had a go tonight at the Bluetit, this is my first oil pastel in over 20 years. It was fun but I used the canson Mi-Tinntes pastel paper and don't like how it was hard to cover the tooth. Probably my tequnique does anyone work on the smoother side? Thanks Trudi

01-02-2013, 09:51 PM
Sorry it is on 9x12 pad and critique very welcome

01-02-2013, 10:43 PM
:clap: super fast:heart: 26*34cm,art board,Mungyo and Reeves oil pastelhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2013/1111142-image.jpg

01-03-2013, 01:01 AM
Nice fruit painting

01-03-2013, 10:23 AM
Wow Canada is rising to the challenge this month :)

Great return to OPs Trudi i love your Bluetit, the colours really pop on that grey toned paper.

Jiemin this still life of yours has lots to love, I think my favourite part is the way that you have really captured the shine of the gold foil on the bottle and the fruit is luscious.

01-03-2013, 10:56 AM
Thanks Stee71,It's luck for me to have a chance try it,your photos are wonderful! They realy inspired me. This is my first time to paint still in life in oil pastel,I painted a few of flower before,but no glasses.High quality photos help me understand things well,also give me a good result.The backgrand not did well, also some details,but I am enjoining the process,.I believe in next time My painting will be better.

Pat Isaac
01-03-2013, 04:17 PM
Very nice bird for first in many years, Trudi...I personally do not like Canson for the texture and it doesn't take layers too well.
Wow Jiemen you are fast....I really like your painterly feel with the OPs.
I signed up for a 30 paintings in 30 days with one of my blogger friends and have chosen to do birds to start. For me to do anything in 2-3 hours is a miracle. This will be good for me and I know I will go back to the birds later.
Here is the robin.


01-03-2013, 04:32 PM
Jiemin, lovely loose work as usual!
Pat, how soft and delicate! Looks like an oil painting! Are these Neos or Senns?

01-03-2013, 05:09 PM
Lovely bird! Beautiful job! I really like it, it looks like a cute girl!

01-03-2013, 10:31 PM
Hi Pat thank you and love your robin so can you recommend to me what you think is the best paper for oil pastels? I have been using suede mat board for soft pastels which isn't going to work for oils so not sure which is best. You have a lovely smoothness on your robin that makes it look more like an oil painting he is lovely and might try him myself next. Thanks

01-04-2013, 12:20 PM
Lovely robin Pat, his feathers really do look very soft, i really like the contrast with the thorny bramble branch he's perched on.

I't been a great start to the challenge :D

01-05-2013, 05:20 PM
I am so glad that I checked in this week. The work here is absolutely stunning!
I got out my Neos and my Senns and did one of the birds. I have missed you all, and my OPs


I am out of practice, but it sure felt good to do a little painting today!

01-05-2013, 07:25 PM
Very nice Linda! Love the bright blues you used.

01-06-2013, 07:18 AM
Linda great to have you join in, your bluetit is lovely, I always like seeing your birds in the oil stick thread

01-07-2013, 06:07 AM
Wow, already so many beautiful entries!! Well done! Thanks for the lovely ref pictures, Steve,
Happy Painting,

01-07-2013, 11:02 PM
Such lovely work already this month!

I had got to play a bit this week so I decided to take on both birds

I am happy with the Robin


But think I need to do some adjustments to thee bluetit


Pat Isaac
01-08-2013, 07:50 AM
The birds seem to be a hit this month. Nice work on the birds Linda and Donna.
Trudi, I mostly use gessoed board, but I did use colorfix paper for the robin. It is lightly sanded and takes the OPs quite well. I also use uArt 600 grit.


01-08-2013, 12:06 PM
The Birds have definitely inched ahead on popularity so far,

Donna I think both of your interpretations for the birds are great, your backgrounds are far more interesting than the ref photo's backgrounds.

01-08-2013, 07:49 PM
Everyone love birds.:heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2013/1111142-image.jpg

01-08-2013, 11:20 PM
:heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2013/1111142-303651_449390591789231_972769412_n.jpg 28*35cm,REEVES oil pastel ,These oil pastels are very dry.:(

01-09-2013, 04:55 AM
Jiemin, you are doing some incredible work especially considering that you are using student grade Oil Pastels, I'm really glad you chose to do the castle.


01-09-2013, 12:43 PM

Here is my try at the sunset. Approx. 12 x 18 inches on gessoed matboard using Erengis, Mungyos & Sennelier.

I'm having issues reconciling the top half of the painting with the bottom half. I introduced some blues and purples into the landscape for better harmony but it still looks like two paintings to me...I think I would crop it a little above the distant mountain (including the brownish clouds). C&C are welcome. Will work on the blue birdie next.

01-09-2013, 03:51 PM
A possible crop...


01-09-2013, 04:44 PM
I dont really feel any disharmony in the full image Michelle, but I do like the way that the square crop puts the horizon in the top 3rd. It's a great take on the ref image, you've given it a brighter dawn like quality.

01-12-2013, 10:41 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2013/161252-new_bluebells.jpg Quick sketch ofthe blue bells with cheap cray pas pastels anda padof strathmore black paper

Pat Isaac
01-12-2013, 03:58 PM
I miss a day and look at all these wonderful paintings. I do like the crop, Michelle. Great job everyone.


01-12-2013, 04:16 PM

Here is my version of the blue tit. I painted it in gouache too:

01-15-2013, 01:29 PM
Trudi, nice sketch, there is no question that these are bluebells even though you have simplified the scene. This is the challenge photo that I have attempted, except I have tried to portray it as more of a direct copy of the ref including all the background :eek: . I am not a major fan of flowers so I don't paint them often and when I do i'm always reminded that they are harder to paint than they look. I'm not sure if I will upload my 1st attempt as it is close to being an overworked mess and i've appled so much OP that it is getting difficult to add any new layers. Oh I wish we had the ability to perform an 'Undo' like in photoshop so that you could roll back to a stage before it all goes bottom up :lol: I think a fresh start on version 2 taking what I learned from the first one is called for.

Michelle, great bluetits i probably shouldn't admit this here, but i like the gouache version a little more than the OP version :eek: i really like the background you created.

01-15-2013, 01:53 PM
Stee-I like the gouache version better too ;) regarding flowers, I find them very hard to paint in oil pastels not as much with other media...not sure why...

01-15-2013, 02:27 PM
Stee71 thanks, I was not really happy with the flowers I did either, went for a simple sketch as was not sure how to manage the background in oil pastels. I liked the green and the dark but would have liked more dark behind them but then the soft green was pretty so just did a quick sketch. I didn't like how the oil pastels went on the black paper almost a bit see through and a bit bright but it was fun to try. I was a bit ashamed to post it actually but did anyway lol.


01-15-2013, 04:42 PM
Yeah flowers are harrrrrd man. Trudi if you want to work on dark papers the neopastels by caran d'ache are unrivalled in their opacity with only a couple of bright yellows being semi transparent out of the whole range, they are pricey though unfortunately

01-15-2013, 07:41 PM
With the local Colors store closed we are down to one art store and Michaels of course so I will have to check them out and see what they have. Though I have to be fairly stingy as I stocked up on the soft pastels when they closed like lots of them. Didn't get any oil pastels and regretted it after.Thanks Stee71.


01-16-2013, 01:41 PM
Hi Jiemin, wow you really went to town on this challenge! I love each of your paintings - your landscapes especially, gorgeous painterly feel and wonderful atmosphere you created. Real nice still life, and the bird - love the softness and beautiful colors you brought through your painting techniques. Your sunset is awesome!

01-16-2013, 01:46 PM
Hi Pat: gorgeous bird - wow, soft and fluffy. I love your painting technique, it's soft, smooth and yields beautiful results.

Hi Donna: Your birds are beautiful - wonderful blending and details with the feathers.

Hi Michelle: beautiful landscape, like your cropped version - it's got a painterly quality about it and a particularly lovely foreground. Your bird is so pretty, wonderful color choices.

01-16-2013, 01:49 PM
Hi Trudi - beautiful flowers. I like the simple approach and color choice of the background because it allowed the viewer to focus on the delicate flowers rather than be distracted by the background. Very nice approach.

Wow for not using OPs for 20 years you got right back into the swing of things with your blue-tit. Beautiful work on this one. First, I don't want to miss the branch - nice coloring and bark texture, and second the bird is delicate - good form and good blend of color. The whole nature is simple and works. Nice to see this.

01-16-2013, 01:59 PM
I mentioned that the sunset appealed to me, and boy did it ever. I wanted to get a couple under my belt before I tackled this landscape. Steve you captured a fantastic photograph with perfect timing for a gorgeous pastel (of sorts) atmosphere of color.

The painting is coming along, but I wanted to show you my progress. Many layers on the sky to go, and have only done the underpainting on the land mass.

First photo is the complete underpainting and the second is the sky 60% done. Hope to have the sky done and a good portion of the land mass today:


01-16-2013, 02:06 PM
Thanks Mary, I had a look at your link and you have some amazing painting. My favourite it probably the bridge, reminds me of home. The seascapes are wonderful you really have the waves down pat. I would love to be able to paint water. Beautiful.


01-16-2013, 02:22 PM
Thanks Mary, I had a look at your link and you have some amazing painting. My favourite it probably the bridge, reminds me of home. The seascapes are wonderful you really have the waves down pat. I would love to be able to paint water. Beautiful.

Thank you so much Trudi, that's very kind of you and a beautiful compliment. I really appreciate that you took the time to visit the blog. Thank you - I love painting water and I find that my water works best when I gradually build up the layers of OP, all of a sudden I can feel the OP change under my fingers and I get a silky look to the paint, with still enough tooth to work on the waves and sea foam.

01-16-2013, 05:17 PM
Mary, you are welcome. What do you use to paint on? And what do you use for oil pastels? Thanks


01-17-2013, 06:41 AM
Amazing works from everyone, really enjoy the range of styles and techniques and beautiful refs provided for us, thanks Stee. My attempt on this beauty.


Pat Isaac
01-17-2013, 07:57 AM
I really like your sketchy technique, full of energy and color.


01-17-2013, 01:09 PM
Mary your sky is coming on a treat, looking forward to the next stage reveals :)
Ai2ai your technique is awesome and so unique to you, it's a mystery how you achieve such form with your linear marks, but the results are always great...i'm a fan

01-17-2013, 04:56 PM
Hi Ai2ai - wow I love your bird. Your play with colors is fantastic, very nice work.

Hi Trudi: Thanks for the questions. I use hardboard that I prepare with gesso and clear gesso, and will sometimes use ampersand prepared boards when I want a quality board for a special painting. The Ops brands I use are: Senns, Holbeins, Neopastels and Mungyo (artist quality). Usually a combination with all my paintings it all depends on what color, value and or whether I need something opaque, semi-transparent or transparent. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

01-17-2013, 05:13 PM
Update, about 65% done.

Some significant changes are just begging to be made, but wanted to show my progress. The entire foreground needs to be completed, changes to the middle tree-line and water to still be done, as well as work on the background hillside, and finally the sun. That middle tree-line on the left was 1/4" off, for goodness sakes, but I see a fix and what I can do to make it work.

Wow, can't believe you guys already have yours done. I'm hoping to get my completed by end of tomorrow, I've been busy and haven't had time to paint yet today.

My blues and yellows in the sky aren't photographing well, not sure why - I've adjusted to be as close to the image colors as possible. Please don't hesitate to give C&C.


01-17-2013, 09:51 PM
It's progressing nicely Mary, there is a nice colour harmony between the blue and pale orange.

01-17-2013, 10:15 PM
Okay here is my shameful entry to the challenge. There is very little I like about this painting, it is horridly over worked. The bottom two flowers that are upturned are awful, but the OP is too thick to easily make changes. It is neopastel & Mungyo extra soft on canvas board painted mid grey with a coat of clear gesso...size 12" x 10". Flowers are my bete noir

01-17-2013, 10:29 PM
Mary, your landscape is coming along wonderfully! I love how you've introduced yellows into the sky!

stee, your flower is GORGEOUS! It takes center stage despite the busy backgrouond. LOVE IT!

01-17-2013, 10:30 PM
ai2ai, looove your sketchy style!

01-17-2013, 11:42 PM
Thanks Pat, Mary, Stee, Michelle.
Stee, that's very striking, beautiful light filterings and the hazy background really brings out the floral beauty. Mighty effort from everyone!

01-17-2013, 11:54 PM
Wow,Steel,beautiful job.
Ai2ai: I really like your sketchy.
Mary: I am looking foreword the next one!
Thanks all of your share!

01-18-2013, 07:54 AM
Currently sat in static traffic on the way home for the weekend (heavy snow + fools who seem to have forgotten how to drive due to a bit of white stuff) so while sat here twiddling my thumbs I realise that this fool checked out but left the bluebell painting I did last night in the hotel room....haha ooops....oh well no real love lost there :lol:

01-18-2013, 10:28 AM
That's too bad, maybe if you phoned you could get them to post it to you.


01-18-2013, 10:55 AM
I'll let them have that one for the bin I think, I'll be back there on Tuesday but I'm not really sure I want it back. I might try one of the birds next to see if I have more luck.

01-18-2013, 11:04 AM
I am sure the cleaning lady will enjoy it then


01-18-2013, 01:25 PM
Nice work on the flowers Steve, despite the bottom two bells - the rest are beautiful and are gorgeous standouts against the backdrop.

Someone at the hotel will have a lovely painting for their home - trust it won't be there when you get back on Monday!

01-18-2013, 01:29 PM
Okay - now I'm about 85% completed and plan to finish my landscape this afternoon. Not enough time to work on it during one sitting, but you guys are fast, quick and good - as you can see I take forever!

Anyways here where I'm at so far - I've never painted a scene bathed in yellows before and for the life of me I can't figure out what's going on down around the water going up the background hillside. My magnifying glass isn't helping either - so I'm going with my gut instinct.

All C&C are welcomed. Thanks, Mary


01-18-2013, 01:35 PM
Oh I didn't see you had posted this, what a shame these are wonderful. I would be asking them to hold on to it for my return.


01-18-2013, 03:37 PM
Looking good Mary..... the darkened area directly below the sun on the distant land mass is actually a lens artifact caused by shooting directly into the sun so you could use artistic license to correct that feature if you wished. :)

01-18-2013, 05:57 PM
Finally, done with my OP challenge! Not happy with the background hill, couldn't get a good read on what I was looking at and it started going mud - ah well.

Please give C&C, would be most welcomed on the painting. Thanks, Mary


01-18-2013, 05:58 PM
Gorgeous Mary! You see how your sky and land harmonize!!! I think you did an excellent job!

01-19-2013, 01:41 AM
Okay here is my shameful entry to the challenge. There is very little I like about this painting, it is horridly over worked. The bottom two flowers that are upturned are awful, but the OP is too thick to easily make changes. It is neopastel & Mungyo extra soft on canvas board painted mid grey with a coat of clear gesso...size 12" x 10". Flowers are my bete noir

Stee...personally I like the 'overworked' look. There is a lot of good things going on here.

01-19-2013, 09:47 AM
Hi Michelle: thanks for your feedback, it felt like a challenge for sure. There are several areas that need adjusting, but will wait until the painting has time to rest.

01-19-2013, 01:32 PM
Lovely landscape Mary


01-19-2013, 10:07 PM
I think I should do more practice.:heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2013/1111142-image.jpg

01-20-2013, 05:45 AM
Beautiful sunset, Mary. I love especially the top clouds, very realistically rendered. Thanks Yansse, another beautiful bird, well done.
Here's my muddled attempt, not quite worked out, some fun anyway...


01-20-2013, 08:27 AM
Ai2ai,love the passion in your sunset!wonderful!

01-21-2013, 08:27 PM
Thanks Yannse, yes I overplayed the hot reds a bit, haha.

01-22-2013, 03:30 AM
ok, so Flycatcher (Mary) got me interested in this photo from a painting she posted in landscapes and we discussed some areas of her painting, and I was intrigued by it and painted away...I don't use oil pastels, but thought I might sneak this in anyway. :angel: Thank you for letting me intrude!

Thanks for peaking my interest in this one Mary. :)

oil on linen


01-22-2013, 08:24 AM
Hi Trudi: Thank so much, it was a challenge all right! But I'm happy to call it done.

Hi Jiemin: Love your little blue-tit, beautiful soft feathers and great body form, but also like your loose background.

Hi Ai2ai: Thank you, I'm learning to love painting clouds with wonderful blended colors of the sun - it's just a whole lot of fun!

Ai2ai - your painting is wonderful. Just love your use of sun colors in the red family within the sky and how you've carried them down into the land, beautiful. And, I especially like your loose strokes in the landscapes, gives the painting a wonderful light, free feeling given the deep earth colors used.

Hey Dan: Very cool and glad that you joined us! Very happy that you took the opportunity to paint this beautiful scene and I like the painterly feel
to your scene. Nice work on the ponds (your color reflections, perfect!), and w/the middle trees and background hills the chroma is real well done because of how you carried it forward from the sky right into the landscape. Your painting shows technique and your experience - it's wonderful to see and learn from.

01-22-2013, 09:28 AM
Wow Stee....I think yours is not overworked at all. I love it. The only thing that distracts me is that single blade of grass in the foreground. It pulls my eye away from the flowers.
Excellent work in my mind.

01-22-2013, 10:57 AM
Yannse, lovely job on the Blue Tit
ai2ai love your rendition on the sunset.
AlaskaDan, nice oil painting.


01-22-2013, 01:32 PM
It's great to see lots of new entries to the challenge over the weekend :clap:

Mary - great finish on the landscape, the sky is exceptional so soft and translucent. I know that you have asked for CCs but the only thing I could find that I didn't like so much was the forground green, It looks very 'green' haha i know that sounds stupid, but what I was thinking is that it would perhaps have been shifted more towards an olive green by the yellow/orange light rather than remain a pure hue. It is only an issue really near the bottom right of the pond where there is a larger block of colour, where you have broken the colour with the raw sienna colour it doesn't jump out anywhere near as much. Like I said though it is a real minor point to nit pic as the painting overall is a real winner. also bear in mind that i'm viewing from my Samsung phone screen which notoriously over saturates colours and so it may not even be an issue on a correctly calibrated screen.

Jiemin - you have produced a great version of the blue tit, i like your use of subdued colours with that flash of pure yellow by his shoulder, really keeps the attention coming back to that area.

Ai2ai - yours is a very bold statement and resembles the colour of the landscape that transpired a few minutes later, unfortunately i didn't have a tripod with me and so there wasn't enough light to capture the deep reds hand-held, without introducing lots of camera shake.

AlaskaDan - Welcome to the Oil Pastel forum monthly challenge , whilst it is an Oil Pastel challenge our moderator (Pat) is very amenable and only uses her big stick on very rare occassions :D Glad you shared your oil painting with us as it is a lovely piece.

I'm hoping to tackle the Blue tit myself this week, I wanted to do the still life as still life and flowers are subjects that i barely ever try, however the still life is giving me the 'starter ache' does anyone else get that ? it's where you just don't have a clue where to start, to the point your head hurts :confused: maybe it's just my weird brain. it never seems to happen with animal subjects, portraits or landscapes but i do struggle with complex subjects like cityscapes containing lots of buildings and detail etc. If I have time I may crop the image and just paint the fruit section, the glasses and bottle can wait until my drawing skill has improved.

LADickerman - thanks for the feedback on the flowers, what the online image doesn't show is the thickness of the oil pastel in some areas, it was getting thick like oil paint, and becoming difficult to work with. I generally prefer to work in very thin layers pushed into the surface so i wasn't happy with the impasto look. Also in hindsight I agree re: the single foreground leaf, it doesn't really add anything, that was just me putting it in without thinking simply because it was in the ref. I do that alot. :rolleyes:

01-22-2013, 01:39 PM
Mary ignore my previous comment re: the green, i looked at the photo and there is a really bright green in the ref also, so the light wasn't as yellow/orange as i recall, at least not at the time the photo was taken. Steve

01-22-2013, 06:23 PM
Many nice paintings here.

Flycatcher showed the different stages of the painting. The first one was an
Can I ask you Flycatcher if you by underpainting meant that you covered
the paper with plain op, or did you use any medium with it?

01-23-2013, 01:38 AM
Thanks Mary, Trudi, Steve, here I tried to add some character to this monolith on the hill.


01-23-2013, 01:43 AM
thank you Trudi, Mary and Stee..:)

01-23-2013, 09:49 AM
Hi AnnaLisa: thank you for your question. I do two different types of underpainting. One method I'll sometimes use for an underpainting is with straight watercolor.

The second method I use for an underpainting and more often than WC, is with soft pastel - the soft pastel is layed down first and then wash it with alcohol. The alcohol allows me to make any adjustments with the soft pastel layed down, but also it seals the soft pastel so that it doesn't leak into the oil pastel when those layers are applied to the surface.

Hope that this answers your question, thanks again.

01-23-2013, 11:48 AM
Ai2ai, You have given it a brooding windswept presence, I very much like the way you handled the distant low lying landscape it really looks like it stretches off into the distance.

01-23-2013, 07:11 PM
Hi, long time no see. Really great paintings here. Here is my contribution. Comes with subtext.

The faery finally said:"-Robin, I trust you will suceed in your mission to save the forest".

Pat Isaac
01-23-2013, 07:25 PM
how great to have you posting, Gosh! This is a wonderful perky robin and a fun text.


01-24-2013, 12:05 AM
Great Robin Gosh and nice of you to stop by and join in :)

01-24-2013, 12:35 AM
Here is my blue tit....didn't really intend to spend more than a couple of hours on this piece but in the end it turned into 5 hours. Neopastels mostly, on 12" x 10" canvas board toned grey with clear gesso. Built up the layers finger blending as I went then added the detail with Oil pastel thinned with zest it thinners and a small brush. I kinda wish I'd gone for autumn colours in the background as he doesn't really pop in front of the green.


01-24-2013, 09:12 AM
Omg stee! It is wonderfully realistic! Man you are GOOD!

01-24-2013, 02:40 PM
Wonderful robin Gosh, nice fully body and fluffy feathers. Beautiful colors.

Real nice Blue-tit Steve, this turned out just great. Great colors and texture w/the feathers.

01-24-2013, 08:03 PM
Thank you, guys. I am really happy to see great renderings of the pictures here. :wink2:

01-25-2013, 05:46 PM
I am going to try painting Robin tonigt

01-25-2013, 05:55 PM
Bravo one and all! This is a great challenge for this dreary month!

01-26-2013, 05:38 PM
Thanks Michelle and Mary.

Artjaw i'm looking forward to your Robin joining our growing flock :)

01-27-2013, 01:58 AM
Steve, that's stunning, love the details and the colours, beautiful! Here's robin.


01-27-2013, 02:52 AM
Gosh and ai2ai nice Robins and Stee71 love it the detail on the bird and the back ground. What is zest it thinners? Thanks


01-28-2013, 07:57 AM
Hi Ai2ai - aw lovely bird. The creaminess of your pastel came out and is making for a beautiful blend of feather colors.

01-28-2013, 02:51 PM
:clap: Another great bird in your lovely hatched style Ai2ai.:clap:

Trudi, Zest it is a solvent obtained from citrus. It can be used as a solvent for oil paint in place of turps or mineral spirit. The original formula smells like orange peel and is marketed as less toxic than the standard alternatives (It still carries a warning against ingestion however). They now have a stronger citrus free version that dries faster, but unfortunately doesn't have the same pleasant smell.

here is an extract from their website http://www.zest-it.com

"The Zest-it Solvent (Citrus Free) is a much safer solvent for oil painters than Gum Turpentine and makes an excellent replacement. The solvent is just as easy to use as the original Zest-it and can be used in just the same way, it is also less expensive because it is without the citrus element. It has a slight solvent odour, contains no Aromatics or CFC's, it is classed as non-flammable, has low VOC's and is kinder to the environment. It can travel by road, sea and air, therefore an excellent accompaniment if you are going on a painting holiday. It is re-usable, which makes it economical and a little goes a long way."

using solvents isn't to everyones taste, but I like to have the versatility of being able to apply the oil pastel dry or as liquid paint with a brush. Even when all the tooth of a surface is filled it is still possible to add liquidised oil pastel on top, and it is perfect for adding small details where an oil pastel stick is too big and clumsy. Not sure if they have stockists in the US yet, but they are able to ship internationally (due to it being non-flammable i guess)

Pat Isaac
01-28-2013, 03:44 PM
What a wonderful bluetit, Steve. Love the background.


01-29-2013, 01:26 AM
Hi everyone!!! :wave:

My first OP after many months. Here's a rough sketch of robin.


And it's great to be back!!!

01-29-2013, 06:46 AM
Thanks Steve.
Sue, like the simplicity and the nice contrast of colours you brought to the robin, well done!

Pat Isaac
01-29-2013, 08:13 AM
Welcome back, Sue. Great robin and I like how he fills the space.


01-29-2013, 10:52 AM
Thanks Stee71 I think combined with this method and drawing fine lines with Kenneth Leslie I hope I can make better detail in my next paintings. Thanks


01-29-2013, 09:41 PM
Thanks Ai2ai and Pat.

01-31-2013, 08:06 AM
Sue your Robin is a lovely addition to the flock of birds submitted this month. his red breast is a real eye catcher.

Well today is the 31st and so the end of the month, It has been a joy hosting this month and seeing my photo's brought to life by everyone who took part, Thank you for the great response. Tomorrow is a new Month and a new Challenge so lets keep the momentum going..... I look forward to seeing you all there.


01-31-2013, 10:39 AM
Steve I would just like to say a big thank you for such great reference pictures that inspired so many of us to have a go.


01-31-2013, 01:58 PM
Here is my tryout on castle :)

01-31-2013, 05:07 PM
Real nice bird Sue, like your work on the feathers.

Sikora, wonderful landscape - you nailed the distance and very nice foreground.

01-31-2013, 05:08 PM
Steve, thanks for the wonderful reference pictures. The two-pond landscape was one of the best land sunsets I've seen.

01-31-2013, 08:29 PM
Wonderful monthly challenge, Steve!
BTW, I LOVE Your blue tit, what a wonderful job a did on that one.
perhaps You will conceder to host another challenge in a future?.. If so, You just need to ask!
Sorry, I couldn't participate this time, just too many other plans. Maybe next time.

02-01-2013, 12:03 AM
Thanks everyone! it's a wonderful eye journey for me! Thought my English is poor, something I want say something but can't find correct words,but everyone are helping and encouraging others . I feel warm and pleased. See you next chanllenge !

02-01-2013, 11:27 AM
Adam that ruin is very well drafted and I really like the way you have created a sense of depth with the soft out of focus background.

Mary , it's funny that landscape was just an off the cuff picture taken while we were out walking the dog, but I think the two ponds make it. I think without those, it would have been a rather mediocre composition.

Tatiana, I will pick up another challenge later in the year, just need to confirm when I'll be on holiday so that I don't double book. :)

02-01-2013, 02:51 PM
Bravo Steve! This was a great challenge! I really enjoyed all the great work that was done.
Thank you for a great job!
And thanks to everyone for their participation!