View Full Version : Oil Pastel Challenge for April 2013

03-31-2013, 05:52 PM
Hi everyone,
My name is Tali and I'll be the host of this coming month's oil pastel challenge. I'm posting this a little early as I've got a full schedule on April's fool's ;)

The challenge is for all skill levels 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.

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 the type of support you used including any surface prep, the finished size of your painting or sketch, the brand of Oil Pastels used, any tips or special techniques used. This may include whether you used anything under the OP as an under painting or wash or other mediums used to compliment.

Lets have some fun, can't wait to see some fabulous oil pastels!
Here are the photographs I've selected for this month:

1. A dog looking out of a window somewhere in the Czech Republic

2. Two cranes joining their colony

3. Ducks in a swamp

4. A wheelbarrow

5. A fountain in Rome, for all of you who love drawing water

6. Bottles of perfume, along with some knick-knacks on my shelf

7. The sea of galilee, as seen from the window of my honeymoon hotel room

8. An old church in Fodele, Crete

9. Fall walk by lisilk

10. Last but not least- a photo of my late grandmother. Sorry about the quality, it was taken with a phone camera.

Hope you all enjoy!

Pat Isaac
04-01-2013, 09:42 AM
Thanks for posting this month, Tali.....Great photos. The tread tools aren't working very well so it may take a little time before I can stick the thread.


04-01-2013, 09:36 PM
I back to China for a while, didn't take any oil pastel with me, so I bought a new one,the only type of brand for oil pastel here, very cheap, cost $4 for 36 color one box. Not really good, but I tried my best. :cat: :heart: TRUE COLOR oil pastel on Canson pastel paper, 9*12in. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Apr-2013/1111142-image.jpg

04-01-2013, 10:29 PM
Your fast Yannse, but we both picked the same photo to paint.

It is rough but I'm open to feedback.

04-02-2013, 02:58 AM
Wow, you guys are fast!!!
Jiemin- great painting, you managed the 4$ OPs very well. Great color scheme and I love the impressionistic feel.
Lostjedi- I love the cranes, you can really feel their motion. Perhaps the BG can stand a little more work.

04-02-2013, 10:52 PM
Finished background and tweaked bird body highlights. 8x10 gesso coated Matt board with assorted O.P.

Open to feedback.

04-03-2013, 12:41 AM
Very nice, I like the fiinished painting.

04-03-2013, 11:26 AM
WOW what a beautiful choices! I'm in between that church and perfume bottles.... Of course one with those tall trees is great too!... Maybe I'll have time to sketch something this month... Let hope so.

04-03-2013, 12:37 PM
You go, Girl! :wink2:

04-03-2013, 12:59 PM
Jiemin, great style as always
LostJedi, It was good to start with but i really like the finish with the softened bg.

04-03-2013, 09:24 PM
Thanks, I think it is one of my best O.P. painting so far. I want to thank everyone in the form who has helped guide me with suggestions and feedback. I encourage everyone who follows this form to pick out their favorite reference and go for it. You can learn a lot just from reading the form, but you learn so much more by taking the challenge.


Pat Isaac
04-04-2013, 08:12 AM
Yes, you both are very fast and it is nice to see the different interpretations of the same piece. Great work with the cheap OPs.
I love the softness of your painting, lostjedi.


04-05-2013, 05:17 AM
Great pictures Yannse and Lostjedi.

I started doing the cypresses on my new Canvaskin paper( feels like canvas in gesso, quite smooth but with ridges from canvas texture). A quick question about this paper: i noticed that as soon as i start blending the colors go all over the place in uneven layers. It is very difficult for me to control precision and smoothness there. So right now resourted to blending only first layer as kind of underpainting to fill white speks qnd the rest not blend. But even with this method the top layers are too mobile. The description says it is designed for oil pastel though. Anybody tried it before? Should i have put something like pastel ground on it to make it sandy texture?

04-05-2013, 11:11 PM
While I have not used that brand, I actually did my first oil pastel painting on canvas paper as I too saw it was for oil pastels. It was hard to work with and had a rough look to it. Lots of white specs showing through even after hand blending with a stump. After some good advice on this site, I pref smoother surfaces using Liquitex clear gesso as a base coat. You could try coating a page with it to see how it works.

I did fine a previous post on your brand of paper where they used crayons as an undercoat base for oil pastels. Hope it helps.


04-06-2013, 03:59 AM
Thank you. I previously tried prefab gesso coated canvas board and did not quite like it as the colors do not stick in places during blending, this canvaspaper feels very similar, has finer weave though. Very interesting trick with crayola; i guess wax makes ridges that work as additional tooth!

04-06-2013, 05:45 AM
Hi os2013,
The problem is probably in the crayola OPs, not the surface. Drawing will probably work better with a different brand. Of course, the best to try are the artist grade- Holbein, Sennelier, Caran d'Ache. But those are quite expensive. But even a decent brand of student grade OPs like Expressionist of Van Gogh should be easier to use.
I'm attaching a link to OP brand reviews done by Robert Sloan- can't say I tried half of those. But it's quite informative.
Hope I helped a little,

04-06-2013, 11:10 PM
Tali, thanks for reply. I do not use the crayolas. That was a tip from another thread Lostjedi found that i commented on. I currently use cray- pas specialist for first layer and senelliers for the sunsequent layers. And still have problem with op not sticking to the surface properly even though the op brands are the best according to many reviews. Cray pass do not mix well starting with second layer, and senelliers do stick but only one layer at a time, and then need to dry dor a few hrs. A slight touch in wrong place with color shper and it all gets shifted. It must be something wrong with the surface. But it is labelled for op right on the cover page, so that's why i'm puzzled. It's not that i cannot make it work, it is that it seems very inconvenient for me to work with it comparing to even mitientes paper. So wanted to hear additinal feedback about other experiences and tips.

04-07-2013, 01:15 AM
I still say you need to try a coat of liquitex clear gesso. I had similar troubles when I started and several people on this site suggested I try liquitex clear gesso. It works wonders. I even did a demo on iti in the technique section after I tried it.


04-08-2013, 02:57 AM
Thanks Lostjedi, will try that. I have got liquitex clear gesso and golden black gesso some weeks ago. Do you know how they compare?

04-08-2013, 07:45 AM
I like the clear because I can use colored backgrounds and it will show through.

04-08-2013, 10:07 PM
Here is my start on the dog picture. It took me a while to decide on a composition. The angles in the reference photo kept messing me up. Open to feedback on the composition and color choices to far.

04-09-2013, 04:06 AM
Lostjedi- so far looks good, I like the complementary colors and the composition. Keep us posted

04-09-2013, 05:31 AM
Hi all,
No question this month's challenge was a real challenge for me. I've had the photo of the Rome fountain for about a year and a half now, and was too chicken to draw it, even though I had every intention to do so.
There was nothing in that challenge that was easy for me- the trees, water, landscape. My main concerns are that the composition is to crowded, and I'm not happy with the splashing water down in the lower pool. I'd like comments on those issues or anything else for that matter.
Anyway- done with Senns, neopastels and Holbeins on A3 black paper:

Pat Isaac
04-09-2013, 07:15 AM
Nice start on the dog, though I think the body may be a little long.
The water drops don't bother me Tali, but the area on the right seems a little too white. It jumps forward.


04-09-2013, 07:59 AM
Oops, I just realized I forgot to paint the stone in the middle of the fountain... I'll have to sit and do that... Thanks Pat for the input

04-09-2013, 09:35 PM
Updated doggy in the window. Open to feedback.

04-10-2013, 07:45 AM
Tali, nice water fountain. The colors and style are very impressionistic. I like the way you did the patio concrete. :thumbsup:

04-10-2013, 07:48 PM

Here is an experiment I did using a hot pan, cheap oil pastels, and aluminum foil in a heat transfer technique I read about in one of the forms. While not the easiest way to paint it does give a free impressionistic feeling to the painting.

Let me know what you think about these trees.

04-10-2013, 10:03 PM
Tali, great work. I like the water - especially in the top of the bowl

Lostjedi, The dog looks good - great colors. As one comment I would try to work more on shadows - maybe add some in the underbelly, neck (below the front of its face), ears and eyes areas.

04-10-2013, 11:14 PM
Working from the edited reference below there aren't many shadows to work with. I assume that since the reference was shot in full sunlight at this wired angle that the shadows are at a minimum. I thought abound applying some brown highlights in the black areas but I also need to work on the brick some more as the line is not straight and the cracks are messed up. Open to advice on what works best.

04-11-2013, 09:09 AM
Thanks lostjedi and os2013 for the comments.
Lostjedi- I agree with os2013 about the shadows- from the B/W photo you posted you could at least add some in the armpits and groin, behind the forelimbs, and on the right (our left) forelimb. What you could also do is to play with the contrast of the reference photo, and that will give you clearer shadows.

04-11-2013, 06:20 PM
Third times a charm?


Tweaked shadows, fixed wall and added 4th leg that was missing

04-12-2013, 05:50 AM
Lostjedi- very sweet, I think the changes are good.

Anyway- I finally completed my fountain


Comments are welcomed

04-12-2013, 09:01 AM
Looks good. I still like the concrete.

04-15-2013, 12:27 PM
Thank you, Tali, for these photo references.

Pentel oil pastel


Mungyo and Holbein oil pastel



04-16-2013, 06:45 AM
Sandra, I love your unique style. Espeicially the ones drawn with the Mungyos. I like the limited color scheme.

04-17-2013, 03:09 PM
Thank you, Tali.

04-17-2013, 08:38 PM
Here is my start on grandma's portrait. As I have said before I always have trouble with figure drawings. It is 8x10 on clear gesso coated Matt board.

Open to comments and suggestions as I go.


04-18-2013, 11:35 PM
Here is where I am on day 2. Built up some flesh tones and hair. At a point where I think I need to rework the right eye placement. Open to comments and suggestions at I progress.

04-19-2013, 04:10 AM
Hi lostjedi- looking good. Work on that eye, it is too far down. I'd also work on the mouth and chin area, it seems a bit crammed in there. I'd also add some more shadow, since the ref photo has a nice dramatic lighting...
Keep us posted.

04-23-2013, 09:38 PM
Here is my update after reworking the eyes, mouth and nose then building up hair and blending the shirt. Open to suggestions at this stage.

04-24-2013, 04:29 AM
Lostjedi, I like your progress. You captured the look. Among couple of things I noticed that you might want to work on- the right nostril (her left) doe snot look right- looks a bit lower that it should be I think, also the forehead on the photo seems has the hairline a bit higher, also you covered the right ear (her left) with hair which gives impression of a bit different head turn angle than on the picture. Hope this helps

04-24-2013, 04:37 AM
WIP of the cypress walk. It has been hectic so I have little time to paint these days- not sure I can finish by end of the month, so posting now as WIP. The left line of trees in the middle is just a underpainting sketch as of now.
Also, this one turned to be quite challenging for me as small variations in shade tone matter a lot to the final look as I learned. Do you find such landscapes challenging too?
Would love to hear some comments and suggestions! Thanks!
PS: the quality is not very good as it was taken with my mobile camera, but the overall tone looks quite true

Pat Isaac
04-24-2013, 08:01 AM
Nice work on the portrait, lostjedi. I do agree regarding the nostril. I like the gentle expression.
os2013....beautiful cupress treesand nice strong color.


04-24-2013, 11:13 AM
Lostjedi- I love how the drawing ended up. I think that it's got a gentleness that resembles my dear gran. I don't really mind the nostril, but I would accentuate the chin from the neck- right now it looks like there is no distinction between the neck and the chin. Also I would work a little on the hair so it'll suit the posture of the head better. I also invite you still to be bolder with the light and shade- on her face, the blouse- go for it!! Good job anyway.

os2013- I love the drawing, and yes, landscapes are a bitch ;) . Is it canvas you're working on? Those are particularly challenging in my opinoin, even without drawing a landscape.. Anyway I love the colors and it's coming along great. Keep us posted.

04-24-2013, 09:43 PM
Thank you all for nice comments.

Tali, yes, this is like canvas- canvas skin paper and I did not prime it with gesso or grounds (for lack of knowledge at the time I started) so it is very smooth. I started with Mungyo MOPs and a few Cray-Pas specialists for first layer and then had to get some senneliers and holbeins- these latter made it at all possible to do the top layer and layering. Mungyo could not get more than one layer or blend on this paper at all, specialists could only blend two colors and could not layer. Holbeins work quite ok when on top of a layer of Mungyos or specialists and the same about senneliers. Use senneliers sparingly - mostly for tree stumps and to draw branches using color shaper. Learning quite a bit with just this one picture. Got some sampler grounds and gessos so next time will try using some on this paper- bare it is too much trouble :)

04-24-2013, 10:05 PM
Here is my latest version of Gram. Tweaked nose, pushed my comfort zone with light and dark, and colored the background. Open to feedback.


04-25-2013, 03:51 PM
os2013- wow, looks like you've had quite an experimentation with OPs. I don't know, I use paper and it seems fine. Sometimes you need to wait a little between layers. I haven't used Mungyos and I only have one single Cray-pas specialist. I use neopastels, senneliers and recently started using a few Holbeins as well, and I don't seem to have any trouble layering or blending.

lostjedi- NICE!! I like the light!