View Full Version : Oil Pastel Challenge for May 2013

04-30-2013, 05:30 PM
My name is Donna and I'll be the host of the May oil pastel challenge.

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.

All photos were taken by me so there are no copyright issues.

I will be posting 8 photos in batches of 2, please wait to comment until all are posted.

04-30-2013, 05:32 PM
1. Sunset at the beach


2. Walking partner?


04-30-2013, 05:38 PM
3. A horse from my favorite section of the Institute of the Arts


4. A great view of downtown Minneapolis

04-30-2013, 05:42 PM
5. A tiny set of falls at the bass ponds

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Apr-2013/291871-im age-7_1.jpeg

6. A tiny olive tree at the Como Conservatory


04-30-2013, 05:53 PM
7. I could not believe my luck at finding these old camping pots at a garage sale!


8. And last but not least. Margarita fixings


04-30-2013, 08:23 PM
Here is #5 again. The link broke


04-30-2013, 11:02 PM
Here is my take on the olive tree. I decided to step out of my box and try to paint the oil pastels with solvent on canvas. It is a 9x12 canvas pad using pentel oil pastels. Open to feedback.

04-30-2013, 11:31 PM
Nice work lostjedi. What solvent did you use?

05-01-2013, 12:35 AM
Thanks DLT,

I used Turpinoid because it is odorless. I used a fan brush with paper towel blotting on the background and a no. 1 rigger brush on the tree.

05-01-2013, 05:52 AM
Donna, thanks for hosting! Thank you for the photos! :) I remember once a long ago I participated a challenge you hosted, back then I painted roses.

5x4 inches, Van Gogh oil pastels (student grade), "Still Life with a Strawberry and Lemon"


I was working on a strawberry still life with oils today and in the end of the day saw this challenge and the strawberry caught my eye.:heart:

05-01-2013, 08:41 AM
Nice strawberry and lemon! I like the texture you created with shading.


Pat Isaac
05-01-2013, 08:44 AM
Thanks, Donna for these great photos. I see some great subjects to paint. Wow you are fast lostjedi and moscatel.....nice work.


05-01-2013, 08:37 PM
you';re aall so quick of the mark with cool works already. well done and thanks Donna for hosting

05-01-2013, 09:47 PM
Moscatel, lovely illustration style of the lemon and strawberry

Pat and oldrockchick you are welcome. I hope there is something for everyone, even though I didn't get a decent photo of the cat.

05-04-2013, 03:21 AM
Thanks everyone! lostjedi, your olive tree is gorgeous! Lot of light.

Donna, I like a lot your reference of the copper and vegetable still life. By posting the following, I don't do justice for your reference but I post it anyway: :D


8x6 inches, Van Gogh oil pastels (student grade)

By the way, have any of you ever tried painting copper color? I've been trying before with oils and oil pastels and never really could get the color right. Ok, you can do a lot with values too, but is there any particular color for copper?

05-05-2013, 03:11 PM
Nice job on the veggie still life.

When I am trying to do copper I tend to start out with burnt umber, yellow ochre and a terracotta red. I then lay in the reflected color.


The above is not finished I have just started on the pan.

05-06-2013, 05:15 AM
Donna, lovely detail of the copper and greens! I do like your textures and color a lot! Terracotta is an interesting color, thanks for sharing. I don't have exactly that but your still life inspired me last night to mix some colors that I have and finally I think I got the right copper color by mixing and mixing. I have an other copper theme still life that I was never able to finish, but now it looks much better. Thanks again for hosting and inspiration.:thumbsup:

05-08-2013, 04:23 AM
Here is the Chinese horse, 12 in./30 cm square on textured cardstock, done in Sennelier oil pastels.

C&C please, if you have any.

-- Ciel

05-10-2013, 06:12 AM
DLT .... what is your name on here? I feel like I'm calling you a BLT (Bacon Lettuce Tomato) or something, or even a McDLT. :D

You have taken some awesome photos ... wow!

I JUST (about five minutes ago) ordered small sets of Sennelier and Holbein from DickBlick, so I CAN'T WAIT to try them out in this May challenge. :clap:

05-10-2013, 06:15 AM
And .... how in the world did you luck out in getting those old camping pots? Those would look perfect in a homestead. Heck, you could even do a series using those pots as the platforms.

05-10-2013, 10:36 AM
Thank you moscatel. I am sorry it took so long to reply. I started a nutrition course and have been immersed in study.

Ciel lovely try at the horse. I would love to see someone do all the wonderful shadows and reflections in that shot.

X my name is Donna. As for the pots I was at the right place at the right time, in other words pure luck. I felt like I stole them as I only paid $6 for the pair. I did get them to set up for multiple still life paintings. Now if I could just get the perspective of the ellipse down.

Pat Isaac
05-11-2013, 12:32 PM
Aren't ellipses wonderful Donna?...they always give me such a hard time.
I like your loose sketchy feel to the horse, ciel.


05-11-2013, 03:21 PM
Here is the Chinese horse in my day dream.:D 9x12in. Mungyo and Reeves oil pastels.:heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-May-2013/1111142-image.jpg


05-11-2013, 04:55 PM
Pat, I think I need to get out the grocery bags and just sketch pot after glass after bowl until I can get them to match up :lol:

Yansee Beautiful color. I especially like that you used very little white.

05-11-2013, 10:45 PM
Thanks Donna ,your photos are great!
I did an other one this afternoon. It on CANSON pastel paper,9x12 in. Mungyo and Reeves oil pastel. :heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-May-2013/1111142-480351_502173936510896_805903855_n.jpg

05-12-2013, 12:26 PM
Superb work, guys!

Yannse: your piece leaves me feeling that I'm looking through a rain-stained window at a kitchen countertop. Beautiful! Nice twist on the horse painting. I would have never known that it was based off a photo of a horse sculpture.

Donna, awesome photos you have given us to work from. Copper is so difficult to 'get right'. I look forward to your further separating the elements.

moscatel: i love how you did that cabbage. your colors in general remind me of the expressionistic period (do i have that right?). eery. :) quite the contrast between the goblet and the strawberry, really makes the strawberry 'pop'.

lostjedi: i think your tree were be more lively if there were more shading within the branches, particularly where the main branches are extended by smaller branches.

ciel: would you consider adding a shadow of the horse? how about more definition around the jawline and mouth? How about adding more to the tail? Right now it looks like it has a pig tail. (not trying to be funny, sorry). :lol:

Pat Isaac
05-12-2013, 12:34 PM
Nice work Jiemin...I particularly like the still life with all its refected color and your wonderful painterly style.


05-13-2013, 12:46 PM
Thanks everyone, do the challenge really helps me get better. And each time ,photos are great, I like them very much. Luckly we have the challenge program for improve OP skills.

05-28-2013, 06:12 AM

05-29-2013, 05:56 PM
Hopefully I will have more time to work on this. Trying to use up the Cra-Pas OP's and the strathmore paper. I don't know if OP's can be used (successfully) on canvas or the canvas board but I have a bunch of those and (hopefully) I can do something nice with the better OP's on those.

05-29-2013, 05:59 PM
Jiemin, you ate one of the carrots from the original. That's not allowed.

Moscatel ate two of them, so you're off the hook. :lol:

Awesome job everyone.

It's amazing how different the cheaper OP's are from the higher quality ones. The cheaper stuff, you can't even see the color unless you really lay down the stick.

Pat Isaac
05-29-2013, 06:14 PM
Hi Tom...looks like a good start. I have tried canvas and it is too textured for me. However, I hsve a student in my class who uses canvas exclusively and she put a coat of clear gesso on it. Works great for her. It is always a matter of preference and trying different supports.


05-29-2013, 06:28 PM
Pat, I don't have the best memory, have you all suggested a medium that would be smoother than pastel paper for me? I know that the "teeth" will disappear after multiple layers, but I'd rather not have to fight with that and waste OP's in the process. I don't ever see myself getting into oils but I do like their slick, oily look.

Pat Isaac
05-29-2013, 06:33 PM
I guess I am not sure exactly what you are asking. Many of us use colorfix paper which has a light sanded tooth. This is helpful in grabbng the OPs. Is your Strathmore paper a pastel paper?


05-31-2013, 04:10 AM
What happened to my last post in this thread? Where did it go? :confused:

Pat, what I would love is an 'oily look' to my paintings. Right now it just looks like I'm painting on sand paper, not something that's appealing to me. Is it necessary to have tooth on paper to pull the OP off the stick? I'm sure I sound stupid, sorry about that.

05-31-2013, 08:42 AM
If you are looking for an oily look, try using smooth mat board coated with clear gesso. Use a roller to keep it as smooth as possible. After the first couple of layers it will look oily. It also helps to use good quality oil pastels as the cheap dollar store stuff looks sketchy to me. Then again I like that look sometimes when I travel.

Pat Isaac
05-31-2013, 09:05 AM
Any surface that is lightly sanded or with some tooth should be fine. The oily look is often obtained with many layers of OP and not necessarily all blended.


06-01-2013, 08:05 AM
One of the things that I'm noticing about myself is that I tend to go all-or-nothing in practically everything I do. Balancing everything, sometimes this works to my advantages, other times it does not. Usually when I start a piece I am eager to take things slow, but then it isn't long at all before I'm racing with the OP to fill in areas and to hammer away at the details. The stuff I've done so far it's taken me about 2 hours each to complete. I think my stuff could be so, so much better. I think that we all could be a master at art if we wanted to, we just get caught up in reaching the destination rather than focusing on the journey. To help me get better at this I'm going to try (key word .... try) to do a sketch.....a light one.....even just a value study ..... of each piece before I actually do the piece. This is a VERY difficult thing for me to do, as I (ask my wife) do not like to do anything more than once. I am also a controlling person in nature, and while in some walks in life that's not a good thing I think it could be used to my advantage in art. So, I think I'm going to, as far as the sketches are concerned, switch off between laying down the side of a pencil and using cheap OP's. The sketches I'll try to keep in books. That way, when I die a crazed old man they will be worth something. Investors will flock to the auction in a bid to understand who this 'x' was. :D

06-02-2013, 09:15 PM
Hey X, I have used OP on Bristol type paper, totally smooth- no texture to show thru. But I have not done a lot of layering style, so I think the slick paper is limiting if you want layers. I think Pat would say that (and she is the expert IMHO!)