View Full Version : Oil Pastel Challenge for June 2013

06-01-2013, 11:15 PM
Hi everybody and welcome!

My name is Tatiana and I will be hosting the June challenge for Oil Pastel forum. I'm running a bit late with opening of this thread, because I wanted to treat everybody with posting of high resolution pictures... Unfortunately they still waiting approval by image library moderators and I can not use any of it. Therefore I'll use what I can.

The rules of this challenge are simple: use Your imagination and show us what can You do with those Oil Pastels. We will work side-by-side and learn from each other.

You are free to post a "WIP", either to show us your process or if you need help and advice. We are all friendly and happy to help.

Please tell us: 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 as an underpainting.

Other mediums may be used to complement, but the work must be primarily oil pastels.

Oil sticks and oil bars may be used.

You have a whole month, but if you are unable to post by June 30, the threads do stay open....So come on in and give it a go.

Most importantly - ENJOY and have fun!

I'm starting this thread a day early, because tomorrow I'll be very busy and not sure when I'll have time to get to my computer...

Therefore here we go.. like usually I'll give You variety of subjects, so everyone can make a pick...


For our Still Life folks there is a sweet treat... Enjoy!

Beautiful, yet, not complicated floral composition, will work well for those who like flowers and also for beginners.

Monterey beach for those who wants to do Landscape.


Two nice choices for animal lovers.


Take Your pick and let's paint!

Tracy Lewis
06-02-2013, 09:22 AM
Great pics. I think I will have a go this month.

06-02-2013, 11:45 AM
Tatiana, did you mean to say the deadline is June 31st, instead of December 31st? Otherwise, I might have a shot at this. :lol:

Beautiful pics! (are they your own?)

06-02-2013, 11:58 AM
Yes, deadline is at the end of JUNE.
I copied my previous post from December thread yesterday and missed this part... Maybe Pat as moderator can correct it up there.. I have no way to do it. Yes, we only have ONE month to paint. Sorry.

06-02-2013, 02:38 PM
That is a lovely flower. . . :)

06-03-2013, 09:51 PM
Here is a go at the flower. 8x10 in on Black Matt board coated with cleat gesso applied with a smooth roller. I used my new mungyo oil pastels. I heated the oil pastel with a hair dryer to get a smooth finish. Open to feedback.


Pat Isaac
06-04-2013, 07:05 AM
Thanks,Tatiana for hosting this month..busy day, so will get back later and comment. Love these pictures.


06-04-2013, 10:20 AM
Thank You for the first painting on a thread, M.A.S !
I like the way You handled delicate petals of the flower... structure and light - it is all here. Congratulations! I'm happy to see how You preserved the glow of natural light here, not everybody can do that.

06-04-2013, 03:10 PM
Thanks Tatiana ...


You can call me Mike, but I do usually sign my initials MAS.

06-04-2013, 07:07 PM
Alright, Mike! We will call You "Mike" here!
Good to see You participating this month!

Pat Isaac
06-05-2013, 08:11 AM
Nice take on the flower, Mike. I also like the glow you have coming through.


06-05-2013, 12:07 PM
Thanks Pat.

I have to say having a new complete set of mungyo oil pastels made it a lot easier than my other projects. I also like the tip I picked up in the form of using a roller to apply the clear gesso. It makes it easier to get a smooth finish.

Thanks again...

06-05-2013, 09:00 PM
Here is a version of the cat I intended to color, but after laying down assorted grays it looks neat as a black and white picture with some color in the background. Let me know what you think.

06-06-2013, 08:07 AM
I gave the goldfish a try. I cropped the original photo a tiny bit and used Portfolio (yeah, I know, crayola - I'm unemployed) on an canvas art trading card.


I hope I uploaded this right.
critiques welcome

Thank you :)

06-06-2013, 01:10 PM
Love the fish. It looks good for crayola. I like the compisition. I looked at the fish pic several times and could not figure out how to crop it and make something i liked.

06-06-2013, 01:20 PM
Kitty is looking good. I don't mind B/W feeling at all. You have used dark background well, it works for You. perhaps I will make highlights a bit stronger, it might make it even stronger.

Fish... regardless of type of OPs used, it turned out very well. It is not the easiest to work in trade cart size in any medium, Oil pastels are perhaps harder then most. Thing what I personally like the best about this small painting - using of background texture to make it interesting... It is anything, but plain. Very nice!

06-08-2013, 06:45 AM
I am late. I tried the golden fish yesterday night. It is on art board 8x10in. Mungyo and Reeves oil pastel.:heart: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jun-2013/1111142-image.jpg

Pat Isaac
06-08-2013, 08:53 AM
Nice feeling of depth to the water. I really like the bright fish.

06-08-2013, 10:37 AM
Jiemin, I feel that fish moving. Also like reflections on the water. Well done!

06-08-2013, 12:28 PM
Hi everyone,

I started with the tea still life on a velour paper. It turned out to be a disaster. I was not able to blend the color. :-(

Anyway, uploading it. :-(


Pat Isaac
06-08-2013, 12:31 PM
I have never had any luck with velour paper for the same reason. Doesn't matter what OPs I use either. Is this paper black?


06-08-2013, 12:34 PM

06-08-2013, 03:36 PM
I did one of the cat, using the remainders of my Cra-Pas student grade OP's, and it. is. a. mess. (probably wouldn't have been much better with the Holbeins or Senelliers). What I SHOULD have done was sketch first, THEN apply the OP. Hard to sketch the face of a kitty with an op. :cool:

I'm going to try the dinner ware setting now. I think I will have A LOT of fun with that one.

Pat Isaac
06-08-2013, 04:01 PM
Try doing the sketch with some oil pencils first. I usually always do a sketch with these first and then apply the OPs.


06-08-2013, 04:03 PM
Doobi: Very pretty! I love the colors!

Yannse: you picked a difficult one, the fish on the left (my left) looks great, I like how part of the tail is submerged in the water.

Jen: now THAT is a challenge, using OP's on an ATC. The white line running down the middle of the fish, I wonder if it could do without that.

Lostjedi: it seems that you, like I, had a tough time with the right side (its right) of the cat's face, against the background and close to the stone. Can you add some green to the eyes and pink to the nose?

06-08-2013, 04:04 PM
Pat, where do I find the oil pencils? I'd love to try those!

06-08-2013, 04:18 PM
Here is my attempt at the cat. A little off proportion in the area of the face, and the tummy. I don't think I like using paper with a white background. Just about the last of the Strathmore Pastel, using up the last of my Cra-Pas Student OP.

Pat Isaac
06-08-2013, 04:48 PM
I have also always preferred some kind of colored background or an underpainting. It is hard to work against white. You have captured the gesture of the cat and his relaxed feel. I would add darker values to the tummy area and lighter ones to the back. What materials will you be using next?


06-08-2013, 08:51 PM
For the dinner setting I'm going to use, at least for OP's, the Selenniers and the Holbeins. For surface, I don't know. All I have available is paper for acrylic and black-colored pastel paper. I also have paper for watercolors and sketching. I also have canvas board (the one that is very thin) and a few smaller canvas that are maybe .5 to 1.0" thick. What should I use?

Pat Isaac
06-09-2013, 07:10 AM
I,d try the black pastel paper or if you have some gesso give the watercolor paper a couple of coats and use that.


06-09-2013, 09:51 AM
I don't understand why there isn't "gessoed" paper / canvas for pastels. For some reason the thought of creating a surface to paint on just 'feels wrong'. I'm a purist at heart, so that might be what it is. What did Rembrant and others use back then?

Pat Isaac
06-09-2013, 11:03 AM
Well, the canvas comes already gessoed and there are sanded papers for oil pastel which work very well.


06-09-2013, 11:24 AM
Forgive me for being dumb, or give me a hug, but what sanded papers would be a better fit for me than the strathmore pastel paper I'm using?

I had no idea that the canvas board was already gessoed. I just thought it was a rough surface.

06-09-2013, 01:12 PM
I'm a bit behind here with my hosting... sorry. guys - just very busy weekend (work, not a play).
Canvas board does come gessoed, it is totally correct. It is primed with acrylic and ready for Oil/Acrylic painting. It will take Oil pastels too, but I personally feel it is not holding it as well, as sanded surface does and I can not do us much as I can do on sanded boards. Therefore, after few tries of working on traditional primed surface for oils/acrylics, I only use those after I put my own two coats of sanded primer on a top of factory board. Works perfect every time. Most of time I use Colourfix, but there are few other grounds what will work too.. Golden Pastel primer is fine and there are some others available....
If not my own primer, I'm big fan of Ampersand Pastelbord. Bad thing about it is the only thing - it is not that cheap. But when it comes to framing of finished art work, Pastelbord not require mounting, matting (I use framing spacer), therefore at the end it will cost about the same as some cheaper alternative, but with add on framing accessories.

Sanded papers and/or boards) to name a few are: Pastelbord by Ampersand, Wallis Paper, U-art paper, La Carte, Pastelmat and many others. They all have ONE common quality about them: those surfaces are not smooth and taking well many laers of soft (or Oil) pastels. Some of those surfaces are working well with solvents (organic and no-organic), while some others do not. Depending of Your painting technique, You need to make a choice of surface, what will accept it. I working with solvents a lot, therefore I have to use boards what will withstand organic solvents. For instance La Carte is a great paper, but only good for dry application of pastels. Also that particular paper I conceder a bit TOO toothy for Oil pastels.
Most of out artists are using U-art, Colourfix, Wallis and Ampersand Pastelbord. For priming of own surfaces mostly people I know using Colourfix primer made by Australian maker "Art Spectrum". It could be applied on board or watercolor paper and used with various solvents.. But ultimately You need to try this and that and find what works for YOU the best. Hope it helps..

06-09-2013, 01:21 PM
Doobi, for what velour is (as far as I understand, I never got a chance to try it out), You did pretty good. I actually like something about this painting entirely because of how it came out on velour... not every painting has to have many layers on it to be a good painting. Keep in in mind.

thevaliantx, I'm not the biggest fan of white background when it comes to pastels too (both - oil Pastels or soft pastels.). But I don't mind when I have something white, I just will paint it first with some sort of water-media... watercolor, or better yet- gouache.
Keep in mind, if You use water-media underpainting ON PAPER, paper has to be stretched first (fixed with artist tape to board of something like that), OR You can use watercolor blocks. those are pre-stretched. Gouache also giving paper just a bit more "tooth" and at my opinion - better adhesion when You working with Oil Pastels. Hope it helps. Working with Oil Pastels on plain paper is possible, but it is more challenging and You are better off with really good brand of pastels, if You do something like that...

Pat Isaac
06-09-2013, 04:30 PM
Tatiana has given you a good idea of the many papers that are out there for oil pastel. My favorite paper is Colorfix and this comes in a selection of different colors in a 9 x 12 package. I think maybe 10 sheets or you can use the large single sheets and cut them to size. I am a big fan of gessoed hardboard now.


06-10-2013, 04:34 AM
Pat, where do I find the oil pencils? I'd love to try those!
Polycolor http://www.dickblick.com/products/lyra-rembrandt-polycolor-premium-oil-based-colored-pencil-sets/?clickTracking=true is the most common option when i was researching op pencils, but i found that they may not work well on smooth surfaces for application on top of ops, as they are a bit hard so they scratch the layer. I also tried marshalls http://www.dickblick.com/products/marshalls-photo-oil-pencil-sets/ and these seem to be softer, which works on top of a layer of ops ( especially with darker colours, e.g for eyelashes, etc). Both brands are equally fine for sketching underneath op.

Pat Isaac
06-10-2013, 01:48 PM
I just purchased some Marshall colors from Dick Blick and like them very much. I also find the polycolors a bit hard.


06-10-2013, 09:50 PM
Here is a second try at the cat. I set the black and white sketch a side and started a new drawing on clay board. It was white so I started by painting it black in the background, gray for the cat and dark gray for the brick. Then I coated it with liquidtex clear gesso using a smooth rollers. Then I started the oil pastels using assorted artist grade brands. It is not done, I wanted to post it as I go to get feedback. The painting is 11x14.

06-10-2013, 10:50 PM

My suggestion will be - try to make his neck/back outline softer, diffuse it a bit. Right now mid back has cut-out look because of lines are too sharp. Butt and tail are looking perfect.. very soft and just right.

06-10-2013, 11:22 PM
Here is my first post of the challenge for the Flower picture. I had trouble getting the background color right and I think it is too bright and need to make the orange in the middle of the flower darker or to pop more. I'm using senns and was wondering what colors - if you know the numbers- would you use for different areas?

06-10-2013, 11:22 PM
Ooops.. sorry I'm new to wetcanvas and I think it wont let me post an image.

06-10-2013, 11:23 PM
Let me try again..http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Jun-2013/1266336-IMG_1404_-_Copy.gif

Pat Isaac
06-11-2013, 07:19 AM
Welcome to the forum strouthe......:wave: The flower is nicely done and I like your varied background. You might try # 32 in the Senns for the flower center. I think that is a doker color than you have.


06-11-2013, 08:09 AM
Thank you! I'll see if I have that one

06-11-2013, 05:17 PM
Hi everyone. I am new to oil pastels and decided to post my effort. Sakura Expressionists/ Specialists on gessoed(Liquitex) watercolor paper. Comments and suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Thanks for looking

06-11-2013, 06:50 PM
Strouthe, your flower looks beautiful , the light blue is very difficult to discribe ,you did good job. I liKe the blackguard in your painting.
Lostjedi, your cat is cute. Specifically her expressional face. Well done!
I am waiting for the summer break time in the end of this mouth, hope I can do an other challenge .
Thanks for everyone pay attention on Oil pastel challenge . I ' d like to hear new words from you. Thanks.

06-11-2013, 11:14 PM
Strouthe and Lostjedi, thank You for jumping in and participating in this monthly challenge!..

I love beautiful delicate blues in a Himalayan Poppy. Nice clean painting! Well done!
Kitting is cute and we have great color varigation on both - background and rocks. Lovely work!
Jiemin, I'm with you here... maybe second part of month will look any better and I can take a part in this challenge I'm hosting... maybe. Let hope for the best! :lol:

06-12-2013, 02:39 AM
I attempted the tea cup one. The ellipses for the cup threw me fits, and so did the shadow over on the right side of the cup. I also couldn't figure out how to do the folds in the cloth. This is with black pastel paper, using Cra-Pas. My Specialists, as did the Crayola (also oil pastels) came in today from the post office. Are Specialists considered student or professional quality? I'm a 'student' in art, but just wondered. My next piece will be done with the specialists. I'm thinking about starting a sketchbook using the Crayola ones and / or the Specialists one. What do you all think? Part of my thinking about doing a sketchbook is that I HATE doing anything more than once, but I beginning to realize that I don't know my subject well enough before sitting down to paint it, and that might be why I'm having all these "why did I just do that?" moments. Your thoughts? I'm a perfectionist at heart, and to be controlling of things I'm passionate about (how the wife has been married to me for this long I'll never know), but it hasn't carried over to my art hobby ... yet.

06-12-2013, 09:25 AM
Well there.... I personally do not see anything wrong in repeating of the subject, especially if You know, there is a way to get it better... In fact this is the only way to learn and all academic drawing/painting school is based of going back to basic shapes and repeating the subjects as long as needed to get it right.
My favorite teacher Richard McKinley is preaching to go back to favorite place (here is landscape of course we talking about) and repeat it again and again to explore it from different sides and see what is working for You the best... Different supports (papers, board, different colors of underpainting, different techniques...). Sometimes in is getting annoying, but at the end we can see some very rewording results.... So, if You think You need to do again - go for it.
Things what I like about this painting already - beautiful using of negative space. You making background do the job and outline beautifully light subjects. Very well done. Most of amateurs know little about it. Most of "professionals" trying to use it for their advantage and still... not always they can. Congratulation! You are seriously on something here, thevaliantx!
About CrayPass... Specialist just as it named indeed IS the artist-grade Oil Pastels. However those are perhaps the most hardest (firm) of all brands and somewhat harder to blend. Most of artists use those for foundation of the painting and finishing work with something a bit softer, as Sennelier or Holbein. Not to say - You can not work with Craypass ONLY. It could be done. Go for it, Mr Perfectionist and enjoy the process, at the end it always worth it.

06-12-2013, 01:33 PM
Tatiana, are you saying that in order to get full use out of the oil pastel medium I will have to use more than just the Specialists? Or, are you suggesting that with the addictive nature of these beasts that there is just no. way. possible. that I'm going to be able to not touch the other op's? :lol:

06-12-2013, 01:40 PM
I was telling my wife just yesterday that I wish we had the money, and a different time, so that I could just go into intensive art study doing sketches and value studies and color application. My art would go through the roof, as would most anyone else's if they did what I'm suggesting (and aren't already there).

Pat Isaac
06-12-2013, 02:50 PM
The black paper works well with this piece. Yes, ellipses are always a problem for me....not the easiest thing to do.
A sketchbook is a wonderful idea....only improvement can come from it. Just sketch anything anywhere every chance you get.


06-12-2013, 07:14 PM
Tom, secret about pastels (oil or soft) is - one never can have too many. We ALL hoarding those. That is true - we do.

We get our pastels where and when we can. I don't know a single one pastel painter who will stick to just one box or just one brand...

On other hand - it makes life of friends and family easier when it comes to holidays gift list... You know... I'm just saying... Father's Day is some and such!.. :wink2: :angel:

06-12-2013, 09:16 PM
Here is my updated cat pic. I still have a way to go, but looking for feedback on the rest of the cat body before I start tweaking details and work on the background.


06-12-2013, 09:27 PM
I personally like it. :thumbsup:

06-13-2013, 11:32 AM
lostjedi, any way to add fullness to that cat's face? it sort of looks flat. the tail looks a little thick at the base, too.

how did the get the wall to look like that?

06-13-2013, 08:50 PM
Thanks everyone. I tweaked the face, added details and a background.

The wall in the last version is a reflection of the black acrylic undercoat.

Tracy Lewis
06-14-2013, 10:27 AM
Hi guys. There are some fab pieces here already.
Here's my effort.


06-14-2013, 03:35 PM
Nice, Tracy! My favorite part is the section with the green petals just before the flower. Are you going to work some more on the flower itself?

In a sense the painting, as is, really adds a lot of drama to that section.

Pat Isaac
06-14-2013, 03:58 PM
I do like the delicacy of the petals...


06-14-2013, 10:11 PM
Nice finish on a cat! Much better then first post.
I do like all fine lines and wrinkles on the Blue Poppy... Well done. Perhaps I would make background different value (perhaps darker tone) compare to the flower... It should make it stand out even better. But of course all depends of what colors of pastels You have and there is anything suitable for this sort of things.
Nice work, guys! And it is only mid month!

06-14-2013, 11:19 PM
Thanks, the first one helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the larger painting.

Tracy Lewis
06-15-2013, 08:03 AM
I have changed the background.

06-15-2013, 08:58 AM
Tracy I liked the green background in original version because green is my favorite color, but the way you did the black shows off the fuz of the flower. That is a neat effect.


06-15-2013, 09:05 AM
Tracy, I like your flower, looks fresh .

06-15-2013, 12:57 PM
Very nice graffito work on that fuzz!

06-15-2013, 02:22 PM
Tracy, I too liked the green background better. The black feels a little heavy in this piece (so....work the flowers harder, hehe), but I honestly didn't notice the fuzzy on the stem at first, and WOW!!!!! :thumbsup:

06-15-2013, 08:01 PM
Now for the massively long post composed offline while I paged through the entire challenge! Remind me not to come look at the challenge halfway through the month if I want to keep up lol.

Tatiana, thank you for a great Challenge! I love your choice of photos. If youíre trying to tempt me back with that sunbathing cutie, itís working! I love the Monterey landscape, the flower and the koi too - so many good ones. Heh, I could almost have a go at all of them but Iím not sure Iíd have time to do justice to the tea still life in realism detail the way I like to do... eh if I get close, I might even have a go at a detail of it, try to do just the lace or just the teacup or something loose. I love it, just donít know how much time Iíll have for art this month (while doing other things) and OP while doing other mediums too.

Lostjedi, beautiful rendering on the flower. Love the form and the petals, you really caught all the little nuances and veins and I like the light glimmering on the petals. Great center too. Wonderful idea doing it on black, that makes it so luminous.

Your cat is great! Wonderful intensity. I can see why you left it as a black and white cat, thatís so dramatic. Good anatomy and form, wonderful expression. I like the grass against the black, again thereís this powerful intensity of light on dark that works so well to make the painting shine. Great textures too!

Greeble, love your bright and joyous goldfish! The masses of color are exuberant and I like how you handled the water, that sense of loose ripples of light going through it rocks. This one is so lively! Well rendered and rounded, very high intensity and full of contrast yet harmoniously so. Love the way the cool purple-pink helps harmonize the blazing complement of orange and blue.

Yannse, what a stunner of a koi pond. The light on the water is glorious. The fish are so natural, the motion in the piece. I like how you simplified it, great composition and it just draws me in again and again. Good rendering, great color and motion and light. So beautiful.

Doobi, wow! Your tea cup scene on black is very dramatic. It reminds me of some art Iíve seen in New Orleans and in some publications I like. Itís jazzy. Itís a discovery as much as a disaster because those unblended strokes and strong strokes give it vigor and make it look utterly cool. You know now what velour does - and the black lines left between areas, those black accents are something that really works. It just didnít come out in the style you wanted. Maybe try something on black Colourfix or black uncoated paper to get the effect you originally wanted, with more blending? The rough blending and layering on this is pleasing to me but I can understand why you got frustrated if you intended a more polished, realist look.

Valiantx, you saw your proportion difficulties for yourself. Most half of it you changed her pose. Tummy is fine. Hind legs are in a different pose than photo, tail is small. Face is turned facing the viewer and her ears are small, also she has a lean long face like certain other breeds but sheís still a small-eared long faced cat, not a dog or something. Love the way you got her markings and agree, sometimes itís really frustrating working on white paper.

One thing I do sometimes is underpaint with markers or watercolor to break the white of the paper. That or over a light coverage like that, to get a smooth thin coat use a bit of solvent on a cotton swab or ear swab and stir it around, smoothing out the area to a flat covering area. This is also why I like using watercolor papers or sanded/coated papers, itís easier to get full coverage if I can do a wash, provided I want full coverage, or layer enough to get it. Harder student pastels make that more difficult too without a solvent.

Lostjedi, your second cat blazes with sunlight! She is so warm and beautiful. Love the markings, love that curled tail and the masses of her haunch and her arms and her back. Gorgeous ears. Great expression. The nuances of cat expressions always amuse me. Again the ledge sheís on is very solid and three dimensional, you also got a sense of the bulk of her fur, its semi-solid mass filling space. If itís not done, itís still looking really good. Eyes arenít detailed yet but well placed.

Strouthe, love your flower! Itís got wonderful volume and the color masses appeal to me, one moment it looks detailed and tight, the next itís lively and more about shape and color than line and detail. Edge play is fantastic. Modeling and depth of renderingís great. The lightís very consistent. The cool colors play with each other so well, love the violet and acidy green and the gold pollen in the center. It just jumps out at me so dramatic. The shaded, smooth shifting background colors are so awesome. This would make a very cool poster or something.

Tracy, wow! I love the way you caught the fuzzy stems on the flower and have it shining out against black. Strong values, good detail and accuracy, love that crooked stem too. Great idea using the black background.

Longina, sweet kitty! Good 3D rendering on the stone ledge sheís on and sweet expression. If you want realistic color, Iíd suggest bringing a little of the dark olive of the background into those deep red patches to make them dark brown/black rather than maroon. On the photo they look more purple-red than deep brown. Slight problem where neck meets ear. I understand thatís accurate to the reference, but you moved her ear to a more alert, forward and up expression that fits her facial expression. Start the neck about 1/3 down the outside edge of the ear and that will correct it - a stroke or 2 of background would fix.

I do this drawing cats all the time. Iíll move an ear or the whole head and change their expression, the drawing works and looks good but I have to be sure the change carries out through the rest of the pose. That neck tweak is the only thing wrong with the line of her body, which is otherwise graceful and well shaped, and you got the swirl coming down onto her haunch in a gorgeous way.

Well done! Very cool cat.

Valiatnx, ellipses give everyone fits, even contest-winning professionals earning hundreds of dollars a painting have trouble with ellipses. Yours arenít that bad! Iíve seen worse, much worse. It makes it look a little rough but with the black background it also looks rather jazzy. Love the black background and strong outlines.

Cray Pas Specialists are the brandís top quality artist grade. Expressionists arenít far behind them, suited for artists saving money or extremely advanced students etc. I had to go look that up on my website because I couldnít remember which was their top quality product, both are good. Also, all the Cray Pas products have exactly the same texture, so unlabeled sticks could be any of them by feel.

Repeating the subject is a great idea especially in different ways. Crayolas are good for sketching. One way to avoid boredom is to try diferent way to do the subject, maybe do details of it as separate sketches, try just a cookie as a realist drawing or the coffee pot by itself as ďwork out the ellipsesĒ in a line drawing over and over till itís better. I try to vary how I do it when Iím going over and over something to get it right. It does always help.

It also helps to do that with something you love. Iíve drawn and painted the same cat thousands of times, not always from the same reference but often from life. Sketching other cups and saucers from life may help you solve the ellipse thing and get a feel for observing it. The shadows, exact shapes of shadows can define and create the light.

Suggestion, first get the ellipses in outline sketching and then try shading the cup dramatically to get its rounded form, exaggerate the light, and then worry abotu any decoration or anything in the last fancier rendering. One thing I had to learn to do was sketch structurally to get propotrions on 3D things. I would get so lost in detail but if I was measuring proportion by detail to detail, the smallest error made the whole thing lopsided. Your ellipses are symmetrical. That is seriously good in itself. The saucer and the upper rim are in good proportion to each other. Itís only the curve of the bottom of the cup within the saucer that didnít quite get it.

You got close on the ellipses and that almost makes it more frustrating, doesnít it?

Lostjedi, great cat progress, that light on the cat is just lovely. Keep going! Body looking quite rounded. Face tweaks on the final, wow, fantastic! Problem solved! The light is so warm and her eyes are great, love that looking up look. What a sweet cat.

Tracy, love your strong, cheerful flower. The modeling and depth is good, shapes great, light cool blue-green background gives it a very luminous, summery feel, itís very cheerful. I like the way yours came out. Everyone does something cool and different with theirs and yours has that soft shimmery light background making the bud the strongest contrast, the flowerís exuberant and the whole piece softer for reducing contrast but keeping color intensity.

Then we get to your doing the black background after the change - so dramatic. I actually like both versions, after the change itís luminous and the fuzzy hairs on the stem show and the whole thing is backlit so brilliant. But the version on a soft blue-green was nice too. Love it.

Now that I've written a novel about it and commented to everyone's including stage comments to WIP posts, well, I need to grab one of these and my Neopastels and something like a surface and have fun. With any of them really, of course, I love the cat! She's not an easy cat.

Yes, for all of you cat artists, she is not an easy reference. Her face is small and this isn't like doing her in pen. A line width could be her eye width when I approach her at my usual size. So FYI to all the cat artists - my hat is off to you. She is not easy even to me!

(I say She because tricolor cats are female, you don't get both the orange gene and the black gene on the same cat unless she's got two X chromosomes. Tortie and calicos are all girls, a male one that was fertile would be worth a fortune.)

06-15-2013, 09:36 PM
Robert, thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate you taking the time to explain how I can fix my painting. I'll work on it, and try to post again by the end of the month. I'm also working on the teacup and koi pond, and they're giving me fits. :envy: Oil pastels can be exasperating to work with, but they're so addictive!

06-15-2013, 09:38 PM
Thanks Robert for the detailed response and specifically your kind words. I appreciate the comments on my cat coming from you. You are the cat expert.


06-15-2013, 11:02 PM
Glad I could help, longina. She's so beautiful and it's one of those things I've done so many times in my own cat paintings if an ear moves or the head angle changes. Looking forward to seeing more! Purr!

Lostjedi, thank you! I am stoked about this one and that's about half a month's comments all in one post. I usually give detailed responses.

Going to do mine today or tomorrow, losing the light so might be painting tomorrow. Debating... easy flower or challenging cat first... she's so pretty though... I do have neopastels handy...

06-15-2013, 11:10 PM
Robert, we're holding you to that. As for what you decide to do in this challenge, it would be progress just to get you to do anything BUT the cat. :D

06-15-2013, 11:18 PM
Great to see You back, Robert!
We all were missing You here... It will be a real treat to see You participating this month.. I'm not even sure what I'm looking up to more: to see Your art work, OR to read all Your great comments. It is evenly wonderful experience.

lorigina, don't take it personal with those Koi giving You hard time.. I remember my own painting of that evil fish i did few years ago... took me almost 8 month to finish, so really... You are not the only one having problems with those (but aren't they addictive?!)

06-16-2013, 12:37 AM
Why Robert isn't writing for a living, I don't know. Peace is in the air.

06-16-2013, 09:06 PM
First go on the cat. I worked small, this is actually about 5 1/2" wide. Really hard to get the detail at that scale. I might do the cat's face on the same page close up. Seeing where some of the problems came up on others, highlighted fur changing body proportions.


I will probably try some of the others too. Loved this pose but she's tricky!

Valiantx, I am a writer, hope to be making my living on it someday. Novels in edit stage, one's in print.

06-16-2013, 09:22 PM
Robert, this is absolutely lovely. If I would name this ice it would be "Luminosity". I'm in love with the light in this painting and You made it to look like it was "so easy". Masterful work!

06-17-2013, 12:30 AM
I just purchased some Marshall colors from Dick Blick and like them very much. I also find the polycolors a bit hard.


Wow, I'd never heard of those ones. . . glad to know you are liking them Pat. I still have a set of the Walnut Hollow but was wondering what to use when they are done since I have tried the Lyra and didn't like them.

Which of the two sets did you purchase/try, Pat?


PS. I will be back tomorrow to comment on everyone's work as my eyes are tired and drooping tonight

06-17-2013, 12:45 AM
Purr thank you! I was thinking of enlarging and doing just her face on the rest of the page later.

06-17-2013, 06:58 AM
Robert, your cat came out just perfect. I love the way the light just bounces off the cat's fur.

Tatiana - those fishes just sit there looking sooo innocent, but really they are mocking me :mad:, daring me. We'll see who wins.

Pat Isaac
06-17-2013, 07:45 AM
So nice to see your art again Robert...Great light on the cat and you certainly have the relaxed gesture.


06-17-2013, 02:47 PM
lorigina... I perfectly know all about those fish!... Good luck with trying to figure them out. It is anything but boring.
Interesting... I had no problem with Lyra pencils, but then of course I work on saned boards only... maybe that's why.

06-17-2013, 05:09 PM
Lostjedi, you got the subtle shine / irredesence of that flower well. I like the black/white kitty. . . sometimes doing a value study in monotones can be really helpful. The second version of the kitty is nice, but I agree with Tatiana's comment about the cutout effect. Like what you did in the last kitty.

Jen, lovely color and positioning on your koi.

Jiemin, really admire how you did the fish and water. I can feel the motion there.

Doobi, I too have tried OP on velour mat board once with similiar results as you got. . . they just don't seem to blend on that support, huh? It came out looking cool anyway, though.

Pat, thanks for the tip of sketching with oil pencils first. I have to try that as well.

Valiantx, I also find it hard working on a white background. . . when I do that I usually end up with several layers. If using a white paper, I usually give it a coat of tinted colorfix primer or sometimes I tint gesso with some acrylic paint as an undercoat. But more often I just use the colorfix sanded paper to save time. I love all the colors it comes in so I don't have to deal with the white :) As for repeating a subject. . . well, I do that often, especially on subjects I like and really want to explore and get right. Totally agree with your desire to have the funds to do some intensive art study. It would be awesome to have a mentor in OP, I've never even been able to find a class or workshop close enough to me that I could go to one (Sure wish I lived closer to Pat!) So its all explore and experiment for me, too.

Stroute, welcome! Nice work on the flower and the background. Your work is so smooth and the colors nicely blended. I have some Senns but rarely use so can't offer help on colors, but like what you did.

Lorigina, welcome. Cute expression on your kitty.

Tracy, the hanging bud is really nice! Neat how you got the fuzzy feel of the flower in second version.

Robert, like how you used the purples in the kitty. Adorable face even at that size.

06-18-2013, 11:08 AM
This was my first time using an undercoat and it was also the first time using clayboard. I choose clayboard to get a smooth surface with minimum grain. I took the originally white clayboard and hand painted it with acrylic before coating it with Liquidtex clear gesso.

I used three colors. Black for the background, grey white for the cat and dark gray for the step. The colors helped make the cat and step stand out in a 3d look, but it also make it look like a cut out. It took a lot of work blending the cat against the black to hide this.

I wonder if I should have just painted the whole thing black instead? Anyone ever have a similar issue with undercoating with acrylic paint?


06-19-2013, 11:08 AM
Robert.Sloan, I like the energy in your art. I can feel the sunlight in your heart. I tried the cat yestoday night, it is on pastel paper , 8X10.5in. Mungyo and Reeves oil pastl.My first cat in oil pastel, still confuse how to deal with furs. :confused: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jun-2013/1111142-image.jpg

06-19-2013, 11:30 AM
Nice cat,
I love the look in her eyes.

06-19-2013, 01:17 PM
I will be honest with You, Jiemin - my favorite part about Your kitty is those pink highlights You are so masterfully put here and there... It gives Your painting "full of light" feeling and pulling it all together nicely by creating color harmony though all piece. That was very successful solution and it clearly worked for You, Lovely!
yes, I like her facial expression too. She is so relaxed... but yet waiting for something to happen any moment and then she will react!..
I like it a lot.

Pat Isaac
06-19-2013, 01:31 PM
This is a great kitty and the expression is wonderful. Nice eyes. I do love your color work on this piece.


06-19-2013, 10:49 PM
Hi Yannse. What a beautifully done cat! I love the eyes especially.

06-22-2013, 12:11 AM
Jiemin, your cat is so lovely! Her expression's wonderful and the masses of her body so flowing and natural. Fur texture is implied well by your choice of stroke direction, if you hadn't said anything I'd compliment you on her fur. Beautiful rendering.

06-29-2013, 04:25 PM
Wow, Yannse. . . I really like you color choices for the cat. The face is beautifully done and adorable, of course, but its how the colors tie it all together that really makes me admire it.

I found a chart from Strathmore that shows that even though only one of their papers is made for OP and work excellent, that MANY of their papers will work good or very good for oil pastels! It so happens that I have a few of those pads indicated with two dots (very good) and so now I have a bunch of papers to try out for future challenges.

Oh, I posted the chart in a thread here in the forum if anyone wants to see.

06-29-2013, 07:00 PM
Sorry for being so late with this!!!

Pentel and Porfolio oil pastels on Strathmore 400 Dry Media pad

I took the artistic license of using just the cookies and not the cup of tea. Thought they were interesting textures so that is what I was trying for.


06-29-2013, 10:01 PM
Rainy, this is a real treat at the very end of this thread!
I was hoping: somebody is got to go fr it... Love the way how those cookies came out of Your painting. Beautiful... and inviting! Totally delicious. Great work on those cast shadows too. Thank You so much for posting.

06-30-2013, 03:45 PM
Here is a quick work on the fish with neocolor 2's. It was done both wet and dry.. I was surprised at how hard it is to lift color once it was wetted and dried. The work was done in a notebook 8.5x5.5" handbound on Fabriano accademia (200gsm). I like these neocolor 2s but when you take a wet brush you better be ready to get it right because touching up is a pain.



Pat Isaac
06-30-2013, 04:25 PM
Wonderful cookies, Rainy. Nice textures.
Rick, that is a beautiful fish and really looks as if he is underwater.

06-30-2013, 05:24 PM
Nice koi, Rick! I feel this one is one the move!.. One of my very favorite subjects to paint. (OK, I only painted ONE so far, but I adore how much those fish has to offer to us, painters!)
Thank You so much for posting!

06-30-2013, 06:22 PM
Monterey Tree
9" x 12"
Neocolor II on Bogus Recycled Rough Sketch paper
Photo reference from June 2013 Oil Pastel Challenge

Not sure how I feel about this one, it's a bit crammed into the picture and has other problems. But it's not bad for a sketch and I think I got the feel for that wild trunk.

Beautiful cookies, Rainy! Tempting me, they make me hungry just to look at them. You've been studying Yusuke. :D

Rick, great koi. I love the shape and bulk of the fish. Well done!

06-30-2013, 06:40 PM
Robert your sketch has a energy to it almost as if I can feel a strong wind.

Rainy those cookies do look good enough to eat.

Tatiana the koi reference had so much going on. The yellow was striking and the red had a beautiful curve which I started to capture, but only in part. You put together some good choices, I am glad I just had some time to participate.


Pat Isaac
06-30-2013, 07:24 PM
Yes you did get the feel for the wild trunk and energy also as Rick says.


06-30-2013, 07:56 PM
Thank You for the compliment to my photos, Rick!
I always trying to put together something new, not just take whatever nice from the reference library... I think it adds some interest to the challenge.
Robert, I'm happy to see You taking Your time to paint those trees.. I just did pastel study of those (soft pastel), it was great feeling... I want to paint more of those without any doubts! Like Your version a lot... Like how You make background work for You too, that is my personal favorite "pet part" - when somebody is letting paper do the job without covering it all over with paint. Very professional approach.

06-30-2013, 08:01 PM
Wow, thank you! Tatiana, is it all right to use these references after the challenge? I like them all, I just didn't have much time this month. I'd love to develop those trees again in a different format and maybe a different medium since you did soft pastels with them.

I miss my oil sticks. So frustrating. Gotta get some money and have boxes sent from Arkansas.

06-30-2013, 09:26 PM
Robert, dear, You are more then welcome to use any of references after this challenge. I'm going to play with those trees too, but I never have much of painting time during the summer.. Always so much of stuff to do. Painting process does slow down a bit. Hope You get Your paint sticks soon!

07-01-2013, 09:25 AM
These cooks are great! I want eat ! Good job!

07-01-2013, 12:28 PM
Here is my first challenge....it has been a rough last week...was hoping I would have finished it last week.


07-01-2013, 12:38 PM
Derrickster, nice choices on colors the flower does stand out as the centre. I hate it when my weeks get away from me like that, it happens all too often.


07-01-2013, 01:08 PM
Derrickster, nice choices on colors the flower does stand out as the centre. I hate it when my weeks get away from me like that, it happens all too often.

thanks...gotta start using the neos and the senns...but I'll use the erengis for simple projects such as this

07-01-2013, 01:10 PM
Rainy - those cookies are just perfect.

Robert - I love the feel of the piece. It has a moody feel about it - you've inspired me to try it.

Rickop - Your fish came out so well..I'm still working on them and I can't get them to look good :(.

Derickster - I like the way the petals came out on your flower - folds and shadows look very good !

Pat, aloranora, flycatcher, If we finish a piece after the end of the month, do we post on this thread or on the next month's challenge thread? Thanks all!

Pat Isaac
07-01-2013, 01:16 PM
Good job, Rick. I like the purple background. Time has a way of doing that.


07-01-2013, 03:13 PM
Rick, love the way the flower stands out! You've got a luminous effect to it and the orange-gold center dots float very three dimensional on it. Like what you did with the background too. Wonderful texture of lilacs!

07-01-2013, 03:57 PM
Rick, love the way the flower stands out! You've got a luminous effect to it and the orange-gold center dots float very three dimensional on it. Like what you did with the background too. Wonderful texture of lilacs!
Robert I want to thank you for your website about oil pastels.


Did you mention this forum on your website as well?


Thank you all for your feedback

07-01-2013, 04:04 PM
Derrickster, good to see one more piece on this thread.
Nice delicate work on a mid-part of flower, interesting solution with background.
Well done!

07-01-2013, 04:06 PM
lorigina, there no no strict rules. We don't have our threads locked after the month is over. If You want to post it - please do. Also You can post it as individual Your own thread. Just mention where reference was from.