View Full Version : October 2013 OP challenge

10-01-2013, 07:13 AM
Hi Everyone!
My name is Tali and I'll be hosting this month's OP challenge. For this challenge, I'll be taking you with me on my trip to Northern India.

This challenge is open to all artist of all ages working at any skill level.
You can use this challenge to experiment with new techniques, just sketch or leap out of your comfort zone.
It is entirely up to you.
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.

Feel free to use the photos as you like- crop, manipulate or use as a starting point to an imaginative abstract.

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.
This is not mandatory, we're just nosy.

Photos 1-3 can be used by themselves, or you can compile them into a panoramic photo which was my thought when I took them:

1) Tso Moriri, a lake at the altitude of 4500m, in the Indian Himalayas



4) On the way in the Indian Hymalayas

5) A Buddhist monk dancing during a religious festival

6) A young Buddhist monk (with my husband showing his his smartphone :) )

7) A cat my mom photoed during her trip to Sicily

8) "Frogface" by Lisilk

9) Glass bottles by JamieWG, for all you still life painters

At the moment I'm posting all my photos in low resolution. Once the reference library approves my photos, I'll post links to the high resolution versions.

I hope you enjoy this challenge. Now, let's get going!

10-01-2013, 07:41 AM
Beautiful choice of photos Tali.

10-01-2013, 03:41 PM
Great photos Tali!

10-01-2013, 05:02 PM
These photos look great!

10-01-2013, 05:18 PM
Nice selection!
Thank you so much for hosting this month!

Pat Isaac
10-01-2013, 05:40 PM
Thanks, Tali for hosting and for the wonderful photos.


10-02-2013, 12:16 PM
Hi all,
I almost forgot that I promised links to the high resolution photos, but then I remembered... ;)
So here they are:
1) http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=177894
2) http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=177895
3) http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=177896
4) http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=177892
5) http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=177898

The cat photo is a resolution of 800X600 so what I posted is the maximum resolution. Anyone interested in the little boy monk photo, please PM me and I'll email the better version.
Happy painting,

10-02-2013, 02:48 PM
Thanks for hosting. I'm hoping to get a chance to join in.

10-05-2013, 02:38 AM
I'm crazy about panoramas! This is done on flimsy paper 23x5, Reeves ops, and the sky had to get some white oil paint.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2013/1256189-pano_india1.jpg Christel

Pat Isaac
10-05-2013, 08:52 AM
You are certainly putting out a lot of work....yay. I love panoramas also and this one has the look of a watercolor...


10-05-2013, 08:55 AM
I really love your panoramic view of Tso Moriri, you really gotten the serine feel of it. Maybe add another layer to make the colors more vivid.

10-06-2013, 11:12 AM
Tali, thank you for hosting the challenge and giving us such wonderful photos. The mountains are gorgeous!

Tuscanny, I like your panorama. Very cool the way that works. I've never tried using those proportions and it's tempting!

10-06-2013, 11:51 AM
Thanks Rob. I'd love to see your version of this panorama.

10-06-2013, 03:47 PM
Robert, it's good to see you in WC again. I hope you'll participate in this month's challenge.

10-07-2013, 07:38 AM
Thank you Tali for your input. I've darkened my panorama to a certain extent.

10-07-2013, 08:52 AM

10-07-2013, 08:53 AM
Wonderful Panorama Christel - real nice lines to the mountain, it shows good depth. I do like the addition of oil pastel layers - they have given the piece a richer feel.

10-09-2013, 05:38 AM
Thanks Tali and Mary. The cat is A4 normal paper.

Pat Isaac
10-09-2013, 08:16 AM
Beautifully done, Christel and the fur texture is just right. I'd add a little darker area under him to ground him.


10-09-2013, 02:31 PM
Hi everyone,

Here's a WIP I started blocking out. This is my 3rd OP creation, so its to early for me to tell how it will come out or if I will end up starting over. I think I'll know more after I join up the face tones and drop in some more medium oranges and light pinks.




10-09-2013, 04:07 PM
I couldn't participate in the challenge for a long time..in fact I didn't paint at all..I am little out of touch now ..tried a quick sketch of the frog..


10-09-2013, 04:08 PM
Love the cat and the portrait..wonderful

Pat Isaac
10-09-2013, 04:17 PM
I do think this portrait is looking very good and you should finish it at some point. Love that perky frog.


10-09-2013, 05:40 PM
Hello. I do hope that you don't mind me joining in. I hope to do so much more in future and comment too whilst learning about this wonderful medium.
I posted a while back and people were very kind. I went away for a month and failed to respond which seems very rude but thank you to all who gave me such good advice.
The challenge is inspiring and I loved this dancer so have tried to depict him? and get the feel of his movements. Thank you Tali for the reference. The medium is Pentel Arts Oil Pastels on brown sugar paper and measures 30" x 30". Thank you for looking!


10-10-2013, 12:15 AM
dp, please finish your portrait. Its looking good so far.
Dooby, cute. nice highlights in the eyes.
Margeretta, like your detail.

10-10-2013, 12:59 AM
Wow, I haven't been around for a day or two, and people have been busy...
Christel- Love the cat. The hair coat is great.
dpnrj- the portrait is coming on nicely. Love the expressive eyes and the skin tones.
Doobi- love that sweet frog, great caricaturistic style
Margaretta- excellent portrayal of the motion and details. Glad you found my travel photos inspiring and enjoy OPs. Hope to see more of you here.

I should really whip out my OPs and contribute something to the post. I haven't been very artistic of late, which is partly why I wanted to host this challenge.. I hope it'll come.
Well, I've got to dash...
Happy painting

10-10-2013, 03:50 AM
WIP part 2
Had a free hour before bed and couldn't resist...


10-10-2013, 04:16 AM

Great job on the performer. I considered trying that one, and passed for the time being because of all the details in the apron. You did a great job portraying it without the need to hit every detail. Congrats.

(Maybe I'll give the performer a try before the end of the month, after all)

10-10-2013, 07:31 AM
dp, its already looking great.
I added some shadow to my cat.

10-10-2013, 07:42 AM
Hi Christel, amazing work on your cat portrait! You successfully managed to get his body form - it's graceful. Love the fur texture, depth and coloring. This is my favorite of all your paintings - really well done!

Hi Margarette, fabulous work on the dancer. The energy and movement comes right off the computer screen. Love the detailed work you achieved on his headdress and outfit - beautiful job on the lines and flow of the form. Great to see you.

Hi Doobi, nice to have you join us. Great job on the frog - just love his eyes and nice coloring. You got a real nice likeness to his body and form. Fun piece to look at!

Hi dpnrj, wow - your boy portrait is fabulous. You captured so much emotion - true connection to this piece for the viewer, his eyes speak - wonderful work there, nice skin tones, especially the highlights and shadows. His robe and head piece are really developing nicely - love the colors, details and great folds!

10-10-2013, 10:24 AM
Thanks Mary.

10-10-2013, 11:40 AM
Tali said everything that I want to say.Thanks to all of you share for your wonderful works.

10-10-2013, 11:46 AM
Thank you so much for the encouraging and kind comments.:)

Christel: That sky and water colouring is so true! The soft, sketchy hills contrast well with the many colours of the foreground. The picture invites one to go along that path to the water's edge. Your final one shows added drama but has not spoilt the serenity.
Your cat is so very alert, soft and tactile. She just has to be stroked.

DPNRJ: Watching your progress has taught me loads! Right from the beginning you captured the haunting quality which has not been lost in the layers. The finale is so compelling and is such an achievement in an hour! The nose and mouth are my favourite areas and I admire especially the way in which you highlight the necessary elements. A beautiful portrait.

Doobi: What a fun frog and I like your strong sense of design. This would be a great ceramic...majolica I think!

10-10-2013, 01:31 PM
Thanks for the kind remarks from all. I'm still learning, but I am enjoying the process. I think I'm going to call this done. I think I flubbed the background and left shoulder while trying to rush this through completion over lunch. I'll chalk it up to "live and learn."

If I'm going to continue with OP, I think I'll need to get some color shapers. The sticks and my fingers are just too big.


9x12 Canson Mi-Tientes Buff
Cray-Pas Expressionist + Mungyo Oil Pastel

10-10-2013, 03:35 PM
Very good. Until you get your colourshaper, you can try folding a piece of cardboard with glossy side, to a point for those awkward places, or use the rounded edge of a hairpin.

10-10-2013, 03:38 PM
Stunning Dpnrj! You did an amazing job, w/o a lot of experience handling oil pastels - my comments before reflect how I feel about this piece. Your final changes to the portrait were the perfect finishing touches to his clothing and headdress.

Yes, color shapers are very good for pushing around oil pastels. I have clay shapers, which are the same as color shapers only they have firmer tips giving you more leverage when you push around the OPs right into tight corners. Give them some consideration. Fingers and tortiliums can be too big and tortiliums will give more of a rougher finish. If you are working with fabrics and want a smoother looking finish clay/color shapers are the way to go. If you are doing fuzzy fabric then tortiliums would be better.

10-10-2013, 04:40 PM
Thx Mary,

Do you have a specific brand for shapers or clay tools? Also, what size would be good for starters? 2 maybe? I see soft, firm, and extra firm.... ugh... it could cost more just picking shapers than for the pastels.

Also, do you use washes with turpenoid or baby oil in any of your work? I was considering using some washes for first layers to be able to build more top layers. I've also been experimenting with doing first layers with prisma art stix.

10-11-2013, 01:42 AM
The portrait turned out really lovely. I love the skin tones and the different textures you achived. I showed the painting to ben (hubbie) who took the photo and he was upset you cut him out of it. But I told him to lighten up... :)

10-11-2013, 03:35 AM

My apologies to Ben. I did so only because there was only 1/2 of him. Technically, part of his torso is there... it was just turned into someone else's

If there is another pic of him on the roll in the same shirt/hat/glasses post it up and I'll have a second pass.

Btw... thanks for hosting and providing such interesting references.


10-11-2013, 08:34 AM
Hi (dpnrj) J, thanks for the questions.

I know clay/color shapers can be expensive - only my opinion, but here goes. If you only can purchase one for now I'd get extra-firm #2, gives you options and the extra-firm will last longer. If you plan to use mostly (non-gritty) papers, watercolor - pastels, etc. then color shapers will work just fine.

I like clay shapers better since they are firmer and because I use them on gritty surfaces and the clay shaper handles the abuse a lot longer (meaning the tip won't wear down as quickly).

I purchased a set about two years ago (with the different shaped tips that are used for different reasons), and no tips have worn down yet.

I don't use any solvent washes in my paintings, nor do I use baby oil. Some artists do and achieve some beautiful effects by this, as well as being able to move the OPs around easier if using student grade.

Although I do prepare my paintings with an underpainting, not all (because pastel papers can't tolerate wet applications) and sometimes I want to start with a clean surface. But when I do use an underpainting, the underpaintings are done with local color acrylics, black and white acrylics, soft pastel washed with alcohol, or watercolor. The underpaintings are done for a variety of reasons, as well as which method used.

Hope that this helps, J. Don't hesitate to ask questions, we're here to assist.

Pat Isaac
10-11-2013, 09:03 AM
Almost missed this stunning portrait. Great color and skin tones. I really like the expression, almost of wonder.


Color galore
10-14-2013, 12:31 PM
Hi all!

I'm new to WC, and I've only posted in the soft pastels forum thus far. But I love oil pastels, I've used them since I was a little girl, when I would draw and do scratchboard with Sakura Cray-Pas OPs I would buy at Kmart.

Now I work with Sennelier, Neopastels, Cray-Pas Specialist, Holbein, and a treasured old box of Grumbacher OPs I got in 1991 and use very sparingly.

I decided to join this month's challenge when I saw the photo of those lovely bottles in the window. That image combines some of my favorite subject matter: glass interacting with light, and strong colors. I cropped the photo to achieve a composition I like.

Thanks so much to the host, Tali, for this excellent selection of photos!

Here is my preliminary drawing -- compressed charcoal on pastelbord, 12" x 16":


10-14-2013, 01:51 PM
Welcome to the oil pastel forum Color Galore and WetCanvas - we are very happy to meet you! :wave: We love it when artists join the forum who love painting with oil pastels!

Lovely sketch and do like the composition. Looking forward to seeing your painting.

Color galore
10-15-2013, 01:27 PM
Here's where I left off last night -- I'm still laying in color, establishing value and hue relationships. I'm using mostly Cray-Pas, my go-to brand for initial layers. With some touches of Sennelier, for color intensity. Next layer will be Caran D'Ache and Holbein.


10-15-2013, 02:21 PM
Looking good so far. Glad you are enjoying it!

10-15-2013, 02:36 PM
Looks like a good start. keep us posted :)

Color galore
10-16-2013, 01:58 PM
Here's another day's progress. The next photo I post will be of the finished piece. :crossfingers:


10-17-2013, 02:27 AM
Hi all,

My quick sketch of mountain part of #4. It's on Canson XL pad 12x9, Neopastel 12 set only.
I do notice that it looks plain- not enough depth- please C&C.



10-17-2013, 05:16 AM
Colour Galore: I'm enjoying watching the processes and the most recent application is making those bottles look luminous. Looking forward to the finale.

os2013: I love this sweeping landscape which you have captured so, so well. I particularly like the application of white here, strength and delicate trails, just enough to capture the light and add drama.

You asked for c and c and I can only give an amateur opinion. I think the black is too strong. For me the focus is the whiteness at the base of the far left rolling hill. The centre back I think should fade a little between the hills and the sky with purple, mauve, brown or grey. You have whitened the side of the summit delicately to reflect the sky but maybe softer colours here would add distance? Just thoughts.....I'm learning and I think your work is beautiful.:wave:

10-17-2013, 07:28 AM
Hi Colour Galore, nice progress being made on the bottles. The reflections on the bottles and table top are showing beautifully now. Looking forward to your final!

Hi os2013, beautiful landscape - you have a wonderful loose style and it compliments this scene. Great perspective and by making a couple of minor adjustments you'll get the distance you're after. A couple of things for the distance, by laying in darks in the foreground (you'll bring the foreground forward) and grey the mountain (grey, light magenta or purple, or light blues) you'll push the mountain further back. Concentrating on these two areas will create the distance you're looking for. Also the middle hills, consider which side is going to be shaded and darken that up a bit more (I think it's the right-side).

10-18-2013, 03:27 AM
Color galore- I love how the bottles painting is coming along. You really achieved a feeling of transparency that is difficult to do with oil pastels.
os2013- I love your landscape. It really looks and feels like Ladakh to me. It's got a very expressionistic look and has a quiet feeling to it.

10-18-2013, 05:55 PM
Thank you very much for the suggestions! Will try...

10-26-2013, 04:50 PM
Weekend again!I tried the dancer, a quick sketch , Mungyo oil pastel on Canson pastel paper ,9x12in.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2013/1111142-image.jpg

Pat Isaac
10-26-2013, 05:17 PM
Nice quick sketch...good movement and color.


10-29-2013, 12:02 AM
@dpnrj, AWESOME portrait you have going there!

tali, I love the photos of the monk dancer and the young boy.

10-29-2013, 07:57 AM
Nice dancer Jiemin - wonderful swirl and folds. I like the flow of the piece.

10-29-2013, 09:09 AM
I love the dancer, there's a great motion in the painting..

10-29-2013, 12:10 PM
Os, I like your mountain's color combination and the way the colors blend into each other.
Jiemin, your dancer reflects the movement very well.

10-30-2013, 04:37 PM
thevaliantx -- Thanks :)

Mary -- I didn't get the chance to thank you for your comments, critiques and tips... so I'm doing it now :wave:

I was hoping to do another piece from this month's challenge, but I had to go on a business trip with short notice. This month's challenge was fun, and the encouragement from the group inspired me to actually finish something.
I learned a few things about the media, AND I just got some clay shapers in the mail for my next project.

I'm currently working on a color pencil portrait, which I may set aside when the Nov OP challenge pops up.

10-31-2013, 11:00 AM
Jiemin- I just love the way you did the dancer, the movement you captured and the gorgeous way you did the colour and blending on the skirt. Wonderful