View Full Version : Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge January 2014

12-31-2013, 07:21 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Mary and I'll be hosting the Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge for January 2014 - Happy New Years!!! :clap:

The 'challenge' is for ALL abilities and you can experiment with new techniques, just sketch or leap out of your comfort zone and try an unfamiliar subject. It's entirely up to you as long as 75% of your painting is completed with oil pastels.

You're free to post as you go, even if a 'WIP' 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 and whether you used anything under the OP as an underpainting or wash. Other mediums may be used to compliment, but the work must be primarily Oil Pastels. It's not mandatory, we are just a nosey bunch.

Looking forward to having some fun with this challenge, can't wait to see the fabulous oil pastels. With that here are the photographs I've selected for this month.

First up - Galloping into the New Year, here is a photograph from IRL Canis Luppess:


A close-up of a cotton ball, from IRL Trimoon


Garden of the Gods, frrom IRL library taken by Brushoff
A wonderful stone stairway from IRL taken by impshlady


From IRL taken by hmg

A little fire that brings heat and light - something as we love, from IRL taken by naamer
A little warm seascape - we all need right about now! From IRL taken by wc valleysk

Great overlap of smoke and clouds, from IRL taken by young fang

The renaissance man, from IRL taken by gimlee

A little cabbage veggie to start the year off! From IRL taken by wthrlady

Pat Isaac
01-01-2014, 11:07 AM
Thanks for hosting, Mary. What a wonderful array of pictures to choose from.


01-01-2014, 11:50 AM
Thanks Pat!

Hope we have a lot of takers this month.

Happy New Years everyone!

01-01-2014, 12:34 PM
Nice choice of photos. I'm having trouble deciding which on I want to do.

ballerina artist
01-01-2014, 03:54 PM
fun choices! I just might join.

01-01-2014, 10:13 PM
Thanks Christel - looking forward to seeing your paintings.

Hi Ballerina Artist, wonderful so glad you'll be joining in the challenge.

01-02-2014, 11:24 AM
Really great choices for this month!


01-02-2014, 01:10 PM
Hi Ed, great to meet you and welcome to Wetcanvas and the Oil Pastel Forum. :wave:

We look forward to having you join us for the challenge this month!!

01-03-2014, 06:57 AM
Wow, all of these will be a challenge for me but I hope to have a go.

01-03-2014, 08:20 AM
Hi Chrechat39, oh please join us - we are all here to assist and learn from each other.

We'd be happy to see your work.

I've just got started on one of the photo's - hope to post in next couple of days.

01-03-2014, 11:13 AM
Wow! Wonderful photos! I love the fire! I am going to play with fire this month! Thanks for these lovely photos!

01-03-2014, 12:24 PM
Very cool Jiemin, looking forward to your fire!!

01-03-2014, 04:19 PM
You are fast! Ural .
Is it soft oil pastel?
These is a pastel channel in Wetcanvas also.

ural jones
01-03-2014, 04:42 PM
Yes, these are soft pastels and I will be using the Pan Pastels later also....

01-03-2014, 11:09 PM
ural, did you post a painting here? I don't see anything.

ural jones
01-04-2014, 07:30 AM
Yes, yes I did but I am embarrased to tell you I wasn't aware of oil pastels as such. I know better now but, quite honestly, I never gave it a thought about this medium being a crayon!
Sorry, I am going over to the "soft" side of life.
BYE Ya'll

Pat Isaac
01-04-2014, 08:58 AM
Yes, he did, but it was a soft pastel. I moved it.


01-04-2014, 04:08 PM
Hi everyone, Thanks for those wonderful idea pictures Mary. I loved the ladies at the sea and spent a few happy hours. All critique is most welcome. Maela 49

01-04-2014, 04:20 PM
Ah Maela - I loved that photograph also, so glad to see you selected this one. Yours is a wonderful seascape, nice deep/rich colors to the water, definitely like your sea foam on the incoming waves and great job on the girls! Their dresses are wonderful - filled with light, they are airy flowing in the breeze, as well as their hair. Great movement to the piece - love it! :thumbsup:

Thanks for being the first of the challenge. Hope to have two of these done next week.

Pat Isaac
01-04-2014, 04:23 PM
Nicely done and I love this image also. The figure gestures are working well as is the feeling of an ocean breeze.


01-04-2014, 05:39 PM
Hi, all. I've done a few of the challenges, both this month's and last. All are 5 x 7 on Royal langnickel pastel paper, with acrylic gesso added. Drawn with Craypas Expressionist and Caran d' Ache oil pastels.

01-04-2014, 09:25 PM
Origina, Love your impressionistic versions.particularly liked wall with flowers. Mary, can't wait to see your picks. I hope you do the sea ladies too. How fun to see what someone else sees. Having an eye operation on Wednesday so will be out of commission for a while. Hope my vision will enable me to join even more of your inspiring forums . Maela

01-04-2014, 10:36 PM
Lorigina so great that you joined us for the challenge and great to see your paintings from last month as well. Real nice selection really like the work you did on the wall with the vine it's a softer atmosphere that suits the scene. Yeah for the fireplace - interesting color combination and form, has a bit of abstract feel to it - I like it. Great to see the pieces.

Thanks Maela (Eleanor) - I'm finishing up a painting that I actually started months ago and have just let it sit I think it's 16x20 - once I'm done I'll be starting the two I've picked out. Hopefully will be posting them next week. Still giving me time to try the sea ladies - I haven't painted people before so it really will be a challenge for me.

Best wishes on your eye operation and a smooth recovery. Hopefully you'll be back soon.

01-04-2014, 11:21 PM
Lovely strong colors on your sea scene, Maela. Everything of the best for the eye operation.
Lorigina, I like your truck with the background. Nice crop of the window scene. I haven't tried fire yet. Very good take on it.

Pat Isaac
01-05-2014, 09:04 AM
Nicely done Loroigina....I too especially like the the window with the flowers. It has a nice feel to it.

Best wishes on your surgery, Maela.


01-05-2014, 11:41 AM
Hi Mary. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my paintings. I enjoyed doing the wall with flowers- although, I think it would look better in a larger format. 5 x 7 is very small to work on. I want to fix my fireplace - too many hard edges, although I am happy with the colors.

Pat, thank you for your comment. Of the three I liked the Stone Wall best, too.

Tuscanny, The window scene I did a few times over. Couldn't get it right. I'm glad you think it looks good.

Maela, Good luck on your operation. Get well soon and come back and post again. Your painting of the two girls at the shore is just lovely. I might try this too, although I haven't done any figures in a painting to date.

ballerina artist
01-05-2014, 12:51 PM
my attempt. Strathmore paper 9x12 and Portfolio oil pastels. t'was fun! :wave:

01-06-2014, 07:58 AM
Hi Ballerina Artist, so happy that you have joined the challenge. I like your idyllic beach scene - nice sky colors and gradation, the girls dresses and body movements are well done.

In a seascape the horizons are straight, you might want to consider bringing up the right-side of this one.

Really nice scene!

01-06-2014, 10:19 AM
A3 yellow pastel board. I am having slight problems with the face. The ops are either too translucent or too strong. Using soft ops, then my pencils don't work. The size of the face is 2cm, the head is total 5cm with beard. Comments welcome.

Pat Isaac
01-06-2014, 10:27 AM
Nice work on the horses....good movement. You might make the beard a little darker on the shadow side, other than that, I don't have a problem with the face.


01-06-2014, 10:30 AM
Thanks Pat. Will do so.

01-06-2014, 10:58 PM
Christel, the horses and face look wonderful. What did you mean by soft pastels? Aren't they oils ? Much as I love Sennelier I have found in my short experience that a cheap, thin brand ( I can't find what they were )helped with outlines and detail. Sometimes my colored pencils just won't work over some oil pastels. Eleanore

01-06-2014, 11:19 PM
Eleanore, I've been working with student grade ops which I call my hard ops. I've purchased a 24 color box of Staedtler ops which I call my soft ops. They aren't Senneliers, but still a huge difference. I do find they have to rest for much longer before I rework my painting.

01-06-2014, 11:26 PM
Wow Christel this is very creative, I like your version a lot. Wonderful work on both horses, great body forms - they show a lot of strength, grace and nice movement, nice size perspective from foreground horse to the back one.

Real nice job on the cloths of the rider. I don't have a problem with his face as well- the only think I might mention is after the painting has had time to setup (over night), if you can vary the beard a bit so the sections of the gray vs. black isn't as identical on both sides - that pulls the viewers attention.

01-07-2014, 09:50 PM
Fire~~~Mugyo oil pastel on paper.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Jan-2014/1111142-fire.JPG :heart: :cat: :music:

01-07-2014, 10:09 PM
Thanks Mary.
Jiemin, That is a beautiful warm fire painting!

01-08-2014, 04:14 AM
A3, yellow pastel board.

01-08-2014, 07:38 AM
Beautiful fire Jiemin - you managed an abstract feel about the piece and it works nicely. Had a fire going last night and really studied the colors - the hotter the fire got the blue would show at the hottest point - just an observation. Only suggestion I might make is to lay in a few darker values within the flames in the back of the fire, will intensify the foreground and most intense flames.

Love your creativity Christel on the painting using three scenes - works perfectly in this scene. The rocks have great structure and texture - nice presence in the piece gives a perspective with the girls in front. I like your work on the girls, you have the breeze going with the slight movement in their dresses and hair. And the plane w/smoke is spot-on for visual interest, especially with the girls looking up at it. You bring the viewer throughout the piece by the placement of the girls and plane. Real nice work!!

Pat Isaac
01-08-2014, 08:43 AM
Great work on the fire, jiemin. I would find this a hard subject, but you have carried it off with your usual energy.

I agree with everything Mary had said about your painting, christel....well done.


01-08-2014, 09:51 AM
Thanks Mary and Pat.

01-08-2014, 06:27 PM
Thanks , Mary and Pat , Christel ! I am waiting it dry and darking some part. ;)
Christel! I like the way you managed those imagine together ! Bravely !

01-10-2014, 04:53 PM
Girls at Beach - oil pastels
Gessoed Prepared Hardboard (10x8)

Two versions:
Version 1: is without clouds
Version 2: with clouds

This is my first seascape in a long time, so it has taken me some time to get correct colors when painting the water, waves and sea foam. Also first time for me to paint a figure, let alone two that are so close to the viewer and fabric (could define the fabric more, perhaps later). So many areas on this painting was a first and I learned a lot.

The more I painted this scene, the more the painting seemed to want more - so I added waves and clouds. What I will say about the larger incoming wave is that it needs more work defining the curves and depth, but for now I'll call it a day.

Which version do you like better? C&C are welcomed. Thanks ~



Pat Isaac
01-10-2014, 05:08 PM
Lovely, Mary.....I like the second version and I think you did a great job with the figures. Nice flowing dresses in the breeze and you seascape is your signature.


01-10-2014, 11:50 PM
I agree with Pat, like the second one better. Like your blues. The skin tones are spot on.

01-11-2014, 09:50 AM
Thanks Pat and Christel for your feedback!

01-11-2014, 12:20 PM
Mary, How lovely. Your added detail and technical expertise really shows I am viewing with one eye for awhile. I so love this picture that I want to try a bigger one with a colored pencil under painting which might give more definition. I like both of yours Your sea colors a very real and the lovely dresses flow Maela

01-11-2014, 12:43 PM
Ah, lure of the sea breeze and I have a go too, minimal colors to play on the cool ambiance. Enjoying all the creative work from everyone.


01-11-2014, 02:25 PM
Beautiful loose strokes ai2ai, love your crop of the scene and focus on the two girls. Minimal colors worked perfectly in this painting.

Eleanor, thank you for your comment. I usually do an underpainting when using a prepared hardboard, but this time I used straight oil pastels to get my feel back for painting water. I haven't used colored pencils as an underpainting, so I'm curious and very interested to see your next painting.

My photograph is a bit blurry do to my shaky hand, my husband is coming up with some ideas for better picture taking w/o spending a couple hundred on a tri-pod.

01-12-2014, 09:17 PM
I decided to try the sea shore picture - Need to continue to work on the color/shadows a bit more. This is my first attempt.

01-13-2014, 12:22 AM
Ai2ai, lovely crop on the girls photo. I like your color combination.
Lorigina, I like how you have recomposed and added to the original! The ship gives the girl a good reason to look!

01-13-2014, 08:47 AM
Hi Lorigina, very nice painting. I'm particularly drawn to the lightness in the atmosphere you created because of the higher notes used. Nice to see that you brought colors in the sky down to the fabric of the dress- works well in creating harmony in the piece. You've created areas of interest which brings life into the scene.

Pat Isaac
01-13-2014, 09:14 AM
ai2ai....do like the crop and have always loved your loose sketchy syle. Works well for you. Your figure gestures are great!

Nice start Loringa, especially for your first attempt. It is always interesting to see how people interpret the reference.


01-14-2014, 02:25 PM
I'm a newbie here and will do my best to comment.
Eleanor...Very nice work on the ladies.
lorigina...Cool old truck, love the window scene, hot fire, and the changes you made to the ladies at the sea are nice...surfs up:)
ballerina artist...Your ladies at the sea have a whimsical touch.
Cristel...You are so creative. Nice combinations on both of yours!
Jiemin...Great work on the fire. It look HOT!
Mary...Both versions of the ladies are wonderful!
ai2ai...I also like the crop you did of the ladies. Well done.

I tried to do the stairway. My first attempt at a full op painting. Rembrant Oil Pastels, turpenoid, strathmore pastel paper. 9x12806807

01-14-2014, 02:59 PM
Hey Cindy so glad you could join us! Congratulations on painting with oil pastels, we love it when artists try out a new medium, happy you choose OPs!! Because you managed those sticks well.

Wonderful work here, yes you nailed the stairway - beautiful lines with the railings, lovely tones used to age and simulate stone wall slabs and very nice job with the lighting and shadows on the steps and behind the stairway. Nice capture with the more elaborate building in the back, very nice details.

Only consideration might be, w/re to the back building, to lighten the yellow perhaps with cream or white on the building since it's further back than the stairway and would have a bit of a difference in the intensity and value range of the areas where the sun hit.

Your painting is a really beautiful piece!

Pat Isaac
01-14-2014, 03:12 PM
Welcome to the oil pastel forum, Cindy....nicely done for your first full oil pastel. The stairs are just perfect. I agree with Mary regarding the outside wall.


01-15-2014, 12:05 AM
Welcome Cindy. Thanks for the comments!
Lovely painting. Stairs aren't an easy subject to draw!

01-15-2014, 08:25 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome all! I see what you mean about the back building. I'll fix that. I count on everyone's feedback to learn from. I am self taught in everything I do so I may be a little slow to improve. I will definitely be doing more op.

01-15-2014, 04:30 PM
I tried the apples by hmg. Caran D'Ache Neopastels, strathmore pastel paper 9x12. C&C please. I had a really hard time with the leaves! And I'm wondering how to clean up the edges and paper in general.806827

Pat Isaac
01-15-2014, 05:02 PM
Very nice. You can clean up the edges with a paper stump or something called a clay shaper, the firm ones. I do think the further left apple could be a little darker under the area of the leaf. The leaves don't bother me as you have them curling nicely.


01-15-2014, 05:02 PM
Love this painting Cindy! The apples are gorgeous from form to coloring, beautiful work. And the same goes for the leaves. Very effective lighting on the apples and shadowed leave colors.

I know Strathmore paper well, not kind to oil pastels, so man kudo's to you because you fought through it and your painting shows beautifully.

I just saw that Pat answered your question. So here are several other ways to crisp up your edges on this paper (since it doesn't tolerate any wet solvents):

1) use a razor blade, you can scrape right down to the paper - just be careful not to tear into the paper, hold the blade at an angle. I love using the razor, my first favorite tool.

2) use a color or clay shaper - these tools come with several different heads on them that allow you to manipulate and pull or push oil pastel into tight spots, and also drag oil pastels as lines or clean up lines.

3) you can use a painter's knife just like the razor and scrape the edges.

4) you can use a tooth pick, or other wooden stick with a point, but be careful not to tear the paper.

5) you can also use every day household item that has an edge to scrape with: spoon, knife, fork, screw driver, etc.

Don't be afraid to apply more layers of oil pastels, as you do you'll give yourself more to manipulate and play with.

I once had an artist explain a technique that would be great in this case. On the leaves and apples, consider this. Determine what is your focal point and from that create lost and found edges on all the remaining edges. With oil pastels you can do with by smudging edges here and there. You might want to take a piece of scrap paper and try it a few times to get the hang of it.

Why this technique, it will lead your viewers to the point of interest in your painting.

Wonderful work here -

01-15-2014, 08:28 PM
Thank you Pat and Mary. So nice to have answers to my questions! One more question, my husband says I should fill in the background. I have a hard time with that in most of my work. Should I be doing the background before tackling the main subject? Or can/should the background come in after? BTW, I did notice that this paper does not play well with the turpinoid. When I feel like I can do better with the op's, I'll invest in better paper. I didn't use the turps on the apples but I did on the stairway. I can see where it will be of use for some blending. Thanks again!

01-15-2014, 11:58 PM
Beautiful work Cindy! I usually do my subjects first and that helps determining my background colors and shades. Sometimes I leave my background clean as in using black sandpaper, because I intended it to be like that.
Question: why do you use turpenoid? I found I could use oil on canvas to spread a thin layer over a background painting.

01-16-2014, 08:35 AM
Thanks Christel! I saw someone on youtube use turps to blend ops so thought it was a common thing to do. I had some in my stash as I have done some oil paintings as well, so I gave it a try. Best to save for canvas!

01-18-2014, 02:26 PM
Hi there! Another newbie here, new to Oil Pastels and new to Wet Canvas. :wave: I took a beginner level drawing class in the fall, and the instructor suggested I try OP's. I found Wet Canvas while surfing the net looking for information on technique. I've spent a bit of time going through the threads on this forum, it's exactly what I was looking for. I'm really excited to try the challenges here; it will give me something to work towards, not to mention much needed practice. I'm posting my WIP, spent a couple hours on it last night. I see it looks a bit scary in the light of day this morning though. :eek: Any suggestions/critiques most welcome.

Oh yes, edited to say this is on Strathmore Canvas Paper, using mostly Cray-pas Expressionist OP's, and a couple of Sennelier's.

http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj57/Everywhere_Jo/photo.jpg (http://s269.photobucket.com/user/Everywhere_Jo/media/photo.jpg.html)

Pat Isaac
01-18-2014, 02:31 PM
Welcome to the OP forum Joanne....:wave: This is a very nice start for a first OP. The gesture of the figures is good. Probably looks scary beccous there is no ground yet. Kooking forward to more of you posts.


01-18-2014, 03:47 PM
Hi Cindy, perhaps you can do the background, now that you have the actual painting done and pull colors from the leaves and apples - just be sure to smash and smudge them around a bit, so they stay in the background.

Hi Joanne so nice to meet you! Welcome to wetcanvas and the oil pastel forum! :wave:

So glad to read that you like what you have found here - there is a ton of information that goes back to around 2004.

Lovely start to you water scene - nice figures, form and fabric (they are flowing in the breeze). I really like your water - you used enough oil pastels to make it silky smooth with a bit of wave, that's the trick with water and oil pastels (OPs). I'm looking forward to seeing your sand and the incoming wavelet.

Hope to see many more of your paintings!

01-18-2014, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the welcome, Mary & Pat!

Here's my latest WIP, I see lots of things I need to fix, but I need to put it away and sleep on it. :D

http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj57/Everywhere_Jo/GirlsatSeaWIP3-1.jpg (http://s269.photobucket.com/user/Everywhere_Jo/media/GirlsatSeaWIP3-1.jpg.html)

01-19-2014, 10:44 AM
Real nice progress Joanne.

You might want to check the horizon line on the right side it's slanting down a bit. The distance is showing up nicely in the scene - has a good feel to the atmosphere.

Looking forward to your final changes.

Pat Isaac
01-19-2014, 10:46 AM
Good progress...I do like the folds and flowing feel to the dresses. The dark area on her leg is a little bothersome, too dark I think.


01-19-2014, 12:11 PM
Hi Joanne. A very nice start for your first op painting. looking forward to seeing more of your work.

01-25-2014, 12:43 PM
Thank you everyone for your suggestions, they are most appreciated. I've fiddled with it some more and am prepared to call it done. I'll wreck it if I don't stop messing with it now. :rolleyes:

http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj57/Everywhere_Jo/GirlsatSea-Final.jpg (http://s269.photobucket.com/user/Everywhere_Jo/media/GirlsatSea-Final.jpg.html)

Pat Isaac
01-25-2014, 01:00 PM
Looks just fine, Joanne.


01-26-2014, 02:40 PM
Real nice finish Joanne. The dresses are soft and flowing showing a wonderful sea breeze kind of day, showing good distance and foreground lapping waves. Great finish with your first oil pastel painting, so happy you have joined us and hope to see you painting more and posting on the forum!!

01-27-2014, 12:49 AM
Looks very nice Joanne. Great work.

01-27-2014, 05:02 PM
Nice painting Joanne.

01-29-2014, 09:56 AM
Great work, everyone. So fun to see all the entries. I'm super late but I'm here!

Mungyo oil pastel in Bogus Kraft paper 9x12 inch

Pat Isaac
01-29-2014, 10:06 AM
Nice to see you Sandra....and this is a nice sketch, perfect colors for the west.


01-29-2014, 11:05 AM
I;m really impressed by the " white dress " paintings. Have you seen works by the Spanish artist Sorolla. He painted lots of people wearing floaty dresses.

01-29-2014, 05:23 PM
Thank you, Pat. I'm sneeking in two more.

Mungyo oil pastel
Bogus kraft paper 9x12 inch


Mungyo oil pastel
Pacific Arc graphite soluable crayon 8B
Canson Biggie sketchpad 9x12 inch


01-29-2014, 11:37 PM
Nice sketches Sandra. I like your combination of the horse and mountains. The portrait is good. The cabbage has lovely pinks and purples in it.

01-30-2014, 07:47 AM
Thanks Crechat for the reference - he has beautiful pieces of art, worth the look.

Hey Sandra, nice to have you join us this month. How you were busy with three paintings. Like your creativity in the first with including the horse - good perspective with mountain forms as the backdrop, the beard in the portrait is great - full and with lots of texture, the green eyes pop, and the illusion of the cabbage with a minimal approach is awesome.

Pat Isaac
01-30-2014, 08:43 AM
2 more nice ones, Sandra....I do loke that portrait....full of life.


01-31-2014, 02:30 PM
Thank you to everyone who participated in this months challenge, it was a pleasure to host.

Wonderful paintings!

02-01-2014, 12:26 PM
I would have liked to have joined in as these images are great, but I've had so muich on between bad health days then catching up days. We have a pop up gallery and I'm doing a demo for thqat and I need to prepare and do some PR.
I've had to finish piece for a commission with a short time frame too. Been rushing to get that done.

03-27-2014, 05:12 AM
Hey guys this thread is really cool! Nice works and tons of inspiration!

03-27-2014, 07:21 AM
Thanks artefice71!