View Full Version : How to get bright whites & Pastel Paper

05-17-2017, 09:53 PM
I'm having trouble getting bright whites when layering. If I've already laid down color and go over with white, the white is very dull and mixes with the color underneath. Am I doing something wrong or am I supposed to leave white spaces like with watercolors?
Also when I used my pastels on black paper they seemed really dull, even when I tried to layer them. Would this just be the pastels I'm using or am I doing something wrong?
If it matters, I'm currently using Pentels and Portfolios but have Mungyos and a few Senneliers that I'm saving until I've improved a bit.

Also, is regular pastel paper the best for oil pastels? Right now I have watercolor paper, Strathmore Pastel paper and Strathmore Artagain. I like the pastel paper and watercolor paper seemed okay but the artagian seemed like it had everything sit on top and everything was very slick when layering. I see Mi-Teints is mentioned a lot.
I'm looking for a general paper that's good to use if mine aren't the right ones and black paper.

Also does anybody have recommendations for tutorials/books/videos/etc. for pastel techniques?

I'd appreciate any advice!
Thanks :)

05-18-2017, 12:27 AM
I find it easiest to leave open the white spaces while painting. An alternative is to paint the white areas first if possible. Pentel and reeves whites are fine if you want to add highlights with little or no blending. Sennelier's white is the best to use at the end of the painting with the best coverage.
It helps to work the initial layer very thinly to prevent it from becoming slick too quickly. Working on sanded paper gives an idea of how much op can be applied.
Working black has it's own challenges - more op is needed to get the proper color. An alternative is to first prime your subject with gesso and then paint op on top of this.
Different papers give different results. The smooth papers get saturated too quickly and the thin papers can wrinkle too easily. MiTeintes is hard and has good tooth. Try the various papers and decide which you like most.
Have you looked through these threads? http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=394
Tip - practice all the various techniques until you feel at home with the op's

05-18-2017, 03:17 AM
Best to leave white paper showing through.

There are some combinations of pigments that work to sit on top or cover even when blended. If you make your own oil pastels, Zirconium or a Titanium/Zirconium mix tops better than Titanium used in commercial sets.

There is a white made by Pro Art which is rumored to be hard enough to move any oil pastels aside and cover with white. Someone mentioned using it in finished paintings, seascapes, to add white caps.

The only Senneliers I have are iridescent. The white leaves a sheen but does not cover and blends into the layers below it very easily. I can't speak for any brand other than the Pro Art and that is just something I read.

05-18-2017, 03:49 PM
Hi everyone, I'm also very new to op, and have noticed the same issue with applying white over other colors.

I recently came across some online article or commentary that suggested this is what will happen if you try to apply a brand of op that is harder than the one you've already laid down. I quickly wore down my first Sennelier white (heeding advice to start out with a few of these, expensive but easier to apply when learning), so I picked up a Mungyo white for a sky - and got nowhere, like the OP commented on.

I never thought about deliberately leaving some white areas on the paper, but will have to consider this, too. But is this "only soft op's over hard" generally a good rule of thumb to go by, too?

05-18-2017, 10:58 PM
I suspect the way white acts over other colors is based on pigment. Pro Art is heavy on Calcium Carbonate, very hard but the very soft Zirconium/Titanium Mix give better coverage. Pro Art is a very good covering white but it doesn't blend well. Useful in a limited capacity.

The two I use the most are Zirc Mix for coverage and Titanium is useful when I want to lighten an area. I use Zirc Mix and Titanium as my two primary whites.

Here is a very quick, down and dirty test of all the white I could round up in less than 2 minutes. The base is Manganese.
The whites in order are
Top Row: Zirconium, Zirconium/Titanium Mix, Titanium, Pro Art
Second Row: Sennalier, Staedter, Portfolio, Black Control

You can test your own sets. These were buffed with a finger.

05-19-2017, 12:46 AM
[QUOTE=terriks But is this "only soft op's over hard" generally a good rule of thumb to go by, too?[/QUOTE]
A good rule to follow.The effect of using hard on soft is also very useful when used lightly. I sometimes even use wax crayon for shading.:lol:

05-19-2017, 05:02 AM
a well known pastel painter told me that Schminke was the whitest white she'd found - I tried it and it is :)

but it also depends on the paper you are using. I like Fisher 400 or Colourfix sanded paper as it grips the pastel and colours go on cleanly, on pastel paper after a few layers it doesn't hold the same. They also have the benefit of being able to use water with the pastel in the early stages (or watercolour)

09-17-2017, 01:56 AM
I have no affiliation with the brand, but find that the Mungyo Premium Gallery Artists oil pastels are soft and opaque. I bought a box of six whites (don't confuse them with the Standard Mungyo oil pastels). They cover other colours very well - I often use them to cover mistakes.
It helps if the under layers have hardened slightly (put the picture in the freezer to speed the process).
Oil pastels are very much like oil paints: always "fat over lean". So use harder pastels for the first layers.