View Full Version : OP practice

Kathryn Wilson
11-19-2003, 07:46 PM
I purchased a couple of sets of OP's from different manufacturers this past weekend and wanted to try them out. This was done on black mat board - 5 x 7. Holbeins and Senneliers

I didn't want to get involved in figuring out what to draw, so I picked out a painting by one of my favorite artists, Susan Faust. I wanted to see how this style of painting suits the material.


I feel that this style of painting is the only way I am ever going to get an oil pastel done that looks good enough to even give away (this is a gift for a friend for Christmas). Pure color, large shapes, little to no blending.

Holbeins are the most like soft pastels I have come across, but to get the real juicy color, you need Senneliers. I did find Senneliers very soft, but even for this small painting, I used quite a bit of one or two of the sticks.

I think I will try an underpainting of gouche next time, with Holbeins as a base layer and Senneliers on top.

11-19-2003, 07:55 PM
The colors in your painting are just delicious, and THANKS for the informative post! Just curious...Why do you want to stay away from the blending? Is it difficult with OP's, or just a personal preference of yours?

I'm trying to decide if I should give OP's a go...I'm waiting on an order of three each of Holbein, Sennelier, Caran D'Ache, and Specialists to try out. I figured that would be enough to get a feel for which brand I prefer, and whether or not it's a medium that I would enjoy.

I can't wait till Saturday...that's when my shipment should arrive. I'll be waiting on the porch all day for the FedEx man. :D


Kathryn Wilson
11-19-2003, 08:09 PM
Christie: I've been experimenting with OP's on and off for the past six months - I am still trying to find "my way" with them and experimenting with different techniques and styles.

There are wonderful artists here in WC that do alot of blending with mediums, blending tools, cotton swabs, etc., etc. and they take extraordinary pains with their paintings and they certainly are worth the effort. But to be honest, that just is not me. I like to work quick and be done with a painting within a day or two - preferably even sooner, although I have worked on several paintings for much longer - that is how I like to work in soft pastels.

For me to be successful, I think it will have to be just the right combination of paper and the brand/brands of pastels. So on with the experiments!!

I did have fun doing this little painting - took about an hour. The fact that I did not have to worry about composition, colors and details helped me get to work quickly - and I have Susan Faust to thank for that.

11-19-2003, 09:49 PM
I love your painting, Kat! I think it's beautiful, I love the colors in it. Thanks for the info on the OP's. I never even thought of doing an underpainting in gouache, I like that idea. I just ordered a small set of Senneliers, but I'm thinking of asking for some Holbeins for Xmas. I like that layering idea.

Christi, I can't wait till you get your shipment either! I'd love to hear how all these brands compare. Do you know if Specialist is considered an artist grade? I know DickBlick lists it under student grade on their website, but Sakura calls it artist quality.


11-19-2003, 09:53 PM
ooooh....a legit reason to wear my sunglasses in the house! Yep, those Senneliers are pigment city...but still love the subtlety of the Holbeins...glad you are having fun!

Kathryn Wilson
11-19-2003, 09:55 PM
Wow!! I can't wait to see what the two of you accomplish with your new pastels. We need to compare notes, so please post your progress.

Back to work on another OP!

11-19-2003, 10:01 PM
Kyle I bought both oil and water soluable pastels and Still haven't messed with them much LOL I found the oils are to do. Came out like my attempt at colored pencils.

You look like you're getting it though *S*

Kathryn Wilson
11-19-2003, 10:08 PM
Sue: Sunglasses!!! Hope the glare didn't hurt your eyes - LOL.

Luvy: Thanks - they are not easy, are they!

11-20-2003, 12:09 AM
Hi Kat. So, you went to that show you folk were talking about while I had to make do with needlework. Mind you, I would have spend too much money at an art trade day...but what I did do is click on the link you put up, and ordered the cheapest set of 120 Prismacolour pencils I've ever seen! Thank you. (That was my birthday and Christmas pressie from hubby).
Good on you for using the op's. I didn't give mine much of a try, but will again soon - when the deck is cleared.
Lovely bright colours.

11-20-2003, 05:44 AM

I'm not quite sure if the Specialists are artist or student quality, but I figured I'd do a complete test and order a few of everything that Jerry's had in open stock. The Specialists did have a cool sounding extender stick that is supposed to help blend. I wonder if it's anything like a colored pencil blender stick? (I ordered one, so I'll let you know).

Also, the Specialists are the only OP that I can get in open stock locally. The Asel Art by my house just has cheapie sets...but they did mention that the downtown store may have Senneliers. I don't get downtown much though.

Can't wait! Can't wait!


11-20-2003, 07:16 AM
Wow, Kat, that dazzles! I think that blending with turps, however, speeds up the process rather than slows it down. I like to work quickly as well.
I have a love/hate relationship with my Sennelliers. Sometimes all they do is pick up the previous layer, sometimes they just leave clumpy bits on my work, and sometimes they add the perfect finishing touch.
Christi, keep us posted on those Specialists. I've been waiting to hear about them. I have the colorless blender in the Expressionist line. I used to use it a lot, before I got my color shapers. It is basically the same idea as the cp colorless pencil.

11-20-2003, 07:46 AM
Wowee! I love it! The colors are fabulous and I really like how you did the larger, loose shapes. It has a very contemporary feel to it. Neat painting!


11-20-2003, 11:57 AM
Whoohoo now that is bright, colourful and so cheerful!
I love this Kat, the only part that I find doesn't fit in is the beigy streaks/clouds?, in the sky area, everything else is super, correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you used OP's before?
I thought you did some flowers with OP's.
Whatever, you should do more.


Kathryn Wilson
11-20-2003, 12:07 PM
Hi Mo: Yep, used them before, but the materials I was using didn't suit me so I stopped until I could afford to buy better OP's and get the right paper. Still searching for that right paper, and there may not be anything just right, but this mat board I used is in the right direction.

I didn't like the sanded paper for OP's, neither the slick illustration board. I'm also finding I don't like the white, but may underpaint with gouche.

Ya just gotta keep experimenting to find the "just right" combination.

11-20-2003, 02:18 PM
What vibrant juicy colors!! And...the way you applied them....the painting isn't busy!! I love the vertical dominance with a little diagonal/horizontal action to temper!

Great job!! I have a set of specialists...but I can't get them to do anything but look like Crayola crayons!! (from someone in Kindergarden!!)

Let's see some more!!