View Full Version : OP portrait of Chantae

12-01-2003, 07:41 PM

This is my friend's grand-daughter and it's a gift for her birthday. Holbein oil pastels on (once again) sketch paper, finished size 4 7/8 x 8 inches. See, this was an experiment...wanted to mix monochrome as if I had done it in graphite along with color, and keep the focal point without losing it to the color. My husband (and a couple others) say it reminds them of the old coke commercials. It came out like I envisioned...I took liberties with fade out on the shoulder, the crop and the reflected light on her face, which is exaggerated a bit more than would be in RL. As usual this took forever to finish.
The cool thing about OPs to me is you can get texture and that's lost in these digital pics, so I took the original high res and cropped a couple close ups...I go with the direction of the skin over the bones, if that makes sense, and I get little oddities here and there that actually gives it some natural looking pores in places. I really am pleased with this...seems to be part drawing, part painting yet I think I kept the flow...this is done and matted now but any C&C still welcome!



thanks for looking!

Kathryn Wilson
12-01-2003, 07:54 PM
This turned out just lovely and I really like the concept of monochrome + one color. Sounds like a good Project, eh?!

I am sure the family is just tickled with this!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

12-01-2003, 08:06 PM
Sue, I been waiting up to see the final of this one, it's absolutely enchanting, it's detailed, painterly,GOBSMACKING gorgeous with those touches of pink, and your subject is a little beauty ~~~ what's more it's OP's YEAH!!!!

Be proud my girl, be very proud, an experiment that you have pulled off superbly!

:clap: :clap: :clap:


12-01-2003, 08:12 PM
the curls themselves are a work of beauty!! Wow, the more you look the more beautiful the portrait becomes.

12-01-2003, 09:07 PM
Dyin, this is just outstanding!!!!! Lovely! I just love those eyes and those curls. Your skill with these oil patels is astounding. I am in awe. Please, please tell me how you get that kind of detail with OPs. Just looking at those eyelashes, and those strands of hair - what's your secret?!! It just doesn't get any better than this.

12-01-2003, 09:07 PM
Kat....hmmmm, maybe it would make a good project, was a good exercise in tones, but right now there's an interesting one on whites....giggle...

Mo....it's like getting a blue ribbon when we earn one of your 'gobsmacks' lol! So happy you like it...isn't it fun how much we're learning about these OPs???

Angie...thank you so much! Those curls almost were the death of me lol! And I think that about how it keeps looking better...but I've always thought she was just such a pretty little girl and you can't help but be charmed!

12-01-2003, 09:17 PM
whoops, Eileen...we cross posted! Aw, thanks for your kind words! Part is due to the Holbeins...they're square and give you a nice little point. I did start the eyelashes with a prismacolor pencil but went over all but the lower lashes with the OPs. I also use the pencil after a first layer is laid down on the eyebrows as it leaves some raised areas that I can then 'skim' over with the next darker tone. These Holbeins are nice for layering and a lot is refining...I'm very, very slow doing these. All the large curls are just OPs but the teeny strands at the bottom of her hair are done by dragging a little OP down with the pencil point. There's a few more highlights in the hair than show up here. I also 'push' things with the pencil sometimes...get a good couple layers in the eye for example and then push a spot into place...I under layer in the color I don't mind showing through.

12-01-2003, 09:44 PM
Sue! Wow! I love what you've done with the monochrome look. Does op keep ok on sketch paper? I thought you had to prime the paper with gesso, etc., etc.
It's a beautiful painting.
Cheers to you girl...

12-01-2003, 09:56 PM
Beautiful!! I would go mad from the curls!! Very..Very nice

12-01-2003, 09:58 PM
Thanks Carol! The Holbeins have absolutely no bleed through, they don't seem to have the same oil count as the others...I couldn't use the other brands on sketch paper at all. It's acid free and others have used unprimed surfaces and had them last 25 plus years, so we'll see how it lasts. I started this as a practice to a final but it was coming out just like I wanted so went with it. Next one will be on a better surface like Fabriano Tiziano or Wallis though.

12-01-2003, 09:59 PM
Dana...we cross posted! Didn't you know I was gone mad????:evil: :D
Thanks for your kind words. ;)

12-01-2003, 10:18 PM
Thanks for explaining that Sue. I was just getting ready to order the whole set of Caran D'ache for Christmas, but now I'm going to have to rethink it. The CDs are round, and I'll be using them for doing portraits. Maybe that Holbein portrait set will work better for me. Anyway, I just love this portrait, and have to keep coming back to look at it!

12-01-2003, 10:29 PM
Eileen...The Caran d'Aches are nice...I used them first, then Senneliers and then the Holbeins. The Holbeins are definately the priciest. I think the first two did best with tools and turp. The Holbeins go on straight best. For my style anyways...we all have different results with them. I actually think they are easiest to use. And pick up underlayers the least. Thanks for loving this portrait too!

Stoy Jones
12-01-2003, 10:47 PM
You hit a homer, Dyin! ;) :D The pink really makes this extra special! Reminds me of those retouched monochromatic photos of children with a single color dropped in. :clap: :clap: :clap:


12-01-2003, 10:57 PM
Thanks for commenting, Stoy! Yeah, I'm of an age to remember those add on rosy cheeks...was afraid this was a bit stronger and might not work, but pretty pleased in the end.

12-02-2003, 03:09 AM
WHOA Sue... what size did you say this is...:o 4 7/8 x 8 INCHES .!!!! How in the world do you work so small AND get such beautiful detail!!!! AMAZING .... You must have the patience of a saint is all that I can say! She is STUNNING and what everyone else said... :clap: :clap: :clap: I am definately in AWE! Thanks for sharing this with us!!!

~~~ Sharon

12-02-2003, 04:51 AM
Sue, it was worth the wait . . . even holding my breath!



12-02-2003, 07:10 AM
This is incredible, Sue! And so tiny. The detail is amazing.
I'm with you on those Holbeins. They layer so well. Interestingly, here, Holbeins are cheaper than Senneliers by $1 a stick.

12-02-2003, 07:14 AM
Sue this is beautiful. Count me among the amazed and breathless! Very creative the way you've done the color/BW. Amazing amount of detail. I'll try some Prismacolor pencils with my OPs and see how far that takes me!

Please, please start using better paper. :)


12-02-2003, 07:30 AM


12-02-2003, 10:06 AM
Wow...thanks for all the kind responses!

Sharon....I used to do a lot of beadwork..this is a piece of cake in comparison....and actually the head is fairly large size, almost life size, and it carries across at a distance pretty well.

Carla...you are such a sweetie....now BREATHE...teehee

Sundiver...Senneliers are $199. off sale, for whole set of 100...Holbein is $229 for a hundred but there's 225 in the complete set and it's...gasp...$435!!!!!!! Individually there is only a 10 cents difference though...

Jamie....I promise to use better paper next time lol! I don't even know how well they'll work on a good surface yet!!! Thanks for stopping by...

Thanks, Geri!

Deborah Secor
12-02-2003, 10:49 AM
Wow, Dyin...Wow. Wow.

This should be entered in some shows. It would win big, I'm certain. I'd sure give it a blue ribbon!


12-02-2003, 11:24 AM
Deborah...you put a HUGE grin on my face..thank you so much! You are the second person who mentioned that about entering it somewhere...I still think there's room for improvement and am likely to pick Desolation for any contests so far, but hey...if only the Pastel Journal would include oil pastels I'd give it a shot! Really though, I've learned not to point out the things I think aren't quite right but there are definately some things here I would like to get a little better. But I'll surely keep my cyber blue ribbon...thank you!

Mikki Petersen
12-02-2003, 12:32 PM
First...the painting is amazing!

Second, I'm amazed at how well you manipulate the OPs.

Third, I'm amazed at how beautifully such a small piece translates BIGGER on screen. Usually, enlarging really exaggerates the flaws, but then, there are none here.

Finally, I love the monochrome with the pink. Really brings this little girl to life.

BTW, did you know Prismacolor makes a colorless blending pencil? I recently discovered it in a set of colored pencil accessories. Was thinking as you described your process that might come in handy.

12-02-2003, 01:00 PM
Mikki...thank you much! no flaws, huh...gotta love ya! I see em all...you know how it is lol! Thanks on the pencil tip....I'll check it out...but now I have one for YOU! Sennelier has an OP colorless blender...plan on using it for Kat's white project if I can get to it, it really softens the colors into barely perceptible tints.

Mikki Petersen
12-02-2003, 01:21 PM
Hey, thanks! I'll have to track down one of those and drag my Senneliers back out. One of my complaints about the OPs is they seem overly bright in hue making it difficult to get the softer tones so this blender might be just the ticket.

12-02-2003, 02:13 PM
Hi Sue,thanks for posting this beautiful portrait,what a pleasure it is to come back and find this,must have missed the run up to this but so glad to see the finished article:clap:
That first close up is superb,defiinitely worth the blue ribbon:clap: :clap:
It seems there is not much room around the painting,pretty tight on the pad,i know you are gonna be careful removing it for framing:D

12-02-2003, 02:41 PM
You are sooo right about the room...only using 1/8 inch under the mat on the bottom and left side...a little more at the top and curly side. Came out nice though, in a pearl gray mat. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

12-02-2003, 02:48 PM
OMG!! Sue, I saw how many views and comments this had had, and thought it must be an old one Ive missed.... and noted the date..... so knew it was going to have to be something outstanding..... and it surely is.... Its totally BEAUTIFUL!!!...... just love everything about it...... the touch of colour is just sheer genious .... and you KNOW what a Sucker I am for CLOSE UP's on FACES & EYES

Perfecto!!! :clap: ...... and ..... ohhhhhh my is such a tiddler too :D ...... hey how comes everyone is telling me to go BIG and you pull out this miniature lol

This HAS to be my ALL Favourite of yours..... love it to bits

12-02-2003, 02:48 PM
Where's the matted version then? I wanna see. :)


12-02-2003, 02:55 PM
You know, Dawn...painting those big eyes, I couldn't HELP but keep thinking of your pieces! teehee...did pull a fast one making it so small...:D :evil: Really, everyone in this forum is so supportive, I so appreciate all the nice comments! (what's a tiddler???? :confused: )

Mo....already packed for shipping....it's about a light a gray as you can go and if she gets the right frame it'll be all about Chantae...as it always is in Grandma's house lol! Sorry...shoulda got a pic...

12-02-2003, 03:03 PM
lol..... tiddler = something small :D

Deborah Secor
12-02-2003, 03:08 PM
and I just went to look up 'tiddler'--it wasn't even on the English Slang and Colloquialisms page! I found it in an on-line dictionary. A child of either sex...

I love learning a whole new set of slang words!

12-02-2003, 03:20 PM
ah....like a toddler! Yep...she's that lol!

12-02-2003, 03:40 PM
Gasp!!!!! This is fabulous! I absolutely love the monochrome with the color (boy, does that sound odd. :D) it really works well. ANd you did a fantastic job with the portrait. The detail is amazing!


12-02-2003, 03:52 PM
thanks Sandy! It does sound funny lol! You know...I was pretty nervous about how it would play here...I thought it worked but couldn't be sure. It's so great to be able to get all your opinions! Good or bad!

12-03-2003, 06:42 AM
Sue, I LOVE those eyes :clap:

Your description of the Holbeins as less oily and good for layering is so appealing, and seeing what you're achieving with them makes me want to rush out and buy a full set of the things ... just as well I don't have a credit card!!!

Eileen, it is possible to create details with the Caran d'Ache op's: if you can't find a sharp corner, you can always shave a tiny bit off the end to create one ... or you can make a line thinner by pushing the colour in on either side of it with a Colour Shaper ... I think with any medium, it's practice and experimentation that make things possible. So don't dismiss them if they're more affordable for you - they are a good brand.

Mikki, I didn't touch my introductory box of Senneliers for years after I got them as they looked artificially bright. But you can 'dull' the colours by blending or layering with complementaries or greys. Actually I now find Sennelier's colour range very rich and beautiful - but I don't care much for their gooeyness. Until I stumble across Holbeins somewhere in the UK, I will stick with Caran d'Ache.

Cindy Aspden
12-03-2003, 12:12 PM
Sue.. .:clap: :clap: :clap: This is stunning. The pink looks wonderful! It reminds me of one of the graphite artists in the drawing forum a few months back. She was adding just a touch of red to her work. I loved it then and I love yours now. The color just makes that holler: LOOK AT ME AND KEEP LOOKING!!! Awesome job kiddo!! Definitely a competion piece.


12-03-2003, 12:17 PM
thanks E-J...lots of good advice there....
Cindy...thanks for looking...am looking forward to seeing David's pic and all that lovely cross-hatching!

12-03-2003, 02:33 PM
wow - how did I miss this one??? I'm already to leave a reply and realized I'm pages away from previous comments, compliments and clapping - so here's more...:clap: :clap: :clap:

Sue this is wonderful and I have to agree - it's time for you to get some better paper and some larger paper. Wow - I can't even comprehend the detail you achieve with OP's at that size.

By the way in case it hasn't been said enough - love the composition and the limited palette. it works quite wonderfully together.

AGree - it needs to be entered in a show or two or three.


12-03-2003, 02:42 PM
I love it!!!!:clap:

12-03-2003, 03:00 PM
Barb...thanks so much...you gave me inspiration when I bogged down in the middle of this..so glad you like it! Big, new paper for the next...promise!

Dolphinfire....thanks! Hope you are enjoying WC!

12-03-2003, 03:18 PM
Barb - your clapping sounded like a whole auditorium!!! :D
Sue, I've gotta tell you yet again - this painting is lovely. I would love to get detail like you've managed so I might sharpen mine as was suggested. I had a play with the op's on a small polysteirene tray and it was lovely to paint on. Easy to blend and the colours look "gorgeous darling". Not permanent though I don't think. You've got me thinking more about these sticks.

12-03-2003, 03:24 PM
Carol...the cover of John Elliot's book on oil pastel has a photo of a piece he did on a metal plate. Op's are supposed to stick to durn near everything...I just don't know how you would protect it...shadow box? Varnish? Supposedly you don't varnish them but Dima did...I think we need more experimenters and visionaries...so come, have fun! (and thanks again!!)

12-04-2003, 05:42 PM
to quote Pampe--- WOOT!

This is so exceptional a portrait---and those CLOSE ups! Wow...Sue you are really rockin' girl...................now I am gonna want some of those Holbeins.....bad! Any sales on them anywhere? Not that I could do what you do but can start learning!

Miss all you wonderful pastel people!

12-04-2003, 05:51 PM
hey, Cathleen! Thank you, thank you! Don't know of any sales right this moment...but hear tell that they go up on ebay quite a bit...someone here got a great deal on the set of 50...will let you know if I hear about it on sale anywhere.
We all miss you too....hey....I bet Monet's flowers would be gorgeous in pastel...hint, hint!!! :D

12-04-2003, 06:28 PM
Originally posted by Dyin
ah....like a toddler! Yep...she's that lol!

Noooooo like a tiddler lol ......... something small...... teeny, tiny

like the size of the page you are working on....

Lol Dee, glad you are enjoying this ha ha ha

12-04-2003, 06:33 PM
so I could have a tiddler of a toddler then! Would a tiddley wink be Mikki's gnome flirting with me????:D :evil: :D

12-04-2003, 06:34 PM
*Giggles :D

12-04-2003, 08:32 PM
Wow, this is beautiful! :clap:

You really seem to have mastered those Holbeins...You should get a commission for all the sales they make because of your beautiful work! I was also planning to buy a set of Caran D'ache OP's soon, but you make me think twice.

One thing I liked better about the Caran D'ache is that the light colors gave a more opaque layer over darks. The Holbeins, to me, seemed more sheer and were hard to get good highlights. Do you find it the same way?

Ummmm, and another thing I didn't like was the messy fingers. No wraps on those Holbeins. Icky! :rolleyes:
Still trying to decide...are the messy fingers worth getting that nice square shape? I dunno...


12-04-2003, 08:38 PM
Thanks for stopping in, Christi! Yeah, it is harder to get the light over dark, so I've been working light to dark. But a Sennelier white does slide nice and easy over the Holbeins. :D
As for the messy fingers...hey, always did like making mud pies!!!:p I think it's worth the mess...get it with the others pretty quick anyways...
and I really, really like the idea of getting a sales commission from Holbein!:evil:

12-04-2003, 10:21 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: SUE........you did such a wonderful job with this painting.........and with oil pastels too?? Maybe someday I will attempt them.......LOL


12-04-2003, 10:32 PM
thanks, Claude! Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained...my first set cost me under $6!!!! They weren't great but they let me know I wanted to check out the good ones....