View Full Version : Emily with a flower in her hair, ops

01-06-2004, 11:27 PM
Here is my oldest daughter Emily, age 10, with a zinnia she picked from our garden. She wants to be an author when she grows up, and spends every spare moment typing out stories. She only types with two fingers but she's so fast it sounds like she's typing with two hands!

I know, I chickened out on a background with this, again! But I wanted to get to know my new Caran D'ache ops, which I love! And I also wanted to work on hair, since my previous ones have been of babies, who don't have a lot of hair. I really enjoyed doing the hair, which surprised me because I was scared to do it. Hey, maybe it'll work out that way with the background, too! (Yeah, right!)

My plan is to do my next one as a WIP. That way, hopefully, the fine people of this forum can provide some guidance on a background. Otherwise, I don't think I'll ever do one!

I appreciate any c & c you can give on this, I've learned so much from everyone! Thanks!

01-06-2004, 11:42 PM
Hi Eileen:
Another op artists the ranks are growing. Wonderful portrait I was most impressed with the mouth. Sometimes it is hard to paint smiling mouths and make the teeth look natural. I think you did an excellent op painting CONGRATULATIONS.:clap:
As for painting backgrounds think about using the same color combinations you use for your portrait. Then you get a unity.

01-06-2004, 11:53 PM
I feel like I'm getting to know your daughter and she's growing up!!! The trick to backgrounds for me is to think about it before I start...get my subject, go to PS and play some...then it's part of what I'm doing. I've found that I do that before I start with lots of things..I think composition, background, thirds, compliments, etc etc...it makes the whole process easier.
I love what you are doing with the neopastels!!! This is really awesome...great job!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

01-07-2004, 08:25 AM
Eileen, this is fantastic! :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
01-07-2004, 08:56 AM
This is an incredible painting! Would you mind sharing with us what paper you used, what brand of OP's? Also, what colors did you use for the skin tones?

This was so realistic, I had to look twice to see that it was not a photo. Very well done!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

01-07-2004, 11:39 AM

I'm so impressed. When I opened it up I thought it was the photograph and read on to see you'd created this masterpiece in OP's.

Tremendous job and one which you should be most proud of.

Keep them coming - each one is so amazing!!!

Barb :clap: :clap: :clap: (oh and the background doesn't bother me one bit)

01-07-2004, 11:46 AM
Oh, Eileen, both the painting and your daughter are beautiful!



01-08-2004, 12:32 AM
Wow, everyone here is so encouraging! Imagine how great I felt seeing all those clappy guys from artists I admire!

Kathy, I'm glad you thought the mouth looked good, wasn't sure if I pulled that off well.

Dyin, thanks for that tip about PS. I think that would probably be a big help to me. I know next to nothing about working a program like that, but I'm thinking my husband could help me, he's off all winter, being a landscaper. And thanks for your kind words; since you're my role model with the ops, it means a lot!

Monica and Gayze, thanks so much for your encouragement!

Kat, it was done on Canson Mi Tientes oyster paper, with Caran D'ache neopastels. The skin colors I used were burnt sienna, bistre, english red, russet, salmon pink, salmon, granite rose, and cream. Wow, that sounds like a lot, now that I look at it.

Barb, "(oh and the background doesn't bother me one bit)" you realize that by saying this you are giving a chicken hearted person like myself no reason to do a background! :D I love your backgrounds, just wish you could be looking over my shoulder to help me out with one! Thanks for your encouraging words.

My new year's resolution is to move away from that photorealistic look and try to make it more "painterly". Not quite sure how I'll accomplish that, but that's definitely my goal. Then maybe from there, who knows, impressionism is looking good to me. But one step at a time!

01-08-2004, 12:58 AM
Eileen..you're just a sweet person AND a really good artist. Usually once you hit the stage of wanting to go past the 'getting the image right' stage it starts falling in place. It's hard to know how to go about it but sitting down and thinking about how to take it and make it yours starts to open the eyes to new possibilities. I've been trying to do the weekly WDEs with my OPs...not always portraits but I'm approaching them all as experimental, I'm having to think it out quickly...only a 1/2 hour to prepare and then working under a time limit means you have to take liberties. Not all have been good endings but I'm learning lots doing them. It's been rather freeing...I can always sit down and do something longer and more time consuming but I can carry what I learned into it...just mentioned because to go to a different way of painting you have to step into unchartered territory a little. I think you will most certainly be able to take your art wherever you wish! And it'll be fun watching for us!

01-08-2004, 03:29 AM
Wow! :cool: that's an amazing piece there :clap: . Your daughter is also a great model :).

The corners of the mouth are a bit sharp when I look at it again but I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't said anything.

Could you share with us your technique for blending tones. I am starting with ops and having trouble getting away from broad rather Van-Gogh-like strokes. Also do you sharpen your pastels to get detail? How much goes to waste?



01-08-2004, 04:41 AM
this is fantastic! wow!......oh and hello......don't think i have posted to you before.....you are doing some amazing work here.......will hunt out more from you! :clap:

01-08-2004, 05:26 AM
This is an amazing portrait!! well done!!


01-08-2004, 06:56 AM
Wow! Maybe you didn't do a background but the portrait is fantastic! I am really impressed.
I think the others have about said it about backgrounds...I always start it first...even though I keep working on it through, adding in the colors I am using.
You'll get there...it takes time but boy, you are way ahead of me when it comes to portaits!


01-08-2004, 08:29 AM

very good work, not stiff at all, I would like to see a WIP too..how is this possible ???
:clap: :clap:

I like portraits of real people and your work is giving a very personal statement, so I don`t understand why you want to go back to impressionism ?
I look forward to see more of your work.

01-08-2004, 04:55 PM
Eileen, This is lovely just as is. I am beginning to leave backgrounds out of my portraits/faces and have been pretty happy with it.

Your piece has just about convinced me to try OPs. What do you like about them for portraits/figures? Do you approoach a piece significantly differently from soft pastels?

01-08-2004, 05:26 PM
Skin looks so brilliant and hair too! Great job... I'm amazed you can get this result with oil pastels!
But I think it's great you want to develop further!

01-08-2004, 05:33 PM
You know....Nori's remark made me think...perhaps you could do your next painting as a WIP both here and in the portrait forum...would be nice to see how you go about doing the different steps, and as you know, there's many ways to apply the OPs. Don't be shy, your work is very lovely and I'd like to see how you approach things too!

01-08-2004, 07:05 PM
Dyin, thanks so much for your comments and advice. It's funny, I've never considered doing the WDE's because I always feel that I don't have much time to spare on drawing and don't want to waste it on a quick piece. But you're right, that would help me step out of my little box and try something new, help me loosen up, and I'm sure I would learn a lot. Plus I've only done portraits, so doing the WDE would give me a chance to try other things.

Angeline, Nougat, Sandy, Madder, thanks for your wonderful comments!

Rafi, I use a tortillon to blend the tones. When I started with the ops, I was frustrated that I couldn't get enough detail with them, and used colored pencil to do the details. With this one, I was able to get the detail by using the tip of the tortillon. I did use a black Prismacolor to get the pupil of the eye and the eyelashes, everything else was op's.

Martin, thanks for your comments. I love it when a portrait looks like a person but there is no question it's a painting and not a photo, you don't have to take a second look, you know by the brushstrokes. That's what I want to be able to do. With the help and inspiration I find here, I think I can achieve that!

Nori, I hope you try the ops! I love them and can't say enough about them, they are perfect for me. What I like about them is they blend beautifully, if you make a mistake you can correct it (a big plus for me because I make lots of mistakes!) and they are dustless and non toxic, so important to me because I have young children. I've never used soft pastels so can't really compare.

Dyin, I do plan on doing a WIP for my next one, and I'm counting on your expertise to help me out if I get stuck!

01-08-2004, 10:09 PM
Wow, it's incredible, Eileen! I'm sending my little event pony running back to the barn, haha!

One other detail -- what size is it? Flesh tones are soooo hard, but you've made it look completely natural!

I understand about wanting to get more painterly, though -- that's what I want to do, too (though my work isn't half as photo-realistic as this!). Also right there with you on the backgrounds! :p Trying to work on that more myself!

Can't wait for the WIP!


01-08-2004, 11:58 PM
This is so realistic that I thought it was a photograph until I read the messages. Incredible!

01-09-2004, 02:46 PM
Linda, it's a 9 x 12. And I just wish I could make a background look as good as yours! It was all just an experiment with the flesh tones, it's fun to play around with these OPs isn't it?

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sidhartha!

02-22-2004, 06:32 PM
Your work is just tremendous. Emily is so cute, she looks so much like Paam and Brigid, it's scary. -Don

Tom Christopher
02-22-2004, 06:56 PM
Beautiful Painting! -- am looking forward to your WIP--I know I'll learn alot

02-22-2004, 08:13 PM
You did and an amazing job on this portrait. I don't work with op's and don't know how they handle, but you obviously do! Great work!

02-23-2004, 12:46 AM
Not adding much as so many positive things have been :clap: :clap: :clap: said

02-23-2004, 02:38 AM
well I have no idea how this one got passed me lol ....... all I can say at this late day, its a beauty Eileen, the face indeed does look like a photo..... and that is a compliment, as that ability is something I admire ........ as for backgrounds they WILL imerge as and when you are ready

Kathryn Wilson
02-23-2004, 07:18 AM
With each portrait you are growing and expanding your talent - this is incredible because I know how difficult OP's can be to work with until you find a method that works - and you obviously have. I am floored by the skin tone - it looks so realistic - I am looking forward to your WIP very much and thanks for sharing! :clap:

02-23-2004, 10:21 AM
Thanks Yankeedog, Dee, Gerry and Dark Shades!

Tom and Kyle, this is an older thread and I have already done a WIP since then. But I was cleaning out some old files and found some progress images of this one:

02-23-2004, 02:46 PM
Eileen- it is a wonderful portrait of a beautiful child and sometimes you don't need a background- especially if your paper color relates well to the skin tones- and yours does that very well. Congratulations. I, too thought it was a photograph at first. :)

Laura Brito
02-24-2004, 12:12 AM
I too feel this is a very lovely portrait, she seems like a very special girl too! Lovely!

Laura :)

02-24-2004, 12:52 AM
This is lovely Eileen! Emily's happy spirit just shines out at the viewer.
The only comment I have is that the line where the bottom lip meets the teeth looks a little hard.
I have never heard of "Caran D'ache ops before", can you explain the media for me. Thanks, Paddy.

02-24-2004, 02:06 PM
Dollardays and Laura, thanks for your comments!

Paddy, this is oil pastel, thanks for taking a look and commenting!