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View Full Version : Not all OPs are the same


skintone
02-03-2004, 10:58 AM
This is my first thread here. I'm excited about it!! I've been reading the arhives for a while now, and joined the sight last week. There is an overflowing abundance of knowledge here.

Anyway my current medium of choice is oil pastels. I quit art about 10 years ago. I used to use color pencils. About 3 years ago I tried soft pastels. (rembrandt) I like them, but there were some drawbacks. So in January I bought a box of Loew Cornell ops (24 for under $3.00 U.S). Then I bought a box of Cray-Pas Expressionist (25 for $6.99 U.S.) Now I have a set of Holbein's (25 for $75.00 U.S. at artxpress.com)

Anyway I found that the Loew Cornells were great for impasto work. They look and act like oils.
The Cray-Pas were softer and reflect light the best out of all 3.
Holbeins seem to blend the best. That's all I know about the Holbein brand I just used them for the first time last night.

Mo.
02-03-2004, 11:14 AM
Hi Skintone, good to see another OP artist, different brands of OP's have different characters, which you are finding out, there is a marked difference between the student grades and artists grade, Holbeins are profeesed to be the cream of the OP's, I've yet to try them as there not available over here.
I use Caran D'ache, which are a superb OP, they blend easily, and are great for detailed work, I also use Sennelier, which are very slick and soft, but have the most beautiful range of colours.
Welcome to the forum, hope you post your work soon.

Mo.:)

skintone
02-03-2004, 11:22 AM
Here is an example I did using Loew Cornell(LC) and Cray Pas(CP) on Mi-tientes paper. The body was made using a dark brown and black stick of cray pas blended together with a soft brush and turp. Then I highlighted with a light gray and smoothed the edges with my fingers. The dark spots were worked over using the black from my LC set. The dogs head and face were done with many layers of both sets. The LC set was used for the more textured areas. Blending was done with fingers.

Dyin
02-03-2004, 11:24 AM
Welcome skintone...might that mean you're into portraits? I've never tried the Cray Pas...but the Loew were my first try with OPs...enough to make me want more. Glad to have you excited...pumps us up too! Can't wait to see you post!

skintone
02-03-2004, 11:29 AM
Thanks Mo. Here is an example of a chipmunk I got from the ref library last night. I'm attempting to do what another member did with soft pastels. I can't remember his logon. I think it was Geck? Anway he said that he rubs the pastel into the paper with tissue. So I figured I would try it out. I'm using my new Holbein's ops.

Dyin
02-03-2004, 11:40 AM
That's Gaka...Mo uses turpentine to get underlayers quite well, but most of the fun of OPs is seeing all the different ways to do them....can't wait to see how this works!

skintone
02-03-2004, 11:44 AM
Welcome skintone...might that mean you're into portraits? I've never tried the Cray Pas...but the Loew were my first try with OPs...enough to make me want more. Glad to have you excited...pumps us up too! Can't wait to see you post!

Yes Dyin I am into portraits. I love bringing out the colors of the skin. Although I haven't done many portraits I hope to do more.

Cadmium Jen
02-03-2004, 12:54 PM
Wow--I'm glad to see the Loew-Cornells worked for you! I've considered buying them, but was suspicious because they're so cheap. :p Maybe I'll pick up a set. (In my experience, the only cheapies I've ever really had a problem with were the reds & oranges of Pentel, which are really hard and don't blend.)

skintone
02-03-2004, 01:57 PM
Wow--I'm glad to see the Loew-Cornells worked for you! I've considered buying them, but was suspicious because they're so cheap. :p Maybe I'll pick up a set. (In my experience, the only cheapies I've ever really had a problem with were the reds & oranges of Pentel, which are really hard and don't blend.)


I think they are better for playing around than anything else, although I did a portrait of myself and my girlfriend with them. Didn't turn out that bad. Better for landscapes.

hamsterdance
02-04-2004, 03:36 PM
I just purchased the wooden box set of 50 Holbein oil pastels and must say they are an oil pastelist's dream. Now I very badly want the full 225 wood box set. I first got into oil pastels on a whim - got the first few sticks of Holbeins at a local art supply store and was very happy with the results. Sadly that store no longer carries any oil pastels except for cheap student brands and a dwindling open-stock supply of Senneliers. Once the Senneliers are gone they won't stock them anymore. (That store is on the way downhill sadly. Their prices are VERY high - can't compete with all the other sources for buying art supplies).

Also, (is this weird?) I simply like the way they "feel" working with them compared to other media like colored pencil, graphite sticks or wax crayons.

Now I've got 4 brands

The Sennelier set of 12
Maimeri set of 12
Binny-Smith Portfolio set of 12 water-soluble oil pastels <-another fave
and of course now my Holbeins <- these reign supreme among oil pastels!

Haven't tried Caran D'arche but just bought a wood box set of 12 Neopastels on EBay. Supposedly the Carans are water-soluble like my Binny-Smiths but hopefully pro-quality. If they are then they and the Holbeins will be my favorites with Sennelier and Maimeri tied for 3rd.

skintone
02-04-2004, 04:03 PM
Hamsterdance
I'm glad you are enjoying those new OPs! I too have a desire to own all 225 sticks. Seeing them all in person makes it even worse. I like the way they feel too. They kind of glide across the paper. It's almost like spreading warm butter. :p

It's too bad that artist in other countries are having a hard time getting their hands on them. Has anyone tried ordering them from the US?

Dyin
02-04-2004, 04:52 PM
Here is the holbein site....
http://www.holbeinhk.com/
email them through that link, I have called them....Holbeins are sold under DIFFERENT NAMES in Europe!!! They said if you write or call then they can direct you to the name used near you and a supplier.

Yep....those Holbeins are the cream of the crop. Caran d'Ache is next but a bit more like applying oil than butter to my mind. And Sennelier is like one person here said...wet soap lol! But they all have their uses. I can totally promise you that the full set is everything you hope for...and I'm finding very few colors that I haven't used yet. They don't have a yellow ochre but combining the oxide yellow with the raw sienna and or burnt umber gets good results. I have to say that the full range of tones for each color makes a HUGE difference on the end product! I thought I'd never be able to afford the full set but got lucky at Christmas...so I hope for you all that an opportunity pops up too!

eileenclaire
02-04-2004, 07:13 PM
It is so great to see new oil pastelists here!! Welcome skintone and hamsterdance!! You're all talking about how great these Holbeins are and I don't have any! :crying: :crying: I should say that I really love the Caran D'ache set that I have, and I really don't need any more oil pastels, but you are making them sound so necessary! I happen to have money burning a hole in my pocket and was actually thinking of buying a whole set of Senneliers (without ever having tried one, this is so unlike me!). But everyone talks about how hard they are to use. I could get a whole set of Senneliers for $130, as opposed to a set of 50 Holbeins for $96. Hmm, maybe I should just stick with my Caran D'ache.

skintone and hamsterdance , you might be interested in the portrait project that Dyin has going, check out the top thread in the pastel forum. Would love to see more of your work.

By the way, there is a full set of Holbeins up for auction on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2377198874&category=28107

hamsterdance
02-04-2004, 07:39 PM
Eileen,

If you are set on getting Holbeins there is a lady that regulary sells the 50 set piece in the wood box for $80.00 brand new. That's her "Buy it Now" EBay price. If you'd rather go the auction route and compete with other bidders you may be able to get it from her even cheaper. She seems to put at least one or more of these sets up on EBay every week. I paid the buy it now price and received th package within 4 days and I don't regret that purchase for a minute. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the Carans so I'll see what everyone is saying about them as well.

As for the Sennelier's I'm considering buying a larger set and trying to create a Sennelier OP-only piece just to see what kind of experience it may be. So far I've used them as a final layer. They do have a painterly blendability to them that I like for the top layer. Their OP colorless blending medium stick is fun to use.

I've tried using my OP's on both watercolor paper and Ampersand's Gessoboard. The Gessoboard is my favorite surface so far. All my OP brands look great on that board. With the Gessoboard I can get even some tight detail work when I want that I can't seem to get from paper or canvas. Also, it handles use of an exacto knife fairly well too.

I'll check to see how OP's adhere to Ampersand's Clayboard too (once I'm finished with my current piece). I have a lot of that stocked up because I like doing scratchboard too. :)

p.s. Just check EBay - it looks like the current price for the Holbein 50 piece set is currently at $46. and may well close at that price. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should've gone the auction route instead of the "buy it now"... bummer... I'm starting to feel like I overpaid. eh well...

Mo.
02-04-2004, 08:11 PM
It is so great to see new oil pastelists here!! Welcome skintone and hamsterdance!! You're all talking about how great these Holbeins are and I don't have any! :crying: :crying: I should say that I really love the Caran D'ache set that I have, and I really don't need any more oil pastels, but you are making them sound so necessary! I happen to have money burning a hole in my pocket and was actually thinking of buying a whole set of Senneliers (without ever having tried one, this is so unlike me!). But everyone talks about how hard they are to use. I could get a whole set of Senneliers for $130, as opposed to a set of 50 Holbeins for $96. Hmm, maybe I should just stick with my Caran D'ache.

skintone and hamsterdance , you might be interested in the portrait project that Dyin has going, check out the top thread in the pastel forum. Would love to see more of your work.

By the way, there is a full set of Holbeins up for auction on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2377198874&category=28107

Eileen, I have a full set of Senneliers and believe me they are very, very different to use compared with the beautiful Caran D'ache, I don't have Holbeins either, and although Sue says that they are under a different name in the UK, I emailed them to find out suppliers here, and was told there are none, (only the students grade) but could order them through a u.k. supplier , but I found that the cost of shipping would exceed the cost of the pastels, I would end up paying twice as much for them, the same thing with ebay, I can bid and buy them cheaply, but the shipping costs make them not a worthy product to buy, especially as Carn D'ache are so very similar, or so I have been told.
To enlighten you more on the Senneliers, a lot hold up their hands and cry off them, but I'm finding the more I use them the more I'm liking them, they don't melt in your hand like Caran D'ache but are more translucent, the colours are very luscious, and if you like to use white spirit or turps, then they are similar to painting with oils, I'm still very much in the experimental stage with op's, and still prefer soft pastels over oil pastels, so much so I'm considering returning to soft pastels and wearing a mask while painting,the reason being that it takes me three or four times as long to produce a painting with op's, and I become frustrated in trying to get effects that with soft would only perhaps take me minutes, but with op's will take me hours.

Mo.:)

eileenclaire
02-05-2004, 12:48 AM
Eileen,
So far I've used them as a final layer. They do have a painterly blendability to them that I like for the top layer.


That's really why I was thinking of buying them, I want to use them the same way. Thanks for all this info.





p.s. Just check EBay - it looks like the current price for the Holbein 50 piece set is currently at $46. and may well close at that price. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should've gone the auction route instead of the "buy it now"... bummer... I'm starting to feel like I overpaid. eh well...
Don't feel bad, that auction has 5 more days to go, I know because I've been watching it. I am sure that price will go up quite a bit.


Mo, I really appreciate you sharing your point of view on the Senneliers. We op artists would hate to lose you out to the soft pastels, you are such a pioneer with the ops! But I understand what you are saying.

hamsterdance
02-05-2004, 12:48 PM
Well that's just a bummer that Europeans can only get Holbein's student grade oil pastels. I've had the chance to try them out and they felt like the student grade Cray-Pas oil pastels. The difference between Holbein's student oil pastels and the pro set is like night and day. Holbein's student OP's are nothing like their artist quality ones.

Mo, as for preferring soft pastels to oil pastels I'm surprised you've stuck it out this long if using OP's is subpar compared to soft. I'd say you should go back to the medium you love the more. I think you'll be happier and enjoy painting more in the long run if you do.

skintone
02-05-2004, 01:04 PM
What's gessoboard? I've never heard of it. I told you guys that I am a rookie. I just read a thread yesterday that says I'm suppose to prepare my paper. I found some gesso at a store here, but I don't know how it should be applied. Will I still have the tooth I need to hold the pastel? What will happen to the pieces I have already completed without preparing the paper?

hamsterdance
02-05-2004, 05:21 PM
Gessoboard is Ampersand's pre-prepared gesso'd wood panels. I'm lazy, too lazy to gesso my own boards. Also, I like the sanded texture Ampersand gives to their panels. They're the same company that makes Clayboard.

For use with my oil pastels I'd say Gessoboard is my favorite by far.

Oh, I'm also developing a newfound respect for Sennelier's. The more I uses these OP's the more they rise in my esteem. I REALLY like the oil painting look they give when I take a paper towel or my finger and lightly swipe across an area with 2 or more adjacent colors. The blend that results reminds me of some oil painting techniques I've seen. No other OP brand seems to duplicate oil painting blends as good as the Senneliers. Not even Holbein seems to mimic this as well.

Right now I'm working on a pic of a horse and the blends and sheen on the fur coat is fun to create with the Senneliers. I think I'm going to have to spring for a larger selection than the 12 colors I have.

eileenclaire
02-05-2004, 07:18 PM
I just read a thread yesterday that says I'm suppose to prepare my paper.What will happen to the pieces I have already completed without preparing the paper?
skintone, I'm not sure which thread you're referring to, but I recently found out that John Elliot, who is considered an authority on oil pastels, said that as long as the ops contain inert oil, you don't need to prepare the paper. These brands include Holbein, Sennelier, and Caran D'ache. He has painted directly on paper and the works have lasted over 40 years. For information about other brands, you would have to contact the manufacturer.

hamsterdance, you've sold me on those Senneliers! I'd love to see that horse picture you're working on.

hamsterdance
02-05-2004, 10:00 PM
Eileen,

I'm trying to think of a way to post a pic of the horse OP and an OP painting I did of some snapdragons. My pc at home runs Linux and I don't have a digital camera so I've got 2 big problems to try to solve. I may have to pay someone to take the pics and upload them for me.

Anyway, the snapdragons painting I did on gessoboard. The horse I'm doing in a sketchbook of Canson paper. I'm wishing now that I'd done the horse painting on gessoboard because I'm liking it more than my flower painting. Also, paper is turning out to be much more challenging getting some of the fine detail I like than it is when I paint on gessoboard.

Still, I'm glad I did the horse pic - even my boyfriend likes it more than my snapdragon painting. I've also discovered the main weakness of my 50 piece Holbein set - no true browns! The closest they provide is a very obviously red brown. So for the horse I use the Holbeins as an underpainting then use my Sennelier brown, ochre, white, blue and blacks to modify the fur coat and mane. I've never had to use Senneliers so much until now.

Since I've been forced to rely on them to overcome the lack of browns in my Holbein set I'm really beginning to appreciate how nice the Sennelier's oil-painterly qualities are. The blends have beautifule tiny hairline blends like what I've seen made by some tiny fan brushes in oil paintings. I can't get that same effect with my Holbeins - I've tried and they just aren't creamy enough to do it. OK, well you can with the Holbeins but not so convincingly "oil" looking.

Harm Verbeek
02-06-2004, 02:49 AM
[QUOTE=Dyin]Here is the holbein site....
http://www.holbeinhk.com/
email them through that link, I have called them....Holbeins are sold under DIFFERENT NAMES in Europe!!! They said if you write or call then they can direct you to the name used near you and a supplier.

Thanks about the information about Holbeins. In europe I didn't find them yet. Now I can try to find them.
In europe you have Talens van Gogh
Talens Panda
Yaxon
Gallery
Reeves
Sennelier
Rowney-Daley
Latoya
Caran d'ache

I use the hard pastels mostly for the setup of a painting. The softer pastel I use lateron to make shades and accents

Greetings Harm

Shari
02-06-2004, 12:26 PM
[QUOTE=eileenclaire]That's really why I was thinking of buying them, I want to use them the same way. Thanks for all this info.


The only way to win that auction is to SNIPE it!! Go to Vrane.com and register and get a free snipe, you will win if you put a high enough bid in.

Shari

Mo.
02-06-2004, 07:57 PM
What will happen to the pieces I have already completed without preparing the paper?
Nothing, they will be fine, there is absolutely no need to gesso a surface for OP's, I used op's when I first started painting 30 years ago, and paintings I did all that time ago are still as fresh as the day they were painted, and still hanging in my friends home, Mind you I shudder when I see them as they are so chocolate boxie type pics. :D
But they were done on the cheapest of pastel paper (wafer thin almost) and are still holding up.
The reason for priming a surface is to make the surface more hardy and to stop the oil leakage rotting the paper, but It's not essential, you'll be long dead before that happens, I prime my surface sometimes with art spectrum primer, for more tooth, and that's all.

BTW, if I do take up soft again, I'll still be using OP's too. :) You won't get shot of me that easily. LOL!

This thread now needs to be starred folks and moved to the archives, so cast your votes okay?

majestaero
02-06-2004, 10:30 PM
Nooo, you couldn't leave us, could you Mo? Well, if you do, can I have your OPs? :p :p

And who was that who had to post the link on eBay to a full set of Holbeins? Eileen? :evil: Mean, very mean!! Wonder what the reserve is...sigh...I have to sell my truck first, haha...

Linda (who, contrary to popular belief, has not fallen off the face of the earth! :( )

eileenclaire
02-07-2004, 12:07 AM
Good to see you here Linda! Thought you might have run off on one of your event horses. Just put in a bid of $150 for the Holbeins as a lark, was outbid already. I can dream, can't I?

hamsterdance, I sure hope you find a way to post your pictures, I'd love to see them.


Also, paper is turning out to be much more challenging getting some of the fine detail I like than it is when I paint on gessoboard.


You can get more detail on gessoboard? I'm a detail person so this is very interesting to me. Can you explain why this is?

Mo, glad to hear you'll still be using the ops. I just rated the thread.

hamsterdance
02-07-2004, 08:24 PM
Disaster has struck today due to my absentmindedness.

I LOST my brand new Holbein OP set AND my box of my other OP's. Yes, I put them on the tail end of my truck while loading something in the cab then FORGOT to get them and put them in the cab too and just drove off! Now I have NO OP's. Who knows where my OP's are - probably squashed under tons of tires on the highway.

I am so mad at myself I can barely think straight. :mad:

I've been driving around for hours and hours up and down miles and miles of highway trying to retrace my steps desperately searching, hoping and praying beyond hope I might get lucky and find them. After doing this for almost 4 hours I've given up and just resigned myself to never seeing them again.

I am so mad and depressed. I can't believe I did something that stupid. Or at least if I'm going to do something stupid - why on earth do I have to pick an expensive one? Now I'm going to have to start from scratch all over again. Worst of all I'm going to have to go through OP withdrawal.

Dyin
02-07-2004, 08:57 PM
oh geez...that's terrible. I'd try putting an ad in the paper...you never know...am so sorry...I know you probably can't afford it, but you were saying you liked the Senneliers...Dakota has the full 120 in the wood box on sale for $169. I checked out Dick Blick too and their price is $239....plus Dakota just charges a flat $8 shipping..so it's a heck of a deal...really, you have my sympathy...but you have to think positive...an ad might bring them back to you!

ExpressiveAngie
02-07-2004, 09:10 PM
Hamsterdance-
I am so sorry - I know you are just brokenhearted :crying: .
Do like Dyin suggested. At least then you will know you tried EVERYThing.

Shari
02-07-2004, 09:38 PM
oh geez...that's terrible. I'd try putting an ad in the paper...you never know...am so sorry...I know you probably can't afford it, but you were saying you liked the Senneliers...Dakota has the full 120 in the wood box on sale for $169. I checked out Dick Blick too and their price is $239....plus Dakota just charges a flat $8 shipping..so it's a heck of a deal...really, you have my sympathy...but you have to think positive...an ad might bring them back to you!

THE FULL SET OF SENNELIER IS AT ASWEXPRESS.COM FOR $129 Good luck, sorry about your mishap, things like that have happened to me too and its tough letting go. I am sure there is a great new set of OP's waiting for you.

Shari

eileenclaire
02-08-2004, 03:59 PM
hamsterdance, I can only imagine how you must feel. I'm so sorry to hear about that. I hope you can find some way to get your hands on more. You know, the Expressionists only go for around $20 for a set of 50, and they are an excellent value, though they are student grade. I mean at least until you can build up a supply again.

skintone
02-09-2004, 12:15 PM
That's terrible Hamsterdance. I couldn't imagine having to go through that. haven't touched my pastels in 4 days, because I left town without them. I'm already going through withdrawal.

Mo, How do you vote to add a thread to the archives?