View Full Version : oil pastels...how do I begin?

03-26-2004, 01:30 PM
I have found the 3-30-03 thread about oil pastels, not far into it yet. Am beginning with 25 color set of craypas. Can acid free, heavyweight colored construction paper be used as a base? Otherwise I have some strathmore sketching paper, and some strathmore charcoal paper (says suitable for oil crayon). Fortunately I have one 12x16 board, and 4 16x20 boards. Do oil pastels work well on the gessoed boards? I hope to improve my work on paper,before moving on to the boards. Any suggestions would be appreciated. (if you are interested, I posted my first practice piece on thread "for beginners to pastels" #48). Oh, would plain white card stock be a poor choice? :)

03-26-2004, 03:19 PM
xreader, you can use oil pastels on just about anything! By experimenting with different supports you will find which ones you like best. I checked out your work in the beginner's thread, and I think you are making a great start! I'd love to see any future work you do, so keep posting!

03-26-2004, 08:36 PM
Oil pastel works well on gesso. I gesso matboard and watercolor paper. Those pads for oil painting work too, and I have used bristol vellum but it doesn't take as many layers. Also you can get pumice gel (Golden make it, and Art Spectrum), which can be used without or mixed with gesso and/or acrylics to tint.

03-26-2004, 11:22 PM
I have used plain sketch paper for practice pieces and it worked quite well. I also use gesso surfaces, but I like a little grit to it as the OPs like to slip on plain acrylic. As you improve you'll want to think about using the better surfaces so your work will last longer...remember that it all needs to be protected under glass or plexiglass, but you can save practice works with sheets of waxed paper in between to protect the surface...you just don't want to rub the surface as it never dries.

03-26-2004, 11:58 PM
Ah...just saw the other thread. Oil pastels ARE different than softies, and there's a few fallacies out there. You don't always need to use turpentine to blend...although it is a valid way to get a certain effect. Unfortunately, in both soft and OP...the better materials, and of course more costly, will get you your best results. Artist grade ops give the best results, my favorites are Holbeins which do apply quite nicely. I started out with a $6 set of ops...they were waxy and didn't blend hardly at all, but was happy enough with the results to move on from there. The Holbeins are nice as they are square, so I can use the sides quite effectively and they come in 5 shades for each color. And they blend beautifully. You can buy a few individually to try them out. Closest to that are the Nupastels by Caran d'Ache...about 1/4 the cost of the Holbeins. One of the secrets to getting them to work is to plan out what you are going to do ahead of time. An underpainting can help you out a lot. Gouache works really well as an underpainting, is not slick and since it's water soluable you can lift off areas to lighten or erase. And you can get cheap starter sets. One way to do it is in gray tones...you can work out your light and darks and then just match the color in the exact same tone. Watercolor or acrylic works well too.
You can scrape back ops if you make mistakes, but on most papers the first layer will stain, if it's a sturdy paper you may be able to wipe it out with turpentine or oderless mineral spirits. Some supports are erasable, like Art Spectrum colorfix, which also is a sanded surface and will use up more OP per stroke.
Different supports get different results and you have to experiment to find out what works best with the type oil pastels you use. Your beginning drawings looked good, if it seemed comfortable using the ops then you should continue to see what they do and when you run into limitations post using OP in the title and describe the problem...we'll probably be able to tell you if the problem is with the OP, the support or your application and try to help you out. Besides the Oil Pastel thread, there are a lot of oil pastel wips and demos and tips below the ones for regular soft pastels in the library. Hope some of this helps.

03-27-2004, 05:40 AM
Thank You so much eileenclaire for your kind words, I find this community so supportive of new members. Sundiver-thank you for your helpful advice. :D Dyin...Thank you so much for taking the time...you have been a great help. I will keep experimenting, and I will keep posting...Thank you all :)

03-27-2004, 06:16 AM
Might be worth asking Mo also!

She's recently switched to OPs.

good luck


03-27-2004, 01:07 PM
Thank you lozz. :D