View Full Version : The Oil Pastel Classroom/ July 2004-Creating Shadows using Complements

06-26-2004, 01:40 PM
The Pastel Classroom
July 2004

Creating Shadows with Complements


This is a 5.5 x 8.5 inch study I did from a reference library photo by olika. (This is as close as Iím going to get to gingham, Preston!)


Iíve only been doing using oil pastels for a year and since Iím still learning I feel that Iím not really a qualified teacher, so am considering this thread as more of a study group type thing, where we can all experiment and learn together. So please consider that this is just my way of creating shadows and folds and that maybe I can also learn a few different approaches from some of you too.

First, this is done with a limited palette. I know that some of you donít have complete sets of Ops and I wanted to show how much just a few colors can convey. I do have the Holbeins and gain an extra advantage by having 5 tones of each color. But one of the nice things about Ops is that you can add white to tone down strength. The colors I used are:

2. cerulean blue
3. ultramarine light
4. oxide yellow
5. red violet
6. antique orange

Another thing I wanted to explore was the use of complementary colors for shadows. Iíve tried doing this many times, only to end up with mud. I knew the principle was to use the opposite, or complementary, color to dull the intensity of a color and to make interesting grays for shadows. But I discovered that using the shade that is the EXACT opposite on the color wheel makes a lovely color with no muddy effect, and that using the wrong shade of a color can create the mud. So I really advise pulling out that old color chart when you choose your palette (and if you donít have one itís a very cheap investment). All of the shadow areas here were made with a mix of the basic color and a complement. I chose blue for the shadows in the white, but used an orange to dull the intensity and create the shadow areas, and used the red-violet for the yellow areas. I laid down the basic colorÖeither the yellow or the base blue and then went over it with the complement. Sometimes I had to do a couple layers of each to get the effect I wanted. But the secret is to sort of lightly skim the top color over the bottom color. OPís can be very opaque if applied heavily and you donít want to lose the base color. In some of the very dark areas I allowed the purple to show (egg shadow and shadow area behind the eggs) and in some areas I completely blended to a new color (far left shadow areas). I think it created a real pleasing new color that I donít have in my 45 color Holbein palette.

A note about shadow areas hereÖ
Shadows tend to come out as solid black areas in photos. But in real life they have color and some light. So before you start painting really study the ref pic or still life youíve set up, so you will be able to lose the Ďblack holesí. :p Try to understand why the shadow is cast in a certain position and whether it is a weak shadow or strong one. Shadows will be the same color as the material under them, only dulled in intensity. If the object is white, like the eggs, it will reflect color from the surrounding areas in both shadow and highlighted areas. Three dimensional objects also show reflected light at the edges. This is really exaggerated in the eggs, which is why I chose them to demonstrate this principle. The dark area is where the sharpest curve is and very little light hits there. The lower area catches refracted light from the surrounding areas and picks up local color. The flash diluted some of the colors, but you can see the yellow and blue reflected back on the white of the egg.


A strong light source will create sharp dark shadows and a more diffused light will cast softer edged, lighter shadows. Another advantage of using complements for shadow areas is that you get a nice cool/warm play of colors in your piece.

Folds of cloth can be intimidating. I made some color change choices to keep it a little simpler, just going with a two-color stripe. The highest areas will have the most light, along with the areas that have the strongest concentration of light (like under the eggs where the shadow does not fall). Light spills over the edges of soft folds. You can create sharp meeting areas, but if you want to mimic the softness then you need a transition color area midway between the light and the shadow. If you want folds or the edges of the eggs to come forward then you need to put a slightly darker value behind the light area. The fold directly below the eggs has a fold in front of it and where they meet both had a very light value. So at the very edge of the back fold I put a slightly darker tone in. It still looks light but it gives the illusion of being behind the front fold. I also use my strokes to follow the shape of the cloth, I think this helps to lead the eye.

So, the class study assignment this month is to attempt to do an egg on cloth study. If you are just at the beginning stage using OPís you can start with just trying an egg by itself (including the shadow it casts) and a small crop of a folded cloth done separately. If you are intermediate Iím providing this image from the reference library (submitted by Fagan)Ö


http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=13472&sort=1&cat=all&page=3 (for larger version)

this is a little simpler fold-wise and youíre only dealing with a single color.

If you are advanced try the same ref pic by olika that I usedÖ


and of course anyone can set up their own still life with eggs and a cloth and some strong directional light to cast strong shadows.

Some notes to help out the beginnersÖstart with a good sketch. I had a photo of mine but it was too washed out by the flash to use for this demo. I used a yellow ochre prismacolor pencil and sketched lightly. To get the egg shape just sketch little short linesÖthink of going around a clock and use a general clock position to head forÖyou do want a general oval shape but it doesnít have to be exact, as all eggs are a little differently shaped. Try a couple practice eggs on scrap paper first. If you do the lines VERY lightly they can be adjusted quite a bit with no erasing. The folds are done the same wayÖ.figure out which position of the clock hands that each fold is headed, think of the distances they goÖthe top fold may be Ĺ as long, or twice as long as the fold below it, etc. If you sketch lightly you can adjust.

The egg needs to be covered with white before you add your shadows, and then VERY lightly drag your shadow colors where you want them. If itís too dark you can add a touch more white to lighten it or gently blot up some of the strong color with a folded edge of a paper towel or a clean tortillon. You can use a tool to push the background up to the edge of the egg. Since you already have the white laid down itís easy to clean up the edges if youíre careful. Remember that if a color is too strong that you can dull it down with its complementary colorÖuse the same or a lighter value and just barely skim it over. Donít forget to try the complements for the shadow areas.

Please post your studies in this thread, along with any questions and comments you have. If you use a different technique than shown here, please explain your approach for us. Critiques will be part of this so that we can help each other grow, but please point out the strong areas as well as any weak areas and be kind. Comments on improvement for my study are also invited. :D

Iíd also really appreciate some suggestions for things weíd like to explore in future classesÖ.subjects, techniques, etc. This exercise really helped me to learn and I might not have gotten around to figuring out shadows created by complements without the push to come up with something for us all to work on. I think itís kind of cool to have a study group as I, like many of you, am self-taught for the most part. Itís all fine and dandy to read things in a book or WIP, but we canít really learn until weíve applied the principles ourselves.

Please feel free to correct anything that Iíve stated that is not right, as I said Iím learning too! I hope you have fun with this exercise and am really looking forward to seeing the results and maybe learning a couple more things myself.

(Special thanks to olika and Fagan for their wonderful ref pics!) :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
06-26-2004, 03:27 PM
Wow, Sue, this is exciting - a well-thought out lesson plan. I hope to join in this week some time! I assume there is no time limit.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

06-26-2004, 03:33 PM
glad you'll join in Kat! Nope, no time limit. It'll be stickied for a month but people can still add to it after it goes back to the regular threads. I put it up a week early since I figured lots of people will have holiday plans this coming month and wanted to give everyone plenty of time.
I'm kind of excited about having a study group since I don't get to go to demos and classes like lots here do. When I get to landscapes :eek: I'll probably ask some of you landscapers for examples and just get in there and learn with everyone else. :D But I think it's great that we all get to work on something similar and share what we learn. :clap:

06-26-2004, 03:45 PM
Oh, cool, good one!! I scribbled the initials of the colour wheel on my drawing table as I still can never remember compliments off the top of my head!

I'm not making any promises, but will try!!


06-26-2004, 11:29 PM
:) Hi Sue, I wanted to get back to your thread 'The Oil Pastel Classroom/July' this evening. As I first saw it this morning then had to leave and really didn't have time to look it over. I since have and I must compliment you on an excellent job of putting this together. I'm looking forward to contributing and learning with the rest of my fellow artists. Can you believe it I have never painted eggs before so guess it's about time. :D
So I'm signing on too, I know I'll be in good company and will learn a lot. :clap:

06-26-2004, 11:41 PM
Thanks, Kathy...these were my first eggs too and it was a really good learning experience. I'm excited to see what you'll bring to the table (get it?? :rolleyes: )

Linda...would hate for you to make a promise you couldn't keep! :p Hopefully some things will resolve themselves and you'll find the time :)

06-28-2004, 02:36 AM
Okay, I think I can tackle this. Great lesson Sue.

I don't know if anyone ever thanks you for you passion and committment to this thread, I'm sure they do, but I want to personally thank you for your inspiration. I've really enjoyed spending time here and alot of that is due to your efforts. :clap:

Okay, I'm off to print this out and get cracking, no pun intended!

06-28-2004, 12:14 PM
I think you can tackle this too! Thank you very much, everyone here has always been supportive of me and it's just my way of giving something back, and I am so glad that it inspires you! :clap:

06-28-2004, 06:28 PM
Hi Sue, I was looking at your closeup and boy I love the texture you achieved on those eggs. The chickens couldn't have gone better. :D
As I did'nt participate in the last classroom are we suppose to do it as a WIP?
Or finish in post and comment? Sorry if you covered this already :o
PS, started mine today and these eggs are hard! Should have started with the red ones, but no I thought I was advanced....Not.. :D

06-28-2004, 06:37 PM
Well, I'm going to leave it up to each individual..although it would be nice to see WIPs, it gives us a chance to see how each person tackles it and it's a chance for us to ask questions or describe something while it's fresh.

lol...don't give up on the eggs...I felt the exact same way, they're almost like portraits, needing the right shadows in the right place to work right. And the cloth is like a puzzle, though it was fun to figure it out. I kind of never thought about doing eggs and would look at a piece with them and say nice eggs without ever realizing they took some skill. And I figured it's still good for beginners because if they have problems they can get help from everyone else as they go. You can always do the pink ones and go back to the other later too :D

06-28-2004, 07:14 PM
Sue this is brilliant! Boy have you been busy and now add teacher to your title. Lovely work and now I have to go back and read it more carefully.

Yummy stuff!


06-29-2004, 12:20 AM
Oil Pastel on Wallis
9" x 12"
Well nothings working for me yet, everything pretty fragmented but will work to tye everything together. Shadows to dark...My first eggs and first checked cloth may well be my last... :D Must be bedtime.

06-29-2004, 12:43 AM
Oh, Kathy...it really must be bedtime because there is nothing wrong with this! Your shadows aren't too dark...your egg actually tucks into the fold like the ref whereas mine just kind of bumps into it lol. You have all the basic highlight and dark areas there already and I love your color choices. When you wake up you'll see it with fresh eyes. Also, I don't know if you've been stepping away and just studying it for awhile, that helps to tie it together. All you need are finishing touches on this now.
I love to see all your stroke work...I've been making myself dizzy flipping between my version and yours :p same subject and such different views! So, how did you go about this? Did you underpaint? Lay down values all over? Do you mostly stroke like you would soft pastels? Do tell! :D

06-29-2004, 02:11 AM
Sue's right Kathy, I'm gobsmacked, you're eggs are gorgeous. In fact I should have started mine before I had a look at this because Now I'm feeling mighty intimidated! Well done, just don't 'finish' it off too much, I like the lively stroke work in this drawing and I'd hate to see it all flattened out.

06-29-2004, 03:52 AM
Your eggs are gorgeous, I love the colors and darker shadows, it's got pizazz, sometimes fragmented is a good thing.

Sue, I have read this thread 3 times now, and I am committing, I haven't received my Senneliers yet, so may have to use those inexpensive OPs but that will make it more of a challenge, and I love a challenge.
Thanks for putting this all together.

06-29-2004, 01:45 PM
I'm so glad you're joining too, if no one hears from me for a couple days it's because my puter is in the shop...Norton got corrupted and I shouldn't even be on now...so please be patient with me...and help each other til then. How will I ever manage for days without WC?

06-29-2004, 06:28 PM
:D Thank you, Sue, lanielsen and HelgaP I appreciate your comments very much. Sue was right it did look better in the morning after I'd had 7hrs. sleep. LOL :D Guess I have to say yes to all three Sue. I really like working on illustration board with op's but I'm warming up to Wallis (don't tell Kitty). It's so forgiving!
First I sketched in the composition with pencil, then layed down some local color values using op's. Let set, (not necessary)then used some Turpenoid on a bristle brush and blended the flat color and edges (underpainting) together. Let the turps dry, (necessary) then started building color and value on top of the Turpenoid wash. Did some scaping off of some colors and added some colors. Hard to discribe my method of working because most of the time I'm flying by the seat of my pants...so to say...some call it intuitive painting...sounds nicer doesn't it.lol
I'll update after I finish or at least ask you all if I'm finished. :D

06-29-2004, 11:17 PM
I'm so glad you're joining too, if no one hears from me for a couple days it's because my puter is in the shop...Norton got corrupted and I shouldn't even be on now...so please be patient with me...and help each other til then. How will I ever manage for days without WC?
Sue, your post must have crossed mine when I posted earlier. Sorry to hear about your computer. We'll be good I promise! :evil: But :evil: we can be good for so long :evil: so hurry back!!! :D please

06-30-2004, 03:08 AM
First I sketched in the composition with pencil, then layed down some local color values using op's.

You know, I NEVER use graphite pencils for layout because I found my OP's can't cover it properly and the pencil strokes stick through terribly. Has anyone else had this experience? Depending on the colour paper I use a white pencil crayon or sometimes sepia or indigo.

06-30-2004, 12:42 PM
Hi HelgaP, when I use a drawing pencil I use very light strokes just enough so I can see my sketch. I have also used a white chalk stick if the pastel paper is dark. It's easy to smudge away the chalk and redraw. The op's covered the pencil lines well and sometimes I think of like to see the pencil lines.
Have you started your eggs? Looking forward to seeing what you do with yours. :clap:

07-01-2004, 02:05 AM
I have started, I'll probably have something to show on Monday. My eggs are looking okay but I think I may have messed up the cloth a bit in the right hand corner. I really wanted to show the coloured texture in the fabric but for the life of me I couldn't get it right...I'll just soldier on and see how it turns out. ;)

Kathryn Wilson
07-01-2004, 02:53 PM
Working on mine too - using Art Spectrum (elephant color) for the paper, have it sketched in and the whites put in for the eggs. Have not been too successful at folds before - so this will be a test for me!

Do you want WIP's as we go along - or should we wait until the final piece?

I know you're down with a computer virus - so this question is for when you get back - :D

07-01-2004, 07:46 PM
Great HelgaP and Kat, will look forward to seeing what you do with your eggs. HelgaP I had one side the viewers lt that I thought was more difficult and I'm not sure I have it right. Kat I've got to get some Spectrum paper I've never worked with it. I think I would like it. Oh Kat I think Sue said as far as WIP's she'd leave that to us.

07-01-2004, 10:42 PM

Hi All:
Calling this one done for now, thank you Sue, it's been a terrific exercise. My first op eggs and cloth heck my first any medium eggs and cloth. There is one thing I'd do differently next time around. I wouldn't be so quick to put the darks in so heavy at first. As I did have to do some scraping out of Indigo-Blue and or dark ultramarine-Blue (sharpend the color name end duh)lol I need to dull or blend better the golden reflection on the underside of the egg where it meets the cloth. Thank you all for your encouragment and I'm so pleased I had a little time to participate. Thanks again Sue for coming up with the idea for the Classroom. :clap:

07-01-2004, 10:44 PM
Boy, you all get gold stars for being so good! teehee...Thanks for trying to describe your process, Kathy. I too go by the seat of my pants...but I like intuitive painting better too lol. It was very hard for me to step by step things for this demo, so it's good for me to understand so I can repeat it again the same way. Do try the art spectrum, Kathy, I think you'd like it!
Helga...I also have trouble with pencil lines but if I do use it then I erase lightly with a kneadable and it covers then. Usually I use a colored pencil with a barely different tone and color than the support though. Which piece are you doing...the pink or the same as the demo? Usually when texture is important then I choose a paper that will give me texture underneath. Canvas is great for cloth.
Kat, can't wait to see your progress. Like to see WIPs but leaving it up to all of you...sometimes people feel more pressure doing it that way. Hey, you asked about the sketch paper on the weekly thread and I forgot to answer. The sketch paper is super smooth and the OPs do act differently on it. They apply really great and they do seem to have a softer, smoother appearance in the end.
Thanks everyone for soldiering on :D I missed you guys!

07-01-2004, 10:55 PM
Kathy...we sure do cross-post a lot :p This is really great....and cool that you've done your first eggs (and maybe last from the sounds of it lol) I like seeing so much of your stroke work. I especially like how I feel there's stitching between the colors, so it really imparts 'cloth' to me. You also have some nice little pucker areas I like too. I found the golden reflection on the bottom of the eggs difficult too. I finally resolved it by lightly dabbing with a q-tip..clean side for every dab! It softened the transition and took away from the cut and paste look. It's very subtle and the digi camera doesn't capture that or the rounding on the other end either, but it's satisfying in real life anyways! Like I said before, the shadow are dark because the light is so strong and you do have other colors in it so no black hole effect. But if you feel you learned something from the exercise, well, that's what it was all about...I know I learned lots! I'm glad you had time to participate too...thanks so much and it really is a lovely piece! :clap:

07-01-2004, 11:31 PM
:D Thanks Sue, sure glad your back you were missed.. :( I don't think we made to big a mess while you were away. tee hee
Will give the ArtSpectrum paper a try I like the white border. Do you mask it off while your working so it stays nice and white? I would have too. :D
The more I look at that hard edge yellow its got to go. :evil:
Thanks again Sue, and :clap: welcome back! :clap:

07-01-2004, 11:49 PM
it feels sooo good to be back...I was really lost without you all! Kathy, thanks for reminding me...lol...this will be funny to you...I usually forget to mask off the white and so I take gouache white and cover up my mess :p note to sell...MUCH easier to mask off....

Pat Isaac
07-04-2004, 08:21 PM
Wow! this is great Sue. I am away now but checked in on my sister's computer and saw this. I will start when I get back in a few days. Your explanation is great about complimentary colors. I stressed that so much when I was teaching and your reflected lights are awesome! I'll be in touch later.


07-04-2004, 10:16 PM
Hi, Pat...missed you! Ahhh, so you used to teach??? Maybe you can help me with some ideas for future classrooms... :angel: And glad you'll join in! :clap: Meanwhile, have a fun visit.

07-05-2004, 03:52 AM
Okay, this is my attempt. It's quite rough, I haven't finished it off because I thought I was spending too much time on it. I tend to overblend anyway so maybe it's a good thing. I think it's all a bit grey, I'd have like a 'fresher' look to it but hey, we can't have everything. Thanks for the lesson Sue, really enjoyed it.



07-05-2004, 12:51 PM
Oooh, Helga...this is REALLY good! You don't have black and white grays, but 'color' grays, and that is the idea with complements. Your shadow areas are very delicate and convincing. Are these done with the cheapies? :eek: So tell us how you got the shadow effects...my favorite area is behind the eggs, at the top of the painting where the large shadow falls on the white stripe. Grays ARE in paintings, in shadow areas, and keeping them 'alive' is difficult and you did a fabulous job.. :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-06-2004, 01:48 AM
Oooh, Helga...this is REALLY good! You don't have black and white grays, but 'color' grays, and that is the idea with complements.

Gosh Sue, you always know how to make me feel better! When I compared it to yours and Kathy's I just wasn't satisfied with it because I loved your rich yellows much better and I loved Kats interpretation of colour more.

Yes this is still done with the Pentels, I have my finger over the purchase button for my order from Dakota. My sister bought me two boxes of the student grade Holbeins but I found them to be quite hard in comparison.

I'm actually at quite an interesting point in my life right now, I'm going to take a six month sabbatical from work and I'm going to use my savings over the last seven years to fund my living and artwork for a while. I look at it as an investment in me. Nothing gives me as much joy as surrounding myself and engaging in art. Besides if I don't do it now, I know I never will. Scary but also exciting!

Pat Isaac
07-06-2004, 07:58 AM
This is really nice. You have captured the shadows quite well. A little more work on the reflected lights would jazz it up. Especially, near the red cloth. You will love your new OPs.
I am starting my eggs today, yea!

Good luck on your venture, how exciting!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

07-06-2004, 09:41 AM
Oh, Helga...that is wonderful! You must be so excited...just remember not to spend all your time here lol...as to how we see our own work...you need to step back from it for a bit and then look at it with fresh eyes. I think we all find things we like in other's work and tend to forget that they look at ours the same way. :)

07-08-2004, 08:08 PM
I'm beginning to think I may be a cubist painter :D

Here are my eggs....8x10 canvas coated with pastel ground toned with light orange Createx Pure Pigment.


I cropped the reference a bit...wanted the eggs to have more focus....but didn't like the fabric that much :)...so I painted it as an abstract more than realistically. Not quite finished....but it needs to dry for a few days before I can add more paint. I was taking a close up and my battery died so it has to charge before you can see that :)

07-08-2004, 09:04 PM
well, I don't know about cubism...but it's good!!! Now it's my turn to wish I could sit and watch you...I love how you splat colors down and never get mud. I like your eggs lots too, nice and curvy full. oooh, this is just so exciting seeing how differently everyone approaches these eggs...thanks for joining in Carly...I love your color sense!

07-08-2004, 09:18 PM
Hey Sue....another term to add to our Oil Pastel Workbook....

along with the "white thingy", we now have "splat colors down"

That does pretty much explain my technique :D

07-08-2004, 09:48 PM
lol...I almost changed it but thought you'd get what I was saying :p
you just splat with such panache! :D

07-09-2004, 02:22 AM
Panache, oh yes, you got alotta that! :clap:

Gorgeous colours, this is what I hope to do one day, develop a recognisable style. You could spot this as a 'Carly' from a mile away!

Pat Isaac
07-09-2004, 08:04 AM
Great colors Carly and I like the interesting texture. Is this acheived because of the canvas and then the ground? I found the oil pencils at Michaels and know they will be great for details. I'm still working on my eggs, but they'll be ready soon.


07-09-2004, 10:26 AM
Great colors Carly and I like the interesting texture. Is this acheived because of the canvas and then the ground? I found the oil pencils at Michaels and know they will be great for details. I'm still working on my eggs, but they'll be ready soon.

Pat, I can't wait! I'll be out of town tomorrow through Monday, so if I'm a little late replying you'll know why. I can't wait to see how you've approached it!

07-09-2004, 02:54 PM
Thanks Pat,
the texture is due more to the way I layer the oil pastels. The pastel ground fills in some of the dimples on the canvas so there is some texture to the surface, but I fill it up with lots of OP. The variety of color in the layers gives an illusion of more texture so its a combination of both.


07-09-2004, 06:41 PM
Well I'm gobsmacked and inspired by all these beautiful egg portraits, so tonight as I was stuck for something to do decided to cook up some eggs especially for Sue.......I found this scrap of velour paper, so thought hmmmm. double the challenge, let's see how the pastels go on velour, I knew that suede board was nice to use , but hadn't tried velour before, it was good, gobbles the pastels on the first layer, but then okay, and found that the pastels lay dry on this surface, you can run your fingers over and very little oil is felt, I suppose the velour soaks it up, another thing I discovered when doing these eggs was that I could swipe the pastel on some kitchen towel, and then smear it over like wash with good effect, blending it in with my fingers or the edge of the kitchen towel....
Here it is, three hours work hard boiled eggs.


Hmmm colours look a bit insipid here, there not that dull in RL. I'll blame my digi cam for this. :D


P.S. Sue, it's been a long, long time since I did eggs as an excercise, but must say I enjoyed this piece of therapy, Thank you. :clap:

07-09-2004, 06:50 PM
awww, Mo....no one ever made me eggs before (ok, well, Chopper has, but I'm forbidden to tell....oops! :p ) I'm glad you had fun...that velour is kind of neat isn't it? I think it gave it a soft look and hey....how does that lower right corner look in RL? It looks like sparkley softies to me, I've noticed that as the OPs 'set' on velour that the nap stands back up a little and gives it a whole different look than OPs on other supports. Geez, I've got that velour mat board just sitting here...keep thinking I can add a few more before I send it on to you. I'm thinking you're going to be using it again! Thanks for joining in Mo...they're lovely eggs and especially glad you had fun! :D

07-09-2004, 07:05 PM
Sue the velour is great, similar but not so good as suede board, it depends on the nap I suppose and how you lay the pastel, one way it goes on smooth no effort and against the nap it struggles, this I suppose gives the texture, the lower right is rough, unfinished really and only two layers, but yes I think you can achieve good textures with it, it needs exploring more though as once the layers build up it becomes very soft and fuzzy almost, but still the pastels lay dry which is good because you can keep layering, nd layering lights over darks which is a bonus with OP's. I still have half a sheet of this stuff, so will experiment more over the weekend.


07-09-2004, 07:13 PM
Well, I've done OPs on Hahnemule Velour and on this mat stuff..maybe it's what you call suede board. The one thing that's a little difficult is that it's a little harder to correct, although it will take solvents no problem. But it kind of changes the look of the suede/velour. And it can reach a saturation point where it just doesn't want to take any more OP...but it holds lots. And it really does soak up the oil. Have fun experimenting...can't wait to see!

Pat Isaac
07-10-2004, 04:09 PM
I decided to post this now even though it is nowhere near done as I will be away for 2 weeks and won't be able to work on it but I WILL finish by the end of the month. Promise. I only had brown eggs and I can't believe I decided to use a checkered cloth! At least it is a start and I am having fun doing a little "homework" piece. :D
Love this site. Later.....


07-12-2004, 10:38 PM
you're off to a great start, Pat (hope you have a fun two weeks away!) hahaha....yep, those checks and stripes DO present a bit more challenge don't they? :p I like that you used brown eggs. It shows the principles work, no matter the color. Looks like a good shadow you have started there too.
We'll miss you, so hurry back!

07-13-2004, 05:59 PM
Is it too late to join in here? It looks like... well it looks like a pain in the rump, but a good lesson...lol. I dont know how I will do .. but.. if it is not too late, I would love to give it a go....


07-13-2004, 06:17 PM
Hi Crystal, not too late at all, jump right in and have a go Sue will be delighted, have fun!


07-13-2004, 06:21 PM
Yep...I'm delighted! :D This is a month long study and then we'll move to a new lesson...this will stay open then too, it just won't be stickied at the top of the page. If the plaid cloth seems a bit much go for the plain cloth or just do the eggs alone...or set up your own still life! Can't wait to see how you do...remember, it's a study...feel free to ask any questions.

Kathryn Wilson
07-14-2004, 07:25 PM
Hi all, here's my entry for the Classroom project - the eggs were fun to do, but oh those folds! They actually photographed better than I thought they would -

This is on Art Spectrum cream, 11 x 13. Thanks for a good lesson and all the work you are putting into these monthlies for us! :clap:


07-14-2004, 07:33 PM
Hey, Kat! Really nice reflections on those eggs (and on the cloth too) :) Yeah, the folds were a total killer, but it's good to know you can do them, one day you'll want to paint some still life set up and have the confidence to add some cloth. Gotta admit it's a lot more interesting than a plain table top! I really like the texture effect you got where the red and rust meet...can see stitches and everything! :clap: Thanks for joining in...know you'll be here for the clouds next month, as you've got the 'white not being white' thing down pretty good...am going to like your interpretation too I bet :D

07-16-2004, 07:44 PM
Hi everyone! I have to tell you that this was really hard for me. My first try was with my cheap OPs. That did not work. I then received my Senneliers, my first attempt on watercolor paper did not turn out, it wasn't the drawing but my choice of colors...yech. I discovered that I really prefer a smoother surface so since I was going to start over again, I decided to use drawing paper, Strathmore, 80lbs. This is the results. I also included a picture of what is left of my white pastel, as compared to a new one. Is this normal? My first piece was 9" x 12" and this one is a tiny 8" x 7 ", I think I thought I would run out of color :eek: Between learning how to draw, learning OPs, and now color, my head is spinning!

07-16-2004, 08:47 PM
but oh my goodness, you got GREAT results!!! I think you did a fabulous job and the only hint I'd throw your way is to make the shadows on a white surface like the eggs a touch softer next time, it'll help make them more dimensional. Senneliers and I do not do well together, I couldn't acheive these results using them straight for sure. Also, for me the Senneliers go faster than the Caran d'Ache or Holbein. So it's not unusual to go thru them this fast for me at least. Check out the thread I started on tortillons...you might like that...it saves a LOT on pastel usage. I also pressed harder when I first used OPs...now I've learned you don't have to and I can stretch them pretty far now, even on a sanded surface. I love the texture you got in the cloth, I also used a smooth paper and got no real texture effect. I am very impressed that you're just starting to learn all this and accomplished this...you should be VERY proud of this. Don't be discouraged on the OP useage...I always order extra whites for this reason. Lots of clappies for all your hard work! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
07-16-2004, 09:08 PM
You did a great job on this - you should be proud of this result! If you like the Sennelier white - order the Sennelier LeGrande white - not good for details because they are so large, but good for covering larger areas and they will last quite a while.

Hope to see more of your work in this Forum!

07-17-2004, 10:58 PM
I am a brand new member of this discussion board, having had my application to join approved about an hour ago. I have been painting/drawing with soft pastels for about 2 years but only bought my first box of oil pastels last week. After fumbling about on my own, I searched the Internet for a group that would help me to develop this skill. So here I am.

I found this exercise very difficult. I have blended the oil pastels using turps to achieve this result. Any constructive critisism of my work would be gratefully received.

Sydney, Australia
Scratches & Scribbles Journal (http://www.robalsmith.id.au/weblog/)

07-17-2004, 11:28 PM
Hi and a warm welcome, Robyn! Well, you came to the right place to learn, everyone here is helpful! This is a hard subject for someone completely new to OPs but I can see your previous pastel experience helped. I think that if you had tried a greener blue that it would have served to just deepen the redtone shadow areas, that's for a more realistic approach. BUT am I kind of excited by the color change...they bounce right off of each other. So it kind of depends on what you are trying to acheive...more abstract color or more realistic. Shadows are generally softer as they get further away, having it a touch darker at the base also helps to ground it a touch more. Since you used blue as the shadow area, perhaps a hint of that blue would have worked nicely in the darker shadow area of the egg. All in all it's a good piece and would stand strongly at a distance with your color choices. After a little while of working with the OPs you'll get the hang of using them straight or with turps. There's lots of info on the threads here and also go to the op index in the Pastel library for lots more info! We'll surely keep you busy here :D
I love seeing tomorrow's date on your painting...tell me...did you do this in an HOUR??? If so...wow!

07-17-2004, 11:42 PM
Thanks for you kind welcome and very useful comments on my drawing (I'm never sure whether to say drawing or painting with pastels :p ). I can see precisely what you mean and will give it another try after I finish the washing that I have avoided by doing it in the first place.

Yes, it only took me an hour but it is only a little piece. I wish it was yesterday, like it is where you are. I am a teacher and we are on the very last day of our 3 week mid year holidays, so I have to go back to work tomorrow. It really will put a hole in my creative time.

Thanks again for your very timely and very helpful siggestions

07-17-2004, 11:51 PM
You must school all year then? Here they get 3 months off in the summer. I also avoided chores today and also have pastel strewn everywhere after doing a WDE today...that's a 2 hour any medium weekly event in the Wet Canvas Towncenter...a lot of fun...you'd do great there, knowing you can do this in an hour :) Well, I hope now that you've found us you'll be able to find the time to stick around and play. I look forward to seeing your next version. Thanks for joining in :D

07-18-2004, 04:38 AM
The washing is all out on the clothes-line and I have come back in out of the cold and wind to try to implement the suggestions that Dyin made about my first effort on this exercise. It's still not easy but I think :confused: it's an improvement. Comments, please, if you have a moment and the inclination.

07-18-2004, 11:11 AM
Good morning Robyn...I'm thinking you are sound asleep right now though :D Boy, wouldn't you love to have yourself as a student in your own class? Dedicated! Yes, you're getting the idea of using a complement for shadow and I like the little egg reflection you put in the cloth too. Did you need to use turps for this one? Which brand of OPs are you using? It can make a big difference in application. Surface also effects the OPs. You might find that laying down white first in areas that will be highlighted will allow you to have stronger lights...as you can see by the way they went over the egg...plus you can scrape back if you like. Again...your work looks nice and strong with good contrasts...and would hold up at a distance nicely. We have a weekly sketch thread here called pastel and a movie which might hone your skills and on Monday night there will be a posting called TOPP...5 reference photos will be posted and you have all day Tuesday to paint...but of course, yours will be done on a Wednesday...I think the refs are posted at 10 PM here...it's lots of fun...and posted the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month. Also feel free to join in on the threads and comment...all opinions are valued!

07-18-2004, 11:31 AM
Thanks so much, Sue, for creating this wonderful thread to learn in! Though I don't really have the time to participate, it is a great learning experience even for someone who is just viewing.

I enjoy looking at everyone's "homework", and it's nice to see artists at all skill levels participating.

Robyn, welcome to the forum, and I hope you'll have some time in the future to join in more. It seems we have a number of teachers in this forum (I'm a teacher also, but right now a stay at home mom). I like the improvements you have made in your second sketch, and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your work!

07-18-2004, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Sue and for the cheery welcome, Eileen. I can see that I am going to feel really comfortable in this forum.

Sorry, I should have known to include some details about the second exercise effort. I did use turps to blend the OPs (see, I'm learning already :p ). I used 300gm cold press Montvale water colour paper and Faber Castell pastels.

I think that I have to go back to what I learnt about watercolours to use OPs properly. With soft pastels, I put light over dark but it seems that I should be putting dark over light with this medium. Is that right?

07-18-2004, 06:15 PM
Well, with good OPs you can get light over dark, it's easier to do vice versa though. I think the Faber Castells are a student grade...I know shipping is high over there but there's a thread in here on a sampler pack sold in the states that lets you try 3 of each brand plus one of the giant ones. I started with a cheap $6 set and there's a world of difference and each brand has different qualities, i bought Sennelier, then Caran d' Ache and the ones that I ended up liking best were last..the Holbeins. But it depends on how you work which one you'll like best. With OPs if you want a strong dark usually you start a little lighter and then build it up, that way it's adjustable. The more you work with them, the better feel you'll get. Both Mo, Kyle and I started with OPs only a little over a year ago. Watercolor paper isn't the easiest support to work with either. Can you get Art Spectrum? It's a sanded paper and even erasable. I also use canvas or old matboard cutouts with a very simple quick marble/gesso mixture that works great...it's cheap and my favorite support. I also sometimes use Bristol vellum...it's a slick drawing paper but seems to like OPs. I did these eggs on regular drawing paper!

07-18-2004, 06:46 PM
Thanks for the information about the sampler set, Sue. I have ordered some and also a sampler set of paper. We have such a limited range of materials available for pastel artists here in Australia.

My holidays are over ... the bell has rung ... and I have to go to my first staff meeting of the term. Oh! dear!

07-18-2004, 06:53 PM
way cool! Know you'll be so excited when they come. You'll have to do some monochrome paintings then...unless you got the brights. Oh...went and looked at your journal...your eggs look great there! It's a neat idea to keep an online art journal like that. Well, hope you get the best and most eager class you ever had so time goes faster. And hope you'll find time between homework correcting to come play with us too. :) There's also a classroom in the pastel library that helps you explore basic strokes and things with pastels too if you're interested when you get the new toys.

07-19-2004, 08:27 PM
Okay Sue, here are my "Pink Eggs", although it looks like I went a little wild with the green - I must be thinking of Dr. Seuss. I didn't tape it down, so among its other problems, it looks like one of the edges is curling up. I took a picture of this on Saturday and noticed that a couple of the eggs didn't look very eggy. Of course, when I went back and fixed a few things, I've broken some more. I decided to go ahead and take a picture, while it was still light out, so everyone could critique, before I try to "fix" it again. This was actually my inspiration to join WC, since I've been lurking for months and I couldn't get that picture, unless I signed up! Thanks so much for all of the work you do and inspiring people like me to get going again.

Sennlier on Canson, about 12 x 7.

07-19-2004, 11:26 PM
Oh! I will always treasure the story of why you joined WC!!! :p I think the eggs are very egg-y indeed and nothing says you can't introduce color like the strong green. I think it plays off of the reddish pink quite well. I think the only thing you might think about is to give a couple of those back edges a little more highlight...a sharper, crisper edge line. Since it's dark behind that area it will keep the eye from floating out of the picture. I think your egg shadows are nice...see lots of colors in there even though they're nice and dark and you diffused the edges. I'm really glad you came out of lurkdom and it makes my day to know that I'm helping to inspire people. I hope we see lots more of you here! :clap:

07-21-2004, 08:21 AM
Thanks for the advice, Sue. I'll make some changes and re-post in a couple of days. I only have nights and weekends to devote to my OPs, so I'm prettty slow to finish anything. I've never done fabric, eggs or in fact any still life before, so this was quite a challenge, but I had a lot of fun with this!

07-21-2004, 11:21 AM
wow...a lot of firsts! You might want to play around with folds of fabric...they're just like boxes...the light will hit strongest on the top usually and spill over to the side the light is positioned at. If you think about light and shadows more than the actual subject then it will kind of form itself, if that makes sense. So take your time to study light before putting OP to paper, it's sort of like doing a jigsaw puzzle, once you see the pattern it's lots easier. I'm really glad you had fun...that really is the most important thing :)

07-21-2004, 04:44 PM
You might want to play around with folds of fabric...they're just like boxes...the light will hit strongest on the top usually and spill over to the side the light is positioned at. If you think about light and shadows more than the actual subject then it will kind of form itself, if that makes sense. So take your time to study light before putting OP to paper, it's sort of like doing a jigsaw puzzle, once you see the pattern it's lots easier.

Not that I have had time to put it into practice yet - I am squoffing tea and toast in preparation to go to work (6:30am here) - but I found your explaination of how to go about painting folds very helpful. I have ALWAYS found them paralysing! When I get a moment sometime today (wishful thinking?!? :( ), I must give it a try.

07-21-2004, 05:19 PM
Well, good tomorrow to ya! :p Just try one fold at first, then add another wrinkle :D ...I have a hard time with landscape because I can't analyze each little thing so I understand, but one thing is always lots easier than bunches.

07-22-2004, 03:22 AM
Well, good tomorrow to ya! :p Just try one fold at first, then add another wrinkle :D ...I have a hard time with landscape because I can't analyze each little thing so I understand, but one thing is always lots easier than bunches.

You been looking in my bathroom mirror?!? I've got heaps of wrinkles - sorry, expression lines, but I suppose that they are not the sort that you are talking about :p

You make immense sense! Maybe I can overcome my fear of street scapes and landscapes using this method too. Just creep up on them very slowly, one brick at a time, so that I don't realise what I am doing.

Kathryn Wilson
07-22-2004, 08:39 AM
Okay Sue, here are my "Pink Eggs", although it looks like I went a little wild with the green - I must be thinking of Dr. Seuss. I didn't tape it down, so among its other problems, it looks like one of the edges is curling up. I took a picture of this on Saturday and noticed that a couple of the eggs didn't look very eggy. Of course, when I went back and fixed a few things, I've broken some more. I decided to go ahead and take a picture, while it was still light out, so everyone could critique, before I try to "fix" it again. This was actually my inspiration to join WC, since I've been lurking for months and I couldn't get that picture, unless I signed up! Thanks so much for all of the work you do and inspiring people like me to get going again.

Sennlier on Canson, about 12 x 7.

Hi Becky! I certainly don't see lots to fix with this! You did a great job and like your loose strokes! You even have the reflected color up under the eggs - good for you! My one nitpick would be with the green on the far left egg's left side - I would do away with that, or tone it down - it just draws my eye over to that side of the paper.

Looking forward to more of your work!

07-22-2004, 10:56 AM
Well, streetscapes are a different approach...on that you treat each building as one brick...I've yet to learn it on landscapes lol, so maybe we'll learn that one together!

07-24-2004, 03:16 PM
Hey all...this will remain as a sticky until Friday the 30th and then will be moved to the library, where people can continue to participate. Just thought I'd let you know in case you wanted to join in while the thread is active in the OP forum.
Next month, by popular request :D , is going to be clouds.

Pat Isaac
07-24-2004, 04:19 PM
Hi Sue,

I'm back and hope to get my eggs in before the 30th. :)


07-24-2004, 04:24 PM
Welcome back! I was thinking of you while I posted :D ...can't wait to see!

Pat Isaac
07-24-2004, 04:46 PM
Thanks for thinking of me. I even brought the work home from my studio so I could work on it this weekend and get it finished. It is a rainy weekend so can't work in my garden. Summer is very on and off for me in my studio as I am a big gardener. I was really interested to learn more about this site, like the weekly sketch. Thanks for this site!!!! :clap: It's awesome!


07-25-2004, 05:31 PM
Here's my latest attempt with the "Pink Eggs". Of course, I can't ever fix things and leave everything else alone, so I played around a bit more. After I took the photo, I noticed some more things to fix, but I might ought to leave it alone and wait for the clouds! Thanks for all of the input!

Pat Isaac
07-25-2004, 07:40 PM
Yea Becky. :clap: :clap: I think these are your best yet and shows that practise makes perfect. You all work so fast. I hope I can get mine finished before the deadline.
Clouds are next........What if you don't do landscapes????? It will be a challenge.


07-25-2004, 08:34 PM
Becky, I really like the textural effect on the eggs. Nice volume. There's also a sense of heighth and depth on the cloth...good on you! You should be proud of these eggs :) I'm glad you joined in, it seems you are having lots of fun.
Pat...I don't do landscapes lol! So that's kind of the point, we're going to try and learn things we find difficult. Plus it's so neat that we all have different approaches, we're sure to learn from each other too. And not to worry on the eggs and a 'deadline'. The thread will still be active, just not stickied. :)

Pat Isaac
07-28-2004, 03:41 PM
Okay, here are my eggs and they are still a WIP. I'm putting theem up now because I know I can't work on them anymore until sometime next week as I'm getting ready for a show this weekend. They will eventually get done and I'll post them at some future date. I thought I would have all this time when I retired, but now I wonder how I ever had time to work.LOL The checkered cloth is really time consuming....aarrrrrrrgh.....

07-28-2004, 04:49 PM
ahh....but they are so EGGY!!! Yeah, I am NOT a fan of patterned cloth either lol! but it's really coming out good. I really like all the colors and reflections you have bouncing off the eggs. and it looks like the base color is a generic skin tone...good call! What size is this?

Pat Isaac
07-28-2004, 04:55 PM
Yes, the base color is a generic skin color - seemed to work the best. It is about 7x9 on Wallis professional grade. I love that paper. :)

07-28-2004, 10:05 PM
So, Pat...what show? Any pics of what you're entering? Would love to see :D

Pat Isaac
07-29-2004, 04:38 PM
So, Sue. The show is in a new formed gallery of the son of an artist's friend of mine. He owns an upscale salon and has added a large gallery space. This is the inaugural exhibit and there are 9 of us exhibiting. I have 10 pieces in the exhibit and I will attach 2 of them. I have mostly oil pastels in the show and several watercolors. The opening is Sunday. Then I will be backin my studio painting. :D Thanks for the interest Sue and here are 2 pics.


07-29-2004, 05:04 PM
That is pretty cool and a good place for a gallery methinks! I love your pots in a window, you should really open more threads here with some of your work, everyone would love to see. I also love the comp on the boats...my favorite thing, which acts as a great stop is that bouy! You should do well at the show, how nice to have OPs out in the public more. :D Really, it's good to post lots of threads with lots of paintings so please consider it! :)
(I ALWAYS get plants wrong...the leaves look like begonias...am I wrong yet again? :p )

Pat Isaac
07-29-2004, 07:42 PM
Thanks Sue. I really, really do plan on doing some threads as soon as things slow down a bit. I'm not sure people really understand that oil pastels are different from soft pastels and I am the only oil pastellist in my area!!!! I really hate it when you enter shows and you are in the pastel category, but there is no differentiation. :mad: I always have a lot of questions at our Open Studios every year, so I am trying to eduacate people.

Till later,


Pat Isaac
07-30-2004, 08:38 AM
:( wrong again...the flowers are geraniums...and this is a huge piece - 30x 40!


07-30-2004, 10:18 AM
How hilarious...I was going to say geraniums first, because of that lovely red...sigh...it really is ME lol! Oh, it must look awesome in that size!

Want to say thanks :clap: to everyone for all their participation in this month's thread...it will go into the Pastel library and if anyone else wants to join in, feel free, I'll keep checking for new contributions.
Meanwhile...how do you feel about clouds? :p Check out the new monthly classroom I just put up!

07-31-2004, 02:24 PM
I need to check out the classroom more... Today is my first day to enter any of them!!!! The site is so overwhelming at first but soon it is like home. :) I am hoping to join in on the clouds!

07-31-2004, 02:54 PM
cool, Meldy! I was overwhelmed when I first came...but it's nice to find a forum that fits your needs, it does soon become like a home away from home. :) Have already seen one way you do clouds...can't wait to see more!

09-03-2012, 02:40 PM
I'm about to start painting my own version.....I drew every single line or hint of shading that I could find in that photo....tedious....have now traced that sketch, filled the back off the tracing paper with 4B pencil and will trace again onto pastel paper. I CAN'T WAIT to start on this one. i might take toothpicks or something to do the detail work. :D

Pat Isaac
09-03-2012, 02:52 PM
This is a fun exercise and I never did finish mine. It might be nice to post this in the studio forum so more people will see it. These classrooms are in the library and not everyone goes here very much.