View Full Version : tried a portrait in oil pastel..am I crazy?

03-06-2002, 10:29 AM
Drove 1 1/2 hours to an art supply store I'd heard about, to discover it's closing down in 2 weeks. My luck.
Anyway, they had "Professional Quality" oil pasels there at $3.75a stick. I bought 3 out of curiousity. I learned 2 things from this experience:
1) If there are professional oil pastels, there must be professional oil pastelists. WHERE ARE ALL YOU GUYS??
2) Next to them, my student-grade cheapos and Cray-Pas are just so much multicolored doggy-doo.
But I digress.
I decided to try a portrait, using a sketch (of my long-suffering daughter) I had used in another portrait using Nupastels.
Needless to say, I don't really know what I'm doing. Help from you would be most welcome. It's warmer than the scan, and softer, and the nose shows better.

03-06-2002, 11:15 AM
I happen to like them. The specialist and expressionist line are fabulous.

Who makes professional oil pastels? I have never seen them.

I like the portrait (and all daughters are long suffering - just ask my teenage daughter. Life is so unfair). Is the background a reddish tinted paper? Or is that just how it scanned?


03-06-2002, 12:45 PM
Andrew, I haven't tried the Cray-Pas Specialists, but I have some Expressionist and liked tham fine til I tried those 3 new ones. They are so creamy and smooth!
They are made by Holbein. Dick Blick has them in sets. Loomis and Toles has them individually. http://www.loomisandtoles.com
Yeah, I forgot to mentioned that I had previously scumbled the pinkish-brown acrylic on watercolor paper. It was just lying around so I decided to use it. The buckles in the paper show in the scan.
So if you like your Cray-Pas, that means you do oil pastels! Please, please, can I see some? :D :D :D

03-07-2002, 02:21 AM
good work, i am glad to see more people here trying oil pastels.

$3.75 a stick?! geez, i got a box of 36 cheapo no-names for $5 and they work just fine for me, though never being exposed to nice art supplies i couldnt say anything about the difference.

03-07-2002, 12:48 PM
. . . in the drawing forum. It is from the last Friday night drawing event. It is a read eyed tree frog on black paper. Real quick, but very satisfying. My wife now has the bugger hanging on her wall at work. Go figure.


03-07-2002, 01:44 PM
What a nice pastel! Time to get some better paper, though. Your art is too good to use buckling paper. How about sticking the paper onto core board or something sturdier? I use the door skins covered in coats of gesso and pumice powder. Just won't buckle no matter how much I paint or scrub the thing. :)

03-08-2002, 10:53 AM
Oh yes, Andrew, I remember that frog. I checked back to make sure...it rocks! :D (as my daughter would say)
Light, what do you mean, "door skins"? Is that some kind of paper?
The last time I scumbled watercolor paper I ironed it flat and that made quite a difference, but this time I was too impatient to get the iron out. I've been away from doing my own art for a couple of decades and seem to have lost my touch for stretching paper.
Thanks for looking. :D

03-08-2002, 11:57 AM
Ah, door skins. Go down to your local hardware store and go to the door department where you can buy the "door skins". They are the size of a door, are made of wood, and are very thin. Maybe about a quarter inch. Take home, measure to the size you want the finished piece to be, which includes the mat over the top of it, and cut to size with a box cutter. Sand. Sand. Sand. Though its is pretty smooth so just sand to smoothness you want. Mix Gesso and pumice or rotten stone powder, also found at the friendly hardware store. Mix with water if you want and make it the consistency you like for a smooth surface or a bit thicker for a textured surface, which would be for landscaping. You can mix with tints, acrylics, or pastel powder to pre-tint before painting on. I mix with dark acrylic. Apply a lot of layers to get the feel you like and the tooth you like. Let dry in between. I like to make the gesso mixture real wet and let it smooth over the surface when I do portraits.

This way you don't have to worry about the buckling of paper or applying a sturdy backing when framing.

You can also get the sandpaper and glue it to the door skin.

Just have to remember to cut the door skins to the size of the frame you will use, then leave the space for the mat (I usually tape off) and then do the pastel. Works real well.