View Full Version : Some Questions??

06-04-2007, 10:16 PM
I haven't experimented much with OP; I've only done a few small pieces, just to see what they were like. I used canvas panel, it didn't really work out, and I really didn't like it. Then I tried pastel paper, which was made for soft pastels, the painting itself turned out good, but later on the oil from the pastels soaked right thorough and made a dark line all the way around the painting. Now I'm thinking about trying OP on Strathmore medium drawing paper, I don't know if it will soak through, I'll have to wait and see if it does. Most oil pastel paintings I have ever seen are still life's and landscapes; I rarely ever see incredibly detailed paintings of animals, that's what I am interested in doing. What is the best surface to use? Do you have to treat the surface with gesso are something else before applying OP?

06-04-2007, 11:01 PM
if i'm using a good drawing paper like Strathmore, i gesso it. that seals the paper against the oil and allows for the use of solvents, too.

some artists can get incredibly detailed work using OPs. i don't quite understand how, though :-) oil pastels allow for a great variety of styles.

06-05-2007, 01:39 AM
Hi Wildart! It's important to remember that the oil you see on the paper, unlike some of the oils used with oil painting, won't damage the paper, so if you cover the whole of the paper (or everything but an edge for framing), there won't be any seepage visible. It seems to depend on the absorbancy of the paper too. There are some papers, such as Art Spectrum Colorfix and Wallis (there may be others), where I don't think it ever seeps through, because of the coating on the paper. Another possibility is painting panels, either purchased or prepared yourself with gesso. And of course you can gesso paper, too, as Lamar recommends, or coat it before painting with acrylic medium.

I've seen some pretty detailed animal (and people) portraits done with OP here in the forum. OPs are very versatile, and there are lots of things that can be done with them.

Here's a link to a good example of a detailed animal portrait. This artist used Bristol board as his surface, which works well for detail:

The four artist brands all are a little different in terms of hardness, which probably would be a consideration for highly detailed pieces too. I personally find really soft OPs, like Senns, are difficult to use for details, but everyone has different ways of working...

Pat Isaac
06-05-2007, 08:55 AM
Welcome to the OP forum. :wave: Annie has given you some good advice and the oil seepage eventually dries so that it does not show. The papers with ground on them prevent seepage and so do the boards. May people put a coat of gesso on first or a colorfix ground whcich comes in jars. Check out Sarah Theophilus' web site http://www.petsinpastel.com/ She does beautiful animal ortraits in oil pastel.


06-05-2007, 10:37 AM
Pat: I checked out Sarah's site myself. What an amazing artist! She's posted a great tutorial there for painting animals in OP on her site, and I think many of the things she suggests for achieving detail would also work for other sorts of paintings. Thanks for the link. :)

Wildart: You'll probably want to check out Sarah's site yourself, but I just wanted to note that she is using 300 pound hot pressed Arches Aquarelle watercolour paper, which she describes as having "a gorgeous surface with just the right balance of smoothness and texture." The two papers I mentioned earlier in relation to stopping oil seepage, Colorfix and Wallis have a sanded surface, may not be as good for creating the level of detail you wish to achieve. I might also add that another possibility may be Bristol Vellum (it also comes in a smooth version), which is a fairly stiff paper (the stiffness is much like that of a postcard). The vellum surface has some texture, but it's fairly minimal. I've used it and was able to achieve a fair amount of detail on it.

I hope you'll share some of your paintings with us and welcome to the OP Forum! :wave:

06-05-2007, 11:53 AM
Hi Wildart, I have done a few animal paintings in OPs. I use Sennelier and Holbein Artist OPs on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper. Here's an example:

Hope this helps. Jane

06-05-2007, 08:20 PM
Thank you guys so much, this has been tremendously helpful. I have been to Sarah Theophilus' site before and wow does she achieve some great detail in her work, I'm along way from being that good of an OP painter. I can see now that to achieve that depth of detail takes a lot of patience and time, which I'm more that willing to do. Jane that is a cute little squirrel, you did a good job on it. Thank you so much Annie that was a big help.:thumbsup: