View Full Version : OP Classroom - Portrait

Pat Isaac
01-09-2008, 01:11 PM
I am going to be doing a portrait of a young girl and I encourage you to follow along or try your own portrait. There are probably as many techniques out there as there are artists, but this is the way I start and finish a portrait. Along the way, I hope you will ask questions, make observations and try your hand at a portrait. This is the reference photo. I love the colors in this photo and the hat.
When doing a portrait I always do it on scrap paper first as I erase a lot before I feel comfortable with the likeness. This is my first drawing with most of the sketch lines erased.

I then cover the back of the paper with white soft pastel as I will be transferring it to dark green colorfix. I chose that color as I thought it would be a good contrast for the photo colors. If I were using a lighter paper then I would use a darker color pastel. Once the image is transferred, I then go over my lines with white oil pencil so I won't lose them.

I am now ready to add color. I always work over my whole painting at once so I feel I have established a relationship between the colors and the values. The first step is to roughly block in the colors. I have numbered the colors that I used.
1 - Sennelier #202, geranium lake.
2 - Holbein #20A - purple, #3
3 - Sennelier #230, rose ochre
4 - Holbein #26G, venetian red, #5
5 - Holbein #5A, hansa yellow, #5
6 - Sennelier #25, flesh ochre
7 - Sennelier #211, midnight blue
I also used an oil pencil, indigo blue for the pupil of the eye.
I will have more tomorrow. This is the very beginning stages.
The portrait is 10" x 15"


01-09-2008, 01:17 PM
Pat, this is a terrific Classroom subject. It's going to be a great painting, and of so much help to those who do portraits. Jane

01-09-2008, 01:21 PM
Thank you so much for doing this Pat! I just tried my hand at my first portrait the other day and have so many questions for you! This class will be such a help! I will be following patiently:)

Pat Isaac
01-09-2008, 01:37 PM
Thanks. I forgot to mention that in the initial drawing it is very important to measure, i.e. distances between eyes, where the nose falls in relation to mouth, chin, etc. Also the angle of the head and the angle of the features.


01-09-2008, 02:18 PM
This is going to be great! The image is terrific - wonderful color and good value changes - and I hope to learn a lot. Thanks, Pat!

01-09-2008, 03:58 PM
Hello Pat.
Thanks for doing a portrait after my request:clap: :clap: .

Can you change the color of the color-numbers and arrows to white, because they are so hard to see, in the future pictures?

Because i don't have any Holbein's, can you tell me which sennelier color can i use(comes closer) instead?


Pat Isaac
01-09-2008, 04:05 PM
I will do that, Nico, no problem and I will also let you know what color you might use. When I go to my studio tomorrow, I'll update the color list.


01-09-2008, 05:19 PM
Oh goody, Pat, this'll be fun to watch!! :)

Pat Isaac
01-09-2008, 05:28 PM
Thanks, join in if you want.


01-09-2008, 10:34 PM
I won't be able to join in, but I would love to watch this one develop.:clap: :thumbsup:

01-10-2008, 07:50 AM
Pat this is goint to be a very interesting class, thanks for doing it.
I'm going to join it and hope that I'll be able to start my painting this evening or tomorrow night. I do not have those colors you are using, but I hope to get along with the few I own.

Pat Isaac
01-10-2008, 07:52 AM
It doesn't matter that you don't have these colors, just use what you have. I hope to have an update today. As of now I am planning on getting to my studio.


01-10-2008, 04:02 PM
Hello Pat.

Can you explain what to you mean with:
....so I feel I have established a relationship between the colors and the values

When is a relationship between the color and the value established?

Can you explain that for the colors to you use in this portrait?


Pat Isaac
01-10-2008, 04:08 PM
Here is another update. I started putting in heavier color and worked around one eye. I do like to get the eyes in relatively soon as I feel that is the personality of the portrait. Only a few new colors were added.
1 - Holbein #26L venetian red #3 - closest Senn color #231
2 - Senn #77 rose madder lake pale
3 - Holbein #38C ultramarineblue #5 or Senn #6 lt. blue

I added some blue to the forehead and around the eye. I forgot to put the color in, but I added some Senn #13 yellow grey to the hair on the left side, her right. This color works really well for blondes.
I also used a color shaper to push the color near the edges of the cheek. Royal Sovereign firm.
Here is a close up of the area I worked on.
I think that does it for today. What did I leave out? I may not get back to this until Monday.


Pat Isaac
01-10-2008, 04:17 PM
Hi Nico, I'll try.
When starting a painting, I need to know what is going to be the darkest dark and the lightest light and that way I can work all the values in between. If I work only in one area at a time, the values may not work for the painting as a whole. I may have made one area too dark and realize later that it should be lighter, but If I work the painting all together, that is less likely to happen. The same thing applies to color. The whole painting should have a harmonious feel as far as the color goes. Some colors may be too bright or dull when next to another color, also the value of the color matters. I hope I have made some sense of this so that you understand. Let me know.


01-10-2008, 04:23 PM
pat....very interesting...and a wonderful start...thanks for the wip!!!! tyree:wave:

01-10-2008, 04:43 PM
hello Pat.

Yes, your explanation is very clear to me..

yet, i understand that i "must" use a darker value of the same color and not a darker value for another color to establish a shadow area of a object!

Do you sort "out" all the colors which will you use in your painting before?

As i see you don't go with a oil pencil again after you have applied the colors to define better the contours of the face. is this right?


Pat Isaac
01-10-2008, 04:47 PM
I don't use the oil pencils much after that, maybe only around the eyes and the mouth. I will tell you when I do that. I don't sort out the colors beforehand, but have a general idea of what I will use, only because I have done it before, but each portrait is a little different. I will explain the shadow areas as I go along.


01-13-2008, 09:43 AM
Well,... I started the portrait yesterday... it looks terrible so far... but I still hope that it will get better :lol: .
I'm really lacking those holbein fleshtones.

Pat Isaac
01-13-2008, 09:52 AM
Good for you. I do like many of the Holbeins for flesh tones, but Sennelier has a relatively good range. I am trying to add comparable Senn colors also as I go along.
I may not get an update tomorrow as we are due for a big snowstorm!:eek:


01-13-2008, 10:56 PM
This is looking beautiful, I love those blue eyes.:clap: :thumbsup: (http://product.half.ebay.com/When-Life-Nearly-Died_W0QQprZ46912194QQtgZinfo)

01-14-2008, 03:04 AM
I may not get an update tomorrow as we are due for a big snowstorm!:eek:

That's bad news. :( Hope you are fine and everythins is alright.

01-14-2008, 03:34 PM
Looking forward to progress. It looks great so far and very educational. Thanks Pat.

01-15-2008, 03:05 PM
Hello pat.

As i see you have add a eyelash to the left eye.

Which color have you used and with what? oilpencil?

And is the whole left cheek only with 2 colors-venetian red and rose ochre?


Pat Isaac
01-15-2008, 07:31 PM
Here is another update to the portrait. I started layering more color and working around the face and the other eye. I had a lot of trouble with the eye and it just got too mushy so I will probably go in and work on it some more after the OPs set up.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jan-2008/35760-color2.JPG
1. Sennelier, #34, burnt umber.
2. Sennelier, #230, rose ochre. I did add some white to the edge of the cheek.
3. Holbein. # 26G, venetian red, #3 a comparable Senn color may be #231
4. Senn, #202, geranium Lake lt., also on bottom lip with white added. /the shadow on the bottom lip is Senn. #217 cobalt violet lt.
5. Senn. #217, Cobalt violet lt.
6. Holbein #26G venetian red #1
I went on to add more color layers and work around the edges to get rid if the drawing lines. I used the same color shaper to do this. I then tried to establish some darks.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jan-2008/35760-close2.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jan-2008/35760-color3.JPG
I put in the underside of the hat.
1. Sennelier #8, bordeaux mixed with Senn #27, purple.
2. & 3. I started adding hair color using a mixture of browns and yellows.
Senn. # 36, burnt sienna, #9 van dyke brown, #243 earth brown, Holbein #26A, oxide yellow, #4.(comparable Senn.#20)
I also adde Senn #13, yellow grey to some of the lighter areas.
Next I will fx the eye and try to get all the colors layed in and then go back and start working on the details.
Does this answer your questions, Nico. I do use a little oil pencil, dark brown around the eyes as well as indigo blue.


01-16-2008, 01:44 AM
Hello Pat.

Yes, your description is very detailful...Thanks.

2 Questions:
A. Which color have you used to Nose shadow(right part)?
B. If a Object has dark Brown eyes and Dark brown Hair which senn. color is recommended /good to use for the eye and for the hair?


Andi Rebirth
01-16-2008, 06:39 AM
What a treat! I know how shallenging these are, yours looks cleaner than mine did. You have really used your colors well. Thanks for doing this, I know it is alot of work.
You are always so generous to this community. Andi

Pat Isaac
01-16-2008, 08:24 AM
Nico, i used venetian red #4 on the nose.
I'd use burnt sienna for the eye and sepia for the dark parts. I'd also use these for the hair, but mix it up a little with umber and some of the earth browns for the highlights, maybe even a hint of red.


01-16-2008, 11:10 AM
Great job, Pat - you are supplying such helpful, detailed information. I continue to be amazed at how differently we work. Jane

Pat Isaac
01-16-2008, 11:17 AM
Thanks, Jane. i always find it fascinating to see how artists approach their work. The difference is always amazing. I probably won't get back to this until tomorrow or Friday as I have appointments to attend to.Be patient everyone.


Pat Isaac
01-18-2008, 05:17 PM
I didn't have a lot of time to work on this today, but built up some more layers on the face and tried to block in one of the hands. I also added some of the hair on the left side, her right. I used all the same colors, but did add a little Senn yellow ochre to the hair.
I found that it is easier to keep the colors that I use for this painting in a separate tray so I don't have to go searching for the color every time. This is very helpful to me. Next time I'll take a pic of my tray. I also used the color shaper along the edge of the cheek and the hand.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2008/35760-color4.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2008/35760-close3.jpg

01-19-2008, 09:38 AM
*Running slide into a chair in the back of the room*

Present for class!!! *waves hand in the air*. Please excuse all the pastels and stuff that are tumbling out of my bag, but I'm here for class! :D Ah, yes...that dust covering me? Ummm...that's nothing...really! :lol:

Pat, this looks beautiful! I love the tones in the face - very nicely captured. It's always great to see how you work. I do learn a lot from these. I'll be waiting for the next installment.

Pat Isaac
01-19-2008, 09:52 AM
Okay, present and accounted for.....oops, I saw that dust...hmmmm...I know where it came from:lol:

Glad to have you aboard and thanks for your nice comments.


Pat Isaac
01-21-2008, 04:15 PM
Here is another update. Today, I tried to get the whole paper covered and to start working on the other hand a little and the shoulder.
I did add some new colors.
1. Senn. #94, brown pink. I used this in some areas of the hair.
2. Senn #86, sap green light
3. Holbein, Ultramarine blue. I actually used this before for some of the face shadows.
I did go around the face edges next to the fingers with the chisel color shaper.


01-21-2008, 05:04 PM
Pat, this is coming along beautifully. Great likeness and gorgeous colours. Jane

Pat Isaac
01-21-2008, 05:10 PM
Thanks, Jane.


Pat Isaac
01-22-2008, 04:01 PM
Well, I can't post my updates as I stupidly left my camera on all night and the battery was dead when I went to take the pictures today...Pretty dumb...:rolleyes:
I'll have some updates tomorrow.


01-23-2008, 07:23 AM
Pat, this is so beautiful :).
I'm halfway done with mine, but it doesn't look half as good as yours. I tried to adapt your technique for this portrait, but it didn't work out for me ... so I'll try and see how I'll get my painting finished. Anyway, I'm happy that I tried it :))!

Pat Isaac
01-23-2008, 08:20 AM
Thanks, Silvia. I do hope you show me your progress. I charged my camera so I'll have more images today.


Pat Isaac
01-23-2008, 06:42 PM
Okay, the camera was working today....I did some work on the background on the left side and some of the hat on that side. I also did more work on the fingers. Had to give that up for the background as it was frustrating...:eek:
One thing I forgot to mention is to keep your OPs clean by wiping them with a paper towel. Several times I put down a color and it had another color on it...Horrors....this is easily fixed though by just scraping out the area with a palette knife.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2008/35760-color6.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2008/35760-leftcloseup.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2008/35760-rightcloseup.jpg
1 Senn #85 phalo green med.
2 Senn #86 phalo green light - I think I mentioned this color before and thought it was sap green, but this is the correct color....sorry..:o
3 Holbein 13G #3, rose pink
4 Holbein 20 A #5, purple
5 Senn #215 havana ochre

I really like the Sennelier new ochres as they work so well for a lot of things. Lovely colors.

Any questions?


01-23-2008, 07:36 PM
Pat, not to confuse anyone, but my Senn #85 is labeled Chrome Green medium and Senn #86 is labeled Chromium Green light. The greens are really bringing out the gold in her hair. Jane

Pat Isaac
01-23-2008, 07:47 PM
That is one of the problems now as my colors are older and they have changed the names.....sigh. I am sure that the colors are similar or at least i think so. Do they look similar?


01-23-2008, 07:50 PM
Hello pat.
I can only tell that is amazing:thumbsup:

To me ist not clear how to archive such clear lines(edges) in the eyes and in the lips with pastel:confused: :confused:

of cource with oilpencil is easy but with ops?

I have paint my nice eyes.

First i have put a little color on a small tortillion and the apply to the region but the line are not so clear and not so exactly and the tortillion absorbs also a little color . With a sharper(i have the soft one) the lines are also not so clear and exactly positioned.


Pat Isaac
01-23-2008, 08:00 PM
I will post a close up of the eyes next. I did use some oil pencil around the edges but also used a dab of OP and then spread it with my shaper. I also broke some of the Holbeins in half to give a nice sharp point. It is okay if the lines are not exact. The overall effect is what counts.


01-23-2008, 08:18 PM
Pat, I think they are the same (hard to tell exactly as the colours look brighter on my screen than on the green paper). I was checking various retailers and the labeling is inconsistent. Blick's has #86 labeled Phthalo and #85 Chromium!!! Jane

Pat Isaac
01-24-2008, 07:42 AM
I took the color names off an old color chart I have from Sennelier. Interesting that the retailers have different names. The #s are the 85, 86 and there is 87, sap green, Those are my fav green colors.


01-24-2008, 12:49 PM
Hello pat.

Most color in you portrait is Rose ochre(face highlights)
Because i dont have the color Sennelier Rose ochre ,Which color can i use instead ?

As i see you have used little bit Sennelier #6 blue lt. in forehead
What is the prupose to use this color?


01-24-2008, 01:43 PM
Pat, this is gorgeous! Thank you again for taking time to share this with us! Really appreciate all your effort! Learning SOOOOOOO much from watching this!:clap:

Pat Isaac
01-24-2008, 02:07 PM
I used the blue in the shadow area on the forehead as the shadow is cool and this gives it a cool tone.
I'm not sure about a comparable color to the rose ochre. You could try #241, light english red and mix white with it or # 236, coral, or #25 flesh ochre. None if these is a light as the rose ochre but mixing them with white might help.


01-24-2008, 02:50 PM
Hello pat.

Thanks for the alternate color for rose ochre.

I have mix the english red light with a little white, comes very gloss to rose ochre.

btw: english red light is sen #241 not senn #240(red brown)


Pat Isaac
01-24-2008, 03:20 PM
Glad that works for you. Sorry about the color # it was a typo.


01-26-2008, 05:36 PM
I'm glad I found this Pat! Thanks so much for the demo!

Pat Isaac
01-26-2008, 05:47 PM
Thanks, I'm glad you like it and hope it is helpful.


01-28-2008, 12:11 PM
Pat - what a treat to see the process from start to almost done.

Fantastic!!! Beautiful child and lovely color. I love the pink of the hat and how it casts such fabulous colors.

Keep going! You have enough snow to keep you inside painting I hear.


Pat Isaac
01-28-2008, 04:02 PM
Barb, thanks, for looking and if you see anything that needs work, let me know.
Other eyes are always helpful and I admire your portrait work a great deal.


Pat Isaac
01-28-2008, 04:54 PM
Here is another update. I worked on the hair, hat, and hands today. It is nearing completion. I need to work a little more in each of these areas, especially the hand, but it just got too goopy today so I need to let it set up overnight. I really do hope to finish it tomorrow. I didn't add any new colors except for the Senn #212, mummy. I added this to the shoulder and a little to the hand. I just discovered this is a great neutral skin color.


01-29-2008, 05:19 PM
Hello Pat.

As i see in this classroom and in classroom-Still Live your has covered the whole colored Paper with ops.

You use the background color neither for complement nor for coloring some objects parts.

Which is the reason to use a colored paper and not a white paper instead , if you cover the whole background with ops?
Just because you like to work in colored paper or is there another reason?

PS: i have no words to tell about this classroom:clap: :angel: :music:


Pat Isaac
01-29-2008, 05:57 PM
Hi Nico,
Lots of people have asked me that question and it was discussed before. It is probably a throwback to my oil painting days when I always toned the canvas. I find it difficult to work against white as it tends to change the tone of the colors. I like to work against a colored background so that I can see the color relationships better and I feel that the color of the background affects the applied color. This is just my feeling. I try to use a complement to what I am painting or to use a neutral tone. Does this make sense?
I have another update which I will post soon.


Pat Isaac
01-29-2008, 07:11 PM
Here is another update. I worked on the hat today and the hair. The hand was still too wet and I couldn't make anything work. Another day. I tried to get some of the straw texture in the hat. I have not added any new colors. I probably won't get back to this until next Monday as I have to work on a group show for our studio association. I had hoped to get more work done on the hands, but they were just too mushy to add more layers.


01-29-2008, 08:37 PM
Hi Pat - It's lovely.

My only comment is that I find my eye being drawn to the negative shape on the right upper side - where her hat touches the light blue - it's almost too sharp an edge or too great a contrast. Does anyone else have this concern?


Pat Isaac
01-29-2008, 09:12 PM
Actually, I did. When I left my studio today and looked back at it, that is what I saw first. I'll fix it. Thanks, Barb.


01-30-2008, 01:36 AM
Hello Pat.

Thanks for the answer to my question before.
Yes, i dont like a white background too.

I had the experience too, that a white background change the color "filling".


01-31-2008, 06:19 PM
What a lovely painting. And thanks a lot for the WIP. It is superb.

Pat Isaac
01-31-2008, 06:38 PM
Thanks, so much, Marina. I admire your work.


02-04-2008, 03:42 PM
Hello Pat.

Which color have you used between hers cheek and the Hand on the left Site? and which color between hers fingers on the right Site(fingers shadows)?

btw: i had try to paint more the 4 times a portrait of my nice which was a FRONT picture, every time i was dissapointed with the nose!:evil: :evil:

The nose are very difficult to paint in a front view, so have destroy the pictures.

If you have time and you wont , after this classroom are finish, to show us how to paint a nose in a front view.:confused:


Pat Isaac
02-05-2008, 09:05 AM
Here is the final, I think. I may find other tweaks as I look at it on the easel, but for now I am calling it done.
Nico, I used Holbein venetian red #5 for the shadows on the hands and fingers. I'll add a front view nose to this thread some time this week. Thanks for the encouragement everyone and hope you found this helpful.

02-05-2008, 10:55 AM
Beautiful work. Those eyes just draw us in. The colours are fabulous. I love everything about it. Jane

02-05-2008, 11:20 AM
Pat, this is a lovely painting, very well done, and your explanations were very clear.


02-05-2008, 11:37 AM
Thanks Pat.

You classrooms (this, and the Still live) are amazing:clap: :thumbsup: :angel: :cat: :heart: .

What remains for the future (i hope, i near future) is a Landscape classroom, maybe with a waterfall:confused: .

thanks again.


Pat Isaac
02-05-2008, 04:13 PM
Thanks, everyone. I just noticed that I never put in the freckles...maybe i won't...:lol:
Someone else will have to do the landscapes as that is really not my forte.


02-05-2008, 05:37 PM
hello pat.

Never mine , about the landscapes.......:wink2:

Maybe you can do in the future a Flower-classroom.

As i see in you Gallery, flowers are your forte.:)


Pat Isaac
02-05-2008, 05:44 PM
Yes, that is possible in the future.


02-05-2008, 07:15 PM
This turned out beautiful, I love her eyes.:clap: :thumbsup:

Pat Isaac
02-06-2008, 08:12 AM
Thanks, Elizabeth...


02-08-2008, 03:46 PM
This has turned out so beautiful, Pat!

Pat Isaac
02-08-2008, 03:51 PM
Thanks, Silvia. It was fun to do.


02-14-2008, 07:37 AM
I've been following this thread with great enjoyment and just realised I had never commented. Great tutorial,wonderful portrait! I love those hands, the texture in the hat, everything.

I tried out the image myself just because one of my New year's resolutions was to get out of my comfort zone more often, even if just for practice. Now I remember why I don't do many portraits! I get so bogged down with the likeness I overwork it. Is this sweet child a relative, by the way, or from the RIL? You've put a lot of life and expression into it; seems as if you know the subject well.

Anyway,another outstanding o.p. classroom,Pat; thanks!

Pat Isaac
02-14-2008, 09:10 AM
Thanks, Wendy. This is the child of a friend. I had a good time doing this, a throwback to teaching days.


02-22-2008, 01:17 AM
this is STUNNING, I LOVE the composition, the colours, the actual effort you have put into this to teach us!!!!
You are a teacher at heart and I am sooooo glad for that - THANKYOU!!!!!

Pat Isaac
02-22-2008, 07:44 AM
Thanks so much Stacey. Are you going to try one?


02-28-2008, 06:45 AM
Well, alright, here is my version of it.

Pat Isaac
02-28-2008, 07:19 AM
This is just wonderful, Silvia and you have really captured the sparkle in her eyes. Wonderful color throughout.


02-28-2008, 10:28 AM
Hi Pat, this portrait sequence is lovely. Can we also use it in the OPS news letter?

02-28-2008, 12:53 PM
Silvia, I'm sorry but I can't see your version to comment on. I hope they sort this problem out soon. Jane

02-28-2008, 02:31 PM
I like those eyes, too, Silvia, and the wonderful flow of her hair.
Ok, I was too shy to post mine; put it into the sketch thread instead, but Pat said to put it here too, so here it is. (that is, if it uploads:rolleyes: )
Maybe it was my monitor, but I couldn't see much eye colour in the photo, so mine are missing that lovely blue. I did a lot of muttering and scraping-off and re-doing and still see a bunch of things I don't like. But I'm glad I did it.

02-28-2008, 03:01 PM
Thank you very much for the compliments, Pat, it always means much to me.

Wendy, your version looks beautiful. You have captured this particular air of dreaminess :). And as usually I marvel at your soft blended edges. How do you only achieve them? Beautiful, indeed.

Jane, I'm so sorry, that you cannot see the picture. I also have this problem with some other photos here on WetCanvas. It seems they have some troubles getting the site working recently. (Well, if it doesn't show up in this tread, you could alternatively visit my blog (http://sparklingsilvia.wordpress.com), I've posted it there, too)

02-28-2008, 03:51 PM
Hallo Pat,

the portrait is soo wonderful.
Till now Iīve only done some portraits in pencil. But with the help you gave here (and after I will have finished my mixing exercises) I think I will also try one in oilpastel. Thanks in advance :wave:

You mentioned OIL PENCILS. I was looking for them in our local artstore, but like me they didnīt even know of their existance. So I still wonder what that is.

Greetings from Dresden,

Pat Isaac
02-28-2008, 03:59 PM
Of course you may use it in the PO newsletter, Carol.
Thanks for putting your portrait here Wendy, she is where she belongs and she is lovely.
Beate, the oil pencils that I referred to are made by Walnut Hollow and are often found in the wood craft sections of craft stores. Their web site is http://www.walnuthollow.com/
Prismacolor colored pencils work well too.


02-28-2008, 04:03 PM
Hello Beate.

I have the oil pencils too.
i have them from ebay.com......try a search there...
(they are semi-opaque)

Pat. Since you are so good in portrait

Why do not try to Paint from a Master?:confused:

Hot topic on the oilpainting forum are Vanmeer "The girl with the pearl earring"

This portrait due with OPs are all the Classroom together:wave:


Pat Isaac
02-28-2008, 04:08 PM
Thanks, Nico, I wasn't sure if they were elsewhere besides the USA.


02-28-2008, 04:12 PM
Beate if you cannot get the Walnut Hollows you might as well try the good old-fashioned Polychromos by Faber-Castell. The trick when working with pencils on oil pastels is that you have to leave the OPs to set for a while before trying to draw with the pencils on top of them.

Pat Isaac
02-28-2008, 04:31 PM
That's true, Beate and Lyra polychromos work as well. Almost any colored pencil that has a wax base.


02-28-2008, 05:30 PM
Silvia, I checked your blog. Very nice work on the portrait, great colours and beautiful eyes. Jane

02-28-2008, 10:30 PM
Wendy, I can see yours now. What a lovely soft expression and treatment, and a good likeness too. Jane

03-22-2008, 10:33 AM
Itīs done!:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

I canīt say I had no problems with it, but that was due to my lacking practice and also missing colours. Your guidance, Pat, was great!!!!


Some detail:

The hands were a real challenge and I think the shadows are not strong enough.

Now Iīm curious what you say.

03-22-2008, 11:33 AM
Could you explain more about transfering your sketch? You talked about covering with a soft white pastel for transfer. I'm not familar with this technique and would love more info.

Thanks so much

03-22-2008, 11:49 AM
I've been away from my PC for a couple of days, and came back to this wonderful tutorial!!! Thanks so much Pat. I love doing portraits and I'm always looking to improve my skill. This helps tremdously.
I'm working with the Sennilers for the first time. I've graduated from the cheepies! :clap: . How do you blend and layer your OPs? Do you always use a shaper or do you had some oil to the mix of things? What about drying time between layers? Do you have any suggestions or ways to know it's time to let things set for a bit?


03-22-2008, 01:21 PM
Hi Eve,

this transferring method was also new to me, though as a child I remember having done sth similar with pencil.
You draw the sketch first, then you put a pastel layer on the back side of your sketch. You put the sketch with this back side on the paper of your painting and simply draw with a pencil along the lines of your sketch. You must be careful with the pressure and maybe fix the 2 papers a bit so that your work will be clean. As Pat says you should then go over the lines with a white pencil again to fix them a bit.
Worked very well for me.

I hope I could help you.
Have fun trying out.

Pat Isaac
03-22-2008, 04:21 PM
I think you did a great job with the portrait, Beate. I like your pink reflected color in the face and yes, the shadows could probably be a little darker and also the shadow on the hat, but over all this is quite nice and I like the strokes of the background.

Eve, Beate gave the the explanation perfectly for transferring a drawing. I do it this way when I know that I am going to be doing a lot of erasing trying to get the drawing right. The good paper wouldn't take all my erasing. I go over my chalk transfer with an oil pencil so I won't lose the drawing. For blending I use my finger a lot and the shapers for edges. If the colors just start to mix together and not lay on top, then it is time to let them set up overnight. You will be able to tell when that time comes, because the OPs just won't behave.
I don't use oil or any solvent to blend, not that they are wrong, but I tried them and it just didn't work for me.
Enjoy your new Senns.


Tracy Lewis
03-31-2008, 05:52 AM
:crying: Oh Pat, you make it look so easy!!!:crying: Please get the next flight into Wales, and teach me. Don't bother with the return ticket, I fear you will be here forever:eek: :D

To everybody else who gave this lesson a go. :clap: :clap: :clap: You did great, well done:thumbsup:

Pat Isaac
03-31-2008, 07:31 AM
thanks, Tracy, I'd love to come. Are you going to try it?


Tracy Lewis
03-31-2008, 07:55 AM
Yes, I will give it a go as soon as my new op's arrive from the U.S.A. Actually you could bring them with you :3)

Pat Isaac
04-02-2008, 07:03 PM
Excellent, I'll see if I can find them....:D


Tracy Lewis
04-29-2008, 08:56 AM
Pat. Where can I get oil pencils from?

Pat Isaac
04-29-2008, 09:09 AM
I have found the oil pencils in craft stores such as Michaels here in the US. They are with the wood crafts. They are made by Walnut Hollow. You can also use Faber Castel polychromos as they are oil based and Lyra polycolors.


06-05-2008, 12:44 PM
:clap:Thanks so much for taking the time to show every step - this is so helpful!

Pat Isaac
06-05-2008, 04:15 PM
You are welcome and I am happy that it is helpful.


03-15-2009, 04:34 PM
Pat - I will be particularly interest in following this portrait, as I did a pencil study of this same young girl. I have to learn how to upload my work onto this site. (This is my first day!!!)
Thanks for sharing,

Pat Isaac
03-15-2009, 04:51 PM
Welocme , Betty.:wave: If you go to the quick links in the blue menu, scroll down to image uploader, it will tell you how to do it.
If you want to post work you should post it in the studio forum and to talk in the talk forum. I was also an art teacher for 30 years and retired 10 years ago. It is now so great to be able to do my own work...


06-10-2009, 12:17 PM
This portrait is stunning. I love the warm, glowing colors and the crop. Thanks for posting it. Can't wait to use some of those luscious colors.

Pat Isaac
06-10-2009, 03:13 PM
Thanks so much, Sammy and i love all those colors.


11-30-2009, 04:02 AM
Thanks for the lesson, Pat. Here's my version of it.

Sorry, I didn't produce what I can call as my best, because as soon as I put the pastels in the paper, I realized that it would be the worst combi I have ever used. I used canson paper (dark blue) with only pentels (because I have so many colors only in pentels).
I understood that the issue I had with my nov 09 OP challenge apples painting was not that pentels pushing senns around, but actually pentels being incompatible with canson paper.
The result is, the texture of the paper showing out all over the painting . The pushing behavior made any blending a big challenge for me. I kind of got bored of trying to hide the tooth and left it as such. Hope you don't mind :D

Pat Isaac
11-30-2009, 07:39 AM
Nice job Sue. I understand your frustration with the paper. Whe I first started using OPs that is what I used and really hated it. It is very hard to blend and layer on it. I think you have great color here and you have a chieved her bored expression. I do think the angle of the mouth is a little off. Thanks for trying this and hope you'll continue with more.


01-26-2010, 03:54 AM
Pat, just came across this and it is a wonderful tutorial. :thumbsup:

One question - do you blend as you go along or are you just laying colours over one another? You make a reference to using the colour shapers for the edges but have you blended her face?

Everyone who has participated have produced really good portraits. I'm not game to try it, but I think there is some valuable advice in here for colour combos when doing flowers. I can see that I shall have to get many more pastels ......:lol:

Pat Isaac
01-26-2010, 07:52 AM
Thanks, Marion. I did do some blending on her face, mostly with my fingers though and then some parts are just layered colors.


01-26-2010, 09:59 AM
Nice job Sue. I have a ton of Canson paper that I'm reluctant to use because the texture is so prominate. The back side of the paper has less texture.

Unfortunately, I ordered canson mounted on matboard and they mounted the paper with the more prominate texture exposed. I would have preferred it the other way.

05-12-2010, 11:57 PM
Thank you for sharing your instruction and knowledge with us, Pat. I've not used pastels much, but your information was such an inspiration, I just may pick them up again.

Pat Isaac
05-13-2010, 07:54 AM
Thanks, Ceanne. Hope you do and share it with us too.


05-26-2010, 01:16 PM
What a wonderful opportunity! I am enjoying watching this come together and learning so much from all your wonderful instructions and tips.

I started a protrait a while back of my 2 5 yr/old g/sons, in acrylics, but soon quit on it because I realized how far over my head I was. Maybe after this I will pick it back up at some point. or even try starting over with OPs.:)

Pat Isaac
05-26-2010, 01:44 PM
Glad you are enjoying this. Thank you. You can put OPs over acrylic if you should decide to do an underpainting.


06-03-2010, 04:27 PM
thanks for this thread Pat, learnt from seeing the stages from the start, answered questions I needed to ask. beautiful work....

Pat Isaac
06-03-2010, 07:00 PM
Thanks, Scatty, glad it was helpful.


12-03-2010, 10:09 AM
Thanks for the lesson, Pat.

This is my first attempt at doing a portrait I learned a lot from following you,I can see I've gone wrong with her hair especial at her neck on the right side.
and a few other things.I enjoyed attempting it and need now to practice more.


08-24-2011, 08:52 PM
Incredible. I have very limited experience with OPS but this has inspired me to give them a fair chance.

Pat Isaac
08-25-2011, 08:05 AM
Great! Hope you give it a try.


12-03-2012, 05:02 PM
Really great lesson I learned a lot ... once again thanks :)

Pat Isaac
12-03-2012, 05:04 PM
It's looking fine so far...maybe a few more highlights on the face ans some cooler colors in the shadows. Not a lot, just a hint.


03-06-2013, 04:13 AM
Pat, what kind of paper (board) did you use for this project? Is it smooth or does it have some tooth to it? What based on your experience are the best background media options for OP paintings?

Pat Isaac
03-06-2013, 08:12 AM
I used colorfix paper - lt. blue. Some of the papers that I use are colorfix and uArt which comes in 400, 600, or 800 grit. The color is a neutral sand. I reall like using gessoed board and encaustic board. I have come to like the smoother surface.


03-06-2013, 07:14 PM
Thanks Pat! The painting looks wonderful! No texture showing just great colors :)

03-27-2013, 11:43 PM
I am so excited to have found this lesson. I am painting happily with no lessons but books and this site was the best of all. Thank you so much for this marvelousn lesson. maela49

Pat Isaac
03-28-2013, 07:38 AM
You are welcome and I am glad that it is helpful.


03-28-2013, 10:54 PM
Dear Pat, Today I started a portrait of an opera singer friend with whom I often perform. I loved your advice as to measuring the spaces from eye to eye etc. etc. I have an assortment of different oil pastels , only a few really good ones. I am using a smooth paper and have doubled the dimensions of the reference photo. I read and reread every bit of your seminar. I am applying all your tips and am so very grateful for this wonderful lesson. I also loved the transfer method which worked perfectly for me. I use prismacolor pencils for just a few details . I spent a year working with them and though I enjoy their exactness, the oil pastels are so much more painterly though more difficult to manage. I am 75 years old and enjoying my new passion . maela49

Pat Isaac
03-29-2013, 07:47 AM
I do hope you'll share your portrait when you are finished or even as you go along. I like prismacolors also and sometimes work with them.


04-01-2013, 04:52 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Apr-2013/1205495-IMG_0472.jpg Hi Pat, Thank you for looking at my " Opera singer" Any and all advice is gratefully taken. I also enclosed a reference photo. Eleanore ( maela 49)