View Full Version : oil pastels

09-30-2002, 11:17 PM
Are oil pastels harder or easier to work with? I bought some awhile ago because I have wanted to try pastels for a long time not thinking that I got the wrong ones. I've been to busy agonizing over my oil painting to get the nerve to start. I need to know if you need sharp edges or do you figure that out by yourself?

09-30-2002, 11:25 PM

I think they are more difficult. They dont always cover soo easily but I supplement them with paint sticks. This way I can really lay on the impasto.


09-30-2002, 11:29 PM
Mike, I don't know exactly what paint sticks are. Cheryl

10-01-2002, 02:24 AM
I've never done a "real" painting with the oil pastels, for the reason Mike mentioned ---- they don't cover well.

I imagine they can't be used together with soft pastels because I think they would gunk it up and erase your soft pastel or something.
But I'll bet they would be an excellent medium to use on top of a watercolor underpainting.


10-01-2002, 03:39 AM
Paint Sticks are just like great big oil pastels ... but they are, essentially, oil paint in stick form. Oil pastels never dry properly, and have to be framed under glass; paint sticks dry like oils, and can be varnished in the same way.

Both are completely different to chalk pastels. You need to try a couple of chalk pastel sticks to see the difference.

do visit my ebay page and auctions (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/jackie4art/.)

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

Also see my posts in The Artists Marketplace here at WC!

10-01-2002, 04:07 AM
on the subject of soft pastels verses oil pastels verses oil paint sticks:
if you do a painting using the oil pastels, would it be categorized as a "pastel" painting?
if you use the oil paint sticks, would it be fair to call your finished product an "oil painting"?

these may seem like silly questions but I get some portrait customers who have trouble with the term "pastel" and would rather have an "oil" (even though they see my pastel work & want one "just like that" and I assure them I'm more skilled with the pastel!!!)


10-01-2002, 12:52 PM
Hello CE,

To answer your question, if I were to ONLY use oil sticks I would call it an oil painting. A pallete knife painting is still refered to a painting even though the applicator is different. Instead of a brush your using a hunk of paint that is dried on the edges so that you can touch it. They look like large crayons that are gooey in the middle.

Oil paint sticks are great! The whites are very opaque and you can apply them thickly if so desired. I use them with oil pastels since oil pastels lack the opacity I desire in some areas
On another note, some people refer to a painting as anything that emphasises tones and colors as opposed to line which would be a drawing. Often times Degas is catagorized as a painter even though much of his famous works are drawings. Its a matter of semantics.

Using the term pastel painting is ok in my book. By the way you have a wonderful website with some great work.

Good luck,


Allan Jameson
10-01-2002, 05:31 PM
I like Oil Pastels...I cant see why some people have problems using them you can use turps with them too....also they are alot cleaner.....you can put layer upon layer then scratch back for some wonderful effects.....internationally now a painting is something that has been rendered onto a surface in any medium even collage hot poker and bark etc.

10-01-2002, 11:59 PM
I think the quality of the oil pastels that you use, along with the surface of the paper, effects the amount of coverage, especially if you are not using turps....whew....that was a long sentence! :D

I had some really cheap oil pastels that came as part of a really cheap art set....it was extremely difficult to use these and it completely turned me off to them. But then I saw some wonderful oil pastel art and knew that maybe if I invested a little money in more quality pastels, it might make a difference...boy did it ever. Even with the cheap ones tho...if you use turps, you can get very good coverage and you can do alot of layers as Allen said.

10-03-2002, 07:22 AM
I like oil pastels, though have never used them exclusively to create an image - I've found them most effective over the top of an acrylic underpainting, where I've already blocked in all the basic areas of colour in acrylics. You can blend and blur them to give a softness that's hard to achieve with acrylic paint alone, or use the top edge of the pastel to put in details. I can dig out a scan of the landscape I painted a couple of years ago using these media together and post it for you, if it's of any help. I'm not saying it's a great painting, but it's one I enjoyed doing. Can't post it at the moment as it's my lunch hour at the office :)

Cheap oil pastels ('Panda' spring to mind) are offputting to use because not enough pigment comes off. I've used the ones made by 'Caran d'Ache' and they are lovely. You can use a torchon or (more fun) your fingers to blend them.

10-03-2002, 08:20 AM
I find them harder but gee, I've seen work from people who can handle them. :)

10-04-2002, 04:53 AM
OK, so here's my acrylic + oil pastel of Bix, Oxfordshire.


I also did a copy of a still life by Cézanne using these media. The effect was nice so I framed the picture and it's now hanging on my parents' living room wall.

10-04-2002, 10:35 AM
E-J.....that turned out just beautifully! What are the dimensions?

10-04-2002, 11:10 AM
I never got round to framing this painting, but if I remember rightly it's about 13"x 6".