View Full Version : Miranda oilpastel steps

03-26-2003, 05:44 PM
For reference picture see Mikki's photograph of Miranda in Pastel Riot of this week.

Paper is Strathmore Neptune offwhite.
Started out with 4 neocolorII sticks and tried to do washes with them but stopped halfway as the paper started buckling too much.

Now come the oilpastels (van Gogh) that are put on rather bold and thickly.

Now I start blending with my fingers but find that doesn't go/work as I would have it and feel I am making a awfull mess of this.

Wonder if this can be repaired and keep adding layers of pastel without using my fingers to blend untill I reach this stage.

I find the oilpastel is not easily manipulated with my fingers (haven't tried the trick with turps yet) and that it is flaking very much, which makes it all the more easy to become smudged when blending.
Here you see how many flakes there still are after I had already scraped/wiped off most of it.
Is this a property of oilpastels perse or just of this brand?

Hope you like to see the steps.


03-26-2003, 06:02 PM
I've only used oil pastels a few times, but I didn't blend them with my fingers....I actually used a crayon for the blending. Because the crayon was harder, it smoothed the oil pastels without lifting it.

You can use turp with oil pastels as you mentioned but it will also effect the paper you are working on.

Thanks for sharing the stages of your work and the problems that you are working thru! We all learn from demos like this!

03-27-2003, 05:01 PM
hello Dick ~ the 'flakes' tend to happen with all oil pastels, I think, though they are much worse with cheaper brands. I use a torchon to blend my Caran d'Ache oil pastels. They are quite creamy and it's also quite easy to blend simply by smearing one colour over another. The cheaper brands don't have that creaminess. With op's you really do get what you pay for. Which brand are you using?

Nice portrait, by the way! :)

03-27-2003, 06:06 PM
Hi Dick... I've starting using oil pastels again, I used them about 25 years ago.....they were my introduction to oil paints and I know how frustrating they can be.

I'm using Caran D'ache and Senneliers, both brands are really excellent pastels rich and creamy, I bought a set of Daler-Rowney too, but they are not a good quality, too waxy which is common with the cheaper pastels, then because there is more wax than oil content in them they are very difficult to blend and will flake.

The better quality pastels blend much easier. I've been using cotton buds, a palette knife and shapers for the blending, fingers at a last resort as it's quite hard and messy on the fingers.

What I have found so far with experimentation, I can blend with turps or turps substitute laying on glazes and washes, you have to wait for the pastels and the turps to dry out before applying more or they will just slide over the top without any real effect, I can use coloured pencils for initial drawing and for cutting into the pastel for details, if I make a mistake, I can scrape off the pastel with a palette knife and then a little rub with some kitchen roll and a dab of turps...some colours have great staining powers, so it's not always possible to get back to a clean start, but enough to lay a fresh colour over.... I have learned that over blending as with any medium causes MUD!!! This is something no good artist wants, unless you are painting mud for real.:D

I have found that some papers just do not like oil pastels and others love them, papers with too much texture I will now avoid and use the smooth side of any paper I have, one of the nicest I have used up til now is Somerset Velvet... I bought a sample pack of this a short while ago from Heaton Cooper and it's dreamy to use... I'm still experimenting with this wonderful medium as I want to master it...maybe there is something here that will help you..don't give up on them...keep experimenting, I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I am.


Mikki Petersen
03-28-2003, 02:35 AM
Now that I'm the proud owner of a complete set of Senneliers, I'm really enjoying the oil pastels. I find that the Color Shapers work like magic on the oil pastels for blending. I also find that keeping a light touch when blending helps to avoid the flaking issue. Senneliers are so very creamy though, that it is truly like drawing with a stick of paint, then using the color shapers for the brush strokes.

03-28-2003, 03:46 AM
Cheers Mo for the paper recommendation. I'm waiting for my sample paper pack to arrive from Dakota Pastels, but when I've exhausted myself trying all those out, I'll give Somerset Velvet a go :) Gaaaaaaaaaaah, between oil pastels and soft pastels and all the wonderful STUFF that goes with them, there just isn't enough time in the day to experiment!!