View Full Version : February 2012 Oil Pastel Challenge

02-01-2012, 08:50 AM
Hi Everyone :wave: Welcome to the February Challenge, I hope the pics I've chosen this month will inspire you to be creative, the Challenge is open to any artist working with oil pastels, you may also use mixed media as long as oil pastel is one of the mediums used in your painting.

I have selected six images which are all my own so there are no copyright issues, feel free to use them in any way you wish, be creative and apply your own interpretation of the images you see. You can work on just one image, combine images, or just do several paintings of different images, it is entirely up to you the artist.

Once you have finished your painting, post it here in this thread and let us know your methods, materials used and the size of the painting. If you would like to post as a WIP, that's fine too, and if you need any help be sure to ask, we all like to help each other.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do, so happy painting folks. :)

Cows are always a popular subject, these friendly cows were curious about my dog Pippa who was just out of shot in this pic.


I took this beautiful shot of the Cornish coastline whilst walking the coast path up from Portholland, it was quite a steep climb, thankfully there was a bench at the top to have a well earned rest.


Mrs Goggins Door, leads to Mrs Goggins Garden, a delightful garden full of vegetables and herbs, off the start of the coastal path at Portholland Cornwall,


It was September when we visited Cornwall and of course coming up to the pheasant shoot time, how anyone can shoot these beautiful birds is beyond me, I was lucky to capture this shot of a cock pheasant.


Also in September the Red Admiral butterfly is in abundance, such a beautiful flutterby.


And finally a busy little bee on the remaining flowers of a teasle.


So there you go have fun everyone.:)

Pat Isaac
02-01-2012, 09:40 AM
Thanks for hosting, Mo. These are great images.


02-01-2012, 11:00 AM
Mo, some great refs. Thank you for hosting.

Thank you for telling us what the cows were so fascinated with. :lol:
Too bad Pippa wasn't in the shot. That would have made a fun subject. What breed is Pippa?? It might be fun to add her to the composition.

02-01-2012, 01:44 PM
It is sort of quaintly odd seeing you post such beautiful pictures of Cornwall knowing where you live and that I often post refs from your doorstep.

Love the nosey cows but you all can probably guess which I'm going to do - you know what I like to paint by now?

02-01-2012, 05:40 PM
Thanks Pat and Hal glad you like the pics, Hal I do have a pic of Pippa with the cow, I'll send it to you, I won't post it here as it's a different pic, she's a sprocker by the way which is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a springer and she's a doll. :)

Lin, Hi kiddo, I know you like birds, and I also know you are participating in the Doors Project, sooo???? which one? BTW Cornwall is my second home I have the Cornish blood in me, my Grandmother came from Port Isaac... Doc Martin country :) She used to live next to the old school house. The nosey cows are Herefords, but living here in Wales on my doorstep. :)

02-01-2012, 08:05 PM
Nice references Mo and thank you for hosting! Hope to take part:wink2:

02-01-2012, 08:27 PM
Great pictures!

Leya Lakshmanan
02-03-2012, 09:16 AM
I liked the colours on the pheasant and gave it a shot. This is student grade oil pastels on A4 size paper. Took me 1 hour 15 minutes.

C&Cs are welcome.

02-03-2012, 11:11 AM
Wow Leya for studnet grade and such a short time that's very well done!

02-03-2012, 11:16 AM
Well done Leya. You have the honor of being the first to post.

What kind of paper are you working on?

Pat Isaac
02-03-2012, 12:07 PM
Just great and you have such beautiful colors....


02-03-2012, 07:06 PM
Leyla, This is a beautiful start to the challenge, lovely details and colours, thank you for taking part. :)

Leya Lakshmanan
02-04-2012, 01:02 AM
Thank you all for the lovely comments.
Hal, I used ordinary A4 size paper that I use for my printer.

02-04-2012, 05:17 PM
Great colors on the bird Leya!

02-04-2012, 08:27 PM
you did great on the bird Leya, I like the background too.

well I hope none of our posts get deleted this month-- mine never did come back :(

02-05-2012, 03:31 PM
Leya, what a cheery bird. Great colors.

Here's a quick sketch.

Fabriano Artist Journal 7x9 inch
Holbein oil pastel


02-07-2012, 05:50 PM
He's so cute Sandra, love it!!

02-07-2012, 06:35 PM
cute cow Sandra

02-07-2012, 06:40 PM
Oh! Oh! Sandra, be careful. That is a cow with attitude. :wink2:

02-07-2012, 09:18 PM
There is some lovely work this month!

I finally got a new laptop! yay!

This is my attempt at one of the cows. I think it looks a bit pig like, but I had a good time doing it.


02-07-2012, 10:16 PM
Sandra another awsome cow. Well done.

Pat Isaac
02-08-2012, 03:18 PM
Great cows. Sandra, especially like the colors in the OP one.


02-08-2012, 05:32 PM
I cant help but wonder if my cow post came up as being Sandra"s

Pat Isaac
02-08-2012, 06:03 PM
OOPS, sorry about that. It didn't come up as Sandra's....my bad.


02-09-2012, 10:58 AM
Great colours in your cow painting Donna, there's just something so endearing about cows don't you think?

02-09-2012, 04:52 PM
Donna I'm terribly sorry. I don't know why I glitched, It was your wonderful painting I meant to comment on. :o :o :o

02-10-2012, 03:53 PM
Thanks so much for the great pics.

Leya - I love the big color. That bird is in full regalia!

Sandra, I especially like the tuft of hair. Your sketch is very dynamic and fresh.

Donna, I admire the artistic license you took with those bold colors. That's one hip cow.

With all that said, I am afraid I just copied. Not in reality, I mean it's free hand drawn but I really didn't tweak anything from Mo's pics. Live and learn I guess. I finished this using part of my lunch hour for the last three days, all of them in my car at the park. Today we are enjoying a decent snow so it was wonderful to paint in natural, if a little dim, light.

8 x 10 on clear colorfixed tan mat board with Senns and Neos.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Feb-2012/131193-12_02_challenge_cows.jpg all harassment welcome!


Pat Isaac
02-10-2012, 04:14 PM
Gotta love those cows.


02-10-2012, 05:08 PM
Well, love is relative. We bought 20 bulls today, and we expect a whole lotta love out of them!!!!!



02-10-2012, 06:16 PM
Nice art work Mark.

Those 20 young bulls may not stay friendly long it you don't have heifers to keep them happy. :evil:

02-11-2012, 09:38 AM
Well, love is relative. We bought 20 bulls today, and we expect a whole lotta love out of them!!!!!



LOL Mark!! Steaks too ;)? I just knew that cow pic would be popular, you've done a great job!! Thanks for taking part.

02-11-2012, 11:04 AM
WOW beautiful cows all or should I say mootiful!

Bull lovin' happy valentine cows lol

So Mark - you live in wyoming and have 20 bulls - now I'm not one for stereotyping but are you a cattle rancher by any chance?

02-11-2012, 11:56 AM
Not on your life. Ranching is for people who'd rather work for a living. So we (my dad - I'm just their in case of my dad kicking the bucket - he's only 78) own the cows, and the bulls now. But there are ranchers, cowboys, that do the hard part. Like dad said yesterday (these cowboys are crazy, a bull could kill you in a second and I'm not that daring). Plus Dad was raised pre-world war II as a jazz fan. There's something about country music that curdles his stomach. Can't be a jazz loving rancher - what if the neighbors found out?


02-14-2012, 11:45 AM
Mark - to be honest I'm not a fan of jazz or redneck country. I like country rock, Eagles, Lady Antebellum, Lynyrd Skynyrd and even singer-songwriter country like Glen Campbell but Jazz to me is as listenable as death metal - ouch my ears - it's like loads of people tuning up and playing in a different key and a different song and timing all at the same time Yikes.

... anyway .... I'm frustrated!!!!!!!

i've been working on 2 of Mo's refs and it is driving me doolally!

I can't afford Pastelmat or expensive papers that are only available to me in bulk just to use for (no offense) challenges. it's so 'precious' I keep it for original pieces. So I've got old wc papers, boards, etc and coated them with (also precious and expensive) c'fix and gritted gesso etc. Now I don't have the strength or stamina to sand stuff down after gritting and it would set off my fibroe for weeks and I'm not going to ask Dave to go out in a freezing winter or a wet summer to do it. So i've got crappy surfaces.

Trying to do ANYTHING is a pain in the butt. Also these works are very detailed - esp the bird to do on A4 size. I'm usually pretty good at detail but it seems every time I try to add something - even working with senns over Neos it pulls more off than it puts on unless I press hard - then I just get muddy mush and no definition resulting in having to scrape or add more. My pastels are getting so filthy with pick up I'm sitting under a pile of dirty kitchen roll having to clean them after use.

So i've finished the bird (as far as my nerves can go with that one) - but too embarrassed to post it - From a distance it looks vaguely passable as you can't see the mess, but once it has set up enough to risk messing up my lovely new scanner the details of the torture will show up only too well. So might have to photograph it from 40 feet away lol :lol:

The Cornish scene is fairing slightly better. Mainly due to not having vital detail to add but I had the same issue with the rocky foreshore. I would put it on and it would come off. I've tried the soft Senns but still won't stick to the board or lower layers. i'm absolutely DREADING adding the foliag over the sea and beach!!!! i've doen the sea and coastline so far but again close up the rocks just look a MESS.

Not having a good month challenge wise - and the word 'CHALLENGE' certainly fits!!!!

i dont' know what to do about my dilemma. I do quite good work when I use the good toothy paper - but on a budget, I have to save it for original and 'serious' works. I can't just pop into a shop and pick up a couple of sheets for a fiver. I have to order over 40 worth or buy a pad of 10 for 15 and then make up an order. It's the same as trying to get hold of individual Neos - ONLY Great Art sell them and I need to spend 40 - a bit harsh for a dozen pastels and here they are over 1.50 each.

No wonder Oil Pastels are so rare and not taken seriously in the uk - they are so expensive and difficult to get hold of except kids ones or at best Student grades. Paper is as bad!

Maybe it's a viscious circle - if more people did OP then the decent ones would be more readily available. Senns are easily available but too soft for all applications or layering/glazing work.



02-14-2012, 01:16 PM
sounds rough. Definitely a challenge. I agree with the accessability of good op's but I was pleasantly surprised to find a Jerry's Artarama in Ft Collins (45 minutes down the road from Cheyenne) and that they sold individual op's, senns especially.

Looking forward to anything you post, mushy or not.


02-14-2012, 04:15 PM
I'm not having a good month. Everything I've done so far this month has been a hash fit only for the trash bin.

I don't know what's wrong with me but my muse and I will continue the struggle. Perhaps too many other distractions in my life at the moment.

02-14-2012, 05:41 PM
Well my attempt at Lins landscape last month went in the bin, I actually tore it up first as it was embarrassing. I'm playing with acrylics this week to try to break the artistic block but I will try to get an op challenge in b4 the end of the month. Not sure which yet, I like the butterfly and the gate too :)
Love the works so far that colourful pheasant and a whole herd of cows, I hope we get more submissions, its another quiet month so far.

02-15-2012, 01:11 PM
sounds like seasonal affected disaster to me lol

02-15-2012, 07:50 PM
Good to know I'm not the only one that has "trash bin" paintings this month. Thinking my Senns and Neos are too soft...I have ruined a good Ambersand (or however it's spelled) pastel board for what I thought would be easy...ha...I'm wondering if I can wash the whole thing off with mineral spirts.

Pat Isaac
02-16-2012, 08:09 AM
Yes, you can wash it all off with mineral spirits. Some staining may accur, but the board will be perfectly useable again.


02-16-2012, 12:30 PM
Oh welll..... here are myh sorry offerings, although I do admit the landscape isn 't too bad - from a distance it's sort of a little dotty,.

Mind you it is only A4 (standard letter size) so hard to get detail but as I said it isn't cost effective to use larger surfaces for non-precious works and I dont' have the gear to sand them all down. Last time I gessoed and gritted my arm hurt for days.

Here we are

A4 Card Gessoe'd gritter with a dark wine coloured ground (acylic paint)

'Cornish Landscape'
A4 card coated with colourfix and pale blue acrylic ground


From a distance........


02-16-2012, 12:45 PM
Lin not sorry at all.

I especially like you giving us the bird. :evil:

I really like the dominate blues in your painting. It has the feel of a moonlit scene.

I hope I can break some time free and give my muse a kick in the butt and get some things going. My muse seems to be seriously depressed at the moment.

02-16-2012, 12:53 PM
I think we all need to take our muses for a good night out and buy them some chocolates so they start working again!

Pat Isaac
02-16-2012, 01:09 PM
These look just great, Lin. Love the colors in your bird.
What a good idea as my muse has not been around much....


02-18-2012, 08:52 PM
I'm not very good at this yet, but I tried the butterfly.. Done with various oil pastels and blended with turpenoid..:o
Is there a classroom thread on using oil pastels; I would sure like to learn more techniques?:confused: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Feb-2012/71359-Op_challenge-Feb-butterfly-02.18.12.jpg

02-19-2012, 03:06 AM
Thanks for comments on my 2 minute cow.

Donna, your cow is very colorful and looks much younger and more gentle!

Mark, your cows have a very pastoral feel definitely.

Lin, your bird is quite pretty and so is the beach scene.

I didn't know you have to send down colorfix pastel ground. I don't usually sand mine down because I only put one light coat on with a slightly moist brush and so it's thin and even.

Tammy, the turp rendered butterfly has a very nice softness to it.

I usually stay away from fine detailed references when I use oil pastels. It's not that easy.

02-19-2012, 09:41 AM
Sandra - I meant whne I'm not using C'Fix I try to save cash by making Gesso and stirring in extra fine craft grit...... not recommended unless you have a dust mask a workshop and an orbital sander - or a strong biceps or a spare man.

Pat Isaac
02-19-2012, 10:50 AM
Nice little butterfly, Tammy. It has a softness to it.
There are severclassrooms in the library that might be helpful. You can fine the classroom thread here:http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=-1&f=433


02-19-2012, 01:26 PM

I tried to paint the garden door!


02-19-2012, 01:52 PM
Nice job Doobi.

We're a nosey group here. We always like to know what brand of Oil Pastels were used and on what surface as well as the size of the painting.

Pat Isaac
02-19-2012, 02:32 PM
Nice door, Doobi and I like the wood texture.


02-20-2012, 10:46 AM
Doobi, good looking gate. Nicely blended colors.

Portfolio oil pastel and Sennelier on black Clasic Cachet sketchbook 5x7 inch



02-20-2012, 11:30 AM
Your bad attempts are really good. But I think everyone understands the artist is never satisfied. Isn't it interesting the difference in color temperature between the close ups and the shelf pics as your paintings on display are considerably warmer. Which photo is closer do you think?

I'm having a hard time cause I like to use pictures in natural light but with all the snow on the ground the pics look really cool, not really how they look naturally.

Tammy, the butterfly is fantastic especially for someone new to op's. After all these years of OP I've yet to try them with a medium (Turps, gels etc). So you're definitely adventurous.

Sandra, love the sketches and the bold colors.

Doobie, Mrs Coggins would be proud!



Pat Isaac
02-20-2012, 03:46 PM
Vibrant sketches on the black stock...Sandra.


02-21-2012, 03:33 AM
I picked up pastel papers from a stationary shop. Its 12"x17" and 200 gsm. No other specifications are mentioned. I really don't know much about paper types since I never went to an art school :-(. I used a local brand OP that normally school kids use.


02-21-2012, 08:36 AM
Thank you Doobi, we're all trying to learn from one another. If someone comes up with a different way of using oil pastles we want to learn about it.

02-21-2012, 09:09 PM
OK I finally got around to cracking open the oilies. Not much of a contribution as it's only an ATC, I saw some blanks for sale in my local art shop so thought I'd give miniatures a go, the butterfly is roughly about life size. I used Filia oil pastels mainly but the olive green is neopastel as the Filia greens are a bit bright. After laying in the op I scratched into it with some polychromos pencils. Finally adding some finishing touches such as the antennae and white spots with OP liquified in zest-it solvent. I can't believe such a little thing took me 2 hours, :eek:
I've posted 2 versions, my phone camera isn't as sophisticated as I'd like and the actual colour is somewhere between the two versions.

Pat Isaac
02-22-2012, 08:18 AM
Nicely done, Steve and great detail for such a tiny piece. You definitely can see the scale with the neo there.


02-22-2012, 10:12 AM
Steve beautiful work, doubly impressive when the word is a small as the ATC format. :thumbsup:

For some reason I'm not getting updates on my subscribed threads.

02-22-2012, 10:43 AM
Lin, that's awesome work, though the close up ones have a blue cast to them, even so that landscape/seascape is gorgeous, I can see the true colours in the ones taken from a distance, must be something to do with settings on your camera? If you have a photo manipulator software you can adjust the colour cast.
Have you tried clear gesso as it gives a gritty surface, ideal for the oilies and saves a lot of messing about with adding grit.

Tammy you are doing just fine, that's a great little butterfly.

Doobi, What do you mean by you tried to paint the garden door, you did paint it and you painted it beautifully.

Sandra, nice colourful little sketches, is that a man and a dog in the first one I see?

Steve, Gorgeous butterfly, lots of good detail for such a tiny painting. I have a set of filias, they're not bad for cheapies but I find the colours low in chroma, but then those subdued colours can come in quite handy at times.

Thanks everyone for taking part, apologies for not being around more too, connection is such a pain right now.

Hal me too, no notifications on the threads, and had to and alter my options on notification of PM's as the blessed thing kept popping up all the time even though I'd answered the mail. strange things going on at WC. :)

02-22-2012, 01:03 PM
Thanks for the comments on the ATC,
Lin I meant to comment on your pics too but typing on this phone is tiresome .... wow seeing as you are only able to work for short periods you really produce a large volume of great work, I especially like the bird but that coastal scene is very detailed too.
Sandra I like the addition the arch, looks like a Greek scene now. Tammy nice work on the butterfly, I have only recently begun using solvent with my OPs, but I don't apply it to the painting I mix it with oil pastel on a palette then apply it with a brush like paint, helps with adding final details without heavy layering.
Nice garden gate doobi especially using academic quality pastels , those things ain't easy to control.
Mo I know what you mean about the Filia OPs some of their colours are a bit muted. They handle very differently to my other OPs, they have an almost dry consistency which I quite like, they are also one of the best brands to use with solvent as they disperse readily into a very smooth paint like liquid. Not sure if they are as Artist grade as filia make out on their website, they seem way too cheap. On the whole though they seem to have a reasonable pigment load, The only colour I don't bother with is their white which is hopelessly transparent , thank heavens for neopastel white and or cream:)

02-23-2012, 03:43 PM
So I'm a little late to the game. I decided to try the one that no one else had!
While I don't consider it done... I've struggled so much with the busy background and trying to downplay it (I always struggle with grass, ugh). I also used a different reference photo for the bee since the detail was a bit lost in the original shot and I didn't consider myself familiar enough with bees to work suggestively!

Help! please on the background.. Otherwise, finished?

02-23-2012, 05:10 PM
Lucylove, very nice soft looking piece of work.

Pat Isaac
02-24-2012, 10:23 AM
I get a nice summery feeling from this. Maybe cropping out some of the background would help, just a thought.


02-24-2012, 05:41 PM
You picked a hard one to do Jess, but it's turned out lovely, love the little bee, as to background maybe using some darker value greens would help the flower to stand out a bit more. Good job!! thanks for taking part. :)

02-25-2012, 09:20 AM
I'm amazed at how well you detailed that butterfly with so little real estate to work with. Great job.

Jess, wonderful bee and I agree that this may pop a little more if the background is darker and maybe more complimentary (warmer green). Fantastic work.


02-28-2012, 06:06 PM
Ok folks, ready for the most ridiculous thing today? I've been asked how much I'd sell the cows pic for. Ha, I told the lady, "I ought to have to pay you to take it".



02-28-2012, 11:02 PM
Mark, make the sale. You're a professional now. :thumbsup:

02-29-2012, 08:17 PM
Mo, thank you for hosting. I'm sorry I couldn't find time to participate this month. I still hope to do one of your references but what I hope to do will be a stretch for me and will take more time and effort than I could set aside this month.

Pat Isaac
03-01-2012, 08:46 AM
Thanks, Mo.....one of these days. I am saving the cow pic.


03-01-2012, 11:14 AM
I kn ow how you feel Mark someone has asked about my weird landscape

03-02-2012, 01:05 AM
Congrats Lyn!

Thanks Mo!