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Old 01-01-2018, 09:05 PM
coozer28 coozer28 is offline
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Beginner and a bit frustrated

I received oil pastels for Christmas and I had my first go at it. Could use any criticism or tips you have to get better at it. I don't want to give up so soon. Things I had problems with, maybe ya'll can give me tips...

- I sketched with pencil, but didn't realize that the light oils would not cover it up. I had to erase so much I couldn't see the lines.

- The little crumbs of wax were getting all over. I used a paper towel to brush off page, but then somehow green specks would get into yellow and of course I couldn't cover it up.

- Trouble with getting fine lines like the veining in the leaf.

-Used masking tape to hold picture down, but it ripped the paper and I got colored finger prints on border

Very messy and not forgiving business.

I am posting the drawing. I messed it up with the shadowing, It wasn't the color I wanted and then it was too late so I tried to fix it with additional shading but that made it worse.

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Old 01-01-2018, 09:32 PM
Crabby2 Crabby2 is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

I can't give any advice cause I'm new at it myself. But, your painting is very pretty. I love the colors. When I started everything looked like mud.

DON'T GIVE UP. There are lots of free OP tutorials for beginners online. Some are really good. OPs are different from other media. Once you get the hang of it I think you'll like a lot....
Different Strokes for Different Folks....
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:40 PM
Crabby2 Crabby2 is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

I forgot to tell you that


Is crammed with info. Robert is a WC member and frequent contributor to this forum. And he's very helpful.
Different Strokes for Different Folks....
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Old 01-01-2018, 11:55 PM
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tuscanny tuscanny is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Hi Coozer. Welcome to WC and to the oil pastel forum.
You have a great start with your lemons.
Have you had a look at the tutorials threads already?http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=433
For the lemons you can warm the lemon yellow by using light vermillion, golden yellow ochre or oil based cp working a very thin layer over the yellow and blending in very lightly with tortillion, shaper or brush. For the shadows use a tortillion and pick up smudges of brown and blend in. You may even use pencil very lightly.
For the background lighten with peach and darken with dark brown.
The green of the leaves can be toned down by using burnt sienna,purple, pinks or graphite pencil. The fine lines can then be scratched back using any tool that doesn't rip your paper.
If you have too much oil pastel on your painting, you can carefully scrape back the excess.
The tape comes in 2 types, one that sticks very well and the other one which is used for painting window frames has much less sticking ability and is perfect for us artists.
Crumbs of op's may either be worked into the painting or you can use a putty rubber to lift off specks. A scalpel will work well to remove specks that are stuck already.
Looking forward to seeing your update.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:26 AM
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terriks terriks is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Welcome, Coozer! I agree with the others, this is pretty nice for a first effort. OP's are puzzling in the beginning because they are such a unique medium - I am beginner myself and my main complaint was that they simply weren't acting like I expected them to (as you discovered when they didn't cover up your pencil lines, for example).

Christel has given excellent technical advice with the above color blending. I would also follow Crabby's link to Robert Sloan's page for lots of helpful tips, as well as the tutorials both here at WC and online. The more you work with the OP's the better you'll be able to anticipate how they'll react and how to work with them.

You don't mention what brand of OP's you're using. Virtually any brand will get the job done, BUT the softer ones (usually considered "artist grade") are easier to handle and don't crumble as much as harder ones do ("student grade"). But all types have their uses. I like my harder OP's for a base layer or underpainting, then gradually moving to the softer ones for the top layers. Remember "fat over lean" as far as thin base coats with harder OP's, then heavier layers with softer ones. Another great trick I learned here is to use a workable fixative spray once you have applied a few layers - this lets you continue to add layers with help from the "tooth" you get from the spray, before the OP's get too slick to blend nicely.

Load yourself up with tools, as Christel mentioned. Tortillions, clay shapers, scraping tools (the type used for clay or pottery modeling are good), even a few stiff-bristled brushes. Thin lines are usually created with the help of a tool, not simply drawn with a thick-tipped OP - but play around and figure out what works best for you.

Keep at it! I hope to see you posting more of your work.

Film photographer with special love for alternative photographic processes - especially ones that get my hands dirty!
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:30 PM
coozer28 coozer28 is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Thank you everyone so much for the tips. I have looked at some of the tutorials. I will get some of these tools. I am using Erengi pastels. They said artist quality. Jerrys sells them. I don't think they are that hard but I haven't used senneliers so nothing to judge against. Tuscanny, I think I will get some oil cp as well.
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:53 PM
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raizes raizes is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Hi Coozer. First time your using op's and you did great. It's a tricky medium that's for sure, but I think you did a wonderful job considering the hurdles you faced.

I agree with everything that's already been said here. I'll throw one more tip..

The surface you use op's on makes a huge difference. I prefer the heavier, thicker paper. It's just more durable and able to withstand a lot of abuse w/o buckling, tearing or having the oils from the op's seep through.

I've used canson mi tientes 98lb and strathmore 80 lb. and few other brands. My current favorite is Arches cold press oil paper 140lb. So it's thicker than the canson or strathmore and the texture on surface is perfect for how I apply and my style.

I suggest you try different surfaces or papers and find one that you like. Experiment with it. By doing that, you will not only increase skill, but also get a better handle on using op's in general. You'll find a paper that you like that you can develop and increase skills with.

Dont' give up with this medium. The learning curve is steep to start, but once you get a hang of things...I think you'll find how enjoyable and versatile this medium is. I look forward to seeing more from you.
Rich Arriagada
My website - http://rapaintings.com

My Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/richarriagada/
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:22 AM
talinka talinka is offline
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Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Sounds that you had yourself a very frustrating first experience ;-)
Don't be dissuaded by it, it's a medium that needs to be learned and practiced like any other medium.
First of all, sounds to me that you were given oil pastels that are not great quality. Low quality OPs generate a lot of crumbs and are not very opaque. There is an enormous difference between the artist grade and the regular OPs.
Second of all, as Rich said- surface should be thick with tooth, because the OPs can be very greasy and it's absorbed by the paper. The tooth allows you to add several layers.
Thirdly- you can apply color over color and blend to create new shades that you don't have.
Learn OP techniques. You can google "Robert Sloan" and find his page which is pretty comprehensive as far as techniques and equipment.
Now specifically to this drawing- I think the lemons are fantastic. The background and leaves need a bit more work as far as shading. Try waiting several days and continuing drawing then, sometimes the OPs need a bit of time to set before continuing to draw.
Anyway- good job and good luck!
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:52 PM
reeta reeta is offline
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Posts: 1,816
Re: Beginner and a bit frustrated

Hi There,
Read your post, and thought to myself, "boy, haven't we all been there!" I think oil pastels are one of the most difficult mediums to start with, but as everyone has said, even though the learning curve is steep, if you stick with it, they can be really really fun. I think I am a little late in replying to this thread... I think you have gotten some great advice. I will add in terms of support that you can not only use heavier paper... which I agree, makes a huge difference... but also gessoed hardboard, which is one of my favorite surfaces. It won't buckle, and the gesso gives the board a nice tooth to layer the pastels.
My best advice would be get a support you like, and invest in some less crumbly pastels ( I like holbein, and mungyo) and just play around and have fun. Have low expectations in the begining, look at other oil pastelists work, and eventually your own style will develop. They really are a great medium.
Looking forward to seeing more of your work! The lemons are a great start!
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