Monday, June 8, 2009

Red Rose. Oil Pastel WIP.

I started this WIP as a demonstration for others and practice piece for myself, just show some techniques and ideas on how to work with Oil Pastels and what exactly I do when I'm working on some of my paintings.

So, here we go...

1) Reference image.

Most of the time I take my reference images from life. Even if I do flowers, I rarely will use a cut flowers. For this particular painting I use a photo of our Climbing Blaze rose bush beautifully waving around the entrance to the kennel playgrounds.

I took this photo at broad day light with portrait settings to blur my background naturally, so later on it will  be easy to get read of it, since I want to do this rose painting on black.

Here is the original photo:

2) Photoshop.

Next, I open my reference photo is Photoshop and resize it to the actual format of this painting.
I don't do it every time, but this is exactly what I'm going to do with this one, since it is for demo purposes only. The size of this painting will be 5 x 7, so I'm formatting it down to this size.

Next, I'm using BURN brush (100%, shadows) to turn background dark, till all of it will be gone, just like I want to see that.

3) Choice of tools etc.

For this particular work I have chosen an Ampersand pastel board for its durability and other great qualities. I know nothing what I don't like about this support. 

You can use any tools and solvents, when you working with it. 
You can wash it under the running water, if you need it.
Colors are going on brilliant and looking great.
No problems with mounting and framing! 
It is by far my support of choice, BUT... I wouldn't recommend you to use a watersoluble underpainting on it, since it will be feathering due the structure of this sand paper.

In fact on this very work I tried some gouache and even egg tempera - neither one was laying down on the way I wanted to see it, so I finished with using of Lyra pencils to complete my underpainting.

Sometimes I'm just putting underpainting and even sketching my future work as-I-go. At other cases, I use a transfer paper to transfer outlines of future work quickly and precise. It is up to your choice how you want to do it.

After I finishes underpainting, I started with first layer of actual Oil Pastels.
To spread them on a way I want most of the time I use silicon shapers #2 (firm) and occasionally soft. They come with different tips and in different sizes, once again - it is up to you, what you may like the best.

I also will use some sort of dental scaller or similar tool to get a small pieces off pastel stick and transfer it on my painting precisely where I need them to be.
My last tool will be a good sable brush or two, more likely in size #0, unless I need something bigger or smaller. Good quality synthetic brush will do just fine too.

Last step - choice of pastels. With this painting I'm working with combination of Holbein and Sennelier, because of their softness and great qualities. 

4) Underpainting.
 Just as I mentioned, after I transferred outlines of future painting on a pastel board, I started with underpainting, and did it in Lyra Oil pencils.

When I finished with Lyra, I washed background with Sable brush and Terpenoid Natural solvent to make it more even.

5) Painting.

After I completed underpainting,(what took a while, not because of this work is big, but just since we have a pretty busy time here) I found out that I have some amount of dust on it and had a brilliancy to attempt wash it out under the running water. Just like I mentioned at one of my previous postings, it works just fine, if you do it accurately with actual OIL PASTEL painting. Pencils however don't have that wonderful adhesive abilities what OPs do and you can wash them off just fine! What I almost did, but stopped right after underpainting started to come off. I did nothing, just let it dry. Then I went with first layer of OPs right over it.

I finished putting my general (sick) layer of OPs and spread it with shaper. I had to add some Senneliers, to make it look more like oil painting with all the structure of such (Holbeins are just a little bit too hard for it, when you work with small work, Senneliers do better trick with spreading). Then I washed the rose over with sable brush #0 and solvent to make sure that no part of painting is underpainting, but actual OP!.. NOW I CAN WASH IT, if it will be dusty again! :-)

You can see a work of shaper on background of painting, what I'll have to smooth better later on. As for now, picture needs some rest from me, so pastels will settle down a little and next layer will go on better, without mixing too much with initial one.


  1. this is really nice of you to share your work beautiful Tatiana....


  2. Thanks for taking the time to do the WIP. I like seeing what others use and your explanations are nice too. A great learning tool. i know this is going to turn out great!

  3. You are very welcome, ladies!
    I have all intentions to start working one few instructional videos sometime very soon as well.



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