View Full Version : The Spotlight - May 2013 - Close-ups

04-30-2013, 10:02 PM
Welcome artists!

Here is a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!

The Spotlight is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.

Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.

Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere.

And, remember, no critiques unless specifically asked for.

The intent is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!

Please note: The photos this month were taken by me or are from the Reference Image Library. You have permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you cannot copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.

This month’s Spotlight is on…Close-ups!

Last month, in our celebration of Spring, we had some wonderful paintings of flowers! Some were zoomed in quite close, and it made me think that "Close-ups" would be a good theme for a Spotlight! And since my old computer was in the shop - along with my preliminary files for the planned Spotlight for this month - I put together this quick Spotlight!

While the photos may be zoomed in pretty close, feel free to zoom in even closer! Test the limits to see how close you can go and still come up with a good composition! Experiment! Have fun! Feel free to do some quick sketches or thumbnails and explore the close-up possibilities!

I got my new computer today, so I once again had access to my vast photo library! So, here are the references - all taken by me.







Please remember that you can crop, rearrange and change the refs any way you want! And don't forget to zoom in for some exciting close-ups!

Have fun!


05-01-2013, 05:36 PM
Well, I'm in! Thanks Don for whipping up a quick Spotlight despite the computer problems.
Everyone is probably worn out from all the Spotlight painting they did last month......

05-02-2013, 09:10 AM
Wonderful photos Don and cool spotlight subject! That doggie is calling me, but so are the flowers. Eenie meenie minie mo... :)

05-02-2013, 02:35 PM
Wonderful photos Don, thank you, and congratulations on the new computer! Ooh, the leaves are speaking to me as is the teapot. Finishing up another painting and then I'll be ready for my close up!
Ok, somebody had to say it!

05-04-2013, 03:26 AM
Loving the theme Don. Some good photo's to choose from. Think I'll have a go at one this weekend. Thanks Don!

05-06-2013, 09:11 PM
Love those pink flowers!
I might even get time to have a go this month (:

05-07-2013, 01:58 PM

After a very long time of being busy with my work, today I made a very small painting with Rembrandt pastels 14x14cm on black canson paper

"Red Red Roses on a tray"


and guess what :) without knowing the Spotlight of May :lol:

My painting is a close-up of a tray and a mini red rose tree with its reflections on it.

What a coincidence!
I am very happy to meet you again and Don, congratulations on the new computer!!!

P.s. my photo reference was a set up with my little rose in my house

Charles Perera
05-07-2013, 06:39 PM
Beatiful set up- looks difficult looking forward to seeing it.

05-08-2013, 08:36 AM
Evie, Glad our Spotlight coincided with your latest close-up painting! Very nice!


05-08-2013, 11:09 AM
Thank you Don! It was a very quickly test sketch for a larger piece.

05-10-2013, 05:44 PM
Well,things are a bit slow so far. So I'll jump in here with some thumbnail ideas that I worked up on the computer.

As mentioned, I got a new computer, which led me to get a new pen mouse and tablet. For those unfamiliar with a pen mouse and tablet, I would really recommend looking into getting one if you do a lot of artwork and photo manipulation on your computer. I have had one for years. You hold the pen mouse just like a pen or pencil, so you can see that this gives you much more control than with a regular mouse. For the past 10 years or so, I have used a small, relatively inexpensive version (less than $80 or so), but I just went up to the next level and installed it yesterday. So far, so good. These thumbnails were done using the pen and tablet. perhaps they will give you some thoughts about zooming in for some close-ups!




Feel free to start with some thumbnails or color sketches and post them here! Zoom in or use the references as they are - they are already fairly close-up!


05-12-2013, 05:04 PM
Don nice job of close ups. Sorry everyone has abandoned you. I guess lots of things going on this time of year now the weather finally has turned to Spring. Just off to cut back bushes myself! I hope to get a Spotlight in again this month. Glad you have your computer back!

05-12-2013, 09:32 PM
hi Don..
I finally had a chance to play with my pastels, and couldn't resist the tulip.


It is not displaying...is this something new?

05-12-2013, 09:33 PM
oops...it did display...guess I haven't posted an image in a while!

05-13-2013, 08:46 AM
JudiB, Nice job on the tulip! Vibrant colors all around!


05-17-2013, 01:28 PM
I took one of this months spotlight challenging images along to art class today and did this. Size is A4, Conte pastel sticks on Mi-teint paper (smooth side)


05-17-2013, 02:38 PM
Nice one, Jim! Good to see you in the Spotlight!

05-17-2013, 03:25 PM
Thanks for hosting Don and for the inspirational images. I can see now that my print-out did not do your dog justice. Never mind, I'll look for that next time.

I had to go out to do some weekly shopping after putting up the dog hence no time to comment on others spotlights.

I was recovering from computer woes as well. The HDD was making a whistling sound, downloaded testing software which told me the worst. Quickly ordered and fitted a new disk cloning the old so that nothing was lost. Phew! Just in the nick of time methinks. I have to learn how to do this over the net as well and am a slow learner when it comes to computers - well I do not do things frequently enough to remember it all.

A nice one Evie fitting in like that, coincidence or what :thumbsup:.

Thanks for the kind words Judi about my attempt at a dog. I like the tulips and you have the orange off to a tee, my fave colour as well.:wave:

Lots of peeps have said they will have a go this month so I hope so. Lots to look at. I might even have another one next week.:crossfingers:

05-17-2013, 04:53 PM
Jim, Nice job on my dog! Looks quite good to me! Glad you were able to save the info on your hard drive! Luckily, the folks at the local computer store were able to recover my data when I got my new computer last month. Just think, I could have lost all my past (and future) Spotlight info!


05-17-2013, 11:23 PM
Judi nice vibrant tulip and Jim your dog looks great! So glad you two got to do a Spotlight. I am afraid it is just not going to happen for me. I got pulled in to a fund raising for our art studio. We have a co-operative space, and have been making Garden art. (not really my thing) . As all my pastels are now at the studio I haven't had a chance to pick up a stick:( I am off to help my kids move for a couple of weeks so this month is gone.

05-18-2013, 03:35 AM
Eviepatra, Nice Rose close up!
Don, looks like you're having fun with your tablet! I fancy a similar crop with those sweet yellow tulips but not sure if I'll get the time. Maybe this afternoon....it's my only chance!
Judi, Love the Tulip. It glows!
Jim, glad to see you taking part. This is a sweet rendition of Don's dog!

05-18-2013, 08:29 AM
Hi Don,
I had a few minutes to play this morning, so here is a quick view of your flower that is no longer pink! I had pastels handy working on another painting and had no pinks, so this is what I came up with :evil:
About 10-15 minutes, and totally free form. No drawing, just shapes.


05-18-2013, 11:55 AM
Tressa, 10 minutes well spent. They are gorgeous!

05-18-2013, 12:59 PM
Tressa, Thanks for joining us! Very nice and very quick!


05-18-2013, 01:14 PM
Tressa, what lovely shapes and colours! Done loosely, and very quickly, but it describes the subject really well. Is it done on velour?

I managed to get one done. I was trying to make it abstract to start with but soon got back into my detailed ways with it. It's 5.5"x5.5" on fisher 400.


05-18-2013, 01:31 PM
Tressa...I love the vibrancy of your blossoms! Very nicely done!
Ruthie...as usual, a gorgeous painting! So delicate....Just lovely!

Thanks to all for the comments on my tulip. It is the first art I have done in a looong time. I have now started the teapot, I really love the photo. May get back to it a bit more today....

05-18-2013, 04:22 PM
Thank you guys!
Great tulips and whatever the yellow flower is...heh. I am not good on the names of botanicals.

05-18-2013, 05:13 PM
Oh! Ruthie! I'm sorry, yes is a dark royal blue suede mat board piece.

05-19-2013, 12:45 PM
Wow, nice stuff!

Jim: Great job on the dog!

Tressa: Beautiful flowers! Love those reds...

Ruthie: Fantastic job as usual! Great use of color.

05-19-2013, 03:52 PM
Ruth, Your "detailed ways" aren't really that detailed and always look good! Some nice edge variety, too!


05-19-2013, 07:48 PM
Ruthie, lovely close up. Good luck with the show.

05-19-2013, 09:42 PM
Hi Don,
Always fun to join you and the other great artists here in the Spotlight. Thank you kindly for hosting!

Close-ups reveal the truth--the beauty of distortion. Those tricks our eyes play as we wander down the street, seeing things as they are...and then, close-up, we see things that really aren't there.

At a distance -- a blossom. Up close -- a pigment nebula.



05-20-2013, 08:20 AM
Dave, Beautiful close-up! Very bold and vibrant!


05-20-2013, 11:45 AM
It is a lovely flower Dave! I love how you did your background.

05-21-2013, 03:28 PM
Dave...I love your close-up pigment nebula!

I just finished the teapot....trying to get into the 'swing' of things. Painting is what I have missed most.

canson paper, 8x11, mostly softies

05-21-2013, 06:34 PM
I decided to try a the pink flower (are they roses?) using a loose hand. It took me less than an hour and it looks it. Not the greatest. I am still working on the same painting only tighter. Hopefully that will be better. I am running out of battery so I will comment on others as soon as I send this. Your c & c is always welcome!!

05-21-2013, 07:52 PM
Don, thanks for getting us started with the challenge paintings. It took us a while to follow suit, but some nice work followed. Don I especially liked your yellow flower. Judybelle, you managed to complete two paintings. Lovely tulip and nice job on the tea pot. Dave, I love the bold colors of your blossom and how loose you work. I liked it so much, I decided to try working loose. Unfortunately, I wasn't successful like you. Ruthie, you gave your flower a lot of depth. Nicely done. Tressa, nicely done on your quick free form painting. Love the colors. Jim, nice work on the dog. You captured his profile perfectly. There is still some month left. I look forward to seeing more.

05-22-2013, 10:27 PM
Judi, Nice job on the teapot and cup painting! I like the contrast between the vivid red items and the cooler blues and grays!

Cali, Very nice job on the pink blossoms. I think they are from a quince tree. Nice contrast between the red/pink of the blossoms and the complementary green background! We'll be looking at color complements in an upcoming Spotlight very soon!


05-23-2013, 01:56 AM
wow, what brilliant paintings and all so very different. Have enjoyed looking at them all

05-24-2013, 03:37 PM
Hi Don and thanks for the comment on my attempt at your dog.

I do the same as yourself Ruthie, I find myself tightening up at every attempt. Nice daff though...even if it is tight. (you could use less wine of course :D)

Thanks Jason for commenting, it is appreciated.

Hi there Dave, yes a pigmented nebula. Looks very colourful.

Hi there JudiB just right for a cuppa.:thumbsup: I see you have used the Canson as I have, doesn't take many layers does it.

Cali also trying to be loose and being more successful than I. The complimentary colours makes the flower jump out doesn't it. Thanks for the comment on my dog attempt.
We went to art class today and I was able to start another spotlight after I had done what I said I would. That meant completing at home so probably rushed it but never-the-less have finished it.


05-24-2013, 04:36 PM
Dave I love your Flowering Quince! It's so vibrant and alive!

Judi, Love the transitions on the teapot and the colours!

Cali, great complementaries! I love the loose look of this, very effective.

Jim, Wow, that is a beautiful Tulip, fantastic strokes on the petals! Mine is actually a Tulip too...not every yellow flower is a Daff...lol!

05-24-2013, 06:40 PM
Mine is actually a Tulip too...not every yellow flower is a Daff...lol! My elder sister would be ashamed of me ..... but she worked in a flower farm and knew all kinds of things about flowers :clear: unlike me. I knew nothing about flowers :confused: Flahrs and rufty tufty blokes are not a good combination :rolleyes:

05-25-2013, 10:59 AM
Hi all...some lovely work here....

Don ...thank you for the beautiful reference pics...flowers are my weakness so I couldnt resist painting one though life at home is in one major state of flux...we will be moving base to the US, as my husband got a job transfer, in the end of June...just got our VISAs done this week...dont know if Ill show up at all next month...

Sorry for not commenting on individual work....

Heres my pink blossoms...as always open to C&c....



05-25-2013, 12:58 PM
Jim, Very nice job on the tulip! You've captured the delicacy and the texture!

Prashanti, Wonderful painting of the blossoms! Beautiful color combinations!