View Full Version : Landscape newbie - castle/folly on a hill

05-12-2013, 03:13 AM
Hi there,
So many beautiful paintings on this forum, and very inspiring. I know there are other beginners so I have taken a deep breath and uploaded my first pastel to the gallery! It is a local Leicestershire landmark, nicknamed 'Old John'. I used green paper and the picture is 9" x 13".

I have been studying a few books and demos etc on landscapes as in the past have mostly just done still life and life drawing. So taking the plunge with some rembrandts and a taste of unison pastels (found out how good they are first hand!).

I would be so interested to find out what you think as professional artists. Really enjoying pastel painting so far,


05-12-2013, 03:44 AM
I think it's really a beautiful work !

05-12-2013, 04:35 AM
Excellent job.


05-12-2013, 07:02 AM
What do I think? I think you did a lovely job! This looks like a smooth paper, and you did not overwork it, as some newbies, mistakenly. The stones are understated and you did not make the other mistake of making each one a star of the show, but gave just enough detail to a few and the others tell the brain, "hey! We are stones!" The castle ruins are executed wonderfully, again with enough detail to give them character without overdo, and the perspective is spot on.
The only thing for me, and this is just my style, so not a critique, if it were mine, I would punch the color in the grasses and foliage just to offset the neutral tones of the stone. Such as I would have spot highlighted the brown grasses with bright golds to a touch of palest yellow to make them pop a little more, and some richness to the greens, some blue/purple and highlights.
But again, let me be clear, that is just MY style, as I use a heavy hand in color.

It is excellent.:thumbsup:


05-12-2013, 09:05 AM
Beautiful. Sky is great. Stonework is so well done. Composition perfect. :clap: :clap: :clap: Pam

05-12-2013, 12:45 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments, which are very encouraging to me. Thanks Tressa for your detailed reply and I see what you are saying with the grass and the greens, they could have a bit more variation to set them off, so will definitely take that on board. I agree with you, a bit of cream would marry those areas up a bit with the highlights on the castle.
It is a smooth paper and I couldn't imagine layering so many colours on top of each other at the moment on an abrasive surface as I feel scared of overworking anything. But hopefully will get more practise of this in other landscapes with mountains etc. to mix more colours on top of each other.
Thanks again, Lucy

05-12-2013, 02:08 PM
and Welcome .
good to read/see that you are ' picking up sticks ' . :rolleyes: , and good ones at that :)

a few comments ;
the skinny/' twiggy ' lines seem to me at odds with the solid masses of the hill and castle ...
part of that may be the dark over light of the branches and the light over dark of the meager/occasional foreground grasses .
> some books about composition may encourage such a ' device ' for contrast , scale etc ,
but with this scene it does not serve well .
> the barrel shape of the tower seems to flatten out towards the edges
and the rectangle of the structure behind it seems uncertain ,
>> some separate line studies of the structure for the technical issue of geometric perspective should be easy enough
and just a few tweaks would resolve that on your painting .
-> Jackie Simmonds has presented excellent posts/descriptions about this topic !

smooth paper is a relative term , that is to say ,
a textured support , watercolour paper with textured treatments ( or other surfaces , or on their own )
paper made with pastel in mind ,
or anything handy . :D
-> good threads about that in the Pastel Talk forum ...

all that to encourage you , and take advantage of this most excellent group . :)

and , yep - your painting is pretty durn good . :thumbsup:


05-12-2013, 03:10 PM
LOL..Ed, you are correct on the twiggy tree from the top left, but I figured there was enough right I would let someone else deal with that one.
It seems to just kind of float from the side with no reference to where it came from, and the ends disappear into the castle walls, so , yes, it is a distraction, but overall a lot of good stuff happening in here!:D

05-12-2013, 03:14 PM
Surely you're not a beginner at art, this is a wonderful painting! I agree with Tressa, you've steered clear of so many of the problems that sink the beginner 'ships', so you must know painting.

One thing for the future, and that is shadows. They usually have a bit of light in them (which the camera 'kills' and makes black). They, shadows, are an excellent excuse for dropping in some lovely reflected colour, like in the curve of the arch.

I see you've dropped in colour here and there all over, that's excellent for unifying the picture.

What's your usual medium?

05-12-2013, 04:04 PM
Ed and Tressa - Thank you for those points, I can see the tree branches coming in from the top corner with no reference of the origin of them is an instance where I shouldn't have copied the photo directly! And with the structure I may have been occupied with the stonework so that I lost the geometry of it a little so the sketches sound like a good idea. Yes it is all good feedback and I appreciate your time as I am serious about what I'm doing.
Charlie - Thank you I'm glad about having avoided a few pitfalls and it's interesting about the shadows, another time where photography falls far short of being out in the field! I always avoid using black and use dark indigo but yes I see it doesn't have to be that dark to that extent.
I am learning so much from here! Thanks all x

05-12-2013, 04:11 PM
By the way, you asked about my usual medium, it is pastel pencils/charcoal and a lot more 'drawn' than painted, prior to learning more about pastel painting properly. I have also done a few oil paintings so I am pleased the same principles apply with pastel painting, so I guess that is the bit I am already a little familiar with.

05-12-2013, 04:34 PM
yup , my guess was that you are coming from line , as many of us have . :)

for me , much info/ideas about colour mixing comes from wet media , and is good ,
but pastel is distinct from that , so ,
be re-assured , confident , and inventive !
> Charlie is a most excellent colourist , and her threads/posts are worth much ' homework ' !

what more can i say -- it's all good here . :)


05-12-2013, 10:02 PM
Beautifully done - nice comp!

pastel lover
05-12-2013, 11:52 PM
Just gorgeous!! Are you sure you are newbie?


05-13-2013, 01:21 AM
This is a beautifully painted piece and you have got a good feel for pastels.