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DAK723
09-30-2013, 10:43 PM
Welcome artists!:wave:

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…Autumn Colors!

Every year, here in the Spotlight, we take one month to celebrate the colors of Autumn! So this month, let's all enjoy the wonderful display of color that nature provides!

Since we have been studying color these past few months - focusing on color contrast and intensity - this month's theme should fit right in!

Here are the references...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2013/82335-IMG_2111.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2013/82335-jensporch_1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2013/82335-CRW_3601.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2013/82335-IMG_7343-crop.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2013/82335-IMG_0772.jpg

All photos by me. Feel free to crop, rearrange elements and modify the ref pics any way you want.

This month, because we don't have a specific lesson, feel free to use your own reference photo that puts the Spotlight on Autumn colors!

Enjoy!

Don

Mij
10-01-2013, 04:16 AM
Thanks for the reference images Don and for hosting. I'll have to do something this month :lol: (trees trees and more trees)
jim

Judibelle
10-01-2013, 07:50 AM
Beautiful photos, Don....I expect to do at least one this month!

Ruthie57
10-01-2013, 08:26 AM
Good theme Don! Well, I already have one. It's one I posted in the Studio last year, got advice, but never worked on it again.
I finally got it out again and finished it at the weekend.
Bracken and Oak, from my own photo taken very near where I live.
It's about 15x11" on Fisher 400.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2013/189061-Bracken_and_Oak.jpg

getdusty
10-01-2013, 11:37 AM
Thank you Don.
Ruthie, I can't believe you already have one posted. It's beautiful; I love the softness.
Fall colors are among my favorite subjects. Will definitely have to do this.

DAK723
10-01-2013, 12:18 PM
Ruthie, Wonderful painting! The recession into the distance is beautifully done!

Don

robertsloan2
10-01-2013, 01:49 PM
Ruthie, that is fantastic! I'm so glad you finished it. That road draws me right in, those trees are so wonderful. Thanks for starting off!

Don, thank you for great photos and a broad theme! I'm going to have to get clever on this one if I use my own photo. San Francisco mostly doesn't change colors in the fall, but it's so very colorful!

Ruthie57
10-01-2013, 03:57 PM
Thanks getdusty, Don and Robert. A bit of a cheat really as this has been nearly done for nearly a year!
I hope to get another done sometime this month. May even surprise you as I'm going on a workshop with a fab Pastel Artist this coming weekend. The theme. The Glory of Autumn!

Artcat369
10-02-2013, 08:29 AM
Ruthie, what an absolutely gorgeous painting! The color is beautiful, the composition and patterns of lights/darks are spot on. I love the play of sharp focus against the soft smudges. That, along with the color, really render a sense of depth. Thanks for posting!:clap:

Mij
10-02-2013, 06:39 PM
Yes I recall this one now. It is good and falls right into the fall colours of this month's spotlight. Well done Ruthie. :thumbsup:
jim

Mado
10-03-2013, 04:45 AM
Beautiful Ruthie.
I want to take the path and walk into the peaceful landscape.

Ruthie57
10-03-2013, 12:23 PM
Thank you all! So, who's next???

gecko99
10-05-2013, 05:28 AM
Stunning Ruthie - I miss England most at this time of year, Season of mists etc.....

Nicole

getdusty
10-11-2013, 09:53 PM
I've finished an autumn painting. I didn't use one of the spotlight references, but did one of a local area. After laboring hours on it, I did a small (not really autumn) one in 20 minutes, including value study. I'm posting both here (hope that is okay). Actually, I like the feel of the 20 minute one better. Would love comments and critiques. Thanks. Edited to say I don't know why the smaller of the two posted large......

Ruthie57
10-12-2013, 04:08 AM
Get Dusty, why don't you put these in the Studio and Gallery? Go on, don't be shy. You'll get more feedback there and, if you ask for hard C&C, you'll get some.

I love the first one, full of shimmering light! Great how you picked out the flaming bush in the background as a counterpoint to the foreground red. Maybe just connect the colours a little more by putting some orange in the foreground one? I didn't notice the fisherman at first. For this painting I'm not sure he's needed, at least in the position you have him. As he's directly above the foreground centre of interest he becomes rather lost IMO. I love your style! The background hills and the foliage are extremely well done.

The second one is just a perfect little gem! I have no C&C, it's beautifully done!

getdusty
10-12-2013, 10:47 AM
Thanks, Ruthie

DAK723
10-12-2013, 12:42 PM
Getdusty, These are lovely! The first captures the brilliant colors of autumn beautifully! The second is very harmonious and soft! Those gradations in the sky colors is fab!

Don

robertsloan2
10-12-2013, 04:07 PM
GetDusty, wow! I love that first scene, so much beautiful vasty distance! I love the water and the sense I could wander right into the scene. I didn't notice the fisherman at all until I read Ruth's comment, so you could brush him out without losing anything - or turn him into a rock or stump. Or just leave him be, since he's there but not important.

I don't think the human has to be the most important element in the painting or in the composition. What I love about the painting is that feeling of being alone in nature with no one around for miles and miles, listening to birds and bugs gossip while fish occasionally splash, feeling the mist on my skin. Seeing the fisherman is like 'some other guy got here first and staked out the good fishing spot.' But that's just me, some people prefer paintings with figures in them. I just don't think he has to be the main focus or that the painting has to be about him - his being there fishing if I'm there to paint or bird-watch makes him someone I could ignore without being rude. He doesn't want me disturbing the fish, I don't want him disturbing the birds or my solitude.

Actually that about says it about him - he's there enjoying it too and would no more want to talk to me than I to him, we're both enjoying the serenity of that beautiful wilderness. So he could stay in and not be made the center of interest.

The second painting is a wonderful little moment of serendipity. Fresh and powerful, beautifully balanced, great feel and atmosphere. It does feel like fall with a little frost on all that brush and a nip to the air - you captured the subtler fall colors in that. Don't mess with finite perfection, just frame the little beauty and keep it.

They're both gorgeous and yes, you should post them to the Studio too. It's okay to do that with Spotlight paintings even if you use the photo refs.

bnoonan
10-12-2013, 09:47 PM
Ruthie - gorgeous piece.... Wow you really refined it beautifully.

Barb

getdusty
10-12-2013, 10:25 PM
Thank you Ruthie, Don and Robert. I generally do not put people in my paintings. The fisherman is incidental to the piece, yet he belongs there. On that stretch of creek there is usually a lone fly fisherman. (except on opening day of trout season when there are quite a few) I'll keep him in just because he sort of belongs there...in the background...just enjoying being there.
Ruthie, I will try just a teensy bit of orange in the foreground as you suggested.
I do like the little "20 minute painting" and will just leave it alone.
Thanks, again.

Tamlyn
10-15-2013, 01:59 PM
Here's my fall colors. Used a picture that I recently took.
9x12 Richeson Gator Foam Premium Pastel Surface. mix of pastels: girault, great american, schmincke, rembrandt...

First time using the Richeson surface and not too happy with it. Really had to push a lot of pastel into the surface ... C&C appreciated.
Thanks,
Tamlyn

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2013/135238-FallLeaves-close-WC.jpg

DAK723
10-15-2013, 04:38 PM
Hi Tamlyn, Thanks so much for joining us here in the Spotlight! This is a very nice painting just filled with wonderful, warm, fall colors! Lovely!

Don

getdusty
10-15-2013, 07:01 PM
Love the fall colors and the old log. Good job!

Ruthie57
10-16-2013, 08:18 AM
Welcome Tamlyn! Lovely Autumn colours in this!

Tamlyn
10-17-2013, 02:52 PM
Thank you all for the compliments on my autumn aspen leaves.

I'm asking for some off topic help.

Can anyone on suggest a post (w/link) discussing how to photograph a painting so that is looks half way decent when you upload it here or anywhere else?

I have a digital 35mm SLR. I have played with lighting and other things but I am really missing something.

Looking at the picture of the pastel I posted here, I'm frustrated with the quality of the photo the image is dull and the colors are not true. I think my painting is much better in real life.

So I know that this has to have been written about many times before but I can't seem to put together a good search string to get the information I'm looking for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also let me know if I should post this somewhere else.

Tamlyn

DAK723
10-17-2013, 03:09 PM
Thank you all for the compliments on my autumn aspen leaves.

I'm asking for some off topic help.

Can anyone on suggest a post (w/link) discussing how to photograph a painting so that is looks half way decent when you upload it here or anywhere else?



There have been many threads on this subject - and like most topics, many different answers.

Here is the advice I always give:

Cameras are miracles of technology, but they are just technology and not magic. They do not reproduce color or values exactly.

When possible, take your photos outdoors on an overcast - but hopefully fairly bright - day. The reason I think this works best is that an overcast day will not influence the colors the same as a clear day with a blue sky (which will put a blue cast over everything). Just make sure you place your painting in a spot where there isn't much color reflecting off a nearby wall, for example. Shooting outdoors is much simpler and easier than trying to shoot indoors where the light falls unevenly and gets gradually darker as you increase the distance from the window. And cheaper than trying to use flash - where you really need two flash units placed at about 45 degree angles from the painting.

After you take your photo, you need to manipulate it in a software program. The photo of your artwork will usually require some exposure manipulation (contrast, light and dark) and sometimes (depending on how picky you are) some color adjustments. If you don't have a photo editing program, some are fairly inexpensive, such as Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro - or you can download or work on some for free online. You don't need an expensive program such as the full version of Photoshop under any circumstances!

But, yes, in my opinion, almost every photo will need manipulation. And even then they will not match the colors or values exactly.

Hope this helps!

Don

robertsloan2
10-17-2013, 03:51 PM
Tamlyn, wow! That's one of the toughest subjects I've ever tried or seen - you've pulled it off perfectly! Leaf litter with bright autumn trees is so easy to overdetail and lose coherence, but the painting is elegant and the eye-paths among the gorgeous leaves so fascinating. I like the log too. Well done and fantastic composition. You took my breath away here.

Middle of the month and I haven't done one yet, got to do something about that!

robertsloan2
10-17-2013, 04:56 PM
Finally! Used one of the references and did an autumn scene for my sketchwall.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Oct-2013/70184-Autumn_Spotlight_2013.JPG
Autumn Scene
9" x 12"
Carb-Othello pastel pencils
Bogus rough recycled brown paper
Photo reference by DAK720 for Oct. 2013 Pastel Spotlight

I felt like using the pastel pencils today, just felt like fooling around with hatching and linear marks and expressive linear marks. A fun change for me from broader sticks.

Ruthie57
10-18-2013, 03:07 AM
Lovely sketch Robert. Bold, colourful and lively! It's full of energy. I feel I can almost see in it your enthusiasm when you did it!

robertsloan2
10-18-2013, 06:10 AM
In retrospect, I think I'd have liked to have moved a very short pine in on the right somewhat behind the yellow trees - just a small dash of that dark color to frame them and balance the composition. Didn't think of it till I already had it up on the wall though. Live and learn! Not as tall as that blurry muted backdrop treeline though, just sort of half that height and set a little bit back.

Eh, next time I'll be more creative in how I arrange the greenery. I'm starting to really loosen up on that, especially with trees. It's not like a portrait of a human or animal, where I want exactly Ari's facial proportions and features. Trees grow or die all the time and even if I did get the likeness exact, it wouldn't be there by the time people went back to the spot in a few years.

getdusty
10-18-2013, 09:51 AM
Robert, I love the brightness of the trees.
For the past day or two the tree colors have been spectacular in the neighborhood and I have been drinking them in. Last night rain and now the colors have dulled substantially. Almost as though the rain washes the color away. Thinking this could be a cool painting subject....trees with dulled colors yet vibrant color puddles underneath and running down a road called something like "After the Rain". Don't know how I would get that effect, though. Suggestions? Maybe watercolors would be a better medium.

Tamlyn
10-18-2013, 10:50 AM
Robert,
I agree with Ruthie. I like the freshness and spontaneity of it. Definitely radiates light and energy. I struggle with that, in that, I dive into the details far to quickly lose some of the energy.

I agree about a darker tree in the background for balance. Also maybe a little more work in the reflections.

-Tamlyn

Tamlyn
10-18-2013, 11:41 AM
There have been many threads on this subject - and like most topics, many different answers.

Here is the advice I always give:

Cameras are miracles of technology, but they are just technology and not magic. They do not reproduce color or values exactly.

When possible, take your photos outdoors on an overcast - but hopefully fairly bright - day. The reason I think this works best is that an overcast day will not influence the colors the same as a clear day with a blue sky (which will put a blue cast over everything). Just make sure you place your painting in a spot where there isn't much color reflecting off a nearby wall, for example. Shooting outdoors is much simpler and easier than trying to shoot indoors where the light falls unevenly and gets gradually darker as you increase the distance from the window. ...
Don

Thanks Don. I will try shooting outdoors. I believe I am getting a lot of reflected local color from things around the painting. I have GIMP and quite a few other photo manipulation software packages but I think you need to start with the best possible picture first.

Tamlyn

DAK723
10-18-2013, 12:23 PM
Robert, Very nice! Lots of nice contrasts as well as a lot of energy. The thinner strokes of the pencils gives the suggestion of details and movement!

Don

robertsloan2
10-18-2013, 07:07 PM
Peg, I like the idea you're describing. I think it could be done in pastels. I'd say try it and if that doesn't work, you could always use it as a study for a watercolor. It sounds so beautiful.

Thank you all for your comments! I'm still not sure if I'll rework it or do something else - wanted to do a gourd for the Gourds Project and that's autumn colors too. Or go outdoors with my walker and pick something interesting in a scene - show y'all what Autumn Colors in San Francisco look like, where it's blooming year round. I don't see much fall color or deciduous trees but plenty of fall flowers.

Tamlyn
10-19-2013, 01:24 PM
...
I'm still not sure if I'll rework it or do something else - wanted to do a gourd for the Gourds Project and that's autumn colors too. Or go outdoors with my walker and pick something interesting in a scene - show y'all what Autumn Colors in San Francisco look like, where it's blooming year round. I don't see much fall color or deciduous trees but plenty of fall flowers.

Robert
I love San Francisco, it's my absolute favorite city. I would love to see your interpretation of flowers spilling over a victorian front porch or a turn on Lombard st. :)

Just for fun I thought I would post some autumn pics of the Golden Gate State Park near my home. These were taken in early October this year.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2013/135238-GoldenGateFall2013.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2013/135238-GoldenGateFall2013-2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2013/135238-GoldenGateFall2013-3.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2013/135238-TallmanCabin-GoldenGate2.jpg

this last one is of a cabin that was built by a homesteader in 1876. It's a mile and a half from the nearest road.

Tamlyn

getdusty
10-19-2013, 01:52 PM
Tamlyn, these would make beautiful paintings. Would love to see your interpretation of these. Or have you already done some? If so, please post.

robertsloan2
10-19-2013, 03:49 PM
Tamlyn, thank you! These are wonderful. All of them would be incredible references, I hope you do paint from them. Are you sharing them to let the rest of us paint from them or just to enjoy them and get ideas? Either way, they're fantastic.

Colorado turns beautiful in the autumn. I'll be going out next week so I'll take a look at what's around me at both appointments and snap some good photos. I don't get out much other than appointments so I doubt I'll be able to get Lombard Street or anything like that, but if I get a good day I might have a go.

Ruthie57
10-19-2013, 04:47 PM
Tamlyn, Wow! What stunning photos! Mouth watering!

Tamlyn
10-20-2013, 02:52 PM
Robert, sorry I got carried away thinking about San Francisco, I look forward to seeing whatever scene inspires you.

Regarding my pictures w/aspen posted above - yes they are posted with my permission for anyone to use. But they are not very high-res. I plan on painting the one with the cabin and one of the paths. If anyone is really interested I can figure out how to put higher resolution images in the reference photo area. ( I have about a million pictures of aspen :rolleyes:)

Tamlyn

DAK723
10-20-2013, 04:09 PM
Tamlyn, Lovely photos! Thanks for sharing them with us!

Don

gecko99
10-20-2013, 05:48 PM
Beautiful photos Tamlyn!

Robert - love the expressive linear marks in your sketch :)

Nicole

getdusty
10-20-2013, 07:40 PM
Thank you Tamlyn for allowing us to use them.

robertsloan2
10-21-2013, 04:13 AM
Tamlyn, thank you! All those golden aspens fascinate me and the cabin looks pretty cool. I tend not to go to the full size version on photos, sometimes it's easier to plan if I'm not looking at it in detail.

bobbymac
10-22-2013, 05:06 PM
I call this one, "glorious autumn sumac". It’s done on 6x8 La Carte pastel card with mostly Rembrandts. C&C most welcomed. Bob
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2013/1154176-autumn_sumac_800x600.jpg

dpearce
10-22-2013, 05:16 PM
I am a new WC user and would love to post a Fall painting I did recently but have never posted anything or put anything on WC. Can somebody help me with all that? I am excited to be a part of all of this wonderful input and education.....just not really knowledgeable with the sight.
Thanks so much in advance for any help!!

DAK723
10-22-2013, 07:09 PM
Welcome! Since our Spotlight thread is about Fall colors and this month we are giving the members a chance to post from their own reference (rather than just using the provided refs) - you can post right here! Here in the Spotlight, you can do a post just like the one you did - and add a JPG of your painting. If you "Go Advanced" you will see various icons above text box. One of them (4th from the right) looks like a mountain peek on a yellow background. Click that to "Insert Image." There are other ways to attach a photo, too. Here's a link that describes how to upload:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=962891

Here's a link you may have seen at the top of the pastel forums - that gives more information about our forum.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=814221

Most paintings are posted in our Studio and Gallery sub-forum, so feel free to start a new thread there to show your painting. If you want Critique, mention it (often referred to as C&C). If you don't want critique - well, mention that, too!

Looking forward to seeing your work!

Don

robertsloan2
10-22-2013, 07:35 PM
I call this one, "glorious autumn sumac". It’s done on 6x8 La Carte pastel card with mostly Rembrandts. C&C most welcomed. Bob
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2013/1154176-autumn_sumac_800x600.jpg

Bobbymac, this is so wonderful! I love the true bright intense colors of the changing sumac. I used to watch sumac shift through all its gorgeous hues every year if I lived near some. I don't know the name of the yellow-leaved tree behind it but do recognize those leaves, a good choice to contrast with the sumac foliage. Like your dark background that makes the blazing warm colors glow and that you included the breeding structure as well (not sure if that's a flower spike or something like rose hips where the flowers have all already been pollinated and are now growing seeds.)

Nice composition with good eye paths running through it. The spike is not really a focal point, it's interesting but there's that one color changing frond that leads right in and the blazing colors - it's beautiful as-is. Don't change it. I'm not skilled enough to make any suggestions that'd improve it.

Actually the spike tip is the focal area, with the spike much closer to me than the yellow leaves behind it. Gorgeous value contrasts. I looked at it again and now I see where so many eye paths lead directly there. Well done!

getdusty
10-22-2013, 08:11 PM
Bobbymac, I love the colors. Looks just like here! I especially like the light on the "spike".

DAK723
10-22-2013, 09:43 PM
Bob, Thanks for joining us! Your "Glorious Autumn Sumac" is marvelous! Such bold, intense color!

Don

bobbymac
10-23-2013, 05:08 AM
Thank you everyone for your nice comments.
Robert, the seed pod was supposed to be the focal point but sort of difficult with so much competing vibrant colors so I angled a few of the branches and leaves towards it hoping that it would draw the eye there. Thank you for confirming that it was successful. The yellow leaves in the background are sassafras. I believe in olden times that the sassafras root was used for root beer. Bob

robertsloan2
10-23-2013, 10:39 AM
Thank you! I'd seen it and I'd heard of it, but never the name pointed out while I was looking at it. For some reason I always found those leaves when I was wandering alone. So that's what sassafras looks like!

All of your pointers work very, very well and the colors are blazing. This could easily have been a confusing, jarring image and it's not. Duh. Seed pod, yes. It's beautiful. I've seen it so many times and you've captured everything about it, the prettiest of autumn leaves.

Ruthie57
10-23-2013, 11:17 AM
Bob, great Sumach! It glows with colour and, yes, my eye is drawn to the seed pod. I used to have one in my garden. Last tree to come into leaf and first to drop but, oh my, those colours!

linettalee
10-23-2013, 05:09 PM
Absolutely love all the vibrant, gorgeous fall colors you are all posting this month. Great work everyone! :clap: I really haven't been able to do very much painting the last couple months and really am missing it. This piece really called to me when I found the photo reference graciously shared by Alun Davies in Paint My Photo. This is my attempt to capture the feeling and textures.

"The Red Ball"
PanPastel on AS Colorfix Suede
approx 12x16"
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2013/110796-The_Red_Ball_pmp_sm.jpg

Yannse
10-23-2013, 11:56 PM
Tamlyn , thanks for your share,I am going to do something for fall .

getdusty
10-23-2013, 11:58 PM
very cool, LinettaLee

Ruthie57
10-24-2013, 03:14 AM
What a lovely image Linetta. You did it very well, especially the floating leaves!

elisehbeck
10-24-2013, 03:45 AM
Great job on the water, linettalee. I also love the mistiness of the background.
Cheers
Elise

bobbymac
10-24-2013, 04:50 AM
Very nice Linettalee. The ripples in the water and the colour change of the ball as it submerges in the water are well done. Bob

bobbymac
10-24-2013, 04:55 AM
Bob, great Sumach! It glows with colour and, yes, my eye is drawn to the seed pod. I used to have one in my garden. Last tree to come into leaf and first to drop but, oh my, those colours!

Thank you Ruthie, fall paintings are about the only time I get to use the colours from that part of my palette.

robertsloan2
10-24-2013, 09:51 AM
Linetta, I love the leaves swirling around on the surface of the water. Great water effects, both on the submerged part of the ball, the ripples and the floating leaves. Wonderful, subtle autumn painting! This is fantastic.

linettalee
10-24-2013, 12:34 PM
Peg, Ruth, Elise, Bob and Robert: thank you all for your encouraging comments, they are very appreciated. It felt so great to be able to spend a bit of time working on this, didn't realize how long it had been and how much I missed being able to paint some every day. Hopefully ....

DAK723
10-24-2013, 03:35 PM
Linetta, Thanks for joining us and sharing your wonderful painting!

Don

linettalee
10-25-2013, 01:18 PM
Thank you, Don. Hope to join in more often now. Other than my "October Gold" which was done as a wedding present, this is the only piece I have done in the last couple months. I want more, please! :)

robertsloan2
10-25-2013, 07:38 PM
Please paint more! I'm looking forward to them, Linetta!