View Full Version : Hibiscus WIP, pastel pencils, C&C needed

10-04-2013, 10:21 AM
Faber C pencils on blue Canson MT, smooth side.

I'm working on this for my mom. Ref photo, latest WIP, and WIP series below in that order. And I'm going to correct that bad leaf. By the way, I was having a really bad drawing day when I started so, yes, I hang my head in shame and admit to tracing the outline.

All C&C very welcome, but I'm specifically requesting two things:

1. Any tips on loosening this up before I go further?

2. Are the leaves in a nice composition? I'm not liking them, however, I can always add some smudgy background. I may do that regardless.

http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww196/partlycloudy/hibiscusmoms.jpg (http://s719.photobucket.com/user/partlycloudy/media/hibiscusmoms.jpg.html)
http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww196/partlycloudy/hib3.jpg[/U[URL=http://s719.photobucket.com/user/partlycloudy/media/hib.jpg.html]http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww196/partlycloudy/hib.jpg (http://s719.photobucket.com/user/partlycloudy/media/hib3.jpg.html)RL]

10-04-2013, 12:29 PM
Nice work so far.

1) I work with pastel sticks and not pastel pencils which means they are loose by virtue of the size and the edge I choose to use. Maybe you don't need to loosen up.

2) The leaves need to overlap with the flower. IMHO. If not they read as each individual thing. Put one or two in the back behind the blossom.

Looking good!!! Barb

10-04-2013, 03:40 PM
You know, I was wondering about whether I needed to loosen up. For this anyway. I adore loose painting so I try to do that.

Ahhh, yes, I see exactly what you mean re: the leaves!

Thank you!!

10-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Is there shame in tracing or transferring? If so, I'm out.

10-05-2013, 03:39 PM
Is there shame in tracing or transferring? If so, I'm out.

Well, I keep reading there is so I felt compelled to feel shameful. ;) Seriously, I'm a noob so I want to learn to draw well in addition to actually painting well. I felt I was not living up to my own expectations by tracing.

I can't say I've lost any sleep over it though. :angel:

10-06-2013, 12:53 PM
Looking good. No need to force a certain style, it will show by itself, and change over time. Have fun, no need to worry about trace/no trace, its all good, do what you need to do. Drawing skill will improve over time as well. Looking forward to seeing the finish on this!

10-07-2013, 01:46 PM
Looking good. No need to force a certain style, it will show by itself, and change over time. Have fun, no need to worry about trace/no trace, its all good, do what you need to do. Drawing skill will improve over time as well. Looking forward to seeing the finish on this!

Ahhh, words of wisdom, thank you. I love loose and kind of abstract art so I always think that's what I should be doing.

10-07-2013, 08:19 PM
' ... loose and abstract ... '
- one of , if not the most abused phrase .

Jackson Pollack integrated dribbled paint into a method , a compositional element , a subconscious element , and , perhaps , an emotional outlet .
-> ain't seen no one hit all those buttons lately ... :eek:

were you taught ' penmanship ' in grade school ?
= use of line to make recognizable/common shapes in an accepted format to communicate . :D

enjoy your painting process , and learning . :)
the other stuff comes along as it may .
no big deal .


PS : i tried to put the ' angry ' smilie at the end of the first sentence for emphasis ,
but it shows up in the post headline , and won't edit/delete ! grrrr
- please understand .

10-07-2013, 09:44 PM
Ed, no problem on the angry thing. I hate when I make a mistake like that and then can't edit it.

I know eventually I'll settle in. I'm so new there's no point in worrying about it anyway!

10-08-2013, 07:24 PM

thx Christina . :)

trust yourself with your own marks/painting ,
and stay open to your curiousity about the material .

most of all , what you see that inspires you to paint ! :D


10-09-2013, 03:48 AM
This is a lovely delicate drawing! I agree with Barb about the leaves. The two that come close to or hit the flower would look much better overlapping behind it.
As for loosening up. Ask everyone here, it's something I'm always moaning about not being able to do it! I have received many lectures about allowing my own style to develop and they are right you know! Over the years my work has loosened up considerably so I know I am on my way to realising my vision of how my style should be....it takes time though.

Enjoy the beauty of your current style and let it develop naturally (ie, don't do as I do, do as I say!!!)

10-09-2013, 10:55 AM
Ed, you're so right! Flowers and landscapes inspire me, which is why I practice with them.

Ruthie, yes, I got a chuckle at your comments on loosening up in your workshop thread. I know just how you feel! Thank you re: feedback and compliment! I'm definitely going to change the leaves. I haven't worked on this piece in a few days as it's quite tedious and I've not had the mental energy. In fact, it's so tedious I've kind of lost my enthusiasm but I'm determined to finish it. I'll keep posting updates as I progress.

10-09-2013, 12:35 PM
In my expereince - and by no means does this mean that it will be your experience - "loosening up" is often a natural progression that develops as an artist gains more experience. With experience (and an inclination to loosen up) an artist often learns how one stroke - or a minimal number of strokes - can convey what used to take more strokes. With expereince comes the knowledge that less detail is often better, combined with where and how to show that lesser amount of detail.

One thing that can be helpful in loosening up is differentiating between the more linear type of painting and the "blocking-in" approach. Starting with a detailed linear drawing often leads to tight paintings. There is nothing at all wrong with that process, mind you - it is perfectly OK to work that way and many wonderful paintings have been done that way. But a more shape based, blocking-in type technique may lead to a faster path to looser paintings, in my opinion, anyway. I say this based on my own expereince coming from a fairly tight drawing background.

A while back we did a Spotlight on blocking-in which is archived in our learning center here:


A book I would recommend that discusses this blocking in versus linear approach is Bob Rohm's book The Painterly Approach.

Again, I want to make clear that both approaches are perfectly valid and neither is better than the other. But, I think, for people wanting to loosen up, the "painterly" approach of blocking-in may be helpful!


Equus Art
10-09-2013, 07:22 PM
If you want to loosen your style, I suggest to lose the pencils and work strictly with sticks. I am guilty of wanting to put in all those niggling details. I am working on a painting now where I am forcing myself to not reach for those pencils. Believe me, I have had to slap myself, put the pencils out of sight and work in shape blocking in. I am pretty happy with how things are progressing, surprised at how much faster my painting has progressed and keep reminding myself that it is okay not include every hair.


10-09-2013, 08:44 PM
Don, thank you for the links and book recommendation! I'm excited about both!

Cat, I actually got fed up with it today and decided to use my sticks. It looks soooo much better! I kept wanting to go back to pencils, but I stopped myself. It helped that I didn't have the colors I needed,lol. I'll probably post a pic tomorrow after I tweak it a bit. With sticks. :D

10-10-2013, 07:19 PM
If anyone is interested here's the final product....which I'm laughing at. I couldn't figure out the leaves then decided to do a nice soft background. Not so good either. I'm officially calling this "Hibiscus In Algae." I'm going to just recycle this paper and practice stuff on it.

http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww196/partlycloudy/hibiscu.jpg (http://s719.photobucket.com/user/partlycloudy/media/hibiscu.jpg.html)

10-10-2013, 09:44 PM
Well, I have to say that I like the way you are handling the sticks. I like this version better because of the painterly approach you took, excellent. So it doesn't have any leaves..... at least you are figuring out how to handle the medium, and that's what it's all about. A great learning experience, I am sure your next one will be even better!

10-10-2013, 11:39 PM
Thank you, Chris. I agree and like this version of the flower much better. It's really the background I'm not happy with. Hibiscus In Pea Soup? My husband suggested a more simple title: Hellbiscus, because it's been such a chore. :D

Yes, it's actually been a great learning experience and that's the stage I'm at anyway! Or do you never really leave that stage?? :D