View Full Version : The Spotlight - March 2014 - Painting White

02-28-2014, 08:40 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…Painting White!

This month we are going to explore painting white objects. Painting white objects can often be confusing, but, in my opinion, they offer lots of possibilities!

One aspect of white objects is that they are sort of a blank canvas in regards to all the possible colors that may reflect onto them – as well as showing and revealing the color of the light. Plus, of course, artists can add any other colors that they want based purely on artistic license!

A topic that we explored in an older Spotlight was how the color of the light source(s) influences the color of the objects. Light sources include the direct light, any secondary light, and reflected light. Sometimes (or, in fact, many times) it is hard to see the influence of the color of the light. While many artists discuss seeing colors in shadows, for example, many others (like me, unfortunately) don’t see them well – if at all.

But, wait! If the object – or area - has no local color (in other words, white), those color influences are much easier to see! The blue light shining down from a cloudless sky is much easier to see in shadows on white snow, then it is to see in shadows on green grass. On white snow, the blue sky light makes those shadows blue. On green grass, the blue sky light added to the green local color makes those shadows, well, a blue-green. It might still look green if you aren’t noticing the subtle color shift.

Let’s take a look at some snow scenes.


I will admit, that it is difficult to get accurate colors when taking photos of white objects. I have done my best to try and get accurate colors in this scene.

One thing to notice about this scene is that the lightest, brightest snow is not on the flat field. The snow that is receiving the most direct light – and is the lightest in value – is the snow on the tilted planes. The roofs, snowbanks and the near side of the rocks are receiving the most direct light because in the winter the sun is low in the sky. In some cases – very low in the sky! The flat planes that are most perpendicular to the sky would usually be the lightest areas – and are when the sun is higher in the sky, such as in summer (and probably spring and fall, too). It all depends on where you live, of course, but in the winter the sun is low, so be aware of the angle of the sun as it shines on things!

So, if we think about our light sources and how they influence color, we could envision that the most direct light from the sun (the primary light source) will make the snow slightly yellow. It is hard to see in the color swatches, but the color swatch from the sunlit snow is slightly on the yellow side. The color of the flat field is a bit vaguer! The field is still in the light (not the shadow), but because the angle of the sunlight is so low, the sunlight has less influence than it does on the tilted surfaces. Here, the blue light of the sky (which is much weaker than the sun, thus a secondary light source) is combining with the sunlight to form a more neutral gray (second swatch from the right). As the field curves even more away from the yellow sunlight (third swatch from right), the blue light of the sky begins to exert more influence and the snow is now noticeably blue. In the shadow (where no direct sunlight is shining), only the blue light from the sky is shining and the shadow is very blue.

Let’s look at another snow scene:


In this scene, the sun is once again at a low angle, so the tilted snowbanks are receiving the most direct sunlight. That swatch in sunlight shows a small yellow influence. But let’s take a look at the other two swatches. The swatch closer to the building is sort of a brownish-gray – it is influenced by reflected light from the brown building! But as you move away from the building, the influence of the reflected light gets smaller and disappears. So, the swatch on the flat plane away from the building now has a slightly blue tint, influenced by the blue sky.

Reflected light, in general is quite weak and does not carry long distances.

So, as we can see, white is rarely pure white – it can be quite colorful! Direct, secondary and reflected light can create a most colorful scene!

In the above examples, I have tried to be quite scientific in my analysis of the colors of white, but that is definitely not a rule that must be followed. As the artist, you can always make color choices based on your personal preferences, how much you want to be realistic, or how much you want to deviate from the “actual” colors in front of you!

Sometimes the subtle colors of white aren’t from the color of the light, but the “white” objects just have a bit of color of their own. Here’s a little still life set up that has 3 objects I would describe as white – the square box, the small box, and the table top. They are all slightly different in color.


Notice, however, that some of the colors are very much influenced by reflected light coming off the brown box. Notice also that none of the whites are as light as the pure white of the background where the swatches are. The one that comes the closest is the lightest side of the little box. That plane is getting the most direct light. Planes that are in the light, but receiving light that is less direct are darker in value. Shadow values can be quite dark. What a variety of both color and value!

Here’s a site on the web – “Fine Art Tips by Lori McNee” – that discusses painting white objects. She’s using oils and acrylics, but it has some good pointers:


The References:

I’ve tried to choose some references with a bit of color in them! Feel free to use as many colors, as you like! For long time followers of the Spotlight, you may recognize a few of these references. Yes, we’ve used some of them before!

Photo by Olika

Photo by She-She

Photo by PaintBoss

Photo by Guis Boro

Photo by me

As always, feel free to crop and/or modify the refs in any way you choose.

Have Fun painting "white!"


02-28-2014, 10:41 PM
Great lesson Don! I'm hoping to get some small studies down for this month's spotlight.

02-28-2014, 10:53 PM
I am excited because this will be my first time to participate in the Spotlight challenge....I went back and looked at the one in December. Am I correct that we pick at least one photo, paint it in pastel (of course) and then showcase it here on this thread? We can do more than one? Checking back and seeing what everyone else has done? Okay, I am in. :)


03-01-2014, 04:51 AM
Fantastic lesson Don! You go to such trouble to do these and it's so informative too! I have to do the snowy landscape one....even though I'm hoping we don't get any from now on.......Thanks!

03-01-2014, 08:51 AM
I am excited because this will be my first time to participate in the Spotlight challenge....I went back and looked at the one in December. Am I correct that we pick at least one photo, paint it in pastel (of course) and then showcase it here on this thread? We can do more than one? Checking back and seeing what everyone else has done? Okay, I am in. :)


Hi Margaret, Glad you are joining us! Yes, you got it! Pick one or more of the references to paint and then post them in this thread!


03-01-2014, 09:40 AM
thanks for another great lesson, Don! Yes, I recognize a couple....may try them again to see if I've improved any!

welcome, Margaret....enjoy!

03-01-2014, 11:25 AM
Thanks, Don! Again what a wonderful explanation and selection of references. I'm thinking you could print out all of your spotlight lessons, have them bound and it would be a great book....such detail and your examples....
I'd say I'm in on this one, but even I am tired of hearing myself say that and then not follow through. I guess it will be a surprise to me and all of you if I do one. :lol:

CM Neidhofer
03-01-2014, 12:38 PM
Can I cheat a little and post a painting of the strawberry bowl that I did sometime ago? It's one of my favorite paintings. Hope this is ok! Maybe this way I'll have time to actually do another painting. Thanks!


03-01-2014, 12:54 PM
Thank you for the welcome ..... CM I think you should paint another one, I love getting to view your painting though, very nice.

03-01-2014, 02:18 PM
Christine, Great painting - and a wonderful example of how colorful that white bowl can be depicted!


03-01-2014, 09:33 PM
Many, many thanks for this, Don! Your explanations are always so thorough and clear, but this time the lightbulb really went off for me (sorry for the pun). The idea that the horizontal plane of snow is not so light in value as the plane tilted toward the sun, in contrast to the field and hillside in summer, is mind-blowing! A lesson I'll never forget.

I echo the request for you to collect and publish all of your tremendous Spotlights.

Best, Evelyn

03-01-2014, 10:01 PM
Excellent lesson Don! Love your strawberries Christine!

Timely on the white painting lesson I tried a snow painting and the shadows were all the same tone so I just abstracted the back ground, next run at it I'll apply what you talked about here and see if I can improve it.


OK, so on to the task at hand... I discovered that blue is the new white! Actually the cooler blues in this might need warmer tones instead, I didn't stick to the same palette for each egg just to increase the practice. For me the reflected light is not nearly as much work as doing the fabric folds and shadows... have work to do on that part of it.

C & C please on the eggs... am I close on the reflections? Now that it's posted I can see I missed some yellow influence at around 7 o'clock on both eggs.


03-02-2014, 06:09 AM
Thanks, Don! Again what a wonderful explanation and selection of references. I'm thinking you could print out all of your spotlight lessons, have them bound and it would be a great book....such detail and your examples....
I'd say I'm in on this one, but even I am tired of hearing myself say that and then not follow through. I guess it will be a surprise to me and all of you if I do one. :lol:
All the Spotlight lessons ...and a lot more are available, anytime in our Learning Centre/center (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=439)

03-02-2014, 10:53 AM
Chris, thanks for starting us off with the Strawberries! I think I remember that one, excellent use of colour to describe white!
Steve, when the sun isn't shining snow can look pretty monochrome. There are still darker shadows but there's none of that sparkle. I like your Eggs! I've done that one too and found the fabric difficult....I didn't want to spend too much time on it so mine's a bit sketchy. I see you got the pink tones in the eggs. Good work.

03-02-2014, 01:00 PM
Fantastic subject and lesson. I'm trying to do some "paper white" tulips and I'll tell you, trying to figure out what color white really is, is very difficult. I've found, that if working from a photograph, converting the photo to black and white is really useful. My mind, unfortunately, is distracted by color. But I can do a black and white photo and use a white to black scale to really measure the values. Experienced artists probably don't have to do this. :lol:

Christine, great painting with the strawberries, also good work Steve! You're on the right track with the eggs (and reflection) and your comment about blue!

03-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Here are my eggs, done square, about 8x8" on Ersta paper. (I really like this paper but it's German I think and I don't think I can get it in the UK. This is from a sheet I bought from a charity sale of art materials).

My problem is I can see so many colours in white (or anything else) that I sometimes get confused and want to put different colours in the same area!


03-02-2014, 05:15 PM
Steve, Nice job on the eggs! You've got nice color, including the reflected light from tan fabric. Plus the eggs still have retained their 3-d form!

Ruth, Your eggs are also quite colorful! Nicely done, as always!


03-03-2014, 01:09 PM
And the next one......I know, I tend to be active at the beginning of the month and less so later. I may not do another but I will try to come see what people are up to for the rest of the month.
This is about 12x8 on terracotta colourfix paper. As usual it is very like the photo, I'm sorry to say, as it was supposed to look different....


03-03-2014, 04:26 PM
+Ruthie, it's GORgeous! as are your eggs....
Steve, you did a beautiful job with the eggs....I did them last time around, but not nearly as well. May try them again.
and, Christine, your strawberries in the bowl is SO well done....love it.

03-04-2014, 04:58 AM
Thanks Judi, Kris, Ruth, and Don! Ruth, I love the colors of your eggs, and the cloth looks so soft... and your landscape is wonderful, I like the toned paper coming through and all the great colors in the snow.

I spent a little more time on the cloth part of mine and since it really didn't change the way my eggs looked I won't bother to repost it, I will take a cut at that landscape before the month is out though, I need to practice my snow whites, with or without dwarfs... I saw all the other snow paintings in the snow thread from a couple years ago that included the reference you included here. A great choice!

03-04-2014, 09:04 AM
Ruth, Wonderful painting of the winter landscape!


03-04-2014, 02:11 PM
Ruthie, I esp. like your landscapes, well done!

03-04-2014, 03:14 PM
A great start from Steve and Ruthie.
Mine should be a bit less blue and a bit more grey but couldn't get it closer to the painting.

03-04-2014, 04:26 PM
Oh, I love the addition of the dog walker Trudi! Great touch!

03-06-2014, 11:35 PM
Thanks for a great lesson, Don! I love painting white objects. The cool thing is finding out just how deep and dark shadows can go on them and what hue the light is to start out with. Love the references you chose, including old favorites that I've played with before.

Christine, beautiful strawberries painting. I love the opalescence of the white bowl, you really captured the glass texture in that.

Steve, the eggs look awesome. You've done it right in general even if you missed a small spot of yellow in your rendering. The thing with fabric that's tricky is getting the texture and also getting the way it curves along the shape as it molds into hills and valleys. It can look good less textured or it may help to just hint at texture and let that fade off except where it's right at the bottom in the shadows or something. I like the textures you got though, they look pretty jazzy! Like it's different fabric, not like it's not fabric - and the painting is awesome.

Rendering folds of fabric is a lot of fun but the kind I like best is satin because it's so easy to render that by blending in the direction the grain of the satin folds and strongly highlighting the peaks. Satin is easy and that kind of toweling is probably the hardest for rendering in detailed realism.

Ruthie, ooooh yours are so beautiful! Both of them. wow!

Artsask, your landscape is gorgeous even with the blue cast, it seems to just slightly change the weather more than break the integrity of the scene. Some days do get that blue.

03-07-2014, 09:01 AM
Trudi, Beautiful job on the winter scene! I, too, like the addition of the dog and walker!


03-07-2014, 03:27 PM
Thanks Ruthie Robert and Don. Trudi

03-08-2014, 10:15 AM
Beautiful work so far. Ruthie, you are always an inspiration to me. I love what you have done with the snowy scene. Your paintings are always warm and inviting, even if it is a winter scene. I am almost ready to get started again. Even though I haven't posted in a long time, I still look in, waiting for that burst of energy to push me into paint mode again. I look forward to more of your work.

Trudi, I too love the addition of the dog walker. Both winter scenes done very well.

03-08-2014, 03:34 PM
Wow, this will be a challenge for me! But I think I'm looking forward to it! I love the picture selection you gave us Don, I don't know which one I'll be choosing!

Christine, your strawberries turned out beautiful! Depending on how long ago you did it, it may be interesting to do it again and see how you improve or change things.

I REALLY like your eggs Steve. Even though I know you used a bit of blues and tans, it does not draw away from the fact that this is a WHITE egg!

I like your eggs Ruthie, but it's your winter scene that really grabs me. "That," I thought, "is how a real artist does it!"

Artsask, you did an amazing job on your winter scene as well. There is something about it that brings me back to Michigan and its memories of sparkly, glistening mounds of the white fluffiness!

03-08-2014, 09:12 PM
Robert, thanks for the nice comments! I really like fabric now... it's one of those item that my minds eye struggles with and then (when I'm lucky) it pops out and declares itself, if that makes any sense...

Trudi, love your snow scene! I too like the addition of the two "out for a stretch".

Pure, thanks for the vote on the whites of the egg... no white was used there and I love how it looks like I did.


I still have a lot of refining to do to this snow scene, not even sure if it looks like snow in the foreground, or if it looks like I'm driving up a boat ramp. The post shadow need to stop looking like soldiers and I need to blend in some more color to the fields. Having fun with the process none the less...

C&C please

03-08-2014, 10:42 PM
Thanks Cali, keepingpure and Steve. Nice job on yours too steve, winter scenes are more fun than I would of thought.


03-09-2014, 07:02 AM
Thanks Trudi, I agree, this is more fun than I would have thought. Here is a better cut at the landscape... I could rework the sky a bit, it went flat as I was working the snow. I added a soft green to the tracks and it seemed to make the rest of the snow pop, but I'm not sure if it makes sense. Should green drop out after yellow? Also, the distance perspective was off and I still am not sure if the path turns enough. The shadows now should agree.

03-10-2014, 09:29 AM
Steve, your landscape looks good! On my screen, the touches of green work fine as their is a bit of greenish-blue in the sky, too. So it seems very balanced and harmonious!


03-10-2014, 10:11 PM
Don....I'm putting this up quickly before I lose my nerve...I have not picked up a pastel for such a long time it seems - I had a long dry spell followed by a frozen shoulder, which is gradually improving...so I took the pastel by the horns and went for it....2- 3 hours, a mixture of pan pastels and stick and pencil, on pastel mat - couldn't find any blue or white so this is on terracotta/sand. I hope you don't mind me jumping in!


I have more work to do on it, I know, but I'm committed now!:evil: :lol:

03-10-2014, 10:36 PM
Deirdre, Thanks for jumping in! Very nice! I like that color combination of the red leaves against that blue-grey sky!


03-11-2014, 06:35 AM
Thanks Don, I learned a great deal of the nuances of white painting this month; your time invested is appreciated!

Deidre, I'm jealous! Your blending in the snow is lovely! I'm with Don the sky is quite dramatic with your color choices.

03-11-2014, 08:01 AM
Thanks Don & Steve, you're both very kind. I learnt a lot too Don, in fact, that's what inspired me to try again!:D :wave:

I've been admiring all the entries so far, and would like to say -
Chris Your strawberries look fresh and delightful! No matter if it's a while ago - and I'm looking forward to your next entry too!:D

Steve, You chose the eggs, to my mind that's one of the most difficult choices to do well! Why? Because we all know what eggs are supposed to look like, there's no room to hide any mistakes!:evil: :lol: No problem though...you did them justice! Your horse kissing picture is cute...look forward to seeing what you do with it next. Your snow scene works well, the green does make the tracks stand out - your palette is harmonious too...you should be pleased:thumbsup:

Ruth Your eggs is/are definitely egg-shaped and oh so colourfully white! Looks like you had fun playing on that German paper too...always a bonus eh?:D And your snow picture is beautiful, love the reflective snow - would grace any winter scene - beautifully done!:thumbsup:

Trudi I love your snow scene, especially with the added bonus of the dog walker....so typical of winter, when dog owners have as much fun as the dog!:lol: I particularly like the way you carried the hedgerow down behind the hill...making the viewer want to peep over to see what's beyond...well done!:thumbsup:

03-11-2014, 12:57 PM
Deirdre I love your painting the softness in the sky and snow and that tree is spectacular. It is so interesting how even though it's the same reference picture we can all make it look so different.
Don you have done a great job at getting us to really take a look at the white for what it is and the colours created in it, great challenge.


03-12-2014, 02:14 PM
Hi everyone:wave:
I am not totally new to the pastel forum but have committed myself to learning and participating. So on that note I hopefully can get my 'eggs' uploaded :-) and figure out how to navigate my account. If I can't get my signature line done for this know that C & C's are welcome. And Don thanks sooo much for all the work you do towards getting all this priceless information out to us!

03-12-2014, 04:16 PM
Kayla...lovely palette you clever girl! The strokes are really good and they make for an interesting texture. Just one crit...because the subject is eggs, you either have to go very rough, or very smooth...just because everyone knows what an egg should look like...your eggs have tails!!!:evil: :lol: So it might be an idea to get rid of them...so the look like hens eggs and not as if something is about to hatch!:lol: Overall though it is a great picture and I can see Don's tutorial has helped:thumbsup:

03-12-2014, 05:25 PM
Kayla, Welcome and thanks for joining us! You've done a nice job on the eggs!

Somewhere in this thread from the new user forum it discusses signature line:


Hope it helps!


03-12-2014, 05:43 PM
Steve, there was a lot of green in that snow! And the pink too, I see you saw that too. Nice work!

Deirdre, nice to know you're painting again! And where better to show than the Spotlight? I love the way you made the sky have a slightly threatening stormy look and the tree is great too.

Kayla, welcome! I like your eggs. Nicely rounded. I also like the way you described the fabric. Just enough, not too much, detail!

03-12-2014, 08:09 PM
Thank you Deidre, it wasn't tails I win heads you loose, lol. Glad you brought that up actually! I wasn't sure it was value, warmth or what that was causing the white to "jump". I didn't want to cover the "tails up" so I could figure that out :-). And help here would be appreciated

Don thanks so much for the link I needed that.

Ruthie thanks! I felt the tablecloth was beyond hard, and I just finally quit lol

03-12-2014, 09:03 PM
Thank you Deidre, it wasn't tails I win heads you loose, lol. Glad you brought that up actually! I wasn't sure it was value, warmth or what that was causing the white to "jump". I didn't want to cover the "tails up" so I could figure that out :-). And help here would be appreciated

I've had a look...and now I see your dilemma..or mine should I do it!
Here's my thinking.... although I have tried it on paper! I think you added too much white white on the upper tail.....and maybe you need to warm your shadows leaving just a touch of white between the eggs...?

Hope it makes sense!:eek: :lol:

03-12-2014, 11:10 PM
Deidre I see it now! Thank you for pointing out what I was overwhelmed with! I put some grey down by the second egg but felt I had made a mistake rather than I might have been 'on' to something wrong in what I had done! I really appreciate your comments! I seem to be able to arrive at something but have no clue how I got there. I will carry on in practice and know your comments are always welcome! Thank you oodles and oodles :-)

03-12-2014, 11:12 PM
PPS: hope I don't see that tablecloth again too soon! Lol

03-13-2014, 06:46 AM
PPS: hope I don't see that tablecloth again too soon! Lol
Kayla....I love the way you handled that....such interesting strokes and texture! Really - the picture is only a guideline...we don't have to follow it - we can get our Artistic Licences out of our back-pockets and give them an airing!:lol:

03-16-2014, 02:23 PM
As usual, a great lesson, Don!

Christine, really lovely colours in the bowl!
Steve, eggs are looking good! The road-landscape turned out really well!
Ruthie, lots of wonderful colours in the eggs, and the landscape is just fantastic!
Trudi and Deirdre, lovely landscape from you both!
Kayla, love how you kept the eggs loose in stroke!

I've painted the winter landscape before (would be interesting to do it again several years later), so I tackled the eggs. It was supposed to be a quick on, but I had too much else to do, so I've given them half an hour here and there and it took over a week... And I got fascinated with all those folds.

Size 25x30 cm, on Fisher 400.

I intentionally darkened the white of the table cloth.


C&C welcome

03-16-2014, 02:36 PM
Charlie...queen of colours! :wave: You've done a great job on both the eggs and the tea-towel...beautifully done - glorious colours!:thumbsup:

03-16-2014, 04:54 PM
Charlie, Wonderful painting! So rich in color and so 3-dimensional with the lovely reflected light! Darkening the white of the tablecloth seems to put the "spotlight" on the eggs, so to speak!


03-16-2014, 08:14 PM
Christine - lovely strawberries in a sparkling white dish! Yummy, I'm looking for the Cool Whip and some shortcake! :)

Steve - excellent work on the eggs! There's a lot going on with those beauties, they pick up a lot of reflected colors. Nice work on the snowy country lane too! I may give that one a try myself, it looks fun!

Hey Kris! :)

Ruthie, the eggs are wonderful, I love the pinks! And the country lane is an inviting walk on a lovely winter's day!

artsask (Trudi) I so love that you added the dog and her companion, it added an element of cheer to the scene (that was already cheerful)!

Kayla, I love your eggs, you really got the whites! I can never get the bright highlights, really enjoyed yours.

Deirdre, the sky on your country lane is just gorgeous!

Charlie, such lovely soft and warm colors surrounding the beautiful eggs! I so admire your work!

03-16-2014, 08:30 PM
It's so good to be back with all my favorite dusters! I've been away too too long and missed you all! Between school and an extremely misguided attempt to do a portrait of (gasp!) humans - I haven't had a chance to pick up the sticks.

Here's my first submission, the eggs! I deliberately used the rough side of the paper, just to get some texture in there. The left egg is a little woobly. I had a fun time painting this today. :)


03-17-2014, 06:02 AM
Beautiful Eggs Charlie! I love your handling of the cloth, makes it look like a lovely cuddly fleece!
Sandra, good to see you again! More beautiful eggs. You've made the texture of the paper work to advantage, it's really nice!

03-17-2014, 09:34 AM
Sandra, Good to see you and your paintings again! The color and texture of the paper do help in creating unity and color harmony!


03-17-2014, 11:24 AM
Sandra: welcome back :) I like how your choice of paper replicated the texture of the dish cloth/ tablecloth

Charlie: beautiful expression of both the eggs and dish cloth/tablecloth! Like how you darkened the whites in the dish cloth and eggs for that matter. Wow look at that yummy tangerine color, very pleasing.

Christine: you really captured the opalescence of the strawberry bowl

Deirdre: I especially like how you rendered the snow scene, how the sky remains the dark plane and the snowy field the lightest plane.

I know I am missing several people will be back soon:)

03-17-2014, 05:59 PM
Thank you, Deirdre, Don, Sandra, Ruthie, Kayla!

Don, Kayla, yes, as I painted, I suddenly saw how fragmented the picture was. (I should have worked that out before starting...) Darkening did make the eggs stand out more.

Ruthie, that "fleece" or "terrycloth" look is a jinx the photo-gods put on me. I can't get a painting to look right in a photo. And yes, I agree with your previous comment -- there were sooo many colours in them eggs, hard to decide which to use.

Sandra, welcome back to the dustbin! I love your vignette format, and the texture suits the towel so well.

03-18-2014, 01:11 AM
Well,,,, help. I am feeling rather lost in the second snowy spotlight photo exercise! This is where I am at

Sorry about the image being rotated (another learning curve to figure that out:confused: ).

My thoughts were: I wanted to lighten around the tree so that it would stand out and wanted to use a blue but most of my blues seem to have green or purple in them..I have an ultramarine blue set and also a cobalt blue then some random turquoise. In the snow I started putting down a light blue white and I am feeling something off.

I am pretty new to pastels and art in general so any input would be helpful as I feel over my head. Thank you for looking!

03-18-2014, 08:18 AM
Kayla, I rotated and cropped your painting. It looks pretty good!


The colors look fine, so I wouldn't worry too much about trying to find the exact color. Ultramarine and Cobalt are the blues I use most. Ultramarine tends to be a bit more on the purple side - cobalt is usually pretty "straight" blue and turquoise covers the greener side of blue. Sometimes these color names vary a bit between manufacturers, but those three should cover the blue part of the color wheel! Plus, you can always mix and blend if you need to!


03-18-2014, 05:24 PM
kaylao: I am rather impressed with your painting. It is very ethereal with the colors you have used. I personally love its impressionistic style. Keep at it!

03-18-2014, 06:42 PM
Wow this was challenging!! I only now realize I don't own a true white. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Mar-2014/1019242-image.jpg

03-18-2014, 08:01 PM
Thank you Don for getting 'me' right side up :). Thanks for helping me with blue, blue purple/turquoise.

Don and Jess I will just keep going and forget about a certain outcome! Amazing how that was causing me such fear!!

And Jess what a wonderful job you did, and how courageous you are!!! Lol I took one look at that pic and said oh 'h***' no!

03-18-2014, 08:45 PM
Thank you Don for getting 'me' right side up :). Thanks for helping me with blue, blue purple/turquoise.

Don and Jess I will just keep going and forget about a certain outcome! Amazing how that was causing me such fear!!

And Jess what a wonderful job you did, and how courageous you are!!! Lol I took one look at that pic and said oh 'h***' no!

You are very welcome! Can't wait to see how you progress.

As I am working on it still.. I have possibly uttered something along the lines of H*** no as I WIP. lol I can see now that it is big and bright on the computer screen that the navy blue isn't well blended. I actually had to put another layer of fixative on it so I could get a little more tooth.

I also needed to actually leave and go buy some actual white. So far I have used a light yellow and light pink for my whites in the above pic. I'll have to post an update when it looks a little more like I'd like it to. I am thinking next year's Christmas cards might be the outcome!

Bonus... my art store is having a moving sale so Senni's and Richeson are have off loose stock baby! I filled a few holes.

03-18-2014, 09:09 PM
DAK723: Thank you so much for hosting such an important and challenging topic. As an artist who formerly was WYSIWYG painter (if it was peach, I found light peach, mid peach, dark peach and painted it on), I only in the last few years have learned to embrace the layers of colors that make up what only appears a solid color to a logical eye. This board is such an awesome resource.

CM Neidhofer: I love your strawberries. I hope you have time to take a whack at another. Such a detail-oriented pic, I couldn't have found the patience for patterns and the such!

Colorix: I love love love all the colors. What an amazing rainbow your "white" eggs have. Such an adept handling of reflections and a beautiful result.

Facet_Rough: What a great start you have! The reflections are very convincing as is so your work is really just minimal! Your blue eggs are blended beautifully.

Ruthie: I suffer from the same thing. I believe it was an old Spotlight (I found the archives and spent weeks there, and learned SOOO much). Now I love taking the subtle colors and turning them up which has become my new style. If there is light blue I may use a navy, lol. There's a part of my brain that has switched on and now I never see white as white anymore.
That being said, your textures are wonderful and I love how you have amped up the contrast. It really makes them stand out. Your landscape, whatever it was "supposed to be"... I can't imagine how you could have made it better. It is breathtaking. What a beautiful blend of textures and colors. I call this one frame-worthy!

artsask: Your scene is so bright and the shadows work wonderfully. The addition of a person and their dog is a great touch. What a bit of personality it adds... I especially love the footprints.

Deidre: What a silky fluffy field of snow you have made! The stormy sky you have created is such a wonderful tone to the entire painting. I do love the ethereal look the panpastels create. I just can't justify another purchase of another new medium, lol.

ncgirl: I love how you used the texture, too. It really lends to the towels. What a great idea. I would love to see a little more of those blues and towel color reflecting subtly off the eggs. I had such a hard time removing myself from black/gray/white in white objects... What a sparkle a little color adds to white objects. I say go for it!

03-18-2014, 09:19 PM
Jess, Very nice job on the snow-covered trees! I think you may find that a "true" white won't be used much, as most whites contain some subtle color (or sometimes not so subtle) or are grayed in value.


03-19-2014, 01:04 AM
Kalya, Charlie and Sandra all lovely eggs.
Kayla another lovely version of the snowy lane.
Jess lovely trees too and thanks for the comment on my painting.


03-19-2014, 09:44 PM
Charlie, Kayla, Sandra and Jen great job on the spotlight. Jen, I think that was the point, to not use a "true white" and you did wonderfully.

03-20-2014, 01:17 PM
Kayla, what a pretty snowy path and the tree is a nice warm contrast! It would be a lovely place to take a walk!

Jess, thanks for your suggestions, love your trees too! It's so hard to make the snow look like snow on these evergreens and you've done such a lovely painting!

03-21-2014, 12:43 AM
I am calling this done. Very challenging for me. I have learned so much! Thanks so much everyone for being apart of making this forum happen:) http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Mar-2014/976461-image.jpg

03-21-2014, 08:54 PM
kaylao: What a great finale. The colors are so painterly and rich. I love what you done. What now? :)

03-21-2014, 09:33 PM
Kayla it's lovely.


03-21-2014, 10:13 PM
Kayla, Looks great!


03-22-2014, 12:48 AM
Thank you for your kind words Jess, Trudi, and Don! This was a great lesson and I learned so much.

Jess, I won't be doing another study this month as I have sadly lost a close friend and will be traveling to help the family through their cleaning out of his house. I am sure there will be many tears, fond memories, reconnection, healing and closure. So I will retreat for a couple of weeks and come back for our next spotlight richer and raring to go!

03-22-2014, 07:28 AM
Kayla, it is very lovely. Sorry for your loss.

03-22-2014, 08:52 AM
Kayla...I think you've done a great job on this picture...well done! I'm sorry to hear of your loss too, and understand why you have to go...see you next month.

03-22-2014, 08:54 AM
Jess....great tree! I steer well clear of those but you've really done it justice...well done!

03-22-2014, 11:10 AM
Jess, really lovely, and the yellowy white really draws the eye to the lit side of the tree!

03-22-2014, 10:31 PM
Kayla, great job. My thoughts with you and your friend's family.

03-22-2014, 10:37 PM
Sorry to hear of your loss Kayla.


03-24-2014, 10:29 PM
Kayla, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. You're doing a kindness to go help his family and to also celebrate his life through the memories and recollections. Have a safe trip and hope to see you and your lovely paintings again next month!

03-24-2014, 10:35 PM
Kayla, I, too, am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.


03-27-2014, 09:38 PM
Hi all ...am back after a long time....beautiful paintings here everybody....

Don...thank you for this wonderful lesson....lots to learn from it....

I tried the trees in a big hurry yesterday and the values in the sky and ground are too close....however it was fun painting white using colour....hope I stick on in the coming months...always appreciate some c&c....



03-28-2014, 10:17 AM
Prashanti...nice to see you back and doing a spotlight too! Well done...I am hopeless with fir trees...but your looks fine!

I have attempted another...not yet finished because the more I do - the more I see needs doing....but I thought if I didn't make the effort to upload quickly, I would lose my nerve and not post it at all! I call it Scrambled eggs....eggs because they are eggs, Scrambled because that's what doing that teatowel is doing to my head!!:evil: :lol:


03-28-2014, 02:58 PM
Thanks Dierdre for your kind comments....your egg painting looks lovely to me...


03-28-2014, 03:00 PM
Prashanti, Nice job on the fir trees. You've captured the warm lights and cool shadow colors of the white very well!

Deirdre, Those eggs look good! Very 3-dimensional! The terrible towel looks good so far, too!


03-28-2014, 04:06 PM
Prashanti, great trees.
Deidre, wonderful job on the eggs. They really have volume. Sorry about the towel induced brain scramble.

03-28-2014, 04:58 PM
Hi everyone,

I am not really new to pastels but still have a lot to learn. I searched the spotlight in the last months and alwasy wanted to start but didn´t.

This is my first landscape and it was difficult for me. Any comments, criticisms and help welcome!


03-28-2014, 05:38 PM
Chris...you've done a good job on the snowy landscape...my advice would be to lighten the tree trunk a tad, so it's not the same value as the bush in front of it...this will throw the tree back and the bush forward, creating depth and dimension. Also a little more narrowing of the tracks at the far end will help with perspective.Overall I think you've done very well!:thumbsup:

03-28-2014, 08:05 PM
Chris, Thanks for joining us! For a first landscape, this is fantastic!


03-28-2014, 08:34 PM
Chris, Thanks for joining us! For a first landscape, this is fantastic!


I agree!! Landscapes Are terrifying to me. You have done a wonderful job with all the colors and the textures. Can't wait to see more from you.

03-29-2014, 03:54 AM
Thanks for your kind comments and for your tips, Deirdre. I was so concentrated in the snow that I didn't see this.

I hope I can join more in the next months. This spotlights are very informative and it is very good to get some comments to improve. It is not enough to read, I know

03-29-2014, 05:17 AM
Chris, love the feeling of sun and warmth in this snowy scene.

03-29-2014, 02:02 PM
Chris, what beautiful light in your painting! It has such a warm and peaceful look, it reminds me of when, at the end of a stormy day, the sun drops low enough to shine very briefly under the cloud cover before setting. Well done!

Prashanti, I always enjoy your paintings! These snowy trees are charming and so nicely detailed!

Deirdre, the eggs are gorgeous, the colors really work!

I had such good intentions of finishing another painting this month, but cold weather and the price of propane have kept me out of the studio. I think I'll wait another day or two and see what wonderful things Don has in store for us for April!

03-29-2014, 02:33 PM
Prashanti, lovely trees!
Deirdre, yummy eggs, with lovely colours, and it does indeed make a difference to darken the whites of the towel.
Chris, it is really lovely! If you hadn't said it was your first landscape, I wouldn't have thought it.

03-29-2014, 05:06 PM
[quote=ncgirl]Chris, what beautiful light in your painting! It has such a warm and peaceful look, it reminds me of when, at the end of a stormy day, the sun drops low enough to shine very briefly under the cloud cover before setting. Well done!

I`m really happy that you like my painting but I must confess that I took the photo in the afternoon with the sun shining on it. So in real the colours are not that bright, I´m sorry :wink2: :D

CM Neidhofer
03-29-2014, 06:15 PM
Ok, I am attempting the teapot. A WIP and turning out to be more difficult than I thought! I probably won't get this finished in time, so thought I would post what I do have so far.
Assorted pastels, including Terry Ludwig "Lights," on 9 x 12 Pastelmat.


03-29-2014, 10:36 PM
Nicely done Chris...glad to see you are painting again too!

CM Neidhofer
03-29-2014, 10:51 PM
Nicely done Chris...glad to see you are painting again too!

Thanks, Dierdre. Trying to get back to it. It's been a long time. Now it's just work that gets in my way! And the fact that I have roommates who don't get the fact that they need to leave me along when I'm painting! My "me" days are few and far between sometimes.

03-30-2014, 05:56 AM
I had just started this and by coincidence spotlight was focusing on white! He's a WIP and I've a way to go, but I wanted to post him before the end of the month. I have used a lot of greens, a grayish purple, a soft lime green that does whites really well and also a grayish blue and also a cream. There's hardly any pure white in him at all. I have enjoyed doing this for that reason, I enjoyed all the subtle colours and shades and tones throughout.

I've yet to name the piece, but what grabbed me about the source pic apart from the interesting greens and blues throughout his 'white' is is that he's fast asleep and his little tongue is hanging out; so cute! thanks for looking

03-30-2014, 06:28 AM
Donna...this is lovely, it's going to be a fabulous piece...as well as cute! Well done!:thumbsup:

03-30-2014, 10:11 AM
Christine, Looking good so far! Some nice subtle colors in the teapot!

Donna, Your polar bear is coming along wonderfully! Lovely colors in that "white" bear!


03-31-2014, 12:22 AM
Thank you Don, Charlie, Peg and Sandra for your encouraging comments.....

Chris...it's a very nice landscape painting.....hope to see more....

Christine.....your painting is looking lovely already... Waiting to see the finished painting.....

Love your polar bear painting mettaphorica....


03-31-2014, 01:01 PM
Fabriano paper, soft pastel

03-31-2014, 01:08 PM
AnnMargaret, Lovely painting! Very colorful whites!


03-31-2014, 01:36 PM
AnnMargaret, Lovely painting! Very colorful whites!

Thank you, Dak!

03-31-2014, 01:54 PM
I agree Ann Margaret...so reflective of that lovely sky!

04-01-2014, 02:17 AM
Beautiful work here this month. I am sorry I didn't get to do one but I have been lured by other mediums, gasp! First oils paints and now clay but I will be back!