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DAK723
07-31-2014, 09:01 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…Summer Vacation!

Those who have been following the Spotlight for some time know that every so often we take a little break and enjoy the seasons. In the spring we celebrate, well, spring! And in fall we celebrate the beautiful colors of fall. Well, now we are in the midst of summer, so it's time to take a little summer vacation! No, I don't mean that we will take a break - I mean we will paint some beautiful summer vacation scenes!

Of course, many folks are on vacation around this time, so we will wait till next month to continue our exploration of color! (Although, you may notice, that there is quite a bit of green and even some yellow (the subject of our last two Spotlights) in the references this month....)

Here are the references I have picked out for our summer time pleasure!


Photo by Artsymomma
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2014/82335-image64_by_Artsymomma.jpg


Photo by Yorky
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2014/82335-Windermere_Dingy_by_Yorky.JPG


Photo by lisilk
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2014/82335-C3_by_lisilk.jpg


The next two photos are by me, both taken in the beautiful Adirondacks here in New York State.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2014/82335-IMG_5518rev_1.JPG


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2014/82335-CRW_4553.jpg


Since we have no lesson this month, please feel free to paint from some of your favorite vacation photos!


As always, feel free to crop and change the photos any way you wish!

And (with apologies to our southern hemisphere friends who are in the middle of winter :eek:) enjoy summer vacation!!

Don

robertsloan2
08-01-2014, 08:56 AM
Oh, this is beautiful! Water and mountains. My whole life is a summer vacation and it's summer here in San Francisco, so I might do at least one or two of these and bring in a plein air. If I don't get down to the beach this month I'll at least go down to my front stoop for a cityscape in a place people come for vacation!

But I was already seriously planning for the beach, have wanted for years to paint the sea from life. Wish me luck on that.

Nick7
08-01-2014, 12:03 PM
Thank you, Don, for the nice theme.

So, a little tragic story that will give you a chuckle because you all have probably been there... But I am so mad I could scream! :D

I knew the theme was way beyond my skills, but I wanted a break from the fruit and vegetables...

I painted the storm that we had had here the other day. The sea had been yellow, the sky dark grey. Yes, I know I painted it dark blue... but the dark grey turned strangely brown on the dark blue paper.
I took the picture, decided to remake the sky, ruined the painting, brushed half of the sky off, painted it again then...sprayed it with a fixative (!!!)... and half of the painting disappeared!! Grrr

After an hour some of it came back, but what I have now is a mostly blue paper. And on the spots where some pastels remained, there are millions of dark blue dots from the fixative :(

I feel like banging my head against the wall. What do I do now? Never use a dark paper with a fixative? If I try to correct the painting, I'll end up with a fragile thing inside a pad that I use all the time. It'll get ruined anyway.

getdusty
08-01-2014, 12:49 PM
Don, thanks for the references. Love the Adirondacks pictures as I am in the Catskills and they feel like home.
Robert, I hope you get to the beach for your painting.
Nick, I have no suggestions, but just wanted to say that you've certainly captured that stormy feeling.
Do I dare even say that I will try to complete a spotlight this time?

Blayne
08-01-2014, 02:45 PM
Great photos, Don, thank you!

Nick, what you should do with this painting is take it out of the pad and get ready to frame it--after just a tiny bit of finishing. I don't see any dark spots of fixative. I love this painting! It has a surety about it that really does convey the sense of plein air, that you were there and witnessed this stormy scene. This scene has a power to it. There is one confusing area at the left where the light sky could be construed as the sea, probably because we've come to expect a bright reflection on the sea, so I think it needs the horizon more clearly demarcated. Or, if it is reflections on the sea, I think the right side should be adjusted to move the horizon father back. I think the three objects (rocks?) at bottom left appear a bit too uniform. Even though each has an interesting shape, somehow they seem too same to me, like maybe the same weight, or maybe appearing too carefully arranged. Just IMHO. What if you show the two on the right to be one large mass? I love the gold/brown sea. I think the reason your dark gray pastel turned brown is because the very dark blue paper served to show up the brown components that were in the "gray" pastel. Gray is simply a mix of the primary colors, and I bet your gray is a warm gray leaning toward red. If you use that same pastel on brown paper, does it look more blue? Could you darken the blue with charcoal, instead of the gray pastel? Any way you choose to view it, this is a bold, vigorous painting that needs very little work and I hope you come to cherish it!

Nick7
08-01-2014, 03:41 PM
Blayne, thank you for your suggestions. I will probably paint it again. Because this is the first version. Then I started the changes that ended with the fixative. So right now I don't have the painting. (*resigned chuckle*)
I have some photos from the day, the sea was muddy and the light weren't reflecting much on the water surface.
Those three objects on the left is in fact an old laying tree with one branch pointing to the sky. The waves keep "bumping" into it.
You are probably right about the grey. I try it again with a different paper.

I have no idea how you are able to paint details like small branches and leaves and things like that. Maybe I need to try another type of the paper (without that clearly visible texture).

Thank you :)

DAK723
08-01-2014, 07:22 PM
Nick, You definitely captured the feeling and atmosphere of the storm! Nice job!

Don

robertsloan2
08-01-2014, 08:27 PM
Nick, if that's your final version just frame it. The dark spots between the light spots are texture of the paper showing trough beacuse light applications vanish with the fixative. They make it look more foamy. Don't worry about it, the broken color works!

Keep this one as it is and do another that comes out the way you intended. Call it a Series. That's what I do when I get accidental results that don't do what I want but others see something in it and help me to see it. I hope you didn't throw it away or scrape it off to try again on the same paper.

It's good to stop doing that. Non sanded papers it's much better to just accept the results, date it, maybe rework later on or not. This one's a lovely painting and a keeper - but it's so easy to not see that if it doesn't come out as intended. You captured a different lighting effect with all the blue, a different time of day just as plausible. The brownish sea is beautiful and it probably is that you had a warm gray and the blue made it look more brown. That's a good balance though! It was very effective!

It takes a while for fixative to dry. One thing I do with paintings I use fixative on, which is most of those on plain paper, is to restate the accents, the lightest lights and brightest brights if they need it. I got used to its effects. Once I did, I sometimes use fixative deliberately to darken or mute or tone down what I've got and improve it.

SpectraFix returns completely to its original brightness after I use it, so I choose which fixative by whether I want the darkening effect in part.

Blayne
08-02-2014, 01:39 PM
12" x 12" on acid free textured paper toned with colors from a former failed painting and given one coat of pastel ground. Pans, Nupastel, Senneliers.

With thanks to Nick whose ocean painting inspired me! C and C welcome.

The first photo gives more accurate colors but I inadvertently cropped the top too much. I did a few minor alterations, mainly repairing that cloudy, light blue area to the left below the rocks. I could not get the same lighting a couple of hours later when I took the second photo. (And it is a mystery to me why the Kindle photo editing software or the WC uploading process gives a different size for each picture.)


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140802_103758-1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140802_114258_kindlephoto-22452631.jpg

Still-trying
08-02-2014, 03:01 PM
Blayne, I love it. I love the top one the most. I hope that's what the painting looks like. I love the light coming toward me. I love the transparent top of the wave. (How DID you do that???) Did you work on the painting after the first, bigger, version? Good job!! You're on a roll!!!

Still-trying
08-02-2014, 03:03 PM
Nick, I really like the stormy feel of your painting. I'm so sorry you don't have it anymore. But you have this version. You can recreate it. Super feel of storm out there at sea. And you get a medal for bravery for doing a seascape so early in your career.

Nick7
08-02-2014, 04:21 PM
Blayne, I can't wait to see your work. I had to turn on the data saving mode on my phone, so no images until I get home.

Jay, that's very kind of you. I will try to pain it again. It's difficult to see all the beautiful detailed painting here and know that I am not able to do that yet. I need to practice a lot to get where I want to be.
We visited a town today where artists were selling their landscape paintings to tourists. And I thought, no way, I am not buying anything, I will paint it myself one day :D Well, we'll see...

DAK723
08-02-2014, 09:41 PM
Blayne, It sure looks like you captured the energy and movement of the sea! Nice job!

Don

robertsloan2
08-02-2014, 10:15 PM
Blayne, I love that wild sea. It's so powerful! I can feel the chill in the air and hear the wind and crashing waves. The transparent big wave is great. The rough waves obscuring the horizon are wonderful, often a seascape has a horizontal horizon that's smoothed by distance but you successfully avoided that. It's got an eerie, dangerous light, you know the lightning is going to start soon and the waves go even higher.

Nick, I hope you do a new version of yours because I really liked it. The old tree with the waves crashing around it is a good element. Very cool. Glad you've got the photo and worked out what you want to do with it.

Blayne
08-02-2014, 10:41 PM
Jay, thank you! The painting looks like the top picture in daylight but more like the bottom one or the one I posted in the Gallery if the painting is in dim light. The transparent wave is made with mainly light green hues.

Thanks, Don, I was hoping to make it look fluid and energetic. I'm glad you like it!

And Nick, it's so nice of you to respond even though you haven't a picture yet. I hope you like the painting when you see it.

Robert, thank you for your ever poetic description! I'm glad the uneven horizon works. I wanted the slightly rounded upward line to show the powerful surge of the incoming wave. The lighting was inherited from the ghost painting underneath this one. I liked it and tried to capitalize on it. I'm glad it worked!

getdusty
08-03-2014, 11:32 AM
Blayne, love the power in your ocean.

Blayne
08-03-2014, 02:18 PM
Thank you, Peg!

Nick7
08-04-2014, 07:57 AM
Blayne, your painting is lovely. I wish I knew how to at least start it. Every time I see the beautiful paintings here, I feel like I should not post my attempts to not hurt the eyes of everyone. I know I should not feel that way, but it's always there.

Don, thank you for starting a challenge every month. It is a very welcomed incentive for me to push my limits a bit further. Our family has been involved in sailing sport since I can remember. I wish I could paint a sailing boat for my father one day.

Blayne
08-04-2014, 08:04 AM
Nick, your painting is every bit as lovely as you seem to think mine is. Yours had the power of the storm, the lighting, and those wonderful colors! Please don't think your paintings hurt anyone's eyes. Keep posting! And thank you so much for your compliments!

Nick7
08-04-2014, 11:00 AM
OK, challenge accepted :D

I would love to hear your tips how to make it better. Are the colours of the water right? It looks so "airy". I didn't know if I should have used a layer beneath the waves-like strokes (as I kind of did in the upper part of the picture). How would you paint it? An opaque layer and then some waves?
I am not sure about the shadows and the guy (honestly he looks like a penguin :D Hmm, maybe because he doesn't have a neck? :D) and the perspective of the boat.

Thank you

It's a grey Tiziano paper (not sure which), Senneliers and Derwent pastel pencils. I wish I knew how to paint the boat with pastel sticks, but I chickened out :lol:

robertsloan2
08-04-2014, 11:39 AM
Wow! That's very effective. It does look "airy" and that isn't a bad effect at all. You can get rid of it by using a blended layer next time under the unblended layer, an underpainting eliminates the specks of white. But this is beautiful exactly as it is. Airy is what it needs. The sailboat's got motion, the sailboat is the main subject, it's an airy treatment of a painting that's about wind! The water effects and reflections are beautiful. It's very lively and full of light. Gorgeous painting. Don't mess with it other than putting a mat and a frame around it, okay? This one's a keeper, or you could get some good money selling it.

Blayne
08-04-2014, 12:08 PM
Breathtaking, Nick! The sail reflection is spot on, and the construction of the boat looks like it was painted by someone who knows boats, with just enough details but the right ones. I love how you've done the sharp prow of the boat and the red trim encircling the boat. The only thing that bothered me the slightest was the dark gray shadow above the wave cutting up into the boat. If the sun is from upper right, I would be inclined to lightly shadow the left side of the boat using blue-gray or lavender, but that's just IMHO. It's been years (sadly) since I've been on the ocean, whereas you just came back from sailing, so you're the expert here! If you choose to work on the man, perhaps add only a bit of color for his face, arms and hair, and/or hat, and a shirt. Try cutting out little shirts of different colors and taping each on to see what color you like. You could get some great light and shadow effects showing the sunlit front of the shirt. Kudos! This is beautiful even if you do nothing more! I only made the suggestions I did because you seem to want us to give you every bit of feedback we think of. Just remember, your opinion is the one that matters most.

Blayne
08-04-2014, 12:24 PM
12" x 9" on La Carte Pastel Card using Pans, Terrages, Sennelier
Following Don's instructions, I dug through old photos and found one from a vacation 30 years ago that was taken on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The boats were anchored, and we had gone ashore in a rubber dinghy to eat dinner. I liked the photo because its divisions of color and muted details almost seem like an abstract. I've undoubtedly made all sorts of errors in the boat construction and rigging so if any truly egregious, distracting mistakes need fixing, please let me know! Thanks for looking! All C and C welcome.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140804_093616_kindlephoto-19195955.jpg

robertsloan2
08-04-2014, 12:29 PM
Wow! Blayne, you have a distinctive style very close to traditional Impressionism. I can see what drew you to the reference and how you improved on the photo. I'm not a boat expert but they read true to me and you have them grouped so individual variations aren't that important. I love the gradations of sea and sky, the powerful light effects. The boats are a little soft edged, but that may be a good thing unifying them with the warm colors in sky and sand.

The sand seems a bit of a sharp division. Maybe it's how saturated the colors you used are, especially that saturated yellow - it reads more like artificial landing than a natural beach. I'd have used earth yellows and reds for it, muted it down some. That's the main critique I have - and because you didn't, you got something much more abstract than it would have been. It's not some hard and fast artistic choice. You liked the saturated colors and chose them for a reason. I might widen the transitional zone where the water's sloshing over the sand and use more pinks over the yellw to unify it with the reds on the right if you want to keep that saturation. It draws attention away from the boats though.

The line of the beach is also a straight horizontal, which could be imprved by breaking it up with areas where it has protrusions and indentations, big ones that don't repeat. That's another thing that makes it look mechanical rather than natural. Sometimes you need to improve on nature. It's a very distinct line that could be broken up by individual waves washing in, sliding farther up on the shore than areas between them. The line is distracting too and some boats are also lined up in a horizontal row where they might look better if some irregularly came forward and back.

That gives it a certain type of abstract look like the geometric modern art abstracts that rely on sharp horizontal lines.

It helps to improve on the photo, improve on nature in a painting. But if you chose it for those strong horizontals and like that effect, it did that and you should be glad. More than lots of changes I would suggest doing another version where you redesign the elements and paint it again with the changes, one truer to the photo, one redesigned as a better representational painting. Because the horizontal gradients abstract DOES work, they would come out very different and very powerful each in their own way. That make sense?

Nick7
08-04-2014, 12:35 PM
Guys, you are way too kind. :)

And yes, that is right - every bit of feedback :)

There is something wrong with the bow, it looks like the boat is turning to the right. But I am not sure where I didn't follow the reference picture. Perhaps the black shadow should go lower? The wave is too high or something? Oh, I got it, that was what you talked about, Blayne! :D But in the photo, the boat is this strangely black too *confused* Maybe she was dirty? :D
I will think about cutting so small tshirts.... lol
Thank you very much, Blayne.

Rob, umm, I don't know what to say. Thank you. From the distance, it looks good. I could mistaken it for a photo. But the closer look makes me nervous. You know me, I always find something...
I will try to make the first layer next time.

I am very hesitant to put a fixative on it... But I would like to give it to my dad. If I frame it, the glass should not be touching the painting, right?

I would love to learn how to paint sea and water in general in the future. And storms better than I created above... I just leafed through the book by Liz Haywood-Sullivan at Amazon... wonderful.

Still-trying
08-04-2014, 12:39 PM
I really really like it. I have one tiny suggestion. Because the painting is impressionistic, it is hard to tell if all the masts on the three boats on our left, the viewer, are all the same height. Could one boat perhaps have a bit higher mast? I'm not even sure that's the correct word. Not a sailor so consider the source. This painting is, I believe, my favorite of yours so far.

Nick7
08-04-2014, 12:42 PM
Blayne, I love it :) I understand what Rob means. It's up to you to decide if the painting would benefit from the change. I tried to hide the sand and the painting looked different, more "sad". I like how the colour of the sand corresponds a bit with the colour of the distant land. I know I would not be able to correct the painting without ruining it :) Perhaps we can say that it's not a sand but a wall? ;)
I really like it.

Still-trying
08-04-2014, 01:02 PM
Nick, You are just charging forward with your art and I think it's wonderful. I think I know what you mean by airy. I rub the first layer of pastel into the paper with a piece of styrofoam. It coveres in those little spaces where the color of the paper show through. Of course, don't do that if you want the color of the paper to show, for example, under your waves.

If the reference photo shows the boat dirty, that's where you, as an artist, decide to make it a clean boat. Maybe look at other boat pictures to see what that starboard bow should look like. Draw a few on paper to see if that side should be kind of rounded out, not caved in. You are doing fabulous work. Please continue to post. (Notice that I say that but have not posted...:D )

Blayne
08-04-2014, 01:10 PM
Thank you, Robert, Jay and Nick, for your compliments and suggestions! I did want the three strong horizontal divisions of sky, sea and beach, but I see how it might not be working well. I agree the boats might need more definition! I am planning another try at this, to try to get the faded, grainy look of the photo. I will use a surface that I prepare myself, because I don't like the commercial sanded surfaces. I couldn't move the pastel around as freely on this.

Jay, thanks for your observation! The red boat will go into dry dock to have a taller mast affixed! (Those are very expensive, you know!)

Nick, about your boat turning right--I think the wave and dark gray are causing it. But what if you soften the gray, or shadow the whole side, maybe add a reflection of the boat, too. But a less prominent reflection than that of the sail, because you want that beautiful reflection of the sail to stand out. The curved appearance really adds to the sense of movement through the water, though, so you may want to live with the painting awhile before changing it.

I hope I've responded to all your comments. Thank you so much for looking and for your suggestions!

DAK723
08-04-2014, 06:49 PM
Nick, You've done an excellent job on the sailboat painting! And you have caught the shape of the person perfectly!

Blayne, What a wonderfully impressionistic painting! Great atmosphere!

Don

Blayne
08-04-2014, 10:15 PM
Thanks, Don!

Robert and Nick, I took this painting to the meeting of my local art group. They agreed with your critiques about the sand not looking like sand, color too saturated. Just wanted to let you know they confirmed your astute observation!

Nick7
08-05-2014, 12:53 AM
Don, thank you. I am going to try another painting from your reference photos soon.

Jay, I will try to live with it for some time, and then I try to paint the part of the boat on a different sheet of paper. Maybe I made the bow too round. Or there is some shadow missing, indicating that the upper part of the boat is wider than the part in the water (I can't find the right word). I mean, I can't give a sailman a boat that is turning right :D But I don't want to ruin it either. So, I will practice like with the peaches...

Thank you all for your helpful comments.

Blayne, I still like your painting very much.

pastel65
08-05-2014, 02:32 PM
Have to admit it was nice to see a photo of something I already did since I never seem to participate in a Spotlight. I realize this is really not participating AGAIN but I never seem to get one done. Thought I would at least show you my painting of the shell picture (I did post perhaps last yr). I will tell you I saw an almost identical painting (composition, etc.) on Pinterest by a well know pastel artist so my guess is that she uses references on WC.

Everyone's work is great. I also followed July's Spotlight and was very impressed by both the art and the steady communication between a few. Too bad you all can't get together over a glass of wine. Two of us on WC that are from NJ have managed to meet. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2014/1114042-shell.jpg

Have fun everyone and if I get a chance I will try another. Working on some painting projects for a clubhouse event so it may be an acrylic month.

Pam :wave:

Nick7
08-05-2014, 03:33 PM
Pam, that's a nice painting :) I wanted to start it today, but it seemed to be so detailed that I thought I would end up using pastel pencils again and I put it aside. Then I looked up three photos from the library, found them too difficult and gave up.
Soo, the sea shell IS possible to be painted with pastel sticks :D Maybe I'll give it a try :)

pastel65
08-05-2014, 05:25 PM
Definitely can do shell with pastels. I used Wallis Belgian Mist so a good part of the sand is really the paper showing through with the pastel laid down lightly. Pam :wave:

Blayne
08-05-2014, 06:48 PM
Pam, that's beautiful! You've captured that quality so intriguing about conch shells, that these timeless sea farers, their horned and brittle, dull exteriors battered by sand and wave, nevertheless arrive onshore with their soft, pearlescent colors polished and glowing in the interior. And thanks for explaining how you got that wonderful sand quality. A case of "less is more" really worked, letting the background show through to give that sandy look. Hope your acrylics go well and you can join us next month!

DAK723
08-05-2014, 07:21 PM
Pam, Very lovely painting! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Don

vlchristensen
08-05-2014, 08:22 PM
So I am cheating a little bit. Since I retired at the end of 2013, I am perennially on vacation. My painting is based on a photo I took during a vacation (in spring, not summer) to Hawaii. It is the view from above a waterfall in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, located near Hilo. It's summer year-round in Hawaii, right?

Blick Artist pastels over watercolor underpainting on PastelMat, approx. 16 by 12 in.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2014/1750285-tropicalgardenscaled.JPG

robertsloan2
08-05-2014, 08:50 PM
Blayne, thanks! Glad I could help! I love the painting and was careful about that comment since you may not have intended literal color. It did work as semi-abstract but more muted sand would make it swing true as impressionism.

Pam, wow! I love your conch, such sensual, luxuriant lines! The little dark accents do it for me, along with those gorgeous transitions and textures. The smoothness of the interior and rough exterior are great. Love the background - using sand paper to depict sand with just a few strokes rocks! Now you've inspired me - that's the one I need to do first.

Vicky, wow! I love your lush Hawaii landscape! It looks like a vacation I'd love to take. I love my city but that's the sort of place I'd vacation. For a good long one too. Glorious water. Beautiful light filled palms and vegetation, great compostion, painterly yet very full of detail and depth. You've balanced everything in this painting and succeeded in making the top of the waterfall look like that rather than like a pool! I love the colorful reflections in the water!

getdusty
08-05-2014, 09:40 PM
Pam, great shell! (and getting together with a glass of wine sounds pretty great, too.)
Vicky, beautiful painting. I love the colors in the water. Makes me want to be there.

Blayne
08-05-2014, 09:43 PM
Beautiful painting, Vicky! I especially love the colorful water in the foreground.

Blayne
08-06-2014, 07:31 AM
Nick, I found a photo that might help you. It is the boat on the left in this link: http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/sailboats/hogfish-maximus-44ish-sailing-sharpie-34759.html
I didn't download the image and post it here because I am unsure of the copyright rules about downloading and posting the property of others. In the photograph, the left side of the boat is in shadow, with a small wave near the bow. However, the wave is white-capped and thus doesn't cut into the bow and make the boat appear to be turning. Hope this helps!

Nick7
08-06-2014, 07:56 AM
Oh, Blayne thank you very much for helping me. I will definitely do something about the boat. Or maybe paint it again with all your helpful comments in mind.
I am about to try the conch. More troubles ahead :angel: :lol:

DAK723
08-06-2014, 08:28 AM
Vicky, Thanks for joining us! A wonderful, colorful painting! Thanks for posting!

Don

Nick7
08-06-2014, 11:10 AM
So... who said a conch could be painted in pastels? :D

It took me three hours :eek: and this is the second attempt. I must admit that there is a big improvement between the first and the second try.
But... (there is always some but with me :angel:)

After the first try I realized I was not able to paint those details in a small scale. So I took a 12x12" paper. My hat's off to you who can do it.

I also realized that I had no idea how to create pink or yellow in a shadow. A pink is light red. Creating dark light red is not possible :lol:

Every critique is very welcomed. I am not sure about the nice white glowy spot on the original photo. I used white and cream and pink and even turquoise :angel: I am also not sure about the 3D effect on the photo (inside the conch).

Next :lol: I am not sure about the shadow on the sand (and the sand itself) and the shadow on the lower part of the conch. Logically I think the shell should be dark there, but (because of the reflection?) it's not.

When I look at it from the distance of five steps, it looks OK. But the closer I go, the more nervous I get :D

Thank you :)

vlchristensen
08-06-2014, 12:00 PM
Nick, your shell is beautiful. I would be thrilled if I could paint it as well as you did. :thumbsup: And kudos to everyone else. I am always amazed at the artistic skills of all who post here. Robert, Blayne, Don et al do such a great job of artistic analysis that anything I could say would be redundant. Just be assured that I am impressed with everyone's art. And thanks to those who have expressed very kind words for my painting.

Blayne
08-06-2014, 12:18 PM
This is the end, Nick! I am not "helping" you anymore.:) You have absolutely gone beyond any help I might offer. That is a perfect, beautiful conch! Your expert use of hard and soft lines helps to make this painting really sing. By choosing to not outline the top (those points that stick out), you avoided drawing attention to that area. Instead, you have suggested those points with just enough soft brushes of color to define them, leaving the hard lines to define and emphasize the thin, fragile edges that surround and draw attention to the focal point, the beautiful magenta center. Your painting captures the conch shell's lovely contradictions: its brittle hardness and roughness, and its fragility. The shading of the warm golds contributes to the shell's rounded shape, and their warmth contrasts with the cool, pearly white that shows the milky translucence so characteristic of those shells. And, most of all, you managed to get those heavenly pinks that range from pale lavender to grayish pink, and from the very lightest to magenta. You even have perfect sand and those dark linear marks that might be bits of debris. And bubbles of water around the base of the shell! I love this painting! It is time for you to confess that you are a professional artist who has been having a bit of fun pretending you do not know how to use pastels!:) Kudos for this wonderful painting!

Nick7
08-06-2014, 12:28 PM
Oh, Blayne, you scared me for a moment :) You are not going anywhere, my friend, your paintings are beautiful and it will take me ages to get there.

Well, thank you very much, but I don't think... I wish it was as nice when I have it in front of me as it looks from the distance. We need to move into a bigger house. With laaarge rooms so I could watch my paintings from far away :D
And thank you for explaining me my intentions, because half of the time I didn't know what I was doing :D

Nick7
08-06-2014, 12:30 PM
Vicky, thank you. I wish, one day, I was able to paint a beautiful landscape just like you.

Blayne
08-06-2014, 12:35 PM
I'm so glad you're able to be online now to hear the compliments! Perhaps it's better in a way to not have planned some of those things, like hard and soft lines. Maybe you were just "in the zone" and instinctively did the right things. And thank you for all the nice things you say about my work. You're so generous, to comment and compliment others' work. I, too, wish I had a huge studio! Again, BEAUTIFUL painting!

Nick7
08-06-2014, 12:48 PM
I am overwhelmed by my need to paint every detail I see. So I cheated today. I opened the photo in Photoshop and applied "oil painting" feature to it. I got rid of the frustrating details that way :D

Blayne
08-06-2014, 01:01 PM
If you hadn't told us, Nick, we'd never have known! That's a great idea, to use that feature of Photoshop to help you decide what to do in a painting. Did you then modify the painting to match the PS version? I probably should invest in PS at some point, or learn to use the Gimp software.

Here is my revision, possibly not the final one, of my boats. I also posted in Gallery, and titled it "Evening Anchor" to explain the subdued lighting.
12" x 9" on olive La Carte Pastel Card, using Pans, Ludwigs, Sennelier

With thanks to all of you here in the Spotlight who gave suggestions and Don, for a Photoshopped example! I think the beach now looks like a beach instead of a wall.

The colors in this did not photograph well at all. The shallow water at left is more turquoise, not yellow-green, and the red boat is not nearly as bright in the painting as it is in the photo. C and C welcome!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140806_100853-1_kindlephoto-22817974.jpg

Nick7
08-06-2014, 01:20 PM
Blayne, I was painting looking at the modified photo and then I went back to the original and decided which details I wanted to add. I used just a tiny "brush" in that feature. And it wasn't actually Photoshop, but a different software. I am not familiar with Gimp, but I believe it could be part of it too. I never knew why would anyone ever wanted to use that feature to modify their photo... I include the digitally modified photo.

I like the painting. What I miss a bit is the foam or little waves on the beach - but it's because I love waves and I get to see the sea just once a year if I am lucky. But this way it looks like the water surface was still, which is nice too :) Leave it this way, it has a nice calm atmosphere.

Still-trying
08-06-2014, 01:41 PM
Pam, So nice that you joined us. You conch is beautiful. I imagine a hermit crab nearby eyeing his new home! Just lovely.

Vicky, What a nice vacation spot! Great feeling of the tropics here. Nice.

NICK! Come on...tell the truth...you've been doing this for years, right? You're just teasing us??? You Conch Shell is gorgeous. Sign it and FRAME IT!!! O. M. G!!! I love the earlier posted shell, on page three.

Still-trying
08-06-2014, 01:52 PM
Wow, Blayne. The photo changed color completely on my monitor. The sky is green now where it was blue. The water, greenish. So interesting what our cameras do.

I like your softer edge of sand. But I loved it before too. I'm going to be a pain and ask you to photograph one more time..."Will Blayne's REAL painting please show up?"

I had another project in the works but I'll be here soon.

Nick7
08-06-2014, 02:00 PM
umm...no :) But you know, I really regret those twenty or so years when I wanted to draw and paint but thought that no adult is supposed to paint without education, that only talented kids are supposed to draw - and that they need to go to an art school first. And I was ashamed to go to an art school - because no adult... *sigh*

And honestly, it was you here at WC who managed to break that thinking. Because when I was attending my first ever two day course in painting at the end of June, I was panicking like mad, because "I am not supposed to be here".
So thank you very much for your support and especially for your critical recommendations.

Still-trying
08-06-2014, 03:01 PM
We're so glad you joined us because you make it fun for us too.

Nick7
08-06-2014, 03:06 PM
looooool, I wonder why... ;)

So, "the mango guy" I had mentioned in my Peach thread, looked at it and asked, "That's a conch, isn't it?"
You know what, I am keeping my next paintings away from him :D

robertsloan2
08-06-2014, 03:17 PM
Sometimes there's reflected light into a shadow. Sometimes it's a dark cold muted red - think gray mixed with red instead of white to make a dark bluish pink. Some hues of muted violet work very well for it if the shadow's blue cast, like those dusty purples.

You did well using the magenta though! Your conch is a little cooler than the reference or the one I owned as a child, or rather my grandparents owned and I was fascinated with it. The whole painting has a bluish cast that's very pleasant, as though the entire scene is within the shadow of a beach umbrella or something. Highlights are soft and a blue shadowy cast to everything reads true.

(Edit: I took a close look at the reference. The entire inside of the shell is in shadow and you handled it perfectly. The cool magenta was the right hue and you brought it down to the right value. There is brown in the deepest darks in there but that's a nuance and it's also dirt within the shell, maybe left by the animal's remains. Beautiful work. Don't feel bad about the shell!)

I might try something else with mine. I'm definitely going to do this reference, but I'll use different lighting. Either follow the photo or intensify the light and shadows. I'll have to take a good long look at it.

Gorgeous painting. The cast shadow looks pretty good - it's there but not sharp or strongly defined, a look more like a shadow within a shadow. You got good three dimensional form in your rendering, it has depth and looks good. I like your mingled soft background color, it has just enough saturation to be lively, leans blue but isn't monochrome. Well done, Blayne!

If you want to try it again with different lighting, think about hue as a way to indicate shadow as much as value. Blue over pink makes violet, so as you step down in value, turn to hue. If it was an orange cast pink or salmon, then it would be a grayer violet. Caput Mortuum tints are sometimes just right for pink in shadow that's gray-pink and cooled and muted. Pink will be more intense in the sunlight that's slightly yellow and cool colors more intense in shadows that are slightly blue-violet.

When in doubt and outdoors I let shadows lean toward blue-violet or French Ultramarine as an influence. But I try to pick up whatever colors are there.

I love the changes on your boats painting. Softening the beach lays it flat and turns it into beach. The boats look good too. Sign and call it done!

Nick, wow! Great digital conch! I love the texture and the way it leaps out at me. Gorgeous.

Now I've got to do this shell.

Nick7
08-06-2014, 03:26 PM
Thank you very much for explaining the dark pink, Rob. It makes sense now.
It was painted on a light warm blue paper. It's always a surprise for me how the color of the paper will influence the painting.
Thank you for your recommendation :)

oh, and the second picture of the shell is a modified photo, not my painting. All credit goes to Photoshop :)

robertsloan2
08-06-2014, 03:36 PM
Thank you very much for explaining the dark pink, Rob. It makes sense now.
It was painted on a light warm blue paper. It's always a surprise for me how the color of the paper will influence the painting.
Thank you for your recommendation :)

oh, and the second picture of the shell is a modified photo, not my painting. All credit goes to Photoshop :)

It's still cool. I wasn't sure if you'd modified it with filters or painted it with some drawing elements or altered it some way. It's a good effect.

Blayne
08-06-2014, 06:07 PM
Nick, I went back and re-read your posts and finally understood you modified the reference photo, not a photo of your painting. But however you did it, you ended up with a great result! I'm glad Mango-Peach Guy's vision is improving--I was going to send the name of my ophthalmologist!

Thank you, Nick, Robert and Jay for your continued patience in looking at my "Evening Anchor" boats painting. This has been such a challenge, putting in enough light so that objects are recognizable and yet not too much light making it look like a daytime setting. I should have titled this a WIP, because I have now decided I'm not happy with it and am still noodling with the sand, surf and three middle boats. Jay, I'll be glad when you get your other project finished and can join us! Also, I agree with you that the photo is terrible. My photos are still giving the wrong colors but the light is changing and I'll try again. Nick, I tried adding sheen to the water and the line of bubbles at the edge of the surf that you suggested but, as you thought it might, drawing attention to the surf did create more of a feel of action than I wanted. I really like the sheen, however. Thank you!

DAK723
08-06-2014, 06:27 PM
Nick, I think you have done a really fine job on the shell! You handled all the shadow colors well - and there is plenty enough detail!

Blayne, I like the revisions on your painting. By softening the transition between sand and water, the focus is strongly on the boats! That shore/water transition is also nicely 3-dimensional allowing us to "walk" right into the painting!

Don

Blayne
08-06-2014, 06:31 PM
Thank you, Don! I really appreciate your help! I took another photo that shows more revisions and has better lighting--I hope.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140806_170216-1.jpg

robertsloan2
08-06-2014, 08:30 PM
Blayne, this is beautiful! Love the sand now, it's perfect. Wet sand makes the transition to the water look so true and natural. The color is glorious, the color gradient is still there in a hue shift from left to right, but now subtle. Boats look crisp and gorgeous. The painting's wonderful! Frame it!

I started my conch:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2014/70184-8-6-2014_Conch_1_charcoal.jpg
Conch
8" x 10"
Charcoal pencil on light tan Canson Mi Tientes smooth side.
Photo reference by lisilk for August Pastel Spotlight.

Still-trying
08-06-2014, 09:22 PM
Blayne, thank you for showing the true colors. It's a beauty. Sign it.

Robert, It's going to be a good one. Nice start.

I picked a photo from the ref library so now I have to paint it.

getdusty
08-06-2014, 09:47 PM
Blayne, great painting, very "moody".
Robert, good sketch for the shell.

Blayne
08-06-2014, 09:53 PM
Thanks, Robert, Jay and Peg!
Robert, that's a beautiful sketch. Happy painting!
Jay, glad you're free to paint for the Spotlight and look forward to seeing your painting!

Nick7
08-07-2014, 01:01 AM
Blayne, now, sit down on your hands, so that you are not tempted and leave it the way it is. :) It's perfect.

Rob, for me, that's not a sketch but a finished painting. I would be happy if I could do it. :)

robertsloan2
08-07-2014, 01:24 AM
Thanks, y'all! Jay, looking forward to seeing yours! Peg, thanks! Blayne, thanks! Nick, wow. Yeah, I could just keep it as a drawing or accent it with a white pastel pencil as a black and white drawing. But I want to give it color. I do like drawing with charcoal pencil and should do more of it, especially on the Bogus paper sometime. Or with black and white pastel, that's always a possibility!

Nick7
08-07-2014, 01:50 AM
Rob, you can always paint one more :)

Jay, I was browsing the library yesterday, looking for a photo of a tree that had his trunk lit partially with sunlight to try Jackie's advice in another thread. But the bark always looks so detailed that it makes me feel I will need to use pencils again :/

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 08:42 AM
Nick, John F. Carlson is a famous landscape painter who literally wrote the book on landscape painting. If you can 'google' his name and you should get many images of his work to look at on your computer. You can probably buy his book to read on your device. "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting" It is written for the old painter but the principle apply to all media, IMHO. I did one of his landscapes for one of my first pastels. Copied it the best that I could to try to learn how to apply pastel in an intelligent manner. Why not learn from the best, right? I did not use any pastel pencil. I'm going to put my landscape up to show you. I copied the painting from a BLACK and White painting, added my own color. I was delighted after I painted mine, to find that Carlson had also done a color version. This was posted in a previously. Was maybe my fourth pastel. You can learn from the masters.

DAK723
08-07-2014, 08:49 AM
Blayne - Frame it!

Robert, Your drawing is already wonderful!

Nick, Don't worry about details. Painting is about the big shapes and suggested detail.

Jay, Yes, learning from the masters is a good strategy! Nice Carlson painting!

Don

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 09:18 AM
Thanks Don. Sorry for posting in the summer spotlight. But the snow can cool everyone off, right? I'm turning up the heat on a summer project right now.

Blayne
08-07-2014, 09:28 AM
Morning, all! Thanks, Don! Unfortunately, following your advice to frame is going to require a bit more physical dexterity than I possess while simultaneously complying with Nick's command to sit on my hands.:lol: And Nick, in Annette's Gallery post, I read and replied in kind to your not so subtle hint about my storytelling.:) I've only been posting here for two months, and I'm already being told to sit down and shut up. Next, you all will be sending a note home to my parents,I suppose.

Nick7
08-07-2014, 09:44 AM
Jay, the painting is great. 4th one? wow.

I picked this picture:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=40498
I chose to do just the central part.

Hm. It turned into disaster :( I will stay away from trees for some time and stick to apples :lol:
I don't know, I have a lot of browns and greys (15 -20 all together) none of them quite did it though. At the end I probably used too many of them :lol: I need to learn how to simplify not only details, but colors too.

Then I tried a palm leaf (a close up, to fit into the spotlight theme), but no, not good either. I have just several hours of good daylight left, so now I need to find something easy to get rid of the frustration :D *sigh*

Do you also have days when nothing goes right?

Nick7
08-07-2014, 09:48 AM
Morning, all! Thanks, Don! Unfortunately, following your advice to frame is going to require a bit more physical dexterity than I possess while simultaneously complying with Nick's command to sit on my hands.:lol: And Nick, in Annette's Gallery post, I read and replied in kind to your not so subtle hint about my storytelling.:) I've only been posting here for two months, and I'm already being told to sit down and shut up. Next, you all will be sending a note home to my parents,I suppose.
Blayne... http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/fighting/chair-to-the-head.gif :D

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 10:11 AM
Nick, That is a beautiful reference photo. I suspect you need something else besides browns and grays. I suspect you need patience. Patience with yourself. We can't always produce a winner but as newbies I think that what we want. Every time. Very few painters post the bad ones!!! And yes, there are days when nothing goes right. Usually a M, T, W, T, F, S or Sun. Those days. Go slowly and keep believing in yourself.

Your message to Blayne was just too funny.

Blayne
08-07-2014, 10:19 AM
Nick, I am laughing out loud!!! How did you get those little emoticons to do THAT?! You probably had them there just waiting for my next post.

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 10:25 AM
Nick, I just picked my subject for the summer vacation spotlight. The first thing I did was make the photo black and white to help me find the values. I don't know if you can do that on your device but I find that helps me get started.

Jay

Blayne
08-07-2014, 10:30 AM
On a more serious note, in the reference photo of the tree trunk I saw lots of olive in both the shadows on the light side and the shadowed side. On the shadowed side I also saw russet colors deepening to burgundies and probably to deep blue-black or purple in the crevices.

Good idea, Jay, to start with values only.

Nick7
08-07-2014, 10:33 AM
Jay, yes you are right. I have hard time judging right what will be relatively easy and what will be difficult. I would have never believed I could paint a conch, but I was sure I can do a tree... You made me laugh loud too, btw :)

Blayne, that's one of my favourites... :D You need to find the smiley you want and on the page below copy the code that looks like this:
(IMG)http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/fighting/chair-to-the-head.gif(/IMG) - just instead these brackets () there will be these ones: []

There are many websites full of smileys, this is one of them:
http://www.sherv.net/chairshot-emoticon-552.html

Don, I apologize for the off topic

Blayne
08-07-2014, 10:39 AM
Thank you, Nick! Those are so clever! And I apologize, too, Don. But a recent study did say that humor sparks creativity and suggested that if you are trying to be creative, don't watch the news but seek out something funny instead. So maybe we will all be wonderfully creative today!

Nick7
08-07-2014, 10:39 AM
Nick, I just picked my subject for the summer vacation spotlight. The first thing I did was make the photo black and white to help me find the values. I don't know if you can do that on your device but I find that helps me get started.

Jay

I did that, Jay. But when I used the olive green, two shades of grey and two or three shades of brown, it looked like a kids' coloring book. If I wasn't so ashamed, I would post the picture, but hmm I checked again, no, it's too terrible :D
That's OK, it was a good lesson too :)

Blayne
08-07-2014, 11:01 AM
Nick, I'm often surprised but gain courage from the fact that the beginning stages of even the best artists' work often look like a child's coloring book. The key, I think, is that they have gained experience in how to refine those initial blobs of color. If the composition is good and the values are correct, they say, the actual colors play a less important role.

Nick7
08-07-2014, 11:07 AM
:) yes, I often forget about that too. I will try tomorrow. I have just checked, Thursday is on Jay's list, that must be the reason ;)

I am looking forward seeing your paintings!! :)

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 01:07 PM
Maybe, Nick, those tree colors that you laid down were strong pastel on the paper. Try doing a very light application of the colors. Even if the tree is too pale, if the colors looks good, you can go back with another light application of pastel to bring it up to the right value or whatever you're looking for. I am most successful using the side of my pastels.

robertsloan2
08-07-2014, 01:52 PM
Jay, love the Carlson painting! What better way to spend a hot summer day than dreaming of snow? It fits. Besides, people take summer vacations to ski lodges and snowy places to break the heat.

Blayne, lol! Yeah. Just don't change the painting, it's finite perfection. Definitely frame it. Might be a good time to think about cutting mats. if you don't yet own a mat cutter, that's usually a very cost effective arrangement. It'll pay for itself fast.

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 03:20 PM
Thanks Robert. That was done about two months ago. I am doing summer now. Just a little behind the times.
I can't my reference up because I have to find the photographer's name but this is a WIP. This is 11 by 14 on La Carte with mostly Unison. I want to see if they photograph better than TL. I'll check for the name a bit later.

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 03:21 PM
hope this works

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 03:23 PM
Nick, Maybe this reference will help you. By LeeCrossley from the RIL.

Nick7
08-07-2014, 03:23 PM
hmmm, do I understand correctly, Jay, that you have been painting for only two months now? :eek:

oh, thank you for the picture! Would you have a link so that I could check a larger version?

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 03:44 PM
No Nick. I started pastels in January of 2014. I did watercolor off and on before that. I'll try to find a link to the photo.

Nick7
08-07-2014, 04:23 PM
Jay, you don't have to, really. I thought you had the link. Thank you very much for thinking about my boat. I am definitely going to correct it, but right now I am taking a break from the painting.

Blayne
08-07-2014, 05:22 PM
Jay, I love the beginning of your green bottle painting! Already the reflection looks so near finished. Thank you for showing the steps of how you work. It looks so neat, planned and organized. My method can usually be summarized as "throw colors all over that bland surface as quick as you can," like it's a contest of who can cover their paper fastest. It seems your method has the distinct advantage of saving you hours trying to repair mistakes. I have a feeling there aren't going to be many mistakes when you're done with this painting! Looking forward to the finish!

Nick, I checked out the emoticon link but haven't had time to see if they will work on my Kindle. I definitely need the Angel Smiley fighting with Devil for when I want to keep my mouth shut but the temptation is just so great to add (insert lengthy story here)! :)

Nick7
08-07-2014, 05:33 PM
Blayne, thanks to you I am going to bed chuckling. Keep telling your stories. Permission granted :D :D

Jay, painting glass fits into the same category for me as painting dark yellow, a bark and other impossible things ;) Thank you for doing it as WIP.

robertsloan2
08-07-2014, 06:41 PM
Nick, I have an idea what went wrong with the tree painting and the palms painting. Both references do not have a very good composition for a painting. They'd be hard to simplify. I could use them but I'd have to combine the trunk with another landscape and make up the base of the tree, then on the palm I'd be lost in its complexity having to simplify it. Choosing a reference that all or part of it would make a good composition makes a difference. Knowing which ones are easy or not takes a bit of practice. One way to test is just sketch it loosely in charcoal.

If you do quick thumbnails to plan the painting, just a business card size sketch without much detail showing shapes, light and dark and mid tone, not only do you usually come out with better compositions but you can tell immediately if it's one of those references that takes spending forever at it just drawing and rendering every complex element. A whole basket of pears is a pain in the rear to render but I saw someone do a good oil pastel painting of it - and paint each one individually true. Me, I'd have picked out a couple of them and reimagined the background. Or looked for something with only two or three pears. Or cropped in to show only a couple of whole ones and expand them to fill the picture.

Try planning next time and for an easier painting, choose one main focus or two at the most. Not that many objects, not that complex. Try to keep the main subject from being dead center in the painting, a tree and its shadow could be off center letting the shadow trail out next to it into the wider side. That sort of thing.

Jay, WOW love the progress on that bottle painting! I did that reference once in colored pencils realism at ATC size and recognize it. It is gorgeous and you're capturing the light in it so beautifully. Keep going!

Blayne
08-07-2014, 07:54 PM
Easy peasy, Nick. It worked! Thanks! Now that I've had my computer lesson for the day, I'll get back to hanging a few of the paintings I've done in the Spotlight.

http://www.sherv.net/cm/emo/funny/1/hammer-smiley-emoticon.gif (http://www.sherv.net/)

Still-trying
08-07-2014, 08:41 PM
Thanks Blayne and Robert. I need lots of luck with this one.

Nick, this one is a real challenge. Never did glass, reflection, only one sky...lots of new stuff here. Keep you fingers crossed for me! And i started on a thursday!!!

Nick7
08-08-2014, 12:56 AM
Rob, thank you for your valuable advice. I could draw the tree in pencil, but you are right, if I had tried to draw all shadows and bark structure, I would have been in troubles even before I took pastels.
Maybe I need to try a tree with smooth bark and try to paint the light and dark spots without focusing on cracks in the bark.

Blayne :D

Jay, I keep my fingers crossed :) I read Karen's WIP thread about lemons and daffodils yesterday. She mentioned that when you paint a vase, you need to paint what is behind it. At first it seemed brilliant to me, but when I was thinking about it, I realized I had no idea how to do that to make it look right :) You are doing well!

Still-trying
08-08-2014, 07:43 AM
Thanks Nick. As i was painting yesterday i reached for a little foam sponge on a stick that many artists here use to apply and rub in an early layer of color or to flick off pastel to correct. I was wondering if you have that in your country. (i forget where you are.). Here we buy them in a store that sells paint for walls or in art supply store. Very very handy. If you're in europe, i remember Charlie saying she buys baby wipes, little yellow sponge cloths, to rub in the pastel first layer.

Still-trying
08-08-2014, 07:47 AM
Thanks Robert. My ears were burning when you were talking about planning your composition. Im so bad about thumbnails. About half way through a painting i usually stop and say..oh, a thumbnail might have been helpful. I think i need Nicks little paddle to bash these concepts into my head!

DAK723
08-08-2014, 08:18 AM
Jay, Your bottle is looking good so far!

Nick, this one is a real challenge. Never did glass, reflection, only one sky...lots of new stuff here.

People often ask - how do paint "insert subject here". The answer is always the same. Don't think about what it is you are painting. Just look for shapes of color (or shades of gray for b&W work). Everything can be broken down into shapes of color!

Nick wrote: Maybe I need to try a tree with smooth bark and try to paint the light and dark spots without focusing on cracks in the bark.

The same theory works here, too. Look for the shapes of color or value. Those shapes - as you mention - are often (and best) divided into light and shadow shapes. Squint if you have to. If you have a photo-editing program, you can use various strategies to try and reduce the object to more basic, bigger, general, shapes of color. You can blur it or some programs have a posterize command that simplifies things. One you've got the bigger shapes of color - only then do you think about adding some suggestion of the detail.

I know this sounds easy - breaking down every painting into applying shapes - but it is hard to do and takes practice! So don't worry if it takes time to learn the concept!

I need to go to work now - but will try to find some examples later today!

Don

Still-trying
08-08-2014, 09:28 AM
Thanks Don. I may need your help a lot of this one. No painting this weekend for me.
Wait! We are not a full time job for you? WE are work!! :eek:
(thank you for all you do. :crossfingers: :clear: )

Blayne
08-08-2014, 11:29 AM
Don, your advice is very timely. As we speak I am attempting to paint shapes, not eyes, noses and fingers, on a painting for a local group exhibition. Wish me luck!

Nick7
08-08-2014, 02:14 PM
Jay, I believe I could find it here. Or make one :) So far I have been using a colorshaper or my fingers.

Don, thank you. I think I chose too difficult photo. Hmm aren't they all? :)

I have tried something different. I hope I can call it a summer vacation painting...

Again, it was more difficult than I had thought :angel: After I saw it on my laptop screen I corrected the angle of the left lawn and the path that goes to the horizon.
I am sure the clouds need correction, but I am not sure where. I didn't know how to create that chaos of dead grass and also the green grass in the right lower corner.
And I have just noticed that my road goes up while in the original picture it goes down http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/hand-gestures/facepalm-smiley-emoticon.gif

It's because of the angles?
Thank you :)

I have used this photo as a reference:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=174846

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM00993m.jpg

robertsloan2
08-08-2014, 02:28 PM
Nick, your clouds have got great shapes and form. Not that bad. I'd vary the color a little with extremely light tints but other than that, they're fine. For white ones they're elegant.

I love that chaos of weeds and wildflowers next to the path! It does look like it runs uphill. It looks more like a narrow path than a road because of the scale of the wildflowers, it's almost like two paintings come together there. The flowers are wonderful. Treat this one as what it is and move on to others. Painting plein air is a really good idea now, if you see a wildflower tangle, paint that as itself with a bit of sky and don't worry about much else in the painting. The flowers could work by themselves as a tall narrow composition.

Regarding dappled light on tree bark - one thing I thought of when you described that is that you could use the computer to zoom in on the bark, and show the bark as the main subject. Let it fill the painting, get another photo of a ladybug or caterpillar and put that animal on the trunk as the main focal point. But show the dappling as larger irregular areas of shadow and light to make an interesting composition.

Nick7
08-08-2014, 02:38 PM
I have just put the painting side by side with the photo and yes, the angle of the road is very different :( I made a sketch before the painting and even in the sketch the angles were tricky. I should have been more careful to not make that mistake twice.
Thank you for the tip how to paint the bark in different way :)

Blayne
08-08-2014, 02:51 PM
Lovely, lovely flowers, Nick! I disagree with Robert about moving on and leaving this! (I should go find an emoticon shaking its finger at Robert:)). Google lots of roads or paths. You'll find a solution if you just have to have a road in there. What I discovered by enlarging the image and scrolling is that the right two-thirds of the painting would make a beautiful image just by itself. Those flowers are so beautifully colorful and free, they could stand alone as a painting. As far as creating chaos (I could tell you how good I am at that, but you'd hit me with the chair again:)), try using the side of the pastel, experimenting with several different colors and values. The rock might need some shading to show its bulk, but I can't say enough how terrific those flowers are! This is so lovely.

Still-trying
08-08-2014, 03:31 PM
Yes, the road in the ref pic is much much flatter than yours. So! you learning something! success!!! And your flowers are just beautiful. More success! You have some interesting stems and growth under the flowers, you just need more of that near the viewer, but you don't have to make it dead straw like the ref, just more of what you did under to the flowers, perhaps a little hotter color to show it's nearer.

If this were my painting, I would let go of the ref at this point. I would scrub out the black line at the side of the road on the right. I would close up the road with grasses...just leave a little path on the left side. But I wouldn't let the path be straight. Let the grasses go somewhat into it. Then I would shave off tiny pieces of red flower color onto the grass on the other side of the road/path and press them onto the paper with a color shaper or something. Does that give you any ideas? Just continue to challenge yourself. (and by the way, those plums and currents you did were wonderful. You are wayyyyy too hard on yourself.)

Nick7
08-08-2014, 03:56 PM
Thank you very much for your tips! I am afraid you will see a lot poppy flowers in the future. I love them :D I would like to learn how to paint them with just two strokes of the side of the stick. I believe that's what Karen Margulis does
http://karenmargulis.weebly.com/uploads/1/6/4/4/16443614/8696061_orig.jpg
http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/early-morning-poppies-karen-margulis.jpg

Yes, Jay, I have learned that I need to be more careful and that I can see my mistakes more clearly when I view the painting on the screen.

I kind of like how the picture is different on each side - a chaos of the nature and straight lines made by a man. I will try to correct the road, if I manage to brush the pastel off.
I will try your suggestions about the rock and the vegetation. I am not sure how exactly, so I am going to experiment on a scrap of paper first :)

I will then try different poppies without the road.

Blayne http://www.cool-smileys.com/images/69.gif ;)

Thank you again for your tips

DAK723
08-08-2014, 05:08 PM
Nick, Nice painting! Yes, angles, perspective and proportions are one of the foundation of drawing! But your painting looks fine!

One thing that may be of interest - and may be a good topic for a painting such as the flowers on the roadside - is always thinking in terms of what is behind. You have done a very good job of painting the flowers, twigs, leaves, etc. - they look very natural. But, perhaps, you might be thinking that you don't really want the paper color under all those flowers and leaves, but an actual "ground" or "grass" color. It would be quite difficult (but not impossible) to put some color in there now, but it would be easier if some color were there before you added all that detail!

Here's a Spotlight that discusses some ideas on painting "back to front."

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1338997

And then, here is one that discusses painting in the "negative" spaces afterwards:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1341885

This is obviously a lot to digest all at once - so feel free to just browse - and don't worry about using all the information at once.

Don

Nick7
08-08-2014, 05:14 PM
Don, thank you very much. I will read it and then paint it again from the beginning. It will be interesting to see them side by side then.
Thanks again to all of you :)

DAK723
08-08-2014, 05:35 PM
Here's a little "shape" demo that I promised earlier today!

I'm using the photo from the ref library by judwal. It's the tree that was mentioned earlier in the thread.

When I look at the photo, my first thought is to try and determine the shapes that make up the areas of shadow and the areas of light. This is not necessarily the only or best way to start, but that is the way I am using.

Here is the photo - and I have circled shapes in yellow and green that seem to depict the basic shadow and light shapes on the tree. In most cases, I need to squint at the photo. Squinting helps remove some of the intermediate values making the values seem to merge together better. So, all the lighter values merge and all the darker values merge, making it easier to see the value/color shapes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/82335-by_judwa-highlightshapes.jpg

Now, choosing a dark and light color for the tree, I put in those shapes. I might, of course, sketch in the tree first before adding the shapes of color. I also add very general shapes for the bunches of leaves.

Also, if doing a real painting, I would have put in some of the sky and background colors first. See my previous post, for the Spotlight link for painting back to front.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/82335-by_judwa-painting1.jpg

Very simplified shapes! I have left out some of the smaller branches - I can always add them anytime.

Now, I have my foundation. I can now add colors that are just subtly different in color and value - and do some blending or whatever I need to do to begin to refine. I am still looking at shapes and I notice that there are some slightly lighter, slightly more reddish shapes in the shadow parts of the tree, so I put those in. I also add some slightly different (more yellow) shapes into the light areas. I also begin to refine the big light area and add some of the cast shadows from the leaves that form some of the those darker shapes within the big light shape.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/82335-by_judwa-painting2.jpg

And here is the finish. I added the lighter leaf shapes - and as you can see, I simplified and bunched my leaves more than they are in the ref. I also added a few darker strokes to make the leaves look more detailed and make it look like there are some darker shadows under some of the leaves. I don't really see anything that dark in the leaves in the ref, but it makes it look more detailed without actually painting as much detail as is in the photo.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/82335-by_judwa-painting3.jpg

I think this method makes painting simpler and allows one to build the foundation quickly with the largest shapes of color/value. I hope it makes sense and is of some help! And, again, it is certainly not the only way to begin and/or create a painting. And, of course, you can continue to add more colors and refine the painting to the point where you consider it finished!

Don

Nick7
08-08-2014, 05:55 PM
wow, Don, I can't believe you spent so much time trying to help me with my problem. Thank you so very much!

It looks so easy and obvious when you put it like that :) The mistake I made probably was that I tried to paint the cracks in the barks on the sunlit side of the tree. So, I had light sunlit bark and dark cracks. And on the other side, not so light bark and a bit darker cracks. It was too much.

You and Jackie both mentioned "squinting". My dictionary says it can be either to briefly look at something or to look with your eyes half closed. Do you mean the first meaning?

Again, thank you very much. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the members of this forum.
It seems my weekend will be full of painting :)

DAK723
08-08-2014, 06:17 PM
You and Jackie both mentioned "squinting". My dictionary says it can be either to briefly look at something or to look with your eyes half closed. Do you mean the first meaning?


I mean eyes half closed. You should notice as you begin to close your eyes, that the areas of dark and light should become more obvious. It should simplify everything! Of course, using the computer, you can usually achieve the same effect by increasing contrast:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2014/82335-43597tree_trunk_by_judwal-more_contrast.jpg

This will help clarify the values - although it doesn't mean that you need to paint or use these more extreme values. Just to help you separate dark form light more easily.

As you can also see in this pic, there are thin shadow details within the light area of the tree, so it would be OK to put them in. But they would be final details done last and probably only a few would be needed to suggest the detail. In my demo, I didn't get into that much detail, so I didn't add detailed dark shadows into the light areas.

Don

Nick7
08-08-2014, 06:22 PM
I see.
I have seen a different demo and in that example the author put the darkest tones first, then the lightest. That was the start. It seems you did something similar. I just told myself that the cracks are one of the darkest spots, so I started with them - on both sides... Lesson learned :)

DAK723
08-08-2014, 06:24 PM
Wait! We are not a full time job for you? WE are work!! :eek:
(thank you for all you do. :crossfingers: :clear: )

Alas, I do have a real job. Luckily, for the past few years, I have only worked part-time at my real job leaving me more time for WC! I think I will demand a 50% raise from WC for all the time I put in!!:eek:

Don

DAK723
08-08-2014, 06:29 PM
I see.
I have seen a different demo and in that example the author put the darkest tones first, then the lightest. That was the start. It seems you did something similar. I just told myself that the cracks are one of the darkest spots, so I started with them - on both sides... Lesson learned :)
Again, it can be done that way! Every artist probably has a slightly (or not so slightly) different way of doing things. Personally, I think working from large shapes to small shapes is easier. It also reduces the urge to get into detail work before the foundation of the painting is done. Believe me, this is not an easy lesson learned! As someone who has done portraits, it is very common to spend too much time early in the portrait doing details, such as eyes. Then you find out the overall large shape of the head is wrong and you have to "move" one eye or both! So big shapes first, then details can save you a lot of time and trouble! But again, there is no rule!

Don

Blayne
08-08-2014, 07:30 PM
Nick, where is the painting of plums and currants that Jay referred to? (And that was a perfect finger shaking emoticon for Robert!:lol:

Don, your shape demo is the best and easiest to follow of any I've ever seen. Thank you! I haven't had a chance yet to check out the links you or Nick posted but will do. As to demanding only a 50 percent raise... With the crowd you've got here, you deserve much more than that. I wouldn't blame you if you were actually on the phone half the day today with your lawyers promising them a 50 percent fee INCREASE to simply get you out of your contract with WC early.

http://www.sherv.net/cm/emo/angry/computer-smash.gif (http://www.sherv.net/)

neddelta
08-09-2014, 02:51 AM
Many thanks, Don, for this phenomenal lesson: a real "ah-ha" moment for me. And this was supposed to be a vacation month for you!

With gratitude and admiration,
Evelyn

Nick7
08-09-2014, 06:07 AM
The perspective is soo tricky :D
I decided to throw the shame into the wind, took a ruler and a pencil and started to measure. After getting it wrong AGAIN, I started to measure directly on my laptop screen *ashamed again*

I found out that because of the vegetation on the horizon I kept putting the vanishing point on the wrong spot.

And another thing I learned (after an hour *faints*)... you can't really expect the shadow of the vegetation follow the rules of perspective... Oh boy, they should keep me separated from the rest of you :D :D
With this speed I will finish the poppies some time around Christmas... And I am running out of papers :D

Oh, Blayne, and it's the Demo for beginners thread. LOTS to correct there too... That would be my New Year :lol:

Blayne
08-09-2014, 06:40 AM
Hi, Evelyn. Phenomenal is certainly the right word for this lesson!

Nick, I'll check out your plums and currants, now that I know where to find them. Incidentally, regarding your perspective issues--there's an app for that! Well, the app is not actually designed to solve perspective problems but helps because it enables you to put a grid across any photo. You can choose how many vertical and horizontal lines make up the grid. Then you make corresponding grid lines on your paper and fill in the squares. Many artists rely on grids for accurately transposing a photo to a painting. . The app is called Grid Drawing Assistant and is free on the Google Play Store for android devices.

So sorry you fainted! I'll get smelling salts!
http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/sick/unconscious-smiley-emoticon.gif (http://www.sherv.net/)

Nick7
08-09-2014, 08:43 AM
:) You now, I never thought about how long it took to paint a picture... Somehow, I expected it usually took minutes or tens of minutes. And sketches even less.

It took me two hours and hope kept alternating with frustration :lol:

So, even I, the notorious complainer :angel:, can see that there is improvement.

But :D
I am sure there are things I could do better, like the color of the sidewalk or what it is (and perhaps make it narrower in the distance?), the grass chaos..., perhaps the shadow on the sidewalk and that rock that is not 3D and I don't know how to make it. (Hmm, I could cut that lower part of the picture and discard it :rolleyes:). I am not sure how I could better create the shadows casted by the plant.

Any tips are very welcomed. Thank you :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM00996m.jpg

Blayne
08-09-2014, 09:10 AM
The flowers now appear to be on a hill or ledge above the highway/sidewalk. The rock now looks flat, like a stepping stone or the top layer of a rock ledge, but it looks sunken down. I think I would just partly camouflage it by throwing some dirt over it. You might want to decrease the saturation of the orange strip a bit more as it recedes into the distance. This is really becoming an interesting composition, Nick, and you are showing a very good color sense. The scene now reminds me of driving across the high plains region of the U.S. where you can see for miles. One more thing I noticed just now is that you have broken one of the "painting rules" (put chair hitting smiley icon here)! Your horizon line is almost in the exact middle of the painting. Can you extend the sky up an inch and perhaps crop a bit off the bottom of the painting? A small crop might take care of that pesky rock, as well. I keep liking this painting, so don't give up!

Also, I really liked your plum painting!

Nick7
08-09-2014, 09:47 AM
The flowers now appear to be on a hill or ledge above the highway/sidewalk.

Which is right, so, hurrah :lol: Or at least that is what I see in the photo.

The rock now looks flat, like a stepping stone or the top layer of a rock ledge, but it looks sunken down. I think I would just partly camouflage it by throwing some dirt over it. Hmm like smudge it with a dark brown here and there? Is that what you meant?
You might want to decrease the saturation of the orange strip a bit more as it recedes into the distance. OK, would a light brown or beige work? I have a problem with the distance object :) I believe the colors need to be sort of hazy, but when I choose a lighter tone it attracts much more attention than I would like to.


This is really becoming an interesting composition, Nick, and you are showing a very good color sense. I seriously doubt it, Blane :)

The scene now reminds me of driving across the high plains region of the U.S. where you can see for miles. One more thing I noticed just now is that you have broken one of the "painting rules" (put chair hitting smiley icon here)! Your horizon line is almost in the exact middle of the painting. I know. I noticed that the photo is divided exactly in the middle. I was thinking about getting rid of the stone even before I started, but there are those three objects in the photo (clouds, flower and the stone) that lead the eye around the picture, and I was hesitant to break it.

But maybe after I cut the stone away :clear: the road will take its place in that triangle.

Can you extend the sky up an inch and perhaps crop a bit off the bottom of the painting? A small crop might take care of that pesky rock, as well. I keep liking this painting, so don't give up!

Also, I really liked your plum painting!

Thank you for your help, Blayne.

robertsloan2
08-09-2014, 09:50 AM
Big improvements, Nick! I agree with Blayne's critique although the rock being sunken at the bottom of the hill isn't so much a problem to me. I like how you handled the distance between the road and wildflowers, set it up so there is a hill now explaining why the flowers are in near close focus and the road so far below. Like how you moved the road's vanishing point.

This painting is becoming spectacular. And yeah, a good painting takes a lot longer sometimes and multiple sessions. I take back the "crop an frame it" since you did manage to bring it all into the same world with that hill effect. Well done. Keep going!

Nick7
08-09-2014, 09:54 AM
I would like to thank everyone who shared their opinion about the boat that was turning right :)

I believe it was caused by right side of the hull (we could see to much of it), the bow (not straight) and that shadow on the left side (that should have been there, but in some different way).

The paper refused to take any more pastel pencil, so I needed to use the soft pastel stick (yikes), but I think it finally sail straight :clap: :D I believe the guy is happy too :D

Hopefully, when I paint it a year or two from now, it will be much better than it is now. I think I am going to play a bit more with the right side, but not much.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Aug-2014/1892815-sailboat.jpg :lol:

Nick7
08-09-2014, 09:59 AM
Big improvements, Nick! I agree with Blayne's critique although the rock being sunken at the bottom of the hill isn't so much a problem to me. I like how you handled the distance between the road and wildflowers, set it up so there is a hill now explaining why the flowers are in near close focus and the road so far below. Like how you moved the road's vanishing point.

This painting is becoming spectacular. And yeah, a good painting takes a lot longer sometimes and multiple sessions. I take back the "crop an frame it" since you did manage to bring it all into the same world with that hill effect. Well done. Keep going!

Thank you, Rob.
So, what should I do with the rock? :clear: It attract way too much attention now. It's frustrating to know that it is not right and have no idea how to correct it :rolleyes: *sigh*

You are all so patient with me. Thank you for that. :)

robertsloan2
08-09-2014, 10:11 AM
Make it just out over the edge of the road some. It can be a boulder on the side of the road. Give it good modeling shadows and a bit of shadow, but don't make its straight edged smooth side coincide with the line of the edge of the road. Boulders do stick out into the whatchamacallit, strip of dirt or gravel, shoulder of the road sometimes. The shape of it is what's distracting. It's exactly, mechanically lined up on the road like it got sliced off by a laser to conform to the edge of the strip. A few gray-blue smudges on the side opposite the light direction should help give it more 3D quality.

On the bright orange strip, I just did something like that with my Open Road landscape. Go to beige or yellow ochre tints. Match the value and start shading it brighter to more muted. It will get more muted and less reddish as you go, and the yellows fade more to gray in the very far distance. So beige is a good thought. You can gradate the hue a little lighter at every color change or keep it mostly te same value and use color to lay it down in the distance. I'd do both hue and value but change the hue faster than te value, say one step lighter but go all the way from brigth orange to grayish beige in the farthest distance. Depending on what pastels you have and how much work it is to do that. It'd first get yellower and more muted, then grayer as it gets past the point the yellow drops out.

Nick7
08-09-2014, 10:23 AM
Thank you, Rob. I will try that :) Yeah, I have learned that I lack MANY colors I need. At least I won't be lazy and start to seriously experiment with combining them to get what I need :)

getdusty
08-09-2014, 10:43 AM
First off, thank you Don for that great shape lesson. It was really helpful as I am currently struggling with a tree picture.
Nick, I really like version #2. In the original ref it looked (to me) like the flowers were above the road and you've captured that. I'll leave the rest of the critiquing (is that how it's spelled?) to Blayne and Robert.
Blayne, I like the "fixes" you made to the boat. Good job.

robertsloan2
08-09-2014, 11:18 AM
Blayne, yes, forgot to mention I love the tweaks you made to the shape of the boat. Its lines are a lot more natural now. The right side edge is a graceful curve and very familiar.

DAK723
08-09-2014, 12:16 PM
:) You now, I never thought about how long it took to paint a picture... Somehow, I expected it usually took minutes or tens of minutes. And sketches even less.

It took me two hours and hope kept alternating with frustration :lol:

Hope alternating with frustration may just be the best description of painting that I have ever heard!!

How long it takes can differ widely by painter, but a few hours would be the norm. Bigger more complex paintings will often be done in sessions over a period of days.

I like you new version of the roadside flowers. Much more organized in terms of shapes! A more subdued color for the orange walk could have been used, but I see no real problem with the color as is. In fact, it might balance the bright flower colors on the other side of the painting. So changing it might upset that balance - it is hard to guess without trying it (perhaps on the computer).

Remember, colors can be mixed on the painting, so you don't need an entirely different color to modify it. Small strokes of another color applied over the initial color will optically mix. I think Jackie demonstrated this in her beginner thread in the "Gallery". So you don't always needs hundreds of pastels if you learn how to mix! It's not easy with pastels compared to oils, watercolors or acrylics, but it is a useful technique.

I wouldn't worry about the horizon in the center. Since your flowers break the horizon and extend above, your painting is NOT divided in two. This is the only danger of a centered horizon line, in my opinion. By divided in two, I mean having a painting that could literally be cut at the horizon line and each half could be a successful painting on it's own. Again, just my opinion, that many folks do not agree with!

I would not bother making any changes with this painting - It looks good! Better to move onto the next painting then fiddle with those that are already successful!

Don

Nick7
08-09-2014, 12:42 PM
Don, thank you very much.

The road and mixing colors... I keep trying to combine different colors and do the hatching(?) or putting marks next to each other, but I am never pleased with the results. I feel like I would need to be several steps away from the painting for the colors to optically mix. So I always end up blending them with my finger.
That's what I did with the path. I used some light brown, but I missed the reddish undertone. I made several marks, then blended and ended up with too dark path. Oh, well... :)

Blayne
08-09-2014, 01:11 PM
So much wonderful discussion going on here while I was away, with great input from Peg, Don and Robert. I stand corrected on the horizon issue, so that is another thing I've learned from Don :clap: and another thing you don't have to worry about fixing! Same with the orange strip and rock. We each are seeing the painting from only an imperfect photo of the painting, and on monitors that interpret the photo differently, so if the actual painting is pleasing YOU, that's what's important! To answer your question about the rock, but not to imply you should change it, when I said, "throw dirt on it," I did mean to put a bit of brown color on it, like the dirt had fallen onto it. It's a really beautiful painting, Nick, and maybe, like the boat, a few days from now, you'll know exactly what else, if anything, you want to change about it. Like on the boat--great job on that!

Nick7
08-09-2014, 01:21 PM
Thank you Blayne. I think you are right. It will be good to put it aside for several days. I think I will play with the rock and if I don't manage to make it right, I will cut the part off :) And I will think about making the path lighter near the horizon.
After having been painting for five hours, I am tired and my head hurts :lol: So I am browsing online stores and dreaming about what I will purchase when I win a lottery and won't worry about custom and shipping from the U.S. :) Because I can't find TL in Europe. Oh, and I still need the lottery :D

You all have been a big help, thank you for that.

robertsloan2
08-09-2014, 01:23 PM
Don, yes, I was just suggesting some aerial perspective on that orange stripe, not changing it at the front. It does balance the bright flowers nicely, but making a gradient of hue and value always adds to depth. You're right it could stand as it is, it's a gorgeous painting.

Mat and frame it whether you tweak or not, Nick, this one is a keeper! Blick has those nice inexpensive but effective Spectrum frames in several colors and mat cutters are a good investment, unless you just get a pre-cut mat (which usually means getting a bigger frame in my experience, they give a LOT of mat area around a 9 x 12" painting or any size really, the 11 x 14" ones have 5 x 7" painting windows.)

DAK723
08-09-2014, 01:29 PM
I stand corrected on the horizon issue, so that is another thing I've learned from Don and another thing you don't have to worry about fixing!

Most every book on composition agrees with you, Blayne. So, all that you have learned from me is that I don't just believe everything I read! I am a proponent that there are no rules - and that each painting has to be judged entirely on its own. Very few agree!

Don

Blayne
08-09-2014, 01:42 PM
Hi, Nick :wave: Painting is very tiring! Have a rest and dream about winning the lottery! Good luck finding the TL's. Amazon sells some sets but I believe they come from the Fine Art Store in NY.

I agree with Robert now, to find frames for the flowers and the boat!

Don, I actually do agree with you, that, "there are no rules - and that each painting has to be judged entirely on its own." I, unlike you, just lack the courage of my convictions! I'm constantly scrutinizing my paintings, and those of others who want critiques, to see if they're "following the rules." Thank you for your post. It's made me suddenly realize how absolutely ridiculous it is that we artists, who are supposedly among the most creative human beings, should constrain our creations with a set of rules!

robertsloan2
08-09-2014, 01:56 PM
Blayne, I check my paintings against the rules too and when I break one, look closely and ask if correcting it to the rule would wreck it. There are exceptions to every single rule.

There are usually good artistic reasons for them. I like the bright strong greens for example, and while I use them in smaller areas than I used to, will often choose scenes that are heavy on the greens. I did one painting from a photo reference taken in Wales where these black trunked green trees arched over the road, the whole thing looked ilke a road out of Middle Earth winding along and the light was green from coming through the foliage. It was enchanting. I followed the colors true and used violet in the shadows, orange accents in highlights but used all the strong greens as themselves bluing into the distance. I managed to capture the feel of it and it was perfect - but I used colors I shouldn't have been able to make work and green was the predominant color in the whole painting.

It worked for what it was. The exceptions to the rules usually work because of some other combination of factors that makes them work. The more I understand about painting, the more I can understand what makes the exceptions work. But they're all real and ultimately the artist has to decide. I destroyed one of my best pencil portraits once by completing it, when it hit me in the gut as perfect before I put the irises in the eyes. I never forgot, sometimes intuition has to take the lead.

Nick7
08-09-2014, 06:11 PM
I am nowhere near framing paintings :) But if I decide to give the boat to my father, I will have to do something with it. And I admit I have shamelessly put the conch in my room and look at it often, because I can't believe it's mine :D
Unfortunately, both have very nonstandard size.

I am having blast reading the archive of WC. It's after midnight, but I can make myself stop :D

Blayne
08-09-2014, 08:16 PM
Robert, your green painting sounds beautiful! A local artist recently exhibited the only 99 percent green painting I have ever seen that I liked. It was comprised primarily of just reflections in water and was just gorgeous, using greens most artists shy away from, at least in those amounts and on that scale, about 3' x 2'.

Nick, those archives could keep us all in reading material for years! WC is a treasure trove of information. I noticed Deirdre recently posted more information on how to access material by subject, in her Welcome to the Pastel Forum thread.

Nick7
08-10-2014, 05:27 AM
Hmm, have somebody mentioned frustration? :(

Don had recommended the spotlight thread about painting back to front, and I thought I would try some of the reference photos. I chose the birch trees, but then I realized that foliage would be a problem.
So, I read Deborah's chapters about trees and foliages. Then I found a spotlight from 2010 about trees.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628264

And then Paula's demo:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=630093

And I thought, the demo is great and detailed, let's forget about the birch trees.

*Sigh*
The longer I was painting, the more it didn't look like Paula's painting. I am sure it has a lot to do with the papers. She used UART, I one of Tizziano scraps I have. The UART must be kind of magic paper or something :D
Every time I heard her say Let's do some more greens or More layers to the foreground, I was like Oh, not again... :D :(

And I admit I had very hard time to find matching greens. The skyholes don't work quite well either. I had to give up on the last layer in the grass and blend it with my finger, because without the last layer it didn't want to blend optically.

I don't know. I am reasonable enough to admit it's much better than I would do it without the demo, but it's very different from the original and I wonder how much I should blame the type of the paper and how much is my own doing.

Can you tell me what you think? Have I used a wrong combination of greens? What can I change to make it look better in the future? I am not going to do it again, but I am sure the rule would be all time valid.
I am not sure why the skyholes don't work. They look like on top, not behind the tree. Wrong blue? I tried to mask it with green again to put it to the background but I don't think it worked much.

Feel free to tear it to shreds with your critique :) I really, really want to learn how to paint trees that work :clap:

Thank you :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01002m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01003m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01004m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01005m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01006m.jpg

Blayne
08-10-2014, 06:52 AM
Good morning, Nick! What beautiful trees! I have Paula's trees up on another tab, trying to switch back and forth to see how they differ from yours. Your trees have the light airiness of spring, while hers have the fuller, denser fullness of summer look, with more saturated colors. But in obtaining that look, she almost got a too soft, fuzzy look, while yours still retains both the delicacy and crispness of foliage, which is wonderful. She has a beautiful gradation of colors in her grasses, which fade to pale purple in the very back. You have continued the warm colors to the back, with a little more texture--hers is almost just a flat plane without texture, giving a sense of distance because it contrasts so much with that in the foreground.

Viewed side by side, the two paintings look like two different styles, not like an example of one good painting and one bad one. They definitely look like two different seasons, spring and summer. I like the more abstract, impressionistic look in your painting. I agree that your sky holes need some work. They're so hard to get right, especially putting them in afterwards. I'm sure you've read about making the holes just a tiny bit darker than the surrounding sky? I would also like to see a few of the tree trunks given more emphasis. But, really, this is a lovely painting and very much your style, not Paula's. It doesn't give me the feeling that it is a finished work, however. I don't know how to explain that except to say it is waiting for the real Nick to make it his own painting, to take it from a lesson in copying someone else's painting to that finished piece stamped "Nick," that has your heart and soul in it, like your wildflowers. I could tell that painting was yours when you defended that orange strip! Sorry to be so metaphysical and vague, but I don't know how to explain except to use the example of that painting of mine and say your "Natalie" will appear. If you can't get the finish you want on this now, just be patient and wait for internal guidance. At this point, maybe you've gained all that is possible from Paula's terrific lesson. Put aside the thought that this painting started as a copy and just ask yourself, "What do I want this painting to say?"

Quoting you: "I wonder how much I should blame the type of the paper and how much is my own doing." The paper is a wonderful scapegoat and cannot argue back.:lol: I haven't been able to get a supply of that magic paper, either.:(

Nick7
08-10-2014, 08:14 AM
Hm. :D Oh, Blayne... what am I going to take from your lesson? :)

I didn't think about it in terms of a season. That's probably the mistake number one.

I like her strokes with the side of the stick, but wasn't able to create them. The size is about 8x8 and the strokes had to be small and somehow it didn't work or I was doing something wrong. That and the structure of the paper probably created the airy look.

My bad is that I struggle with determining whether the green or blue is warm or cool. I think if I make marks with every blue and green stick, I will be deeply lost in more than half of the cases. The more green-blue the color is the harder it gets. Which feels hopeless. Also, a task like "pick four greens that will work together" is tricky for me. I have noticed that I have some greens that I have no idea what they would be suitable for :) I haven't seen them in nature yet.

I will try to look up more demos to see why something works and something doesn't. And practice the skyholes :)
Thank for your thoughts, Blayne :)

Blayne
08-10-2014, 08:41 AM
I am sorry I could not give more scholarly advice about colors and methods this morning. The more sober-minded, feet-on-the-ground types must roust themselves from slumber and assist you. I remain unapologetically on a metaphysical plane, maintaining that art must be about more than just rote copying of an image. If that be not so, then I should immediately cease all my striving to be an artist, for there are far better copyists than I shall ever be.

(Please grab fast to that string you see dangling over there--yes, that one--if you pull it down, and look high up, you may see the balloon holding me aloft. Don't let go of the string! Oh, nooooo.......)

Nick7
08-10-2014, 08:59 AM
:D No, that's OK, you are right. I am looking at the spotlight thread where I saw the birch
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1338997
There are several paintings and every is very different.
Maybe my problems is that I don't have a style yet :) I know what styles I like, but they are out of my reach yet and that's why I get frustrated with my paintings :)

Blayne
08-10-2014, 09:00 AM
I am trying to tell you you have a style, but you keep batting me away like a pesky fly:)

Blayne
08-10-2014, 09:03 AM
http://www.sherv.net/cm/emo/funny/1/swatting-fly-smiley-emoticon.gif (http://www.sherv.net/)

Nick7
08-10-2014, 09:09 AM
:D:D I wouldn't!

I don't like the style "I have" :lol: I want to know how to paint in a painterly way :angel:

Sorry :D

Blayne
08-10-2014, 09:14 AM
Nothing to apologize for--so glad you took that for the humor it was intended and didn't get offended! From all I have read, the painterly style seems to develop on its own once you let go of striving for photorealistic detail.

Nick7
08-10-2014, 09:27 AM
:) I believe I need to learn a lot of rules, so that I know later when and how to break them

Blayne
08-10-2014, 09:30 AM
Yes, me too!

DAK723
08-10-2014, 10:01 AM
Nick, You have done a really fine job with the trees from Paula's demo. You should not be disappointed. Even your sky holes - which can be very difficult to do - are done well. You mention adding a bit more tree color after making the sky hole - that is a good idea and it seemed to have worked.

There are a couple points I think need to be made.

When you do a copy done by an excellent experienced artist, you cannot expect your copy to be as good as the original. It took her YEARS OF PRACTICE to reach the point where she is when she did that demo. For a beginner, you have done very well and clearly learned much from this demo.

When you mention the paper - yes, the paper may make a big difference, as well as different brands of pastel. But it is not the paper or the pastels - again, it is having YEARS OF EXPERIENCE using those papers and pastels. The first time I used a sanded paper I could definitely tell that I could use more layers, but that does not mean that I suddenly knew the best way to layer. It takes experience and experimentation and practice.

Seriously, you do not need to know any rules but one - observe. When you paint, observing is the most important thing. Observing and then doing your best to interpret your observations into choosing colors and values and putting those shapes onto paper. It sounds easy, but it is not. When you observe a green color, for example, is it more of a yellow green or a blue green? Is it bright and intense or duller? When I look at your demo, you have done a great job with your greens on the trees.

As Blayne mentioned, your style will develop the more you paint. As this point in your development, it is all about practicing and getting to know how the materials work. It seems like - in only a couple days - that you have a good grasp in painting shapes. And painting shapes is what the "painterly" style is.

Don

Nick7
08-10-2014, 10:42 AM
Don, when you say it like this, it makes me realize that I would be selfish to want to know now what Paula had been learning for years... Food for thought.
I can see that I am afraid to say (or think) Hm, that's not that bad. It's easier for me to diminish the results of my effort. I quickly forgot that two weeks ago I hadn't known anything and I keep pushing the bar higher and higher.

Thank you for waking me up.

Blayne has mentioned "my style" :D I decided to explore that. This has details together with quick marks. It's probably not worth much, but I must admit, I had more fun than while copying the previous painting (more frustration there :lol: ).
I suspect though, that it suffers from lack of focal point. But nothing I came up with seemed right, so I let the place in the middle almost clear.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01007m.jpg

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 11:09 AM
Hmm, have somebody mentioned frustration? :(

Don had recommended the spotlight thread about painting back to front, and I thought I would try some of the reference photos. I chose the birch trees, but then I realized that foliage would be a problem.
So, I read Deborah's chapters about trees and foliages. Then I found a spotlight from 2010 about trees.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628264

And then Paula's demo:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=630093

And I thought, the demo is great and detailed, let's forget about the birch trees.

*Sigh*
The longer I was painting, the more it didn't look like Paula's painting. I am sure it has a lot to do with the papers. She used UART, I one of Tizziano scraps I have. The UART must be kind of magic paper or something :D
Every time I heard her say Let's do some more greens or More layers to the foreground, I was like Oh, not again... :D :(

And I admit I had very hard time to find matching greens. The skyholes don't work quite well either. I had to give up on the last layer in the grass and blend it with my finger, because without the last layer it didn't want to blend optically.

I don't know. I am reasonable enough to admit it's much better than I would do it without the demo, but it's very different from the original and I wonder how much I should blame the type of the paper and how much is my own doing.

Can you tell me what you think? Have I used a wrong combination of greens? What can I change to make it look better in the future? I am not going to do it again, but I am sure the rule would be all time valid.
I am not sure why the skyholes don't work. They look like on top, not behind the tree. Wrong blue? I tried to mask it with green again to put it to the background but I don't think it worked much.

Feel free to tear it to shreds with your critique :) I really, really want to learn how to paint trees that work :clap:

Thank you :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01002m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01003m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01004m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01005m.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01006m.jpg

Thank you for showing your stages! There is a lot to like in this painting. It may not look like Paula's but it's got serious progress in it.

Sky holes frustrate me too and I'm not that great at doing them. I'm working on it. Everything Don says is spot on. It takes years of practice.

On the layering - really, there is a big difference between sanded paper and unsanded paper. Techniques have to adapt to one or the other. On unsanded paper blending all but the last layers and scraping with a razor blade to reduce the amount of pastel on the surface before adding layers is a good way to go about it.

Logistically, the best way to get practice on sanded paper is either to waste good pastels on hardware store sandpaper or get a pot of Art Spectrum Supertooth primer or Golden Pumice Gel to put on inexpensive watercolor paper and archival mat board. The frugal in me would suggest getting a pot of regular gesso for the backs of mat boards too if you use mat scrap, since it's good to gesso the back to keep it from bending or buckling.

Once you try a sanded surface, the techniques are different. It's easy to get lots and lots of layers and any demo that uses sanded paper will come out better on it. I'm more used to reserving sky holes than adding them later, still learning that - but I've seen it more on sanded paper than unsanded. It's good to try both but the sanded papers are expensive. After a while I just got used to the price range and to using my primers too.

This painting is beautiful in itself. Your greens are effective, your frustration with the textures of some of your sticks is understandable. Your broken color foliage is absolutely gorgeous.

Painterly happens by itself as you focus on using detail more in focal area, more deliberately to highlight something important rather than fussing over background areas and less important subjects. I actually went exactly that route from extreme detail (and using those details for relative measurement and proportions) to painterly interpretation and changing the scene. It did take learning a lot of rules and tricks. I think of those rules like "green grass OR green trees but not both in the same painting" as tricks. If I'm not going to use them I might give them a nod and make one or the other greenER rather than literally gold grass and green foliage or autumn trees on green grass. Just not get them exactly the same hue.

Others, like "purple is a friend to green" are so effective I just use them almost all the time. The one exception was that in that Welsh scene, the tree trunks were vividly black and looked good that black, so I didn't make them violet. It was an exception that proved the rule.

Relax and enjoy it. Look for successive improvement more than perfection. Really, all I ever demand of anything I do is that it comes out a bit better than last time, gradual improvement. I get there eventually. It also takes a while to see the painterly, to see the shapes and bold strokes as right when they come out right. Broken color was very disturbing to me for a long time but only in my paintings, not when others used it well.

This is great and I love the progress shots on the way to it. Carry on, you're growing fast!

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 11:13 AM
Don, when you say it like this, it makes me realize that I would be selfish to want to know now what Paula had been learning for years... Food for thought.
I can see that I am afraid to say (or think) Hm, that's not that bad. It's easier for me to diminish the results of my effort. I quickly forgot that two weeks ago I hadn't known anything and I keep pushing the bar higher and higher.

Thank you for waking me up.

Blayne has mentioned "my style" :D I decided to explore that. This has details together with quick marks. It's probably not worth much, but I must admit, I had more fun than while copying the previous painting (more frustration there :lol: ).
I suspect though, that it suffers from lack of focal point. But nothing I came up with seemed right, so I let the place in the middle almost clear.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01007m.jpg


This is lovely!

That place in the middle with "almost nothing" is something wonderful! It gives sudden depth to the painting, extends it off into horizontal distance. It's something in that nothing - very distant trees hazy and pale and giving the impression an entire world is in there. I like that. You couldn't think of anything to put there because anything in the near ground would have broken that depth effect. That path into the depth of the painting is a focal area, they don't always have to be detailed. Beautifully done.

I love your soft sky gradation too. Looked back at it and deleted a whole paragrph on why to do it because wow, you did that and it's gorgeous. Took me a moment to see it because the sky was so smooth but it's there and adds to the gorgeous depth in this painting.

Leaving an eye path to the deep distance in a painting is wonderful. You just did that by unconsciously recognizing putting nothing there was better than something - and it WORKED in a big way! Lovely trees in all their detail and elegance, and they are in a painting with a very deep world!

Nick7
08-10-2014, 11:28 AM
Hi Rob,
to tell the truth I logged back in to remove the last picture from my post, because I was so ashamed of it...
I have been painting since morning because it helps to keep depression away. But every time I stop, it's back. Thank you very much for your nice comments.

I will need to explore the primer. I have never seen it done, not even on the Internet.

I am going to find another photo to try and to keep me busy... ((hug))

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 12:25 PM
Tips on using the primer. 140lb watercolor paper is better than lighter paper, hot or cold pressed is better than Rough. Use a 1" wide foam brush, hobby brush type of thing to apply it, it's got the consistency of heavy body acrylic paint or medium with grit in it. The grit itself is transparent, I guess it's little solid flecks of dry acrylic! Get the brush damp but squeezed out.

Clear AS Multimedia Primer or AS Supertooth Primer is really as clear as Acrylic Gloss or Matte Mediums, it will let color shine through pretty true. So you can tone the paper with watercolor or with acrylics thinned down till it's transparent like ink, watery texture. Either one solid color or an underpainting like red under the green areas, pink behind the sky, that sort of thing for complements, or exact same colors blue and green if you don't want the complements. This will let broken color not show white under it and is useful. It also means you can prime any failed watercolor and use the "Ghost painting" as colored paper for pastel painting.

Shake the container vigorously before opening it, make sure the grit is mixed in thoroughly as it may settle if it's sat unused for a while. I shake it for three to five minutes before use as it might be months between priming papers. Then dip the damp foam brush in about 1/4" to 1/2" and spread it smoothly on the paper, with parallel strokes so it's got even coverage. Let it dry thoroughly, acrylics dry fast so that'll really only be ten minutes tops. While damp, smooth out any obvious bumps and lumps with the brush.

Then repeat going the other direction. The grit texture is going to be a lot more prominent than the brush strokes the way I use it, but some artists use acrylic modeling paste and directional strokes to create texture in some areas o the painting with it. Like jabbing a bristle brush ends down in the modeling paste (thicker than tube acrylic, for building up textures) where foliage is going to go or directional brush strokes where grass goes etc.

It's not hard to do. I tape it down to a drawing board and mark off the picture area on the paper, using masking tape literally to mask it. If it's a board I leave a couple of inches of border and that really helps stop the curving and distortion. Just paper a half inch is enough. This really helps me have a clean border to the picture, it's easy to see where the texture stops and I can leave the masking tape there till the painting's done to make a very clean border.

Back in Arkansas, I made up two pastel journals priming the pages of 7" x 9" watercolor journals with 140lb paper using different colors of Art Spectrum Multimedia Primer. I was working on preparing both of them when I moved, they didn't get into the boxes that got sent because the box they were in hadn't been when I ran out of shipping money. So they're in storage and still good. I wanted to be able to do small plein air paintings in a journal format.

The primers aren't that expensive, a pint jar goes a long way. I still hadn't used up my first pint of Clear when I moved, though I bought other colors and got the liter jar when I got halfway through the first pint. Mostly because I like to stay stocked up. I was using homemade sanded supports all the time there and the first thing I bought here was to try Supertooth which I didn't have, then later replace the regular Art Spectrum Multimedia in Clear to have my familiar old Colourfix texture again. Supertooth is sometimes too strong - it's closer to Wallis or coarser Uart grades. But it's lovely stuff and sometimes I do want that much tooth for layering.

You won't regret it, not once you've used it. It does take two or three thin coats to really get the grit effect. If it doesn't feel like sandpaper after the second coat, then either the grit settled or the brush was too wet and thinned the primer too much. Shake well and add another coat. It's never taken me less than two coats to get the full texture of the grit primer.

Another tip. It's cheaper to buy full or half boards of archival rag mat board than it is to buy pre-cut mats and investing in a mat cutting system will pay for itself fairly rapidly. It also leaves you with Mat Scrap. The center holes cut out of archival mat boards, in white or any color including black, make really great pastel boards. By themselves they are decent toothy surfaces. With grit primer they are sanded boards of top quality. Either leave a big border to put under the mat - like if you have an 8" x 10" center, mark off a 4" x 6" picture area on it - or gesso the back so it doesn't warp and curve while it's drying.

It's added value whenever you cut your own mats that even the small pieces become useful art boards suitable for small pastel studies. I'm collecting my mat scrap from framing my recent good paintings and going to prime a few of them, maybe I should do a photo demo of it and post it. Which forum would be better, you think, Don? Post it here in Talk or over in Studio? If it's just about mat cutting and board priming, not about the art itself it might belong in Talk as a materials discussion.

Nick7
08-10-2014, 12:48 PM
Oh, Rob, thank you so much! I will ask about all the stuff when I go buy the papers.

Thank you :)

Blayne
08-10-2014, 01:14 PM
Nick, I love your new painting! You mentioned it not having a focal point, but, to me, the lovely, airy foliage in sunlight is enough of a focal point. Your style is strong in this picture. You have very quickly developed a way of making a few strong, dark marks say a lot. I agree with Robert that the empty middle is a beautiful place. In fact, one of the "rules" we haven't discussed here is to leave a way out of the painting so the viewer doesn't feel trapped or have any relief from objects to look at. This concept is different from allowing the eye to escape your from corners, which is a bad thing! So difficult to explain. Perhaps Don or Robert can explain it better. But haven't you ever seen pictures that just seem too busy, like your eye keeps traveling around uncomfortably within the painting and cannot rest? That is what I mean--a resting spot. Your beautiful empty space does does is a tranquil resting place. I agree your sky is perfect. If you decide to work on anything in this, work very sparingly. If the painting were my own, I might try to heighten the effect of the sunlit foliage, maybe giving more variation to that tree top that is third from the left, just next to the one on the right. All the others have very graceful tapering shapes, but that one sort of ends very abruptly at the top. This painting is very beautiful and has your signature all over it! It reflects your joy in creating it. And I agree, working helps keep away the "black dog" of depression.

Blayne
08-10-2014, 01:50 PM
14" x 11" on sketch paper, done a couple of years ago, and I can't remember which pastels I used. This is a portrait of a friend painted from a photo taken on a vacation in Narragansett, RI. I loved the cozy little beach there with great eating spots nearby! All C and C welcome, especially want to know if the composition works. (Friend doesn't like this painting, and I need to know if it is a bad piece of art, or whether she is just self-conscious about her body in a bathing suit. She turned 70 while on that trip, so, personally, I don't think she has anything to be ashamed of!) I see errors already, just previewing the post, that I didn't see in the painting--like the guy walking with the woman on the left really has short, spraddled legs.:lol:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/75339-IMG_20140810_121624_kindlephoto-24144716.jpg

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 01:54 PM
:D No, that's OK, you are right. I am looking at the spotlight thread where I saw the birch
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1338997
There are several paintings and every is very different.
Maybe my problems is that I don't have a style yet :) I know what styles I like, but they are out of my reach yet and that's why I get frustrated with my paintings :)

Nick, really don't worry about that.

Style is like handwriting. You have it by being who you are. The more skilled you are, the easier it will be for everyone around you to see your personal style. Your hands move the way they do. You like the things you do. Some levels are so deep every human being feels them in the presence of great art. A whole lot of it is more cultural and personal. Your personal taste is core of your style. If you like anything in other paintings, it will eventually emerge in some way in your own.

You're skilled enough that Blayne and I and others are starting to see your signature strokes and personal style. It's fine. It's beautiful in fact. Relax and continue to paint from your heart. Paint what appeals to you and try the techniques you think look great. The more you learn, the stronger your style will become.

Beginners, true beginners often look as if they all make the same mistakes and you can't tell who did what. But the more they learn, the faster it's possible to look at something unsigned and know whose it was. That's style, and you have plenty of it. Enjoy the painting and really don't worry about developing it other than learning more technique in general.

Nick7
08-10-2014, 02:04 PM
Thank you, Blayne and Rob. I'll think about it, take a deep breath and then try to stop worry too much.

Is it true that in the Middle Ages the painters had their group of "coworkers" who copied their paintings? For selling?
I wonder if that is a good way to learn or not.

Nick7
08-10-2014, 02:09 PM
Blayne, it's lovely. Stop looking for flaws, that's my thing! :D

I wish I would be able to paint people in the future. Just a sketch would be fine. I would love to paint my kids.

You did great job. When I was sitting at the beach this summer, everything seemed so difficult. And not for a second did I consider painting people :)

Still-trying
08-10-2014, 02:23 PM
Nick, I really like you tree from Paula's demo. Very very nice.

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 02:25 PM
Blayne, I think your friend is self conscious about how she appears in her bathing suit. Her age and a little middle aged plumpness does show in the painting, in a way that gives her a lot of character. As a portrait it's wonderful, far better than if you idealized her. The lines coming down to her chin, the loose cheeks of middle age are probably what she's most upset about and the lines of her arms are those of an aging woman. Not extremely heavy but just, older, and softened by age, drooping a bit. She's rendered sympathetically and you didn't make those hard lined wrinkles but soft shadows created by the curves of flesh on her face. Her legs are just spot on that way.

The distant figures in many good "Crowd scene" paintings are often misproportioned. It's not always a big deal. It's noticeable in the man with stumpy legs, but some people actually do have stumpy legs. In fact to me, it looks more like he's kicking up some sand, his legs are proportioned naturally and fade into a dusty blur around the ankles like he stepped into a dip in the sand. He's not a problem. His thighs and knees go to the right place. Distant figures don't have to be perfect.

The sand is lovely.

The dark line of distant trees is very dark, could be blued, and the sand could have a hue gradient bluing (graying) it farther away, the line of trees on the right could be bluer and more muted and faded, it hasn't got much aerial perspective, atmospheric perspective (the terms for stuff gets blue in the distance and value contrasts diminish. Darks lightn and lights darken and it all gets more muted and bluer.) But that's a fine point.

The sky has a lovely natural gradient and the sizes of clouds diminish toward the horizon. In that sense perspective is maintained. The line of the beach and line of the shore are wonderful. The band of wet sand is very natural and overall this is a great painting.

Don't fuss about it! This is a really good one and your friend may not like it because the likeness isn't a flattering one. It shows her age and the changes time made to her body accurately. To me she looks nice for an older lady and has a beautiful smile. To her, she may not want to be reminded of her age this way. That's all it is. The painting is great.

Still-trying
08-10-2014, 02:29 PM
I'm three pages behind in reading. My goodness...you've all been busy. Blayne, I will study the bathing beauty while I'm resting.

I've been working on the 'Bottle Green' as I call it. So I'm posting the WIP. Need a lot more and I know it. So just smile and talk a look please. :lol:

DAK723
08-10-2014, 02:35 PM
Nick, I love your new painting! You mentioned it not having a focal point, but, to me, the lovely, airy foliage in sunlight is enough of a focal point.
Nick, I agree completely with the above!

Blayne, You've done a nice job with the woman on the beach!

Jay, Your bottle looks good! Lovely reflection! If I would add one thing, it would be a slightly darker reflection under the dark part at the top of the bottle where it is darker. Just a minor thought.

Don

Still-trying
08-10-2014, 03:20 PM
Thanks Don. I was pooped and had to stop.

Blayne, your bathing beauty is very well done. I wouldn't worry about the guy.

Nick. I forgot to say I like you sailboat now and your birch trees seem to be the focal point in themselves.

Keep painting everyone

Nick7
08-10-2014, 03:33 PM
Jay, in fact I smiled even before you asked for it :D Just seeing the gorgeous bottle was enough! Wow. I would be afraid to touch the painting...

Nick7
08-10-2014, 03:38 PM
The last one for today... :) It's late and getting dark and I don't have a proper light. Several times I didn't know if I was painting blue, grey or green. But somehow it couldn't wait till tomorrow :lol:

Any suggestions please? I struggle with the color of the distant hills. That bluish-green. I am sure I don't have it :lol: or maybe: :(

I am not sure how the camera has captured the colors. The top left corner should be pure white.

I was using the reference photo from this spotlight thread
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628264

Thank you :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01012m.jpg

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 06:04 PM
Renaissance painters trained their apprentices and often had them helping with things like painting minor figures and background elements in large paintings and murals. The great Old Masters paintings are sometimes collaborations with their apprentices. I think this also went on during medieval times. Both of those periods, painting was seen more as a craft like stone cutting, it wasn't so much like fine art today as something involved in decorating palaces and churches.

On up through later centuries traditional painting got taught by students copying masters' paintings. Here on WetCanvas there are still students doing that, finding images of famous paintings and copying them to learn technique. It's not a bad exercise at all.

Plus there's so many teachers that create project paintings designed to teach technique - demos abound here. Jackie's was great. I didn't copy hers only because I happened to have some similar fruits around to paint for myself from life.

It's a very effective way to learn. I've done lots of demos and I learn every time I do one. Depends on the person but one nice thing about it is that you get a nice painting to hang and don't need to know design to the level the teacher does with that approach!

Nick, wow! I love this latest one. What you can do to blue and lighten the most distant hills is scumble a greenish pale blue over them. Or any pale blue that you have. Time to reach for a Sennelier or Ludwig if you have one, drag it lightly over just the areas you want to lighten. The lightest blue in the sky would work over what's there. If you don't have exactly the right color, make do. A light gray would work too. Even a violet cast light blue would work. Shifting the hue more toward blue, less yellow in the green is the point, while lightening it and making it a little more blurry.

I just did this to the near hill in my last month Spotlight square landscape, it's a tricky technique so best to leave it to tomorrow, do a little patch o foliage on scrap and test what you have on patches of that foliage color until you get the best possible effect. It's not that hard once you get it but it's something easier to do than describe. Lay stick on its side and move it around with side strokes that barely touch the paper. Try putting fixative on it first so there's enough tooth to catch the scumbling if it won't work as it is. But that's trial and error - the painting is so good it's worth testing the fix instead of just trying it and wreck something Otherwise Perfect! It is gorgeous!

It's only a little after 3pm here and I still have time to paint, might get back to my shell today. If not, there's tomorrow.

Jay, I love how the Bottle Green is going! You captured its transparency and dimension, it's going so beautifully. You're down to finishing touches now. I might have called it done if it was mine, it's gorgeous! But since you say it's still a WIP you have plans to do more. Don't overdetail it, that green bottle is spectacular! It's glass! It's glorious!

Blayne
08-10-2014, 06:59 PM
Jay, I absolutely love your bottle painting! The bottle and reflection are beautiful in themselves but so is the entire painting. You didn't neglect a thing in this. The sky and the wetly reflecting sand are done as well as the bottle. I think I agree with Don to bring the darker green reflection up the neck of the bottle and include a dark hint of the reflection of the bottle cap. (It is a cap, not a cork?) I haven't seen the ref photo but, if that isn't in the photo, I still think it would add to the painting, giving the reflection more of an elongated shape. Don't even breathe on that sky or the rest of the painting. DON'T. TOUCH! Gorgeous painting! I love those transparent greens and how they show against the opaque, neutral blues and grays!

Nick, that's another beautiful tree painting! You have a real genius for showing those sunlit trees! Did you use a paper toned a light aqua or green? That contributes, I think, to this painting being on the cool side. I agree, putting some aerial perspective on the trees in the middle ground and on the distant hills will make the closest tree, your focal point, really pop. As distance increases, the yellow in the green leaves is lost, leaving blue, which fades to paler lavender in the far distance. Then I read somewhere that there would be an even paler blue beyond the lavender. It seems most artists stop with lavender, though. Lovely painting, Nick. You're really on a roll with these tree paintings!

Thank you so much, Nick, Robert, Don and Jay, for looking and commenting on my sunbathing woman! I apologize, Don, for not asking before posting, whether it was OK to post a painting done prior to start of this Spotlight. If I shouldn't have, let me know, please? I just remembered I had this vacation painting that I haven't had any feedback on (because I don't want to show it locally, since my friend doesn't like it) and wanted some opinions from fresh eyes. Robert, I appreciate your detailed comments giving me directions on how to make improvements using aerial perspective! Nick, there is an unlimited supply of insecurities among artists, so don't try to hoard them! You need that closet space for art supplies!:) I would venture to say that, upon completion of a painting, the artist experiences a brief bout of hyper-euphoria, sure of his/her genius, then swings wildly back and forth from delight to despair in every viewing thereafter.

robertsloan2
08-10-2014, 08:48 PM
(snip)

Thank you so much, Nick, Robert, Don and Jay, for looking and commenting on my sunbathing woman! I apologize, Don, for not asking before posting, whether it was OK to post a painting done prior to start of this Spotlight. If I shouldn't have, let me know, please? I just remembered I had this vacation painting that I haven't had any feedback on (because I don't want to show it locally, since my friend doesn't like it) and wanted some opinions from fresh eyes. Robert, I appreciate your detailed comments giving me directions on how to make improvements using aerial perspective! Nick, there is an unlimited supply of insecurities among artists, so don't try to hoard them! You need that closet space for art supplies!:) I would venture to say that, upon completion of a painting, the artist experiences a brief bout of hyper-euphoria, sure of his/her genius, then swings wildly back and forth from delight to despair in every viewing thereafter.

That is a very common reaction! It's not mine though. My reactions range through that hyper-euphoria to "That's nice. I'm happy with it, better than the last one." I have this insane confidence in my work and always have had it, almost as far back as I can remember. If I draw something I'm familiar with, it'll come out decent or OMG wonderful step forward make me happy.

I rambled for several paragraphs on it, thinking it was because I had early training or because teachers and adults always said I was Talented. Nope. The real reason is that got better every time I tried drawing the same thing, closer to what I actually saw. Lots of other things in life, like gym (birth defects) or math (without multiplication, impossible) no amount of practice or effort gave better results. Just misery.

I learned early on it was subjective too. I had teachers who worshiped Picasso and other non figurative Modern Artists. They wanted me to draw like a child. They didn't get it that real children would rather draw Batman than copy Picasso. Or they loved certain subjects and not others. I laugh now looking back at the lessons - some were good lessons I just didn't understand, like contour drawing. I understood the concept too fast and still hated the subject and didn't like the finished drawing. I would have loved the whole Impact Books line at that age.

Now that I am adult, I draw and paint what I want to. I love these challenges. I love the references and the conversations and the endless art jam in these forums. When I participate here, I paint more and improve steadily. Things I learned before get easier, things I'm just trying start to work and I am constantly doing beter than last time.

That being all I ever expect of it, the times it comes up loads better than usual the hyper-euphoria can last for years. I still love all the cat portraits in my signature and need to do some more cats to put together a new one, because I'm not just about landscapes. Really need another good Ari portrait like that first one because it's still in Arkansas and I could have done his tail better.

There are moments of finite perfection at every skill level, when a painting or drawing is perfect in itself and cannot be improved without diminishing it. They come along more often the more I draw and paint. I don't expect them, just enjoy them when they happen. By and large I enjoy everything I draw or I wouldn't have done it. So that's where I'm at... and it hurts less than beating myself up if it's not awesome perfection every time.

The misery of fearing it's not good enough doesn't really improve anyone's art. It just hurts and is a fear of social rejection by people who might hate the subject or your favorite color or who you are by race, creed, ethnicity etc. or just that you paint better than they could (in their eyes, always subjective) or would be competition if you learned to. The motives of nay-sayers are myriad and usually both foolish and subjective.

They mean less to me than the dog barking down the hall. I paint to please myself and the people who like my art. Real critique like Jackie Simmonds does, is very different in tone, intent and usefulness. Worth listening to and thinking about and maybe agreeing with or at least trying. WC is a safe, sane place to paint and improve my painting. We're all that good and all getting that much better all the time.

Art rant iteration #4902... (by guess!)

Blayne
08-10-2014, 09:39 PM
Great rant, Robert, and it's wonderful you have so much confidence. I, on the other hand, always felt competent scholastically but was never taught or rewarded for drawing. I recall only one hour of drawing in sixth grade. I was the youngest kid in class, 10 years old (had skipped a grade) and ugly (ok, maybe just plain) and new in school and so horribly self-conscious and wishing I fit in with those older classmates. The teacher gave us each a piece of vine charcoal and had one of the boys pose. The teacher praised my portrait, which was only the face and head, and said it looked like the boy. I was so amazed and wish I still had that drawing. Fast forward to college in 1970 and teachers were not teaching the fundamentals. So I've struggled to catch up and never felt confident at all. You're so right, that practice improves performance. A study I recently read, probably on the "Hyperallergic" website (a great site for keeping up with art news) said that the brains of artists grow additional gray matter in certain parts of the brain. The study's authors attributed at least part of that growth to the repeated activity of making art.

I, too, love the simulation and challenges of threads such as the Spotlight. WC has been great to get me creating again.

Blayne
08-11-2014, 05:05 AM
Late edit: In the last line of the above post, the word "simulation" should be "stimulation."

Mea culpa to Jay: I take back what I said in my earlier post about your bottle, after seeing it larger on the PC. You did show the reflection of the neck of the bottle. I was so busy admiring the painting in its entirety on the small Kindle screen that I hadn't zoomed in closely enough to see the detail. And obviously I have never paid close enough attention to a bottle's reflection in wet sand--well, actually haven't seen many, or any, in real life... I expected the reflection of the neck to extend out about halfway down the reflection of the bottle. Apparently, it doesn't happen that way, because you are a close observer who, I'm sure, put it exactly where it should be. Pesky reality again, intruding upon my suppositions. Please forgive and ignore my earlier comment!

http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/dogs/sad-puppy-smiley-emoticon.gif

DAK723
08-11-2014, 08:24 AM
Nick, Very nice job on your latest! Even without the blue-green pastels you were looking for you have done very well! Work with what you have - matching the exact colors is rarely necessary! Eventually, you will build up your collection of pastels. at this point, practice and learning how to use your materials is the thing to concentrate on, in my opinion.

Don

Nick7
08-11-2014, 09:06 AM
Thank you very much for your kind comments.

I have just seen it for the first time in daylight and what a surprise! :D I didn't know I was making it so light... I am not sure I will repeat those kinds of experiments in the future :D Which means I need to buy a good lamp before the autumn comes...

I used light turquoise paper (the same I used for the conch). Using side of the stick would blend everything, so I tried making small vertical marks on the distant hills, using middle grey color. I will experiment more in the future.
I was not sure which green to use to darken the grass, so I better left it be :)

Thank you very much, I had fun :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01013m.jpg

Blayne
08-11-2014, 11:09 AM
Very nice, Nick. I love those colors in the foreground and the way you've treated it very loosely with only a few marks indicating grasses. The branches of the tree, its shadowed side and shadow on the ground read very true. Good work!

DAK723
08-11-2014, 12:21 PM
Nick, Using the gray pastel on the distant hills has definitely reduced the intensity of the color and made those hills more distant! Nice job of color mixing!

Don

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 12:43 PM
Nick, sunlit tree looks very nice indeed. I'm posting my Bottle Green work and I included my favorite tools to show you what I mean. The sponge on the stick is my very favorite.
Blayne..Not to worry. And I love your contrite dog. He's adorable.

My reference photo is by Camper-Man from the library on WC. I've painting it on La Carte, 11x14 with Unison at first, and then Terry Ludwig, and then finger painting with Great Americans. Except for a bit of something over the next of the bottle, I think I'm finished. Don't know how to do more. :wink2:

Nick7
08-11-2014, 12:57 PM
Thank you, guys :)

Jay, this is beautiful. I would love to try, but hmm next year perhaps :lol: You have done it beautifully.

The only difference I can see is that in the photo my eyes keep wandering between the sky and the bottle and on your painting I focus on the bottle. I think it is because of the lessen contrast between the cloud and the sun.
But I can't decide what is better :)

I would not touch it out of fear that I would ruin it :) It's great!

It reminds me of this picture:
http://nature.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/1195398/

Oh, and thank you for the photo of the tool :)

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 01:18 PM
Thank you Nick. I appreciate your comment and that was a good observation. In real life, on my painting, the clouds read darker so you do get that contrast in the sky. I would like the bright light behind the bottle to sparkle more but at this point, I'll let it vegetate a bit and observe it. I find that I often make the finished paintings too dark so I'm trying to hold back.

Blayne
08-11-2014, 01:39 PM
Great job, Jay, it's beautiful! The watery reflections are perfect, capturing that gentle movement of the tide. I see what Nick means, and I agree with him that the photo has a greater contrast of lights and darks in the clouds and sky. Yours has a more tranquil atmosphere because there is less turbulence in your clouds. I think you would lose that if you change it. You would also have to redo all the soft blues and grays in the water, to match the intensity of the light, wouldn't you? It's such a lovely painting as it is! Kudos!

DAK723
08-11-2014, 01:49 PM
Jay, One of the topics we have discussed over the years on the Spotlight (and in critiques anywhere) is using contrast to manipulate the composition. By minimizing the contrast of the sky, as Nick pointed out, the focus is more on the bottle. That is a good thing unless you wanted your painting to be more about the sky, of course. Since I think the painting is (and should be) more about the bottle, this painting is a good example of manipulating the ref to suit your goals! Very nice painting!

Don

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 02:09 PM
Thanks Don. That was my goal. The sun through the bottle and the reflection on the wet sand. This was a big reach for me. I enjoyed working on the La Carte. Never had a worry about running out of tooth. Was a fun painting. Stressful but fun. Thanks

Nick7
08-11-2014, 02:14 PM
Jay, I believe it's a good strategy. I am running out of free horizontal space though :D I will have to declare at least something finished, use a fixative and put it away...

Speaking of light... I hope it's OK to post another tree painting :clear:
I thought that if I was afraid of greens and blues, I needed to face my fear :lol:

It's from the same thread as the previous one
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628264

I wanted to do a "non-detailed" painting :) It wasn't easy. If fact this painting was so strange, I kept chuckling while painting it because I had to concentrate hard on not getting lost in all those greens. To not lose the track of what I was painting at the moment.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01014m.jpg

When I showed it to an honest critic at home, he said that the light was confusing. That it was not clear where the light was coming from.

So, I took an peach-orange stick and feeling a bit silly, I painted peach trees... :D

Both version look strange :lol: Maybe it was not a good decision to intentionally resign on details? Would putting a dark green in those spaces in the main tree be helpful? I also think I overdone the grey on the distant hill...

I don't know, it looks silly. I think I will need to paint it again and use some different approach. To not make the two trees in the center so flat :clear:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01016m.jpg

DAK723
08-11-2014, 03:17 PM
Nick, First let me say that your final version is quite good - the "peach" was a good addition to create the lighter - in the sun - parts of the trees!

I have to add that a complex landscape such as this one, is very difficult to successfully paint - even for an experienced painter. The more elements - and the greater number of elements at different distances - creates a composition of great complexity. For that reason, I don't want to get into any kind of in-depth critique. In general, I don't think you need more detail. And your background mountain looks very good! Take a look at the water in the reference and you might find that the color shapes are more blurry. Usually water reflections are blurry compared to the land.

Again, for a very complex scene you have done well! Not even slightly silly!

Don

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 03:25 PM
Nick, The change of light improved the painting, imho.
Here are the pastels you wanted to see, side by side. Tried to use the same color in each. Sennelier, Unison, Terry Ludwig and Rembrant. You can see that I had to rub the coating off the Rembrant and then they were basically all the same. This was on the bumpy side of Canson MT. A bit more pressure was needed on the Rembrandt, a bit less on the Terry Ludwig but otherwise, you can see for yourself. They could all interchange.

Nick7
08-11-2014, 03:34 PM
Don, thank you. I will try to stick to less complex paintings. It was interesting to try, but I need to take it step by step :)

Jay, thank you very much! And thank you for the link to Fine Art Store, their demos are well done. I will try to either buy or make a sanded paper to experiment.
Thank you again, for being willing to get your fingers dusty to satisfy my curiosity...

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 03:37 PM
You're welcome. Didn't get dusty. I wear gloves!!

Nick7
08-11-2014, 03:44 PM
You're welcome. Didn't get dusty. I wear gloves!!

I will have to think about it, my fingers are still green :lol: How do you clean the gloves when you want to blend another color? Or do you simply use the tool you showed me?

robertsloan2
08-11-2014, 04:10 PM
Nick, the gray over the distance in the previous landscape worked just like I thought it would, gave it great distance. The painting is gorgeous and I love it. So is your new one! The peach is wonderful. I like the color of the distant hill, you have beautiful colors in this and a great sense of distance. I love how you're progressing with these.

Now you know, peach does work highlighting over green! Combinations like that are not crazy. Orange and Violet work really, really well with green and peach is just lightened orange. A very useful color in clouds too, with lavender. Love that stick, it's dead useful no matter what you want to paint. Like pinks and turquoise and purples, it's really an important color.

Jay, the finale on the Green Bottle is wonderful! I love that reference and have done a version in colored pencils as an ATC once. It is one of the most classic references in the RIL, it comes up more than once in challenges. Yours is spectacular. The bottle shines as the focal point, it's wonderful. Agree with Don that slightly fading the sky effects helps the focus on the bottle as the main element. You captured it perfectly, especially the light effects and its wonderful reflection.

This is a beautiful painting. This month the Spotlight is really hopping. I need to finish my conch!

Nick7
08-11-2014, 04:32 PM
Rob, yes, you are right. I clearly took a bite too big, but I have learned something new. :) I will try new things on scraps of paper and leave the thread to you all now :)

Still-trying
08-11-2014, 04:33 PM
Thanks Robert. Do you still have your ATC version to show us? It was a fun subject.

Nick, I don't usually blend with my fingers. But the gloves get dusty from the pastels. I keep a soft towel nearby, an old one, and I clean off the glove and sometimes a pastel on it too. I sometimes use another pastel to blend.

robertsloan2
08-11-2014, 08:43 PM
Nick, don't think I am suggesting you slow down! Unsanded paper and big experiments seem to be producing a stream of swift gorgeous paintings. Keep painting! My main suggestion on that order is when laying out paintings on a larger piece, give it two or three inches of border and mark off the picture area. You can do color tests on the sides and test effects and strokes while working and they'll all get hidden under the mat. I did this a lot when I was doing street portraits - I'd quarter the sheets but do the paintings 9" x 12" in the middle of a quarter sheet.

Doing small studies is fun but you seem to progress well doing new paintings at your comfortable size, so I'd say just stock up on the unsanded paper and get a pint of sanded primer to have lots and lots of sanded paper with watercolor paper.

Jay, I wish I did have it around to photo it. I think I traded it away years ago, and my collection is back in Arkansas if I decided to keep it. I can't remember. I might do it again in pastels sometime though, still love the reference so much. Yours is so phenomenal you inspired me!

Blayne
08-11-2014, 10:46 PM
Beautiful trees, Nick, not at all silly. The peach color really made them colorful and interesting. I sympathize with your comment about "getting lost" in trees. I do, too. Someone clarified that for me, remarking that I "couldn't see the tree for the forest," a clever twist of the commonly used expression, "can't see the forest for the trees." I can't keep track of where I am in complicated tree paintings. I was just looking at a beautiful tree painting by Elizabeth Mowry on her website http://elizabethmowry.com/elizabethmowry.com/Home.html

Nick7
08-12-2014, 07:51 AM
Blayne, thank you for the link! Her trees are beautiful. wow. I would love to know how to achieve that look. Exactly - not overwhelmingly detailed, but not "flat" at all. I wish I could see the paintings in real life or in bigger size, to see all the layers :)
Thank you very much.

Blayne
08-12-2014, 08:13 AM
You're welcome, Nick. I, too, would like to acquire her expertise. She is able to use that dull, deep teal color without it looking contrived. It just looks natural.

Hope you have a happy painting day!
http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/yes/yes-yes-smiley-emoticon.gif (http://www.sherv.net/)

Nick7
08-12-2014, 09:20 AM
Blayne, how can you know what I have been doing? :eek: :lol:

Dorothea has posted so nice water lilies... I wanted to try how one achieves the glow. Hmm :lol: I have made a sketch of a lotus flower from a ref. library (a summer vacation in Thailand, you know...)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=129330
I tried on a scrap of paper. No glow :D
It seems I will need a lot of white, creams and pinks, violets.... Not just one cream and one pink and blend lol.
I will try a bud first and then a flower in full bloom...

Blayne
08-12-2014, 09:46 AM
Oh, I love that ref photo! I think that glow is helped by the subtle violets next to the yellows of the glowing area, perhaps?

Of course I know what you're doing! You're painting, right? Do smokers smoke? Do those into drugs get high? Do philanthropists do good and do singers sing and...and...you've probably got my point by now.:lol: Art, by any other name, is an addiction! When I am away for even a few hours, I need a fix. When I am not doing art, I am generally thinking about it. Sounds like you are hooked, too! Good luck with the lotus!

Nick7
08-12-2014, 12:41 PM
Blayne, busted :D

So... I don't know. How can I make it better? The white dots around the lines drive me crazy. I was not sure how to create the texture of the petals and the shadow/sun border. Or how to make the background smooth (without any visible touches). It's on a white watercolor paper. 14 x 10.

Thank you :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Aug-2014/1892815-CAM01019m.jpg

The reference picture:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data2//563/medium/Lotus-Bud-13-3-2012_010.jpg
by Dewi

robertsloan2
08-12-2014, 01:56 PM
Wow, you're on track with this one, Nick. I like it and yes, it's a summer vacation thing getting into water lilies. I think it is anyway!

First thing, you can go stronger on the pink, go in with a light touch of red and blend down with the pink. There's more color in the bud in the reference. The colors at the base are a lovely interesting blend - a neutral with some green mixed in with the pink. It's light muted green shading up to pink on the lowermost ones. The whole bud can become a full value level darker and more saturated in color.

Now those pesky white lines. This is where certain tools help, a Colour Shaper if you have one, or if not, that's where to use the edge of a black stick - or wear down the black stick's tip to a chisel edge filling in the broad areas rather than letting it become rounded as it wears down. Keep holding it at the same angle and you get a smoothed, flattened chisel edge with a sharp edge.

Wear it down on cheap sandpaper to shape the edge. If it's a round stick broken, the freshly broken edge will be sharp enough. Sometimes using a brush like a flat or fan brush can work to move color in over the specks without going over into the stem. It's harder to describe this than to show it, but it's possible to get hard edges in pastel.

One way often gets described and I've used it, it tends to work. Pull one color out rom the hard edge, blending it down. IN this case the black would muddy the green of the leaves and stems, so with a clean finger or stump, pull color out of the leaves to fill the white specks completely, blend it down. Then go back with the black and as sharp an edge as you can give it to clean up the edge over the blended down green.

It's okay to let some edges become softer, especially say, the leaf behind the bud that's going back into the distance. Edges farther from the focal area (the bud) don't need to be as sharp.

Finally, the black background's very striking but using other dark colors over and within it can jazz it up, especially dark violet but also deep browns, blues, greens. even reds. Echo the main colors in the painting but in the deep dark values. Leave them blurry and random, blend them with the sticks, do soft transitions with the sticks. Making the background smooth without visible touches takes a light hand and some practice but it can be done, again using some kind o blender can help.

Blending stumps can get in MUCH finer to a sharp edge than your finger. These are the cheap rolled cardboard blenders that are double ended. Every art store has them. They're useful working with charcoal too. Tortillons are the hollow one ended cardboard or paper blenders, even cheaper, but stumps can be sharpened in a pencil sharpener and last longer. Both serve the same purpose.

I got a set of size 6 actual Colour Shapers years ago that included two of them and a short pony hair scrubbing-out brush and a fan brush. That size was just convenient for things like getting edges to come together. They cost more by size but 6 isn't too pricy. There's other tools of that sort tat are cheper, a Kemper or Lowe Cornell paint eraser or painting tool is double ended with angle chisel on one end and pointy cone on the other for about half a Colour Shaper. I'd recommend a size 6 white (soft) Colour Shaper for soft pastels to start, though they are cheaper in sets the different shapes aren't necessarily all as useful as others. Chisel or Angle Chisel are the best in my experience, Angle Chisel gives a sharp point for tiny details that's a little easier to get into small areas than the 90 degree angle on the flat chisel tip. So I'd seriously suggest Angle Chisel if you order one,or the Kemper tool from Blick. Kemper is a bit stiffer than the Soft texture Colour Shaper.

Or just get cheap cardboard stumps and tortillons to start. Depends what you want to put into equipment but the Colour Shapers don't wear out. They're very good for pulling color right up to a hard edge. I have been doing it mostly by sticks because I got plenty of practice but I have them handy and do use the ones I bought so many years ago.

DAK723
08-12-2014, 02:15 PM
Nick, Very strong painting! Those leafs are especially well done! I've sent you a PM with some thoughts about adding a few more darks into the flower petals. All-in-all well done!

I think it was in one of the Spotlights I already mentioned (Back to Front) that mentions overlapping colors at the edges where things meet. This may help with the white spots at the edges. In other words, extent the background color (or at least a hint of it) into the flower and leaf shapes. Then when you paint the leaves and flower after, you don't get that little edge of unpainted paper. All that being said - I wouldn't have even noticed those little specks of paper showing through if you hadn't mentioned it!

Don

Still-trying
08-12-2014, 02:19 PM
gREAT leaf shapes Nick

Nick7
08-12-2014, 02:48 PM
Thank you so much for your valuable advice.

I was hesitant to paint the very dark green over the leaves and the bud. But I didn't think about the possibility to do it the other way around...

At first I was thinking about blending the flower and not blending the background. I used very dark green, almost black and another green. At the end I thought that it would look cool if the painting was compact and started to blend...

I do have a colour shaper. I need to learn how to use it and not leave the traces... Because usually I can get the colour closer, but the subject then has a "halo" of "swept" pastels :D

I will think about which colors to ad to the background. And I will try to paint the bud on a spare paper once more to find out which colors I should have used to make it more dark (or more precisely which ones I should have mix together. I don't have any that would match).

Again, thank you VERY much for your time. I will try do do another version. Thank you :)

Blayne
08-12-2014, 08:22 PM
Nick, great job on a difficult photo. With the sunlight coming from directly overhead, you had few shadows to help you out. I really think you made a sophisticated artistic choice to not include the background clutter or the green grass! And your drawing skills really show in this!

robertsloan2
08-12-2014, 08:39 PM
More greens, blue-greens, browns and violets would rock. I didn't realize that was dark green rather than pure black, photo thing. Gorgeous color and good idea. If you don't want the blended-out halo, after doing that, go back and lightly scumble over with the stick to restore the texture. If you scumble the same color over an area it doesn't have to cover completely to give it a nice even texture that vanishes to unimportance.

So glad you've got the Colour Shaper. It's very valuable. It gets in where fingers don't and the tip can get into very tiny details. It took me a while to really get good with it but it's well worth it.

Can't wait to see what you'll do next!

Nick7
08-13-2014, 12:05 PM
Hi all :)
I feel really weird because for the first time in weeks I don't feel like painting today. I need to leave the correction for some other day. :(


I hope everyone is having a good day.


OT, Rob, your mailbox here is full, so I can't send thank you PM to you :)

DAK723
08-13-2014, 12:29 PM
Hi all :)
I feel really weird because for the first time in weeks I don't feel like painting today. I need to leave the correction for some other day. :(

Painting takes a lot of mental energy - especially when you are trying to learn a lot in a small amount of time. It's ok (and probably a good idea) to take a break now and again to recharge your energy!

Don

Blayne
08-13-2014, 12:36 PM
Don is right--relax and enjoy a day off! I haven't seemed to be able to get to work today, either, but that happens a lot when I feel stuck at a place in a painting where I don't know how to fix something. And then there are just those days when I'd rather do laundry or call friends or go out somewhere. Your enthusiasm and motivation will return once you rest and recharge.

robertsloan2
08-13-2014, 07:40 PM
It's okay, Nick. Days like that do come, it takes a lot of energy to paint. Relax, enjoy your day off, read and look at art, you'll feel like painting again tomorrow. I brought pastels on my appointment but I was so pressed for time I didn't get to use them - van came an hour late, then I had to wait an extra hour at the end, but they might come sooner, so I couldn't go out in the garden and paint for an hour. Had to wait at the far less exciting pickup spot and most of the roses were bloomed out anyway along with many other flowers. Some weeks are like that.

I got in some pencil and colored pencil sketches but today isn't a pastels day. Too tired to get up and wash my hands let alone get everything out. But some other time soon yeah!

robertsloan2
08-14-2014, 12:17 PM
Finished my Conch before the middle of the month! I might even have time to do a waterscape too, that'd rock. Or something vacation-ish. For me the conch is the ultimate vacation symbol, I love beaches more for shells and beach combing than swimming or sports.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2014/70184-8-14-2014_Conch_post.jpg
Conch
8" x 10"
Unison soft pastels
Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper, smooth side tan color
Photo reference by lisilk

I finally went back to my 120 Unisons to do this one. I love those pastels. Had fun with blues, violets and gray-blues in the shadows. I chose the paper color wanting it to be quite a lot of the painting and in the end the foam in the background looked best as just some lighter scumbled color over the ground.

This is the best the camera could do with it, in person it's a little brighter and the shell stands out more by texture against the paper. In thumbnail it seems to flatten out but not in person.

Still-trying
08-14-2014, 01:50 PM
It looks great Robert. Very beachy and smells like sand.

Nick7
08-14-2014, 03:01 PM
Rob, it makes me want to paint it again :)

But I need to correct the flamingo and the lotus bud...

DAK723
08-14-2014, 04:43 PM
Rob, wonderful job on the conch!

Don

artistat38
08-14-2014, 05:03 PM
Robert, that is such a beautiful painting of the conch...love the colours....

hoping to join soon...

Prashanti.

neddelta
08-14-2014, 07:57 PM
Stunning, Robert! I love how you turned the form with temperature, from warm beige/gold to violet/turquoise for the core shadow to intense cool red on the nacre.

Best, Evelyn

Blayne
08-14-2014, 10:57 PM
Absolutely beautiful, Robert!

robertsloan2
08-15-2014, 09:06 AM
Thank you! I saw all those colors in the shell and I remembered the one I got to play with as a kid, that my grandmother had. Miss that thing. The oddest things stick in the mind from childhood.

Still-trying
08-15-2014, 10:36 AM
posting final, I hope, version of Bottle Green. 11x14 La Carte. Unison, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier and a few G. A. Reference is by Camper-Man, (Thank you Camper-Man) from the ref. library. C and C welcome. :crossfingers:

getdusty
08-15-2014, 11:15 AM
Jay, love the bottle, how the reflection is shimmery
Robert, great shell, colors are wonderful

robertsloan2
08-15-2014, 11:19 AM
Commented in Studio-Gallery... wow! Jay, I love your bottle. The finish is magnificent, this is finite perfection. Frame it and hang it! This is so spectacular.

Still-trying
08-15-2014, 11:26 AM
Thank you Peg. Many first for me here. I appreciate it

Awe, Robert. Thank you. You make me feel super about it. Thank you

Blayne
08-15-2014, 05:17 PM
Jay, the painting is gorgeous! I love every part of it--the sky, the bottle and it's reflection in that saturated sand where the uneven edges of the reflection give the feeling that the bottle is still gently bobbing in the surf. Kudos! Your color choices were perfect.

DAK723
08-15-2014, 05:42 PM
Jay, Wonderful painting! Time to frame it!

Don

Still-trying
08-16-2014, 07:22 AM
Thank you Blayne.

Thank you Don.

I will frame it now. It's safe from me.

artistat38
08-16-2014, 02:11 PM
Jay, your painting is gorgeous....absolutely love it.....

Prashanti

Still-trying
08-16-2014, 08:30 PM
Thank you Prashanti, it was exciting to do.

robertsloan2
08-25-2014, 01:14 AM
Different reference from the one in the Spotlight, but the current WDE images from Thailand set me imagining I could vacation there someday. So here's my imaginary Thailand vacation. If I was there I so would be doing this sort of thing in plein air!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Aug-2014/70184-8-24-2014_WDE_Sunset_Done.jpg
Sunset in Thailand
7" square
Blue Earth Pastels
Stillman & Birn Beta journal 180lb white rough watercolor paper
Art Spectrum Multimedia (Colourfix) Primer, Clear
Krylon Fine Art Fixatif with UV protection (wanted the slight darkening)
Photo reference by Eye for 8-22-2014 Weekend Drawing Event

WIP with two progress stages posted in Studio-Gallery and in WDE thread.

Still-trying
08-25-2014, 12:01 PM
Wow, Robert! That's some vacation imagination! Very cool (but looking red hot!). And is that a shark? Very fun to view.

artistat38
08-25-2014, 06:15 PM
Lovely sunset painting Robert!!

Prashanti.

artistat38
08-25-2014, 06:21 PM
I managed to paint one ....didn't want to miss participating second time in a row...spent 4 hrs on this one...for some reason got totally exasperated with the boat...infact its not done yet..didn't dare to work on the figures as I was sure I would mess it up...I might add just one of the figures.....In the meanwhile all feedback is welcome...this is done on 12x16 ....La carte with Senneliers and Rembrandts....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Aug-2014/981539-Spotlight_Aug2014-Windemere.jpg

Prashanti

DAK723
08-25-2014, 06:39 PM
Robert, Wow, what an intense sunset! Beautiful!

Prashanti, Lovely painting! The boat looks fine! Yes, it just needs a passenger!

Don

artistat38
08-25-2014, 07:38 PM
Thank you Don...hope to get the passenger onboard soon....

Prashanti

Still-trying
08-25-2014, 08:01 PM
prashanti, It's so fresh looking. I like the light you're painting. Can't wait to see the finish.

artistat38
08-25-2014, 08:09 PM
Thank you Jay....

prashanti

artistat38
08-26-2014, 03:40 PM
There goes my lone passenger...hope this looks ok....am also wondering if the water is reading alright...or does it need some changes....I added a lighter vaue green to the trees as it appeared to be too dark ....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Aug-2014/981539-unnamed.jpg

artistat38
08-26-2014, 03:40 PM
There goes my lone passenger...hope this looks ok....am also wondering if the water is reading alright...or does it need some changes....I added a lighter vaue green to the trees as it appeared to be too dark ....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Aug-2014/981539-unnamed.jpg

Prashanti

Judibelle
08-26-2014, 04:32 PM
Beautifully done, Prashanti

artistat38
08-26-2014, 04:37 PM
Thank you Judibelle...

Prashanti

DAK723
08-26-2014, 05:58 PM
Prashanti, Passenger looks good and the trees look better, too!

Don

artistat38
08-26-2014, 07:13 PM
Thank you Don!!

Prashanti

robertsloan2
08-26-2014, 08:27 PM
Nice painting, Prashanti! I like how you handled the passenger, that's well done. What I love is how you did those mountains, they are so textural and rich. Treeline is much brighter with the change, they didn't look too dark to me in the first version but the change just warmed the light a bit. The water reads well, there's a slight gradient darker toward the shore that makes it lay good and flat. Love the strong colors.

artistat38
08-26-2014, 08:40 PM
thank you Robert for your detailed feedback....really appreciate it.....

Prashanti

Blayne
08-26-2014, 10:05 PM
I'm sorry to have missed out on all the fun here the past few days. For some reason, all my WC emails started ending up in spam.

Jay, I believe I already complimented your beautiful bottle but it's so good, I'll say it again! Just lovely!

Robert, I saw your sunset vacation in Gallery and gave kudos, but more here! Beautiful, bold colors.

Prashanti, it's so nice you've joined the Spotlight and I like your painting very much! The boat is very interesting, because it looks laden with goods, and makes me wonder who the passenger is and what he or she is doing. And the sails are very well done and again make me ask why they are slack--no wind or has the boat's occupant decided to slow and drift for awhile? I know very little about sail boats, so please excuse my ignorance if the set of the sails actually means something specific.
The only part of your painting that bothers me a little is how the two lines of clouds seem to perfectly follow the tops of the mountains, rather than being more random and varied. Just IMHO, of course. Otherwise, I think it's a very interesting and well done painting!

artistat38
08-27-2014, 01:02 AM
Thank you Blayne for your feedback..I did notice the clouds..was scared I might overwork them...but I will try to make them a bit more random....I goofed up on the sails right in the beginning and was unable to catch the wind in the sails....left al the mistakes right there and decided not to be technical about it...the only thing I was happy about were the mountains....anyway this usually happens whenever Im impatient to finish my painting in one stting...so I guess I need to go slow....(Confessions of an impatient artist ...ha...ha)...as long as I can laugh about it...its all good....

Prashanti

getdusty
08-27-2014, 12:09 PM
Great job, Prashanti, I really like the cloud shadows on the mountains.