View Full Version : Soft Pastel 2014 retrospective...What was your favorite painting?

water girl
01-11-2015, 08:47 PM
Let's begin the New Year with a look back at our favorite painting, or maybe there were two. Post that painting, and share with us why you enjoyed the process and maybe let us know what inspired you. Would you like me to begin?


This is by far the most difficult painting to date. Glass, ice, chrome, wood and plastic each have a challenge of their own. This piece is 14" X 18", on La Carte paper.
When we were in Albuquerque for the International Association of Pastel Societies' convention in 2013, my husband and I walked into the Standard Diner for lunch. The lighting was just right for a little still life on our table, so I pulled out my camera and took a few photos. I discovered the reflection of the Ketchup bottle on the knife, and angled the knife until I was happy with the direction of that reflection. While painting, I had to keep in mind the values and colors of that reflection so that it did not compete with the color and values of the condiment bottles.
The frosted water glass was the most enjoyable to paint. After laying in the dark umber tone, I swiped one of my fingers over a Great American cool white pastel. With the pastel on my finger, I then gently rubbed several layers of the white in specific areas of the glass to achieve the appearance of frost.. The base of the glass was the area that picked up several of the colors in the bottles.
So...now that you have the idea, what was your favorite painting that you completed this year???

01-11-2015, 09:45 PM
I have to confess I didn't do many pastels last year, I was more focused on acrylics. I guess this one would be the best, a plein air piece;


water girl
01-11-2015, 11:13 PM
Thank you, David! This is what we're interested in seeing. You should putll out the stick more often.

Equus Art
01-11-2015, 11:21 PM
I think this one was my favorite because I felt it was the first time I truly succeeded in a landscape, which is something I have struggled with.

This particular place is several fields back behind my house, where I ride my horse and also rabbit hunt my Beagles. I know it like the back of my hand and have taken many, many photographs of it in different seasons. The summer lighting in the spot is glorious!



water girl
01-12-2015, 01:35 AM
Cat, the light in this painting is spectacular and your foliage is beautifully handled.

01-12-2015, 09:15 AM
Karen, I can see why that's your favorite. The precision and quality of it is just breathtaking!

David and Cat, your landscapes are gorgeous! David, you've captured the atmosphere of the dry desert with those massive, sun-warmed boulders. And Cat, your leafy, cool landscape is beautiful, and those trees are just perfect!

01-12-2015, 12:32 PM
Karen, wow! What a stunner! I love all those reflections and the metal and glass, the way I could just reach into it and touch the objects, the glorious drama of it. You've done something masterful and the composition's inviting. Technique is flawless and beyond that the whole still life is something fun and cheerful, it tells a story, it makes my mouth water for a big burger made at a diner by someone who started with actual ground meat and put my choice of cheese on it. The condensation on the water glass is fantastic. The shiny black table or counter is great too - and the black background keeps my focus right there. I'm in that kind of cool diner and the counter is pretty large or the table is, that's all.

David, I love those rocks. The rock at the focal area is gorgeous. The whole scene is awesome and has beautiful depth. Cool green trees, you got the season and the feel of it, this has to be right after the annual rains when the vegetation's growing out and the light is that clear. Wonderful sense of place.

Cat, you just brought me to the buzzing heat of a summer day and I'm sitting in the shade. Thanks for the story of the place. It's beautiful and unique. I love this landscape and it's got tremendous depth. I like that bright area in the deep distance where it's too bright to see detail, it's not just cameras that have that effect. That happens to my eyes too on a bright day. I can feel the heat and hear the crickets buzzing. I feel as if I'm sitting in the shade with you and just letting it soak my bones, if I looked down I could pick one of the little purple wildflowers.

Here are my two best of 2014, both are out on exhibit at the Openhouse annual seniors exhibition. Both of them are long-held goals on my Artist's Bucket List made real:


All my life I saw Impressionist paintings that used the full spectrum of saturated colors, somehow managed to get that spectrum into everything like you were looking at the world through a prism, yet everything's its right color and the light washes through so intense. Then I took "Still Life the Colourful Way" with Colorix here in 2008-2009. Wow wow wow. Charlie actually DID that kind of painting and taught me color in that one incredible class. I applied it and kept doing paintings like that. This year, Colourful Lemons actually crossed the line and the Method became natural. The painting came out loose, painterly, true Impressionism without being stiff or overworked. The wild colors are there but so are the true local colors. The photo does fall a little short of its impact in real life, this one really worked.

Here's the other best, done later in the year.

Pacific Wave painted itself during October. I was playing with a reference in a challenge, might have been the blue Spotlight. I had a piece of Uart and my 60 Rembrandt half sticks and for the umptieth time was trying to do an ocean wave. I wanted to paint rolling ocean waves ever since I was tiny, a toddler, I was doing them in blue crayon in imitation of Jacques Cousteau specials. I'd actually seen both the Atlantic and the Pacific over the years between living in NY state and San Francisco. I love the sea. But my waves never really worked unless I stayed dead close to the reference - went for copying the photo realism.

This one I changed the photo. I changed the light and the latitude. The reference was a very Northern wave, cold winter light, maybe even overcast, much grayer ocean, the wave was not as well shaped as this one, and I was playing with shapes and colors just to turn it into a good painting. What bubbled up out of my memory were warm summer waves near San Diego and every other time I sat watching waves move. When I made the changes they made sense in how water moved. I did a lot of playful strokes in getting the foam and didn't follow the reference in detail, more in general.

It's a freaky subtle advance but with this painting, I improved on the photo reference and did it as much from memory as the photo. The photo was more a memory aid and general layout than anything else.

Both of these are huge leaps for me artistically, turning points that put things that used to be impossible, or just really difficult and still beyond me, solidly into the tool box where the next time I do it, I know what I'm doing and can use those skills again. I feel differently now about both the Colourist method and the way I can change photos, also how I paint water. 2014 was a great year and I think 2015 will be too.

water girl
01-12-2015, 01:31 PM
Good for you, Robert! Achieving our goals is often a struggle, but well worth the efforts. Your color sense in the lemons is remarkable. Charlie has had an influence on you. I'm partial to seascapes, and you've captured great movement in this seascape. Now, on to more goals in 2015?

01-12-2015, 02:34 PM
Karen, I remember this still life and it's as jawdroppingly good now as I remember! I am amazed at your precision and attention to the detail of the writing on the sauce bottles and in the knife reflection. What I love best though is that glass of iced water and how the straw becomes just slightly distorted as it enters the water. Brilliant piece!

David, I've always liked your style and this one really appeals for the value and colour ranges, composition is excellent too!

Cat, love the landscape. everything is so well described but loosely so making it vibrant and real! I know how you feel in relation to landscape, it is something which doesn't come naturally to me and I have struggled with it for years....I've done more landscape than any other subject but have less good work to show for it...so far. :)

Robert, Those Lemons look so familiar. :) You got the colours brilliantly, the warm shadow right at the base, the reflected light and the slightly greener shadow before the fruit comes into the light.
The wave is quite spectacular, no wonder you are so pleased with it!

Mine are coming up soon. There are two :)

01-12-2015, 02:46 PM
I chose two paintings as I could not really choose between them. They're very different subjects but they are favourites because I pretty much designed them myself. The first one I did was inspired by a bright clump of Autumn foliage in a photo. But I didn't use that or any other photo. I made up the design myself. I do this more and more now and this is one which seems to have worked.


The second was quite a journey in composition. The Dogs here came from 5 different copyright free images. I did cut outs and moved them round, I did a compositional sketch, then made a few changes when I drew out the real thing. I had to change the light on some of the Dogs and pretty much make up the water. The ball is the thing I am proudest of because it took me about two minutes start to finish, with no round template either! I was so pleased with how it turned out and I also sold it! :clap:


water girl
01-12-2015, 03:46 PM
Two original and outstanding paintings, Ruthie. The feeling of light is so strong and bold in your landscape. The romping dogs is my favorite because you were able to combine so many different source photos into a workable composition. To further validate the success....it sold! Good for you!

01-12-2015, 05:57 PM
Oh myy; difficult to choose! But I think these two are my favourites:

The first is part of a tryptichon of three French market vendors. In October 2013 I spent half a day wandering through the wonderful farmers' market in Sarlat/Perigord and snapping photos of the mouth-watering produce as well as some of the guys who sold them. I love those gnarly, lived-in faces; so fascinating!


The second one is my favourite among the many still lives I painted last year. I love how the apples turned out and how that strong blue in the jug complements the yellow and red of the fruit and the cider. It even was immensely popular over in the normally quiet still life forum; over 1600 views!


water girl
01-13-2015, 12:00 AM
Welcome to the party Dorothea! These are wonderful choices. I've enjoyed your portrait series, but this one has special appeal. Your complimentary colors bring him to life. Your still life certainly deserved 1600 views and it was probably many people returning to the thread to admire your handling of the various textures. That touch of reflected light on the table, from the glass, is the icing on the cake.

01-13-2015, 08:01 AM
This one is not necessarly my "favorite" but my first attempt with flower, and first use of black canson paper. I just wanted to paint the flower with no background just to let the black do its work around it. Even if I know it's not perfect, I was quite surprised with the result


01-13-2015, 11:28 AM
Gosh these are ALL so lovely! I'll have to go back and review my short 2014 painting season and see if I can add one.

My favorite part of each:

Karen - that frosted glass/water is genius - thank you for describing your method of achieving this effect. I'm filing that finger dabbing/patting method away for the future. Your knife reflection is also standing out to me. So great! A question:
When you (or any artist) is painting something on a very dark background like this are you painting in that dark? Or are you painting the light on a black toned paper and leaving the background largely alone? I haven't ever done this type of painting so am unsure.

David: I love this! Being from the Panhandle of Texas, this is a common scene in my area. Lots of red clay, mesquite trees, rocks and cactus around. I love the blue swipe of shadow in the middle and the way you handled that dark part of the main rock. Really pretty palette! I'm curious to see your acrylics too as I really like your loose, not-too-detailed style. I'll have to check out your websites!

Cat: I LOVE your painting! It speaks to my landscape loving soul and makes me want to wander through this shady glen and see what's beyond. Your palette is similar to the one I want to use, but haven't yet mastered. I could look at this painting for a long time, studying your style.


Congrats on achieving your goals! I really love the lemons and all the beautiful marrying of colors you achieved so delicately. I find my eye moving all over the painting soaking it in. I can see why this one is on exhibit! The ocean scene does have movement and I admire you for trying something for the "umpteenth" time! I need to remember that all painting is practice and not everything I do has to be my ultimate masterpiece. That when I fail over and over I AM learning something and when you try something for the umpteenth time, things do begin to click. :)

Ruthie - wow on both! The shadows and light and foliage in your autumn scene are wonderful. I too like to make my own compositions and so it's encouraging that I'm not the only one who doesn't always go strictly from a photo. Congrats on your sale of the happy, playing dogs painting! And amazing how you combined so many different sources to create this joyful work.

Dorothea - I've never attempted a portrait and can see why you love this market vendor. He really pops off that lush red background. I like his hat. Really delicate woven straw. Great! The still life is gorgeous. This is an example of what I asked Karen at the beginning of this post - did you use black paper and then tone it down with the grays in the background and reds/oranges/yellows at the bottom? That pitcher is pretty great!!

Sophie - I love orchids! We have a friend who lives/works on an orchid farm on the Big Island of Hawaii and I have 10,000,000 photos of all the orchids! This one is lovely. I've always thought the center of an orchid looks like a fairy. :) It really pops off the dark background. I see you did use black paper!

water girl
01-13-2015, 12:58 PM
Thank you, Sophie! It is a beautiful painting. I also like the fact you did not just paint the orchid in the middle of your paper. You very comfortably set it off center. :thumbsup:

water girl
01-13-2015, 01:01 PM
Bethany, I generally paint on a mid tone gray or sand colored La Carte paper. When I use Uart, I have to use a wash of color. The dark areas are not the paper color, but pastel.

Barbara WC
01-13-2015, 03:03 PM
Wow, this thread is great! Everyone's work is very inspiring! Seems like many achieved goals or had a breakthrough. :clap:

Thanks for starting this thread Karen!

Here are my two for the favorites of last year. They are both simple, and I think that is why I like them. I'm trying to simplify, focus on shapes, values and pastel strokes. My friends and family prefer some of my other work from last year, but these two are my personal favorites!

Pears from life, 11"x14" (on my monitor, the red is blaring bright, not quite so much in life):

And my favorite figure from life, "Bridget in a Blue dress" 12"x16" (probably the best hand I've done!)

Another thing I've learned from a teacher a few years ago, that sometimes our personal favorite paintings have more to do with the experience we had while painting that subject, rather than the strength of the piece. Not always, but I do find this in my own personal work. For example, I've done some portraits that other people really like, but which I don't like, and now realize it is because in those situations, the model wasn't cooperating or had a bad attitude. I don't enjoy those sessions, and end up not liking the painting, even if it is a strong painting. Both of the painting above I really had fun with. Bridget, the model here, is always such a nice model to work with, and I usually like my paintings of her!

01-13-2015, 03:59 PM
I like the pears so much Barbara. I love a simple style and am trying to get there myself! The lady in blue is intriguing and lovely with the pretty saturated dress. I've never attempted figure work as to me it seems terrifying! I think mine would look like stick figures. Good job on the hand - very believable!

Here is mine from last year. I picked my paints back up around August after a six year break. This probably isn't technically the best and my clouds need work. BUT like Barbara said, it meant something to me to paint something that I just liked, for me. This one was on watercolor paper with liquitex painted on for added texture.

water girl
01-13-2015, 04:49 PM
Two great choices, Barbara! I remember the portrait and yes, your satisfaction shows in the finished painting. Those pears are simple shapes, with brilliant colors. I'd like to see more of these. Being happy with your own choices is what it's all about.

water girl
01-13-2015, 04:56 PM
Thanking you for jumping in, Bethany! You and Barbara have seen the "light", so to speak. The joy comes from your satisfaction with what you've accomplished. Art ain't easy! We expose a part of ourselves when we paint. Eight years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Dianna Ponting....she changed the way I looked at my work. And I thank her!!! Let's see more of the pieces that make you as happy as this one has.

Linda Reyes1959
01-13-2015, 05:09 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2015/978726-063_-_Copy.JPG This one is my favorite. I try to bring out the animals personality in all my paintings. I thinks succeeded with this one.

water girl
01-13-2015, 07:13 PM
Yes, Linda, this is very, very successful. You know it's my favorite and I would definitely save this for next year's show. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: How could anyone resist that face?

01-13-2015, 11:54 PM
Wow, these are all stunning and as a relative beginner to pastel, mine do not measure up but it has been a good learning year for sure. Here are two of my favorites. The portrait perhaps because I love this beautiful lady and felt good about getting the skin tones. The second because it was my first try on black color fix and I had such fun with the colors!

water girl
01-14-2015, 01:34 AM
Mamalynn! Yes, you have captured this fine lady's skin tones. Portraits are a challenge, and you've done a wonderful job. I had commented a while ago on your water painting. The colors just sing!

01-15-2015, 11:43 AM
Oooh Mamalynn, don't underestimate yourself with either of these! You got more than the lady's skin tone, you captured her personality, unique features and likeness. Technical wow, glasses are a PAIN and you got them right. You got her hair texture without overdoing it. You got her mood. This is a great portrait. Love the water lilies, remember that from when I saw it in a thread. Both make me smile.

LOL Linda! Fabulous animal portrait. The nose licker just made me laugh. Pretty breed of dog. You got that silly tongue. You brought it so close that I feel as if I could reach into the painting and scruffle the dog's mane or grab that long muzzle and shake or otherwise play, and the dog would put up with those attentions and tail-wag to them. I get scared of big dogs, so when someone makes one look that friendly and sweet, I am seriously impressed. I'm always thinking of protecting myself and my beloved cat with big dogs, but there's one like the one that loved me when I was five.

Bethany, wow! Lovely clouds. Lovely reflections of clouds. Your shapes and masses and perspective are excellent there. love the use of turquoise in sky and accents, wonderful color.

Barbara, two good choices! Thanks for mentioning the color in the pears isn't as bright as the monitor. I left off my Colourful Bananas for that reason - but I had Colourful Lemons to post and in person they're about comparable. Great portrait and good point about subjects. I've done credible dogs but my favorite animal pieces are cats and birds. It doesn't matter much which birds but cats will top just about anything. Other animal paintings have to stand out for their own reasons.

It gets very personal, I liked my snake sketch but some of its strength was that while it represented a happy lucky moment for me - in childhood I got to see a rattlesnake up close at a moment I was safe as long as I didn't make a noise or startle it. That scared everyone around me and most of the comments on my 2015 rattlesnake sketch had some version of Eek and Don't want to reach in.

Now for the comments I wrote yesterday looking at page one. I was trying to post but my browser and Internet were giving me problems and I was sick so I finally gave up.

Purr thanks for the comments! Karen, yeah, Iím going for improving big and small cats in 2015 and maybe putting them in landscapes.

Ruthie, purr! Both of mine were from the Spotlight, I should be thanking Don for my growth. I love both of the ones you chose. The autumn forest is so spectacular, itís peaceful and the light filtering through the trees is so wonderful. Sometimes you donít need the reference. That dogs on the beach is amazing! The red ball really is perfect, so is the gorgeous surf and most of all that sense they are all in the same world at the same time in the same light.

Dorothea, wow! The old farmer is well painted, I love the light coming through his hat and he brings back some memories. But that still life with apples and cider jug, POW, that one always grabs me. I saw that before on a thread and I was in love, the way you handled the jug is just wonderful and the glass and the cider.

Sophie, thatís a gorgeous orchid and I love the way the front dark petals come forward, that is so spectacular. Black background, that sort of thing always grabs me.

Back to today.

I love this thread and will be following it since every painting in it makes me think and smile and often remember when I first saw it. I love these retrospective threads. What I posted to 2013 disappointed me since I hadn't done many good pastels. I am insanely happy that in 2014 my two were real improvements that both captured long term goals. Hope to do that again in 2015 and actually have a goal this year. At least one for next year's retrospective that has a large or small cat in a wild setting.

water girl
01-15-2015, 01:38 PM
Thank you for jumping back in, Robert! You always have great obsevations and comments. Does anyone else want to share their favorite painting from this year?

01-15-2015, 05:31 PM
Karen- I really like this- everyday objects no one ever sees beauty in- done beautifully
David- Nice plein air. I must confess I haven't done much pastel either.
Cat- Beautiful atmospheric landscape.
Robert- I love the lemons, but the color in the water keeps me looking back at that one too.
Ruthie- great color and light in the landscape. I haven't attempted one without a reference yet- very nice. The dogs are great fun, made me smile.
Dorothea- I remember when you posted both of these, excellent.
Sophie- nice use of black paper, perfect for a phaleonopsis. classy
Barbara- I love the color and comp of the pears.
Bethany- Great style. loose and colorful, feels like summer.
Linda- you captured the mischievous side of the dog perfectly
Lynn- Both of these are great, but I really like the lillys.

Well- here's pretty much the only pastel I could finish last year. First time using Pastelmat- so far my favorite paper.
Campanulas and peonies 8x11

01-15-2015, 05:37 PM
I don't have very many to share as I didn't do many, but I did do this one of Alexis


and just before the New Year...I finished this one which I did in a Paintalong with Johannes Vloothuis... I think that being forced out of my comfort zone has got me out of my blue funk, and I actually want to paint again!

water girl
01-15-2015, 07:43 PM
DBfarmgirl, you should pull out that set of Blick 1/2 sticks and paint another floral still life. This is so soft and delicate, with a nice composition...I'd like to see another one soon.

water girl
01-15-2015, 07:53 PM
First of all, Dierdre, I don't know how you find the time to paint. I'm fascinated with the way you handled the strap on Alexis's bathing suit. That strap also cleverly adds to the compositon. I have wanted to try a street scene with cars and lightsand you have me thinking about it. This paintalong has it all: cars, lights, wet pavement and great atmosphere. These are two great choices. Thank you!

01-16-2015, 10:13 AM
DB, wow, love the campanula and peonies. Great vase and a clever way to deal with the bottom ellipse using the loose peony to cover it. Good symmetrical ellipse at the top of the vase. Lovely composition and texture, now you're tempting me to get Blick half sticks on top of all the rest of my happy half sticks.

Deirdre, I was at that paint along and wow, you really got it. Gorgeous version. LOL you changed the light from what Jo had, his has a green light and you stopped the viewer to stare at the painting. Subtle but that actually might be an effective trick to get attention! People respond to signals! Love the deep distance in it.

Your portrait of Alexis is incredible. Her quirky smile and intense personality comes through, the rendering is perfect but beyond that you captured the feeling of little girl joking around playing with her shoulder strap in a way that's totally child, she's got this giggly look that's wonderful. Love the way you got her tan lines too. She's having so much fun in that painting that it's infectious, makes me wish I was out there with her at the beach. It looks like I've got sunscreen tube in hand is the feel of the painting.

Both of them draw me in and get me in the imagination. I think your original is stronger but that's partly just knowing how much of your class painting is you vs. Jo. If I can get a wild cat as well as you've done Alexis I will be purring and happy.

01-16-2015, 09:38 PM
I normally paint animals but I have always wanted to paint portraits or at least include people in my animal paintings so this year I tried portraits hated my first three or four stopped then tried again...I fell in love with this photo of a friend's daughter at the beach wind blown hair close up **** so I challenged myself and I think it's pretty good especially for my first finished portrait! Then I came across a photo of my friends shoes on the beach after she finished the ironman world championships and I had to paint them!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2015/33616-DrBear.jpg
I've uploaded this one in here for you! You need to make sure you name your photos - just ' image ' won't do and could be the reason they don't upload. There is a file on uploading images in my signature...click on it! Moderator

water girl
01-17-2015, 10:14 PM
The first painting is a very clever portrait of your friend. I'm always amazed at the creativity of the artistic mind. The portrait is quite lovely as well. It shows just a touch of attitude.

01-18-2015, 03:05 AM
The little girl's hair texture is wonderful. Head angle is very challenging and her hair blowing around is beautifully handled. Features are well described and proportional, quirky, you probably have the likeness spot on and they're not the features of an adult. Cute little tip tilted nose and good color for very pale complexion.

Your painting of your friend's feet after the Ironman Competition made me laugh in a good way, the concept is clever. That's something she'd probably buy. If I'd done something like that I'd see this as a portrait of the event and just laugh and love it, that's too cool.

Strong foreshortening, jazzy detail, colorful rendering, good handling of distant soft edges with those bright foreground objects as the main focus. The surprising effect is that they look almost graphic, the clean hard lines are very striking and effective. They show a distinctive style, very different from photorealism, depth is almost all by shape and not by value shading. One highlight on an ankle looked unreal and yet natural till I remembered where I'd seen it, a lady wearing skin tone panty hose or stockings will have that slight highlight glow.

I can see why you're proud of these, both are vivid and powerful, full of emotion and personal meaning to you and maybe the model. The windblown girl may look back smiling on this portrait as one of the great times in her life. I love those tangled, delicate strands blowing across her face, the texture of her hair is perfect but it's not overdetailed. It just has perfect key details.

01-18-2015, 03:00 PM
Wow thank so so much for the compliments! Critiques welcome too😁. I think the highlight on the leg seems odd because she was wet and salty! And the hair across the face was a lesson for me that I don't have to smooth every mark with my finger! I'm really struggling with that. But I've been using a drafting table and just got an easel so I'm hoping I will learn to leave the pastels in there natural beautiful state and not use my finger to smooth it out!

01-21-2015, 08:55 PM
Hmmmm....remember this guy? I wanted to do a serious classical piece this year and this is as far as I got before getting distracted by a beach vacation :wink2: . Think he's worth going back to?

water girl
01-21-2015, 09:57 PM
Well, you've come this far with him, I'd certainly finish. The wing on the right side appears to be almost finished, so continue and repost when you are done. Those pesky beach vacations can really get in the way of serious work.:lol:

01-22-2015, 09:50 PM
I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with this thread and comment on all the beautiful paintings! They're all just gorgeous, and I feel uncertain that any I could add would improve the thread. As they say in real estate, mine might bring down property values in the neighborhood!:) But I'll see what I can find to add soon. Thanks for hosting, Karen!

water girl
01-22-2015, 11:58 PM
Blayne, thanks for dropping in, but I suspect you might have at least one you want to share. :wave:

01-25-2015, 05:35 PM
Wow, some fantastic work produced in 2014 (that continues)!
Karen: One of my favorites...I seem to say that about every work you post, but most of your paintings ARE my favorites!
David and Cat, wonderfully, lively landscapes, a subject matter that totally escapes me. And speaking of it, Ruthie, your landscapes continue to amaze, and who doesn't LOVE happy playing dogs? I know you still miss your little guy.
Dorothea, great work, I especially like the glowing still life. Full of warmth.
Sophie, absolutely beautiful color! Quite masterfully done. And I know something about flowers hee hee.
Barbara, these are composed so well, they look very spontaneous and are full of movement, something I fail to get (almost) every time.
Mamalynn, very well done portrait, and I adore the lily pads! A friend sent me photos of 5' wide lily pads from Kew Gardens, and so far I haven't got the nerve up to do them, with all the color variation and water reflection.
Deirdre...The Master. I really, really like the cityscape. Never seen you do one before...So, the question is, is there anything you can't do?
Lovely portrait Calley! Really good work, like all of your paintings!

I do apologize if I left anyone out. I'm really enjoying looking at these, as I've been away from WC for a while. 2014 was kind of a depressing year for me, personally and artistically. But I cranked out a couple decent ones I think. I was doing a lot experimentation with mixed media..pastel/watercolor, pastel/gouache, pastel/charcoal.


And one for Karen, who likes my more traditional approach:

water girl
01-25-2015, 07:03 PM
Kris, I'm happy you joined us!!! I know you are busy. Yes, #1 has the botanical/abstract/movement feeling and you had a few in that series that work as well as this one. You know I love your traditional botanicals and I'm going to challenge you to post one in Gallery soon.

01-26-2015, 03:51 PM
Kris, those are both beautiful in different ways. The first one's very abstract and hints at botanical, very cool. The second is a beautiful still life, love that blue and white bowl and especially the background texture, which reminds me of a painted wall in a very old house, the wash of colors and textures across it is great. The warm fruit make a gorgeous focal area. Like that pale flower at the far left too, it's just right for being in the periphery, not distracting but hints there's more cool stuff offstage.

01-26-2015, 10:55 PM
Thank you Karen and Robert!

The floral abstract is (I think) one of my more successful of that type. Still not very comfortable with abstracts, but once in a while one will fall out of the sky.

The still life has a pastel and watercolor wash, sprayed with alcohol and blown about with a hairdryer. I liked the effect and it was fun!

Ok, ok, I'll post a floral in the Gallery soon!:evil:

01-27-2015, 06:03 PM
Thanks for starting this thread Karen, I'm enjoying all the great posts.

Karen, you know I love all of your work, and this one is no exception. Your darks are absolutely luminous and the reflections amazing, but that frosted glass is genius!! Just sayin'....... :wink2:

Dave, so glad to see your work here again! I love your plein air work, this one is great. You captured a beautiful sense of light.

Cat, you definitely captured the landscape so very well, the shadows are beautiful and the touches of violet in the trees is perfect.

Robert, those lemons are beautifully painted. I can see why they are a favorite of yours. The water painting is wonderful, I can feel the wave crashing.....

Ruthie, two great paintings...... your autumn scene is wonderful, the light coming across the path works so very well. Those dogs are fantastic, great composition, such a fun subject. That red ball is a great eye catcher, I love your work....

Dorothea, great portrait. I remember this one, you painted the light so very well. I love your still life, the cider in that glass is exceptional!

Sophie, it's a wonderful floral painting. You made great use of that black background, very dynamic and strong.

Barbara, I love pears, and I love your pears!! Great color, beautiful work. Your portrait is excellent, and yes, so is the hand (which is very difficult to do...)

Bethany, what a beautiful landscape. The touches of pink in the sky are fantastic, and I love your loose style, so very well done!

Linda, your dog portrait is wonderful. The eyes really pull me in....

Mamalynn, your portrait is wonderful. I love the skin tones, and you've captured her personality so very well. The water painting is beautiful, those colors are fantastic!

Sharen, I love your floral. The colors are beautiful, I especially like the color of the vase against the flowers.

Deirdre, so glad to see you painting again!! I love the portrait, you've captured such a great expression. That street scene is fantastic! Great composition and colors!

Drbear, your first painting is so very clever! I love the subject, well done. The portrait is beautiful, not just pretty good but really well done!!

Mudfish, nice work! I'd definitely finish this, like Karen said you've gotten this far, and it certainly deserves to be finished. Yes, those pesky vacations can sure get in the way can't they...

Kris, I absolutely love the abstract one, great movement. I like the line work in it as well, beautiful. Your still life is always beautiful, I can see why you included this one as a favorite, well done!!

Ok...... I hope I didn't miss anyone. That's what I get for waiting so long to post something here... I can be such a procrastinator....:lol:

My two favorites of last year are these. A portrait that I call "Why?"....


and my last painting of the year, a small still life I call "Peach Fiesta"


01-27-2015, 06:16 PM
Chris, congratulations on "Why" and all its honors. I love that painting. So glad you posted Peach Fiesta too! I love that cup. It's so intense and solid, the nuances of color so beautiful.

Mudfish, I'm not sure your winged man even needs much finishing, within the shadow of the wing on the left there'd be less detail. There might be some shadow falling on his leg though. Depends on the angle of the light. It's very beautiful and you know what you're doing with it. Love the wing anatomy and scale, too often an angel or winged man has wings way too tiny in proportion but him I'd believe if I saw him flying. Forgot to type what I thought of him and yes, he's very cool! Finish him!

01-27-2015, 09:09 PM
Thanks Robert. It's called Cast Down. Only you would share my descent into Dante looking for art subjects LOL. Oddly enough, I kind of liked him half finished too. I actually took this to a formal concert/art show event in a big, heavily carved frame & it got a lot of attention. People stood well back and the two most common comments were 'striking' and 'it makes me uncomfortable'. Both OK with me.

01-27-2015, 09:42 PM
Then trust your gut and don't do any more to him. Call it done, sign and frame him. Seriously. The far wing is darker like it's shadowed and would show less detail. Detail and lighten it and you'll wind up breaking some of the sense of light also make the painting more symmetrical. That asymmetry is wonderful as it is. When something looks better unfinished, chances are you're about to overwork it. I lost a couple of very good pieces years ago to ignoring that kind of hunch.

01-31-2015, 11:45 AM
Sorry for not responding to everyone individually, but I have truly enjoyed seeing what everyone has posted here.

This is my favorite, because of the PROCESS and the unique challenges of painting this. It took 5 different reference photos. Lots of "problem solving", such as design and balance, and using photos with different light conditions. But I proved to myself I could figure out a way to paint whatever story I wanted to tell, and not be limited because I didnt have a good enough ref photo to paint from.

Ultimately, the chemical plant purchased this painting as part of celebrating their 50th anniversary of operation.:thumbsup:


water girl
01-31-2015, 01:11 PM
I agree, Ron. This is one of my favorite pieces you've painted. It is so technical, there is great atmosphere and your use of complimentary colors make this an outstanding painting. What's on the drawing board now?

01-31-2015, 03:33 PM
Wow, Ron! Congratulations! I'm not surprised the company bought it, that is spectacular. I love the smoke stacks and steam vents and their billowing clouds contrasting with the clouds in the sky, there's so much complexity here and all of it in harmony. The lines of the complex buildings and equipment break up with all those vapors too and the train gives this sense of depth and distance in great perspective.

02-13-2015, 09:16 PM
I love this piece,flower on pot. 11x15in.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Feb-2015/1111142-image.jpg

water girl
02-13-2015, 11:20 PM
Thank you for joining in on the year in review fun. Yes, this is outstanding and the colors are fresh and lively. I'll bet our friends in the snowy north and northeast wish their flowers were blooming right now. Stay warm and safe, our friends in the bitter cold and snow.

02-14-2015, 04:55 PM
Thank you, karen, have a great Valentine 's day.

02-14-2015, 05:37 PM
Jiemin, lovely vase and flowers! I can see why this one's your favorite, it's so full of color and life! Very painterly and lively, the vase is well formed. Beautiful flowers! The composition's nice and the colors just shine. I love paintings that have those great colors by nature.

ural jones
02-15-2015, 01:37 PM
This little landscape is my favorite pastel. As I am recently involved with pastels, I have very few to choose from but, this is my fav.
A little scene from a public park in the N. GA. Mtn. town of Clarksville, GA.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Feb-2015/1032892-SAM_1183.JPG

02-15-2015, 02:30 PM
Wow, this is gorgeous! You have beautiful parks in your area. Love the water reflections and the composition, it just draws me right in. A little hard to see the colors true in this photo but they must be beautiful, the values are spot on. Like the frame too, that's great.

02-15-2015, 05:41 PM
This is a very nice, personal and touching thread. Thank you, Karen, for starting it :)

I started to paint in summer and that half of year was very exceptional and memorable :) It was really emotional - in good and bad, well you all know that :angel:
I have been thinking about making a virtual journal from all the paintings. About dating all photos I took of the finished paintings and making notes about my struggle and thoughts and about your good advice :heart:

It was impossible to choose the most memorable one, so I decided to post my first memorable :)

I painted it in the first week of using pastels, it was the first time I managed to create something three dimensional and it does look translucent as well. I remember I couldn't believe what I had managed to do :lol: I wonder why I haven't framed it yet :lol:

It's from Don's Spotlight tread


02-15-2015, 06:32 PM
Oh yes, Nick! You captured their translucence perfectly, those peppers are three dimensional and lovely. Definitely frame this one!

ural jones
02-16-2015, 06:01 AM
Nicely done , frame this one!

02-16-2015, 07:48 AM
Kris, lovely abstract, and I like the traditional one, too!

Chris, those are two favorites! The portrait shows such touching, intimate knowledge of the sitter. The cup is beautifully done.

Ron, if anyone could make a chemical plant look good, you've done it! And congrats on the sale!

Jiemin, your flowers are gorgeous! I love the composition, the play of light and shadow, and the casual cascade of colorful flowers.

Ural, that is a beautiful river scene and looks very Southern--a slow-moving river in hot, humid summertime.

Nick, your peppers are perfect, so translucent and shiny!

Karen, I'm still trying to decide what to post! Thank you for hosting this wonderful thread.

water girl
02-16-2015, 04:12 PM
Ural, I'm happy to see that you took the leap and posted in this thread. Yes, this is a nicely composed landscape and deserved to be matted and framed. Now, let us see more of your work very soon.

water girl
02-16-2015, 04:15 PM
Nick! What a great memory! I think we all plod along at first, unsure of the medium and unsure of ourselves. A break out moment like this deserves to be in the 2014 thread.

water girl
02-16-2015, 04:16 PM
Blayne, if you can't decide on one :confused: , then post two!

ural jones
02-16-2015, 04:23 PM
Blayne, thank you this little river is actually one of North Ga.'s famous trout streams :Soque River. I should take a better photo...
Karen I have other work but I have been an oil painter nearly fifty years. Soft Pastel is new to me, as I am able (not to embarrass me self)
will show you. Soft pastel is a rather difficult beast to tame!:evil:

ural jones
02-16-2015, 05:03 PM
This is only to clarify the work, I am sorry to keep posting!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Feb-2015/1032892-SAM_12161.jpg

02-16-2015, 11:33 PM
Nice photo of it, much truer color. Thank you. I love this scene, it's drawing me in deep and I feel as if I'm lazing along that little stream, maybe in a canoe. Jus relaxing on that summer day. Everything in it eases the soul. Wonderful painting.

02-17-2015, 07:40 AM
Ural, I'm glad you posted another pic! I was going to suggest it, but the other was quite beautiful enough. This one is even better!

OK, Karen, you asked for two. I'm posting two portraits. The first is not a popular one, in that the figure is (gasp!) smoking a cigarette. But if you can get beyond that, I think this is the best work I've done all year. The portrait came about as the result of an accidental brief video taken by my phone cam while I was trying to take a photo. :) I captured a still from the video to work from while painting. Although the video occurred inside a comfortable home, somehow this portrait came out looking like that of some poor soul living on the street--and I think of those unfortunate folks when we have this horribly cold weather. I am so grateful to have my warm bed. The other portrait is of one of my sisters, and it captures her likeness well and her sweet personality (sorry for the unfortunate glare on the pic from the flash). She was thrilled with the portrait, so I gave it to her. The back story to that one is that she requested a portrait, and I worked on an oil portrait of her for two years that, alas, never worked out. This one came together and was finished in a couple of hours. Aren't those the glory times?



02-17-2015, 02:37 PM
Blayne, I am sorry if I had made you upset with my comment about smoking. (hopefully not :))
You are a wonderful artist. I am not surprised your sister was thrilled :)

02-17-2015, 02:53 PM
Silly Nick! :) Of course not! Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I realized, when I originally posted this, that it contained controversial subject matter. I should put a butt icon on it! (Oh goodness, that pun was certainly unintended!) :lol: You are sweet to say I'm a wonderful artist, and I can only say I wish that were true and thank you! I can honestly say that I do keep trying to learn!

02-17-2015, 03:03 PM
loooool about the icon :)
Silly Blayne, of course you are :)

water girl
02-18-2015, 01:12 AM
Yes, Blayne! That's what I'm talking about! I knew you were holding out on us. I am so taken with the first portrait. There is something very special about it and I can't put a finger on it. The use of vivid color in the background works so well, without being a distraction. Your composition works well too. I'm sad that the glare has taken something away from your sister's portrait. So...in the future, photograph your work before you frame it.:wave: In fact, photograph every piece of work, whether you intend to frame it or not. I have photos of some of my pieces from the 1980's and it's fun to look back.

02-18-2015, 09:18 AM
Thanks, Karen! And good advice to always take photographs before framing! I still sometimes forget. So neat that you have photos of early work! Now, since you're leading this thread, wouldn't you be allowed to sneak in some photos of that work from the 80's? I'd love to see it! Did you work in pastels then? I recall only being exposed to oils and acrylics in the art classes back then.

ural jones
02-18-2015, 10:08 AM
Blayne, your portraits are nice! I admire that you can capture a likeness in pastel as it is a difficult medium for me to try it! I appreciate your kudos re: the stream, too!
(I still love the pears w/red lid best!)

Robert I appreciate your comments regarding the little stream. It is certainly a lovely retreat. I take the wife to get her hair dressed and this is where I go to wait for her. It islovely!

02-18-2015, 07:51 PM
Thank you, Ural. I find portraits difficult in ANY medium and, every time I'm in the middle of one, swearing, one of the things I swear is "Never again!" :) (And thanks for your continuing kind words for my pears!)

So glad your beautiful stream is nearby and you can enjoy it frequently!

water girl
02-18-2015, 09:17 PM
Blayne, your idea sounds like great fun. Yes, let's open another thread and ask people to share their earliest work and what mediums they used back then. But let's leave this thread as our favorite paintings for this year.

02-18-2015, 09:39 PM
Oh, Karen, great idea! Can you do that? You're willing to host another? And I'm glad it will be open to all mediums, because I imagine a lot of us started with other mediums.

05-02-2015, 10:42 AM
I'm fairly new to pastel,
using color and landscape.
It's been around 10 months I've been doing exclusively pastel landscape's.
To some satisfaction to myself anyway.
Of course not all the time but here's my favorite.
This is my second favorite

water girl
05-02-2015, 03:15 PM
Jay, thank you for posting your work and continuing this thread. You have excelled at pastels and these are two beautiful examples. I really like the light in the first one, and your brilliant use of color. As a misplaced surfer, living in Rhode Island as a young person, I failed to recognize color in winter, as you have. :thumbsup:

11-05-2015, 07:48 PM
That ski mountain scene is incredible.
There are so many fantastic paintings here