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02-28-2015, 07:40 PM
Welcome artists!

Here is a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!

The Spotlight is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.

Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.

Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere.

And, remember, no critiques unless specifically asked for.

The intent is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!

Please note: The photos this month were taken by me or are from the Reference Image Library. You have permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you cannot copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.

This month’s Spotlight is on…The Color Violet!

Welcome to our 6th and final installment on individual colors! Over the past year, we have been putting the colors of the color wheel into the Spotlight! This month it is Violet’s turn! Here are the links to the first 5 installments:







Violet on our color wheel, ranges from red-violet to blue-violet, with violet in-between. Of course, these divisions are all man-made. The colors of the spectrum change gradually from one to another.


Here’s a quick review on the 3 aspects of color that we have discussed each month.

Hue – the actual color as depicted on a color wheel or the spectrum.

Value – How light or dark the color is.

Intensity or Chroma – how bright or dull the color is.

When looking for a specific pastel, or when mixing a color, those 3 aspects should be evaluated.

Color Temperature:

One aspect of color that we have discussed the past few months has been color temperature, which is part of the discussion of the color’s hue. Violet is generally considered a cool color throughout its range. Since red-violet is closer to red and the other warm colors, it would be considered warmer than the violets that are closer to blue on the color wheel. But all the violets would be considered cool (at least by me!). Keep in mind that color temperature is a very individual aspect of color. Every artist interprets what colors are warmest or coolest (and where the dividing lines are) differently - at least to some degree. But generally speaking, Orange, Red and Yellow are usually considered the warm colors and Violet, Blue and Green are grouped as the cool colors.

A note on shadow (and any other) color:

In our previous Spotlights on color, we have been working on a shadow color principle. Keeping in mind that observation is more important than creating rules or principles, the principle I have come up with is:

The shadow color is usually a darker and duller version of the color in light – with perhaps some shift in hue due to the influence of secondary and reflected light sources, and the lack of influence of the primary light source.

I think our principle has worked in these Spotlights, but even though our shadow principle still works as a general principle, it is always best to observe what is actually happening and not rely on formulas or rules!

And keep in mind that this principle – and the examples we have used in the other Spotlights on colors – are based on a realistic, somewhat scientific approach to analyzing the colors using photos. This does not mean that an artist is restricted to using this approach, nor does it mean that those colors that we have observed using our photo analysis are the “right” colors to use. Actual observation in real life may result in slightly different observed colors. Using a different color for the shadows may not match the photo analysis, but it may still work in your painting and be believable! Certainly, using the observed colors offers a good, solid strategy that will work in almost all cases, but don’t feel restricted to this one strategy.

Plus, as artists, we are free to use any colors we want and can stray completely from the colors we observe! Artwork, as we all know, needs not be realistic at all. So, a lot of these color decisions will be based on the type of painting we are aiming to produce.

A note on Violet:

One thing I have noticed about Violet over the years since people have had computers and home printers, is that violet is a difficult color to reproduce. Cameras, too, seem to have trouble with reproducing violets. Many of the “violet” flowers I took photos of became considerably more red-violet in the photos. I did have to make some adjustments! So don’t fret if you have trouble capturing the correct shade of violet as you post pics of your paintings!

Another note on violet. When you look at the color wheel, notice that a pure violet color is very dark. Pure violet is the darkest of the "pure" colors on the wheel (pure meaning no black added). Therefore, violet can be a very useful color to use (or to add to another color) when painting a very dark value.


Here are this month’s reference photos! Alas, I had trouble finding references that weren't flowers. I did add one landscape sunset which does have some nice subtle, violets in it! Maybe these flowers will herald the coming of spring!

Photo by Ingrid

Photo by blackhorse

The rest of the photos are by me




As always, feel free to change the ref pics any way you want! And enjoy!


02-28-2015, 09:05 PM
Don, your pics are beautiful! I'll look forward to trying to paint some of those flowers! Maybe even that violet sea! I certainly hope the flowers bring spring--we got another 4 inches of snow today with freezing rain expected tonight. However, only one more week until Daylight Savings Time begins, so that's a cheery thought!

03-01-2015, 07:20 AM
Pretty flowers! Lovely landscape. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you Don.

03-01-2015, 08:40 AM
Thanks, Don....beautiful photos. Looking forward to doing a few..

03-01-2015, 09:16 AM
Yay! Love violet. I'm in!

03-01-2015, 11:45 AM
Thanks, Don! I, too, am a violet fan and can't think of anything I've painted that doesn't have some (a lot?) of violet in it. Love seeing the flowers as I sit here and watch the snow coming down.

03-01-2015, 01:02 PM
Great photos and lovely theme! Interesting point about shadows, because Violet is one of the great shadow colors that always works in a painting. Blue-violets glazed into shadows or used as shadows seem to pick up everything and they always do make the light seem more yellow-gold by being complements. I think that may be why they always work so well in shadows, they tend to warm up the highlights and give pizazz to any subject.

Cool flower photos. I see what you mean about how the flowers kicked over into red-violets, but I could easily adjust them back to mid violet or blue violet from memory. The ruffled double petunias with marigolds reminds me of your earlier marigolds reference in a previous Spotlight, it has to be the same garden! Great to see it with the emphasis on the petunias!

And of course Irises have been one of my favorite flowers for a long long time. I love doing them. You got this one from a beautiful angle!

This is going to be fun. Every time you did a color theme Spotlight, I wound up doing a painting better than I've ever done before. Not sure which I'll do first but you've got one of my favorite colors here. Purr!

03-01-2015, 01:25 PM
Don, These are beautiful! I hope to get to at least one and hopefully more than one. Thanks for the lesson!

03-01-2015, 05:44 PM
Don, I'd like to contribute a few 'violet' reference photos, hope that's ok?


03-01-2015, 05:56 PM
Will post more tomorrow, apparently my Ipad saves all photos under the same file name, can't post more than one!

03-01-2015, 06:27 PM
Dorothea, Thanks for adding some violet references! Yes, ipads give files the same name and files would need to be renamed when trying to post more than one per day.


03-02-2015, 04:00 AM
Back at my computer; here are a few more violet pics, have fun with them!





03-02-2015, 07:30 AM
Dorothea, What fun! Can you identify the dramatic violet flower with the yellow center? Are those bluebells in the woods? Lovely

03-02-2015, 07:48 AM
Jay, it's a close-up of a violet water lily. And yes, those are wild bluebells.

03-02-2015, 02:56 PM
I love violet/purple. Is there a difference??? I just painted my dining room wall a "aged grape" color. It really rocks! I look forward to trying one or two of the references. Thanks for stimulating photos.

03-02-2015, 03:52 PM
Thanks Dorothea.

03-02-2015, 04:52 PM
Some really super choices there, Theodora. Plenty to keep us busy this month!

03-02-2015, 09:14 PM
Dorothea, Lovely pics!


03-03-2015, 07:17 AM
Beautiful flowers, Dorothea! Cool purple house too. It reminds me of a purple house here in San Francisco, awesome.

ural jones
03-03-2015, 07:29 AM
Don, your violet sea looks like a pastel work already.

03-03-2015, 08:03 AM
Hi All,

I started this a while ago and haven't touched it because I found it too difficult to handle. Then Dorothea posted one similar (or possibly the same). I cropped mine but it came from the Reference Library. I don't know if I'm approaching this the right way, but here it is. Any help you an give me would be appreciated. I would be willing to start over again. Thanks,

03-03-2015, 10:26 AM
Cali, this is going to be beautiful. So are you right handed so you decided to work from the left?
My little observations. My humble opinions. Carlson says trees are warmer near the ground.
Is the light coming from the left? If so a dash of yellow on that side of a tree would let us know for sure.
I like the way you varied your trees, their width. The trees themselves are quite interesting.
But be careful of the width of the spaces between the trees. Jackie teaches us that ALL intervals must be different.
The reason I'm confused about the source of the light ...there are no shadows? Is that a shadow coming in from the left, mid ground?
I don't know how big this is but the left portion is very lovely. With some additions, it could be framed.
You already did it once, so you can continue on in the same fashion toward the right.
I hope I'm helping. I struggle too. I came on to show you all how crazy violet photographs. good luck. Tell us more, the paper, the size.
One more suggestion. Hold off on the white longer toward the end. again. MY opinions. I've never had a pastel teacher so I limp along.

03-03-2015, 10:31 AM
Just to reinforce what Don said about Violet, the little devil...(Violet, not Don...)
I wanted to paint the lovely lone tulip. I looked at on my Ipad. But I have an old iPad that I use when I paint because messy happens. Look at what happened to the vibrant tulip on the old iPad. This was further changed because the camera got involved. On the old iPad, the tulip looks like it's in mourning.

03-03-2015, 02:14 PM
The devil wears violet, I'm sure. 5 x 7. Mostly Nupastel with Schmincke and even a couple of Roche' to try to bring it to life. The paper is MT TOUCH, burgundy color. ref is Don's lonely tulip. C and C most welcome, always.

03-03-2015, 03:02 PM
Jay, I'm actually left handed. I've attached the photo that I am working from. My goal is to get everything completed like the left side and then work on lighting and shadowing more. I'm working on Ampersand board for pastel and the size is 16 X 20. I am using predominantly NuPastels, Rembrandt, and Pans. Thank you for your comments. Don, I see what you mean about violet. It photographs more blue than violet.

03-03-2015, 03:13 PM
Jay, your tulip is beautiful! It has a very soft etherial look to it, similar to the image on old IPad. If you want it to look more like the tulip on the left (New IPad), you might want to just sharpen the edges a bit in places. Otherwise lovely as is!

03-03-2015, 03:33 PM
Thanks Cali. I'm bad about edges. Everything is soft. Every time I try, I hold back. Study study study!!!

Your reference is beautiful. Best of luck with completing the painting. It's going to be lovely

03-03-2015, 03:50 PM
My tulip is SOLD! Price: Two hugs and a kiss. My granddaughter texted...I showed her...love at first sight. Nice.

03-03-2015, 03:53 PM
Jay, lovely tulip! I agree with Cali, you could sharpen the edges a bit to make it more visible, but if your granddaughter loves it as it is, then all is well! And what a good price you got for it! :wink2:
Cali, you're right, your ref pic is one of mine as well; I have hundreds of photos of that wonderful bluebell wood. Looking forward to seeing it in bloom again this spring!

03-03-2015, 05:49 PM
Thank you Theodora. I wonder if I have to split the profits of the sale with Don!!

You bluebells woods are just beautiful.

03-03-2015, 05:54 PM
Dorothea, Thank you for that great reference photo. It grabbed me as soon as I saw it but regret starting it. So every once in a while I'll take it out and try to do a little more work on it. It's now my this month's challenge.

03-03-2015, 05:54 PM
Dorothea, thank you for the lovely pics!

Cali, your trees and bluebells are looking great! I think you've tackled a very tough one.

Jay, congrats on the sale of that beautiful tulip! You did such a nice job showing the lines and curves of the petals, and on the color as well. And those two iPad images are astonishingly different! Is it because newer iPads have higher resolution? I've noticed pictures and colors look different viewed on my different electronic devices.

03-03-2015, 06:53 PM
A few violets in these eggplants I was messin with - I don't particularly care to eat them but drawing them is fun! Try them! :wave:



03-03-2015, 07:19 PM
Melinda, great eggplant!
Cali, I love the bluebells. It reminded me that I took a photo similar to that at a botanical garden. Thinking I need to dig it out. You've inspired me!
Jay, the tulip is priceless and the "price" you got for it proves this.

03-03-2015, 07:34 PM
Melinda, what rich color on the eggplants! I love the slices.

Peg: thank you.

Blayne: Thank you. I don't know why the difference but I can only imagine what each of us sees on our own devices. It's really strange to think that we can comment on each other's work when the next person may have received an different view entirely. Makes it interesting

03-03-2015, 08:34 PM
Cali, Your painting is coming along fine! I paint in quite a different fashion - blocking in the bigger shapes and then working the entire painting along step by step - so I can't offer much in the way of suggestions to someone working the painting to a more complete stage piece by piece.

Jay, Nice job on the lone tulip! In general, working mostly soft edges is far more advanced than most artists who start off using all hard edges and then take years to learn about soft edges! At least that is my experience! It is much easier to harden an edge at the end compared to softening. If a painting is soft edged, then all it takes is a few well placed hard edge accents to complete it! Since you have a satisfied customer on this one - no need to change anything!

Melinda, Very nice job on the eggplants! You've really captured the shine on the first one!


03-04-2015, 09:24 AM
Dorothea, I have a request. You know I'm a great admirer of your still life. In was wondering if I could ask you to do the tulip also; that way I could see where you would put hard edges. If it's not too much trouble, I would appreciate it. I understand if it doesn't fit in to your schedule.
I think of the tulip almost like a nude. Beautiful curves. I didn't want to accentuate the nearest parts of petals. Draw me a picture??? Please? I have a multi tulip WIP and I would be happy to learn. Thanks.

03-04-2015, 10:31 AM
Guys, glad you like my photos; it was fun scrolling though my photo library looking for violet pics. Don is right, it's mostly flowers! Glad I discovered that purple house I photographed in Burano/Venice.
Jay, flattery will get you anywhere :lol: I'll try to squeeze in some painting time during the coming weekend. You know, hard edges needn't be sharp lines; they also appear when there is a contrast in values or hue.

03-04-2015, 10:54 AM
Don, thank you. I'm glad you think it worked. It's such a lovely tulip.

Dorothea, thank you. I didn't understnd that. See? That why WC is fantastic.

03-04-2015, 11:49 AM
Jay, it may be true that the Devil wears violet, but God made photo editing! Thank goodness for that, because otherwise I wouldn't post this thing. The painting is 12" square and is supposed to be from Don's ref photo of that lovely ruffled petunia. But my flower bears no resemblance to any known species on earth. And those bumpy little green leaves must have been shrunken by radiation as the plant moved through the galaxy to arrive at my door. RIP, Mr. Spock. We knew and loved you, and you deserve a much better tribute.


03-04-2015, 12:53 PM
Cali, great start on the bluebell forest! Keep going. I feel as if this is going to have gorgeous depth and so far a beautiful color harmony. I’d suggest keeping it misty between the layers of trees and keep that lovely recession you’ve got started.

Jay, wow! I love your violet tulip. Neat the way you showed what your old iPad did to the reference. I usually paint from my laptop and the difference is startling. My photos on the Kindle look brighter than the laptop usually if I view them on the Kindle, so this is very different. Your painting has the best of both. It’s got such wonderful hue shifts within a relatively narrow value range. Love the soft greens and blues in the background, the whole painting has a nice cool color harmony with pinks in the flower and yellow greens as the warmest accents. Love the lost and found edges too. Nice volume and form on the flower. It leaps right out at me! Beautiful painting.

Melinda, I love your eggplants! Both of them. I’ve always liked eggplants to paint. Hate the flavor, only ever had eggplant that tasted good once when my daughter did something to treat it to get rid of the bitterness. Visually though, they are spectacular, more fun than tomatoes or peppers and pretty much in that category for still lifes. Gorgeous color on both of them!

Blayne, love those moody petunias! The hues in the leaves are perfect, elegant green-golds and deep rich violet cast blues and darks... wow! You’ve taken the world’s most banal suburban flower and put it in a category with Monet’s water lilies. This is incredible! A great painting. Love the notan, the light and dark patterns in this rock!

03-04-2015, 01:23 PM
Robert, you are endlessly kind and encouraging! Monet, huh? I'll be off to Sotheby's, and will set the starting bid on this at 50 million! :lol: But thank you! You've hit on the one thing I hoped worked in this, which was the notan. I could not get close to the colors in the ref photo, and I tried layering all different combinations of violets, reds, blues and pinks. My Sennelier 940 came closest, but I think I had so much pigment on by then, it got muddy. By then, I'd also lost the rather nice sketch I had going of the major flower. And, unless I layer the entire painting with clear gesso and spend hours more time on it, the painting IRL just doesn't have much impact. I'm moving on to another.

03-04-2015, 01:33 PM
Melinda, Great eggplant paintings. Your colors couldn't be more perfect. Blayne, your painting has a very expressionistic look to it. Love your colors and arrangement. Thank you all for your comments. I hope I can finish this and like it! Don, I was taught to work the whole canvas but for some reason, I took on too much and I am one that wants to see more immediate results. Being a 16 X 20 painting, it is taking forever and that is probably why I started working in small areas - so I could see results.

03-04-2015, 02:40 PM
Wow! Blayne! You found those darks today, huh? I would bid. Maybe start a bit lower? I love the darks behind the bouquet. So dramatic! If the painting doesn't look exactly like that IRL, consider the online version a prototype. Very interesting. It's so cool to look into the depth behind the central flower and find those leaves. And the yellow! Exotic!

Robert: thank you. You are alway so kind. What reference are you doing? Will you do colorist method with this Violet too?

03-04-2015, 03:17 PM
Blayne, Nice job on the petunias! They may not look exactly like a petunia, but you have captured the essence!

Jay, Edges may be the single most difficult part of painting. That's partly because very few art books even mention them or mention them in a paragraph or less. They serve multiple functions - both serving to catch attention and to define form. Sometimes those functions are contradictory. I did a two part Spotlight on edges a while back. It covers far too much info and probably should be digested slowly. And, of course, those Spotlights are my interpretation of edges and not everyone may agree!




03-04-2015, 03:33 PM
Thanks Don, I'm happy to have the I formation to study.
I come from watercolor. My interpretation was round object, soft edge. Far away, soft edge. Near object, harder edge.
Then there were lost and found edges. I was never fond of that look, I.e. Merging like values all together. So I guess I can be a bit stubborn? I'll be quiet and go study now your old spotlights. Thank you.

03-04-2015, 05:49 PM
Ok! Finished reading the first edge thread. That's good teaching there Don! Lovely paintings. Of course, I appreciated the ones with the soft edges the most!
I hope everyone reads that first thread. I loved seeing the paintings and familiar names. I'll read the second thread tomorrow. (Told my husband I was busy doing homework.)

03-04-2015, 06:36 PM
thanks, Don, for the reminder of the 'edges' lessons! Good stuff.
Cali...your bluebells are lovely....
Jay...Gorgeous tulip!
Melinda...your eggplants look good enough to eat..
Blayne....I love your petunias! The dark foreground really makes them stand out.
Hope to start on one tomorrow...been a busy couple of days here...

03-04-2015, 07:43 PM
Don, I'm reading your first (May 2012) Spotlight on edges. Fantastic information and examples--and I am equally impressed with your easy to follow but informative narrative. Your writing skills are top-notch, and the effort you put into doing these Spotlights is just amazing. Thank you so much!

03-04-2015, 10:39 PM
Thank you, Cali!
Thank you, Melinda, and I really like your eggplants!
JudiB, thank you! I will look forward to seeing your violet production!

03-05-2015, 10:02 AM
Thank you JudiB. Will you join me in the tulips?

03-05-2015, 10:10 AM
Yep...started one this morning, doing the big purple flower and the tulip on the same page....may be a couple of days before I finish, though...
Sure is hard to get the right colors...

03-05-2015, 01:34 PM
You said it. Hard to get the colors and then just wait till you see what the camera shows!! Orange! :eek:

I framed two 11 x14 this morning. That's work! :clap:

03-05-2015, 01:44 PM
So many nice photos and beautiful paintings! It makes me want to have a large pastel painting on the wall in my room :)

03-06-2015, 06:45 AM
Nick, there's only one way that painting is going to get there. :lol: :lol:

03-06-2015, 11:11 AM
I can add stuff for refence pic?
ps. btw purple is my favorite color. and thanks for colour wheel i used to check one thing which seems be true.

03-06-2015, 12:15 PM
Jay, I haven't decided yet which reference I'll be doing. Several of them appeal to me and violet is one of my favorite colors. I'm bound to do at least one Colourist because this is a color theme and so far every time I do a Colourist painting for a Color Theme Spotlight, it comes out as the best painting I've ever done. I've taken that as a hint. Not only that but I have Terry Ludwig 14 Violets in my box, something irresistible to play with!

I've just been waiting for the day the cold gives up and I can breathe enough to play with the dust. I might do one in Pans sooner, because I have a white 6" square of Colourfix Suede to play with. Pans or Pans and Pastel Pencils combined. Or Pans and Rembrandts.

03-06-2015, 01:18 PM
I hope you feel better soon, Robert. These winter colds just seem to last and last.
suede! Woo woo! And white yet. Do have fun. I have those T L violets too and I'm also anxious to use them.

03-06-2015, 01:39 PM
Don, I'm reading your first (May 2012) Spotlight on edges. Fantastic information and examples--and I am equally impressed with your easy to follow but informative narrative. Your writing skills are top-notch, and the effort you put into doing these Spotlights is just amazing. Thank you so much!

Your very welcome! In some cases (such as edges) putting together the Spotlight was as much a learning experience as a teaching one! More Spotlight themes than I care to admit come from the thought - "Here's something I struggle with, I better try and learn more about it!" And when I learn about it, I try to pass it on!


03-06-2015, 01:40 PM
I can add stuff for reference pic?


03-06-2015, 02:13 PM
Gee, Don, not to rejoice in anyone's struggles, but...um, I sort of find myself hoping you don't discover your total expertise and then stop doing the Spotlight! :) And you are so gracious, to make us feel better by talking about your own struggles!

03-06-2015, 02:20 PM
Don, very nice of you to put so much info and nice photos so many times:clap:

The Purple is one of my fav colours.

The other photos are also nice.
And its fun to see the great art here.
I can sure understand why the granddaughter loved the tulip.

03-06-2015, 03:15 PM
Oh AnnaLisa. Thank you. That was sweet. Will you paint one too?

Don: I just finished the second spotlight you recommended with your excellent lesson. Thank you. I read through the entire spotlight. Wonderful work, very inspiring. I hope some of this lesson sticks and becomes second nature to me. I hope I hope. Thanks again.

03-06-2015, 04:45 PM
Your very welcome! In some cases (such as edges) putting together the Spotlight was as much a learning experience as a teaching one! More Spotlight themes than I care to admit come from the thought - "Here's something I struggle with, I better try and learn more about it!" And when I learn about it, I try to pass it on!


Long may you struggle! There's always something more to understand, always something interesting to try that you've never done or never succeeded with. Thank you so much for doing these!

It's one of the biggest perks of teaching, having to read ahead and work out things to be able to do the lesson. Your ones on Edges were some of the best I've ever seen. They rock. Also this color series.

03-06-2015, 05:26 PM
Don, In my search for the edge...I came across a painting I have to share with you. You probably know Giovanni Boldini and his Girl in a Black Hat, pastel from 1890, I believe. Talk about edges!!!

03-06-2015, 09:52 PM
Don, In my search for the edge...I came across a painting I have to share with you. You probably know Giovanni Boldini and his Girl in a Black Hat, pastel from 1890, I believe. Talk about edges!!!

Didn't know this painting! A very contemporary feel to it!

Here's a link:



03-07-2015, 12:34 PM
Jay :lol: maybee maybee. I had just started to paint a puppy, but
maybee I can paint one of the pictures.

I heard that you tempted Nick7 to buy TL:s so maybee he is in
action now to paint, we will see, we will see:)

03-07-2015, 12:38 PM
Jay :lol: maybee maybee. I had just started to paint a puppy, but
maybee I can paint one of the pictures.

I heard that you tempted Nick7 to buy TL:s so maybee he is in
action now to paint, we will see, we will see:)

LOL AnnaLisa, my fingers has been violet ever since the TL arrived :lol:

03-07-2015, 01:17 PM
Nick7 :lol: :lol:
I am so happy for you that you got the TL:s !!!!!!!

I was wondering what jay must have said to change your mind....and then
I saw it. I completely understand you, no freight overseas wow!!!
I am glad that I didn't see that post:)

I know exactly how you feel about getting them:lol: and I know how it is
to be purple on the fingers haha.

You were smart to collect some colors from different sets.

Congrats and have a lot of fun. I look forward to see your TL paintings:)

03-07-2015, 02:23 PM
My ears have been burning as if someone was talking about me.......

I've been busy painting a bouquet of tulips. Not violet enough for here. But I'm posting in the gallery.

ural jones
03-07-2015, 03:01 PM
O.K.,I decided if I was to participate in the soft pastel thread,
I might as well try the Spotlight. (even though I do not like the color!)
Here is my attempt to do the tulip. I know it's ugly but it is mine ,
I claim it and it is now in the round file! But hey, I did try!


03-07-2015, 03:25 PM
Round File! Oh no!!! Take it out! Ok, I guess if you don't like the color but I think it's lovely. The shape, the background. Gosh....someone could make a card out of that lovely tulip......???

03-07-2015, 04:10 PM
Oh I so agree, Ural....Take it out of the Round File! It is lovely. Stands out nicely from the soft background. Nicely done!

ural jones
03-07-2015, 04:19 PM
Jay, Judib, kind words and thank you but, I need more practice and I got bored with doing it. This was the second attempt so adios Violet!

03-07-2015, 04:43 PM
Are you out of your mind, ural jones?

It's beautiful. And the background is perfect! Like white flowers in a meadow

03-07-2015, 10:24 PM
Ural, thanks for joining us! I'm afraid that I am joining the chorus - your violet tulip is lovely! I think you have captured the subtle forms of the petals quite nicely! Definitely a keeper!


03-08-2015, 06:27 AM
OK, I'm posting this although I am not at all happy with it. I made the mistake of using UArt600, a support I am unfamiliar with. Boy, did it mess up my painting process! In the end it turned out much more realistic than I intended, but none of my usual techniques worked on this paper...Remind me never to use a new support without testing it first. Next one will be on AS Colourfix again!!!


03-08-2015, 06:44 AM
Dorothea, it's lovely as always :) I like it very much.

Could you please be more specific about the difference between the papers and about the techniques that didn't work and why? I haven't seen either of the papers yet and your comments would be very helpful. I only know sanfix, which doesn't look too gritty. At least I am not that afraid about my fingertips :)
Thank you very much :)

03-08-2015, 07:01 AM
Thank you, Nick, you are too kind! UArt600 is a light yellowish sandpaper with a very fine grit. It grabs pastel much more easily than Colourfix. The properties of the AS paper are difficult to describe. It is rougher and more irregular and the tooth stays visible. I find glazing nearly impossible with the sanded paper. You have to try it, then you'll see.

03-08-2015, 07:32 AM
That is interesting Dorothea, thank you. I would expect that if the AS paper was rougher, it would grab pastel more easily. Neither of them is possible to use when you want to blend pastels with your finger? I was surprised that I could do it with Sanfix (not the first layer obviously).
Do you think that the structure of your papers is similar to the sanfix on this picture?


Thank you again :)

03-08-2015, 08:16 AM
Yes, it does look similar. Sanded paper is hard on the fingertips because the grains of sand are crystalline and sharp-edged. The surface of the AS, though rough doesn't bite as sanded paper does. You will see what I mean when you try it out. :wink2:

03-08-2015, 08:24 AM
It sounds like Sanfix can be somewhere in the middle. Because it's smooth, but hungry for pastel :D

It's always interesting to learn something new :)

03-08-2015, 09:36 AM
Dorothea, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the tulip. You may not be happy but I can see the lessons I needed. I think it's lovely.
So interesting to hear about the different papers. I have to order one of those paper sample packs and try different kinds.
Interesting to hear that your techniques didn't work because the paper was different. In my case it's always because the pastels were different, or the paper, or the weather, or the coffee I drank that morning.
Thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate it.

03-08-2015, 11:48 AM
Ural, WHAT are you thinking?!! Call that tulip pink and make a card out of it! It's beautiful! I'd request your permission to make a card out of it, but I'm not as nice as you are--I don't send cards very often. When I do, I rush out the day before the card should arrive and grab one off the rack. And call the next day to apologize that my card will be late. :lol: (Another issue is I don't want to replace my old printer with an expensive one that would actually do a good job showing color.) But your tulip is gorgeous!

And Dorothea, I don't see a thing wrong with yours. It's lovely!

Here's my contribution. It's about 8" x 13". I'm affectionately calling it my Tulip With Attitude. It's on stone paper. I drew it with markers, painted it, needed more tooth, painted over it with clear gesso, repainted it with pastels. No wonder it has an attitude.:lol: :evil:


03-08-2015, 12:47 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: oh Blayne.

It reminds me of the flowers in ice :) I admire you for trying so many techniques.

03-08-2015, 12:53 PM
Ural, don't let it go out in the round file! Your tulip came out wonderful! I love it, there's a beautiful softness to it and it's a great color, sort of pink-purple. Love the lightness of it and the way the petals look so delicate!

Dorothea, another great painter complaining about a wonderful painting because it's not what you intended! I like this. Realism can be beautiful too! Compensating for a frustrating problem can result in beauty! Gorgeous realist tulip. Now you know about Uart. It has a sharp tooth the way Wallis does, not the kind of slightly coated feel of Colourfix or Canson Touch and Ampersand Pastelbord is somewhere between them. I like them both but the techniques are very different. Every paper has its favorite techniques.

Kind of reminds me of how I felt doing the cherries with Terry Ludwigs on Colourfix Suede (lot like Pastelmat). Great archival surface but the techniques I wanted weren't there and I barely managed to get it right because I didn't get the right grit. Still it came out well!

Blayne, wow! Third beautiful tulip in a row! I think we know which reference is going to get the big gallery this time. I love the greens you used for stem and leaves and the bluer, deeper violets of the flower, your great drama and sense of values, the gorgeous Impressionist texture!

Maybe at the end of the month we should collect all the images and do a gallery by reference like they do on the Weekend Drawing Events. All three so very different and each of them so breathtakingly beautiful!

Anyway, today I am almost feeling decent and do actually ave some time. Bit of a nap and then I'll see what I can do. Probably do the tulip first since you are all so inspirational and I'd like to do a Colourist one! Debating Pans for the first layer or Unisons and Alcohol Wash or Rembrandt and Alcohol Wash.

03-08-2015, 02:30 PM
Blayne: your tulip has sophisticated gallery written all over it. It is smart, stylish and sleek. I can see it with a dark mat with a very expensive price tag. Good job.

ural jones
03-08-2015, 03:16 PM

Hugs all around to everybody!Thanks Don, Blayne,Robert, Nick!
Dorothy, your tulip is really pretty. At least your looks like a tulip! And Blayne, your tulip is pretty tulip also, see you made your own card!:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

03-08-2015, 04:28 PM
Dorothea, Not sure why you are unhappy with your tulip - it is lovely! You've caught the graceful curves and the rich color!

Blayne, Your tulip is lovely as well - and very dramatic!


03-08-2015, 05:20 PM
Thanks so much, everyone! Nick, I do like trying new ideas. :) Robert, I hope you're feeling like working soon. Jay, I'm sure Gagosian will be calling soon. :lol: Ural, instead of printing a card, I'll just fold this in half and stick it in an envelope--along with a tissue and a wet wipe so the lucky recipient can blow their nose after sneezing from the dust and wipe the pastel off their fingers! :lol: And that's a cool pic of the fire hydrant, but I'm having trouble seeing the violet in it. For a while I thought it was a tromp l'oeil painting to fool the dogs! And thanks, Don. It's dramatic, all right, mainly because I got so frustrated trying to find the right colors. I guess I could name it the Drama Queen Tulip. :lol:

03-08-2015, 06:00 PM
I guess I could name it the Drama Queen Tulip. :lol:


03-08-2015, 06:34 PM
Dorothea and Blayne, both are lovely tulips. Dorothea, you caught the beautiful folds of the tulip leaf and the color is really vibrant. Blayne, I love the textural feel you achieved with your tulip. Both lovely work.

03-08-2015, 07:08 PM
My attempt. I have no idea what I am doing. That is all I have to say.


03-08-2015, 08:05 PM
Sydney, what a lovely Iris. Very expressive.

03-09-2015, 09:03 AM
Glad you like the name, Nick. :lol:

Cali, thank you! Part of the textural effect in the tulip is because the paper is very thin and is clipped to a piece of brown cardboard. When I roughly scumble color on with the side of a pastel, it hits the high spots of the uneven surface of the cardboard. I want to experiment with laying the paper over different textures to see what effects I can get.

Sydney, I love your iris! It has a very graceful shape, and your colors are beautiful. Nice that you've joined us, and welcome! Now you'll have to give the infamous tulip a go! :lol:

03-09-2015, 12:59 PM
Sydney, Thanks for joining us! Your Iris painting looks just fine - so you must know something about what you are doing! Don't worry if you aren't consciously planning every stroke. I find that painting is mostly a subconscious activity!


03-09-2015, 05:29 PM
Dorothea, your tulip is lovely! I say frame it and hang it.
Blayne..I love your tulip with attitude...the paper really gives an interesting effect.
Sydney...what a lovely iris! very graceful, as iris is.

I'm trying to get back to mine, but life has been in the way so far...Maybe tomorrow...

03-10-2015, 02:40 AM
Sydney, I love your iris! It's gorgeous. Great gradated background too, very dramatic way to showcase it. Irises are among my favorite flowers.

Eh still nothing today. Really in a slump trying to knock the cold out. But I will do one this month.

03-10-2015, 06:08 AM
Feel better, Robert Sending good wishes

03-10-2015, 07:39 AM
What Lovely paintings of flowers in this thread!!

Robert I hope you feel good now!

Jay, I hope your ears have calmed down now :) You just did a great job telling people about the TLs:) Think about it, Nicks Life is maybee changed
for ever now:lol:

03-10-2015, 08:32 AM
AnnaLisa, so if his life is changed for good, I take credit. But if for worse? JAY WHO?

03-10-2015, 01:47 PM
Haha, its changed for good Jay, for good!!!

03-12-2015, 09:53 AM
Lol Jay :) I admit that when I realized how much I had spent, I panicked :D But now I am very happy to have them :)

03-12-2015, 09:54 AM
Sidney, I just saw your post of the Iris. I like the textured paper that you used and the rustic feel of the flower. Nicely done.

I've worked on my painting some more and now it's time for a c&c once again. I'm not sure if I should call this finished.

03-12-2015, 12:09 PM
Cali, This is beautiful. You should be very proud of it. I have the tiniest suggestion for you. May I suggest that you make a few stray bluebells climb in front of those two center trees so they are not a straight line. In the ref they are varied a bit. This is very a beautiful painting. and such a good size too!

03-12-2015, 12:24 PM
Cali, I love this! The blue and violet flowers are beautiful, and the trees and background have a lovely abstract quality that contrasts very nicely with the flowers. It's gorgeous!

03-12-2015, 12:49 PM
Don, I'm sorry to ignore your photos (and those others have added), but my poor little long-suffering violets have bloomed unheralded all winter, and I could no longer ignore them when you made the Spotlight about the color violet. This is about 7" x 8½" on sketch paper. I realize I probably should put in a surface for them to sit on and put shadows somewhere, but I just sort of like this pristine, floating look. If anyone wants to Photoshop suggestions about those, feel free. C&C welcome.


03-12-2015, 03:56 PM
Blayne, This is lovely. I love the disappearing pot and the leaves, especially. My favorite leaf is the one with the blue. very nice!

03-12-2015, 04:02 PM
I was determined to use TL violets since I have them. This is 8 x 10 on M. T Touch. Under layers with Nupastel, Rembrandt and Cretacolor. Upper layer, mainly the flowers, with Terry Ludwig. I struggle with the Terry so please please all comments and crits welcome. (also..had trouble with the 'white flowers' since they lost their shadows in the flash, I think.) But i'm tired now and want to post it. Thanks for the ref. Don.
Putting up two versions. One from camera, one from IPhone.

03-12-2015, 05:07 PM
I'll work on this more when I have fresh eyes in a couple of days. Those fuchcia flowers need work.

03-12-2015, 05:19 PM
Jay, those flowers are gorgeous! Perfect! And I love the shiny leaves. You really captured the look of both the vinca flowers and the leaves. Which photo do you think is closer to the colors in the real painting? Either looks good, but they're quite different.

03-12-2015, 07:04 PM
Thank you, Blayne
I think the second photo, taken with the iphone is closer. I'm on my old ipad and it makes the greens look awful to me. We all have to go out and buy new electronics so our artwork looks good!!!

03-13-2015, 07:06 AM
Melinda, your paintings are Lovely. Myself like to eat the eggplant, cut them, frie them with eggs and make an omelette (dont know how you spell that)

Can I ask you if you used a board or paper?

03-13-2015, 07:16 AM
Blayne you are so fast:) Your paintings are Lovely. I really like the tulip and the texture behind it and the different greens on the leaves.

Ural your painting is nice.

I dont understand why you Dorothea dont like your tulip, its wonderful!
The uart can hold more layers than colorfix, I Believe, so you must work with a light hand.
I saw a bit of your clementine when you discussed the paper in Another thread, do you have that painting somewhere on wc?

03-13-2015, 07:30 AM
Cali your pic is somewhat difficult to paint, I Believe so you are brave to chose that one. So you are doing great.

Sydney, it must be wonderful to paint such a Lovely iris without knowing what you do:)

Jay your flowers are awesome. I like both. The pink flowers on the first pic stares at me. I hope you dont paint highlights in those eyes:lol:
I really like the texture in the paintings. And you use MT Touch. I have that
paper so I must start to test them. And you have some Roche, hm....I am glad that they are not on sale:)

03-13-2015, 08:33 AM
Dditto! Ditto! Ditto! I'm so impressed with the beautiful purple flower paintings so far! All so lovely!
I'm still stuck on the one I started some days ago...haven't had a chance to get back to it. Maybe today...

03-13-2015, 08:35 AM
Cali, wow, your forest with bluebells is done! Yes, call it finished, mat and frame it. This is spectacular!

Blayne, your African violets are beautiful! Not sure on the background, they do seem to be floating but the disappearing vase is good. A shadow on the white surface would help flatten it, so would a slight gradient either direction so it seems it's on a long table covered with a white tablecloth. I'd go darkest at the top doing that so the flowers come through in the light and work out where the shadow falls to give it that 3D look. It needs no more detail than that. Tricks for making something work without the obvious crease of end of table and vertical wall. Wonderful flowers and foliage! Brings back memories of one I had in high school that never bloomed again once it was done. I had a brown thumb even as a kid.

Jay, wow, gorgeous flowers! I love the different colors. Thanks for two different photos to give a sense of how it looks in life, probably somewhere in between.

03-13-2015, 08:48 AM
You made me laugh, AnnaLisa. If Roché go on sale, you don't want to know?

Thank you for the kind words about the vinca painting. I see what you mean about the eyes . They do look like they are scowling. That's funny. A nasty flower!

JudiB...come on...join in. There are flowers enough for all.

Robert, thanks. You don't think the red ones need work?

03-13-2015, 08:57 AM
Blayne, I love your flowers and although I too love that airy floating feeling that it has, I think you could put an ever so slight suggestion of a surface the pot is sitting on. Colors and textures are spot on! Jay, it amazes me how the same painting can look so different using different devices to capture. I love your rendition of these flowers and think I like the second color combination better.

03-13-2015, 09:40 AM
Thanks Cali. Will you give them a go? I may try the bluebell woods one day. I love your choice of photo. Came out so beautiful.

03-13-2015, 11:40 AM
Haha Jay, there is a reason for it. I am e x h a u s t e d after shopping so
much:lol: Both artmaterial and technical stuff. But I will soon buy some pastels, oil pastels, sshhh I say that quiet.
When I can't paint with the dust I have to start learning some oil pastel painting, but of course the dusties are no 1.

This will be my first post of painting in challenge ever.

Its not finished and there are things to paint, but I need some rest so I will
post it now any how

03-13-2015, 11:46 AM
Thanks, Jay and AnnaLisa! And thank you, Cali and Robert, for your suggestions--i just can't figure out where to put a surface and shadows. I'll let this one sit awhile, I guess, until I can figure out what I'm doing. And, Robert, violets are really undemanding, and tolerant of neglect, especially if you have a window for them to sit in. They like a little sun but survive without it and like to dry out between watering. Perhaps not quite as much as I let them dry out, however... :)

03-13-2015, 12:45 PM
AnnaLisa...this is so BEAUTIFUL! Oh my goodness...you did a super job on that clematis. Congratulations.
As far as the dust goes, I think a lot depends on the surface and the pastels you use. I paint flat and so far, I'm not having a lot of dust. I also paint gently. Maybe that's why? Maybe I don't layer as much as some? I do get dust on my glove, especially with terry, but I keep a fluffy rag nearby and wipe my hands often.

03-13-2015, 12:59 PM
Woooow! AnnaLisa that is so nice! You managed to give the impression that the flower is floating. It pops out of the page :)

03-13-2015, 01:02 PM
Wonderful paintings, everyone :wave: I hope I will have some free time during the weekend. After a week, my fingers are not violet any more, and I'll be happy to grab the V100 again :lol:

03-13-2015, 01:04 PM
We're counting on that Nick. Come join in the fun.

03-13-2015, 01:34 PM
Thank you Jay for your so nice comment!!!

Regarding the dust I work from an easel and I have a small airpurifyer.
But when I now use TL I get a lot of dust on my gloves. I will try the rag, good idea. I don't know what a fluffy rag is haha. Thank you for your advice.
I have not tried to work flat, but probably I would have a lot of dust on the paper.
When home no problems, but I was thinking about when going out somewhere
its easier to bring op or pastel pencils, thats why. One has to be able to paint everywhere!!!!:)

Nick, thank you for your nice comment as well!!!
I hope you use gloves or a barrier creme when using the pastels. Haha the V100
is nice.

I can't believe that I miss some cool pinkish middle value and lights in the TL vibrant set....hmm I must have a look at his page to see if there are some...

03-13-2015, 02:02 PM
AnnaLisa, I'm sorry I missed seeing your painting earlier--i think we were posting at the same time. It is absolutely perfect! I love it! You really got great detail on the yellow center, and your petals have beautiful curls and shadows. This is lovely!

03-13-2015, 03:09 PM
Cali, You've done a nice job with a complex reference!

Blayne, Your violets look good! Personally, I would add just a hint of shadow to suggest a surface, but that's just my opinion.

Jay, Your violets look good, too!

AnnaLisa, Thanks for posting your first Spotlight painting! It's coming along wonderfully!


03-14-2015, 06:23 AM
Thanks Don. I think they might be Vinca flowers.

03-14-2015, 07:01 AM
Blayne I saw that we were here at the same time:)
Thank you very much for your kind comments!!!

I am glad that I could paint this, because I think I have only painted one flower
in pastels before. So I was glad that the color violet/purple came up which is one of my fav colors.

Don, thank you for your nice comments, and for posting the lovely photo!

water girl
03-14-2015, 03:15 PM
AnnaLisa! Your flower painting is beautiful. Your colors just sing and remind some of us that Spring is just around the corner. Those WC members in the cold climates can't wait. Please post this in the Gallery when you have finished.

03-14-2015, 08:06 PM
Jay, no, I don't think the red flowers need work. They look great. Less is more. It's okay to have a few little jazzy gestural marks. They shine. They are great and have punch and balance the bluer ones.

Annalisa, gorgeous clematis! If I can make a suggestion - a tightly detailed stem and vine with part of one leaf defined and in the same focal plane as the flower would help tie it together. You can place thm as you like but don't have it form a horizontal at the middle of the painting, have it go up or down. Leave the rest that light filled and loosely defined. It is nearly done. The flower is perfect, don't play wiht it any more, the background is great, but show us that it's part of a vine with slim stems, show a little of its connection to the parent plant. I see a stem on one side that needs to connect a little more solildy with the flower if it's running under it. (It can fade to looseness at the edge of the painting, just connect better at the fine focus area of the flower itself.)

Likewise a leaf that's cut off by the edge of the painting, or a couple of bits of leaves, they can fade off into the light or curl or whatever. Don't need to be perfect shapes either, curled or chewed on by caterpilar or anything would help give character.

The flower is finite perfection and he background ONLY needs final details. Less is more. The leaf is optional. A couple of vines twining irregularly would be enough and squidgy blurring leaf shapes bridging toward the distance would work too.

03-14-2015, 10:51 PM
Start of my spring Tulip, Pan Pastels on white Colourfix Suede, which handles a bit like PastelMat. Very sticky, holds color, Pans still go on transparent at first. Wedge sponge used.

Stage 1 was strictly two colors: Orange and Magenta. I used Magenta to underpaint the stem to help mute greens and give pizazz. Then a bit of Stage 2 nuances, added some Yellow to the upper part of background, both Diarylide and Hansa, creating a bit of a gradient. Then went in with Violet to block in some darks on the flower.

So here's a start. When I add more I'll be using Rembrandts or Unisons, then maybe finish with Terry Ludwigs.

Tulip WIP
7" square
Pan Pastels on white Colourfix Suede
Photo reference by Blackhorse

In retrospect I shouldn't have centered it but I can do something about that when I get to playing with the background! It'll be interesting. I've noticed that with square paintings I can sometimes make centering work compositionally.

03-15-2015, 05:39 AM
Watergirl, thank you very much for your nice comment and that you suggest
to post it in the gallery! I will. I too live in a coooold climate and am waiting for spring:)

Robert, nice to see that you are back!! Thank you very much for your kind Words and your analysis. Before putting the painting aside for a couple of Days, I was playing with the dark spots beneth the flower because I want to suggest very loosely forms of leaves. I was thinking about how much detailed I want to make them. I also made that darker line to the left which you saw. I did that to suggest a stem, that I wanted to make a Little more
detailed later.
So thank you for telling that to make me more sure of what I was thinking was right.
I also dont want all the leaves in the flower to be very detailed some edges need to fade away, but you said that its almost finished...haha I will see if I have the discipline to no work so much more.
I really like to sculpture forms with light and darks and temperature:)

I have to look in my dicctionary what vine is, maybee its like a stem but the mother stem. I will have to look where I will put the stems, but not certainly above the flower I guess. Thank you for your help!

You have started your flower with very nice colours!

03-15-2015, 05:51 AM
The vine is yes, the mother stem. Sometimes refers to the entire plant when it lives by climbing supports instead of standing free like a tree or a bush or small plant. Vines often grow very long and connect more than one tree or fence or wall or rock. Clematis is a vine, when I was small my grandparents had some blue clematis growing on a trellis. The vine is a little thicker than the small stems that attach to it and connect leaves and flowers. It will also wrap around supports so the plant climbs up toward the light.

Having some leaves blur as they move away from the flower would be beautiful but you don't need many. It's gorgeous as it is! Less is more.

Thank you so much for your comments on my tulip! I'm having fun with it and will be developing it through ever more detail till I'm done. I got an idea to modify the background that I think will rock.

03-15-2015, 08:50 AM
Robert: glad you're back. Thanks about the red flowers. Probably best if they stay fresh. I may touch One spot. Uh oh.
Love the WIP tulip. You always get them smashing!! Watching and waiting.

03-15-2015, 03:45 PM
Thank you Robert for explaining. I need to learn more english:)
The blue clematis must have been Beautiful.
Clematis is really a very nice flower.

Looking forward to see your tulip and the rocking background!

03-15-2015, 09:02 PM
AnnaLisa, your Clematis is lovely. I agree with Robert though, it needs something to ground it. In any case, Beautiful.

Robert, I look forward to seeing the finished tulip!

I decided to post my second painting. This is a WIP! Not finished yet, but by posting, I have to finish it. I'm not happy with it right now but hopefully will get there. I used PanPastels and Nupastels on PastelMat paper. Its size is 8 X 10. Your C & C is always welcome.

03-15-2015, 10:24 PM
Nice structure, Cali! I like the lights and darks.

03-16-2015, 07:39 AM
Robert, Looking forward to seeing your next steps on the tulip!

Cali, This is definitely looking good!


03-16-2015, 07:54 AM
Cali, I love the flowers. Beautiful! I like it a lot. Where do you think it needs work? It's lovely

03-16-2015, 10:29 AM
I am submitting my attempt at the tulip. I am very disappointed in the result. I could not get the narrow highlight on the edge of petals to "glow". I am getting very discouraged with my pastel efforts and am thinking of focusing on acrylics. Perhaps I can find a niche there.

I matted the tulip before scanning to "save the dust." This is a 5x7 on Canson maize MT. I used pans for blocking in, and finished with senneliers.

As always, C&C welcome.

03-16-2015, 10:35 AM
Thank you, Don! Cali and Robert, your WIPs are looking great and, Norma, your tulip is fantastic! Your mat choices really show it off nicely.

03-16-2015, 11:22 AM
Norma, your tulip is gorgeous! I beg to differ, the fine edge highlights on the petals sparkle beautifully and are very distinct. You've got wonderful shapes there, I love the curves of the petals and the way they overlap.

03-16-2015, 11:57 AM
Only a WIP. Thank you for the lovely photo, Dorothea!

We all know, "The devil is in the details," right? This needs lots of cleaning up and details, but I am at the point of either lighting a match to it or posting. It's on smooth, neon green cardstock, which shows through in places; 12" x 12", but photo was skewed, so the crop makes it look out of square. Take your best shot at it with C&C. I need lunch, sustenance, maybe even a nap, to get the courage to go on.


03-16-2015, 12:18 PM
OMGosh Cali and norma...2 beautiful renditions! Absolutely gorgeous.

03-16-2015, 12:20 PM
Oops...Blayne Just missed your lovely WIP....looks wonderful so far...

03-16-2015, 12:54 PM
Cali, nice painting. I like the darks and lights and the color.
Yes you are right about my painting, I was planning to make some
darker spots below the flower. Will see how it will come out.

Norma, I like your tulip, and also the nice different greens in the background.
To get the lines its like handling your brush when your handling the pastelstick.
Don't give up!

Blayne, what a nice painting!! what nice colors!! I really like that there is different lights/shadows on the flowers so some are in the focus. You should be very happy to have done so nice painting.

I have been painting just a little on my painting. Don't have so much time when its light here and when the sun shine, I had difficulties to see the colors in the painting, reflections.

I don't know if the pic will be blurry, will try to upload it...Its not finished, and I have to be careful to not make so much details because I don't want to steel the focus off the flower

03-16-2015, 01:26 PM
Norma, Norma, Norma. Your tulip is perfect. Tulips don't glow. Light bulbs glow. And the tulip looks perfect matted. Do leave...we would miss you!

Blayne: your daisies are going to be so beautiful. I love looking deep into the background, deep into the leaves. I'll be watching as you add more detail and bring this to a beautiful conclusion.

AnnaLisa. iMHO you are finished. I would not touch a pastel to it. It's beautiful. Congratulations.

03-16-2015, 01:30 PM
I've come to a conclusion that few of us appreciate our own work enough and we need each other on WC for encouragement and admiration. I know that I would probably not be painting these days if it weren't for WC and particularly the Spotlight so thank you, Don and thank you, fellow painters, for being there for me and for each other. We artists are a great bunch.

03-16-2015, 02:38 PM
Thanks to all for your encouragement. I was ready to grind my pastels into dust out of frustration. It is interesting that today I was investigating forums of other mediums and I was struck at how much more sense of community and engagement there seems to be in the pastel forum and threads. Blayne, Rob, Cali, Judibelle and Stilltrying, you have made me reconsider. So... I am going to work on the iris, one of my favorite flowers. I have a huge watercolor that I commissioned years ago in my dining room in Delaware depiiting an enormous garden of irises that I had at the time of the commissioning . It is so big it will cost me a fortune to get it down it down here to Florida where it would greatly enhance my living room wall.

03-16-2015, 03:02 PM
Norma, I'm so glad to hear you reconsidered. Did you notice my typo in the other post that said "please go"? Obviously should say please don't go.
Iris are beautiful flowers. We'll be waiting to see. Will you paint Don's reference? (I'm fascinated that you put the tulip in the scanner. I never tried that. Good idea to mat it first.)

03-16-2015, 03:02 PM
I joined Wet Canvas in 2010 and if it weren't for the sincere C & C I received over the past 4 years, I wouldn't have pushed myself to get better. Even though I didn't contribute for the last year and a half, I made it my business to continue looking at everyones posts. I knew sooner or later I would become re-inspired again. We all beat ourselves up when we are in the process of creating, but we have to persevere because for most folks our paintings go through an ugly stage before they get better. You just have to work thru that stage! So Norma, if you'd like to try acrylics, you should! But by all means, learn all you can from the Soft Pastel Talk Forum!!

03-16-2015, 05:32 PM
Thank you, everyone, for your encouraging words about my daisies! Norma, I think you came to the right conclusion, that the Pastel forum, and the Spotlight, in particular, is a very encouraging, welcoming and helpful forum. There is so much good teaching here about composition, values and color that actually apples to any medium. And the Talk threads are enormously educational about the medium. I also found the All Media WDE to be a very welcoming place when I was painting in acrylics a few years ago, so you might want to participate in that if you decide to experiment with acrylics. In the WDE, new photos are posted weekly, and you complete a painting of one or more of the photos in any medium you choose. But we hope you would do that simultaneously and that you won't leave pastels!

AnnaLisa, your clematis is beautiful! I think it is absolutely perfect, and I will look for it to be posted over in the Gallery!

ural jones
03-16-2015, 06:34 PM
Blayne, you have done an outstanding piece with the daisies. As I sat here looking at it, I realized how much thought you have put into this. Your values are terrific. As someone else said, the depth is just great. Because you allowed the green card stock to show, you gained more interest.
The photo shown here is large and I looked at it in a smaller format. It is just wonderful. Good work.
How many flowers this month have you done? (prolific artist:lol: :lol: :lol: )

03-16-2015, 07:36 PM
Norma, Your tulip is absolutely gorgeous! I don't see anything to be unhappy about!

Blayne, Your painting is lovely! It has a wonderful cool light! It looks done to me!

AnnaLisa, Lovely! I would say yours looks done, too - or very close to it!

Time to frame all these beautiful paintings!


03-16-2015, 07:41 PM
Thanks for all the nice words about the pastel forum and the Spotlight! All the forums are a bit different, but I'm glad that pastels has a friendly reputation!


03-16-2015, 08:26 PM
Blayne, your WIP is beautiful. I love what you did with it. Careful on refining details. Final details will be great. The photo's a bit blurry but I'm sure it'll come out perfect -it's well on the way and has such a lovely mood!

AnnaLisa, love how you handled the foliage in lower left. That rocks! Can't wait to see what you do on the rest. Some pale greens up around the yellow and white transition would work, but keep both the lemon and the white irregular shapes. That's so cool. Remember a white object like a white flower may reflect green under it and come out with pale mint green shadowing in places.

Don, Spotlight has kept me painting even in months when I don't get much done. I love the lessons and the challenges and references. WC has been what stirred me back into painting again. I have been here almost 10 years now if not actually over, don't recall day I joined, but it helped me overcome one of the longest bitterest dry periods of my life, a burnout that went so deep. This forum was what got me back to doing pastels when I'd broken my heart on no longer being able to live on my art. Doing pastels again brought that grief - and a kind of frustration as I got tired of doing the same sorts of portraits over and over for the same money that wasn't enough to live on, no changes or new techniques or chances to try anything.

I felt like pastel painting was boring but here I've grown so much that I can see what I did then to live on was just pastel sketching with very literal color. Had a portrait set and I'd match skin tone hue and shade up and down, call it done, do a lot of finger smudging and a few last accents. Not bad for what it was but nothing like what I do now.

So I have to add to the chorus of how much this forum, this thread and his site has done for me. I love it here.

03-16-2015, 09:46 PM
Oh, thanks so much, Don and Robert, for saying my painting is nearly done! I do so dislike doing details and will now do very few!

My thanks to Don, too. I've learned so much here and, just as important, really need a place to show my work and get feedback. I'm even more into showing work here than in exhibiting locally, the reason being that exhibiting is a chore involving framing and time spent traveling to hang paintings, etc., whereas exhibiting here gives immediate feedback and allows me to get right back to what I really want to do, which is to paint. Maybe most important of all is that the Spotlight gives me motivation. On days when I don't feel well physically or am down in the dumps, I can usually still find a photo on Spotlight that inspires me to get moving. Once I've made a start, I find myself really getting into it. And once I'm in the mood to paint, I'll even work on other paintings if I hit a snag on the one I intended to work on. So thank you, Don, for all you do to make the Spotlight a welcoming and enjoyable place! And thank all the rest of you for your contributions of knowledge, your unfailing support, your interesting comments and your wonderful sense of humor. The chitchat keeps me connected even when I'm having a rotten painting day and want to chuck it all in the trash and get a job as a Wal-Mart greeter! :lol:

03-17-2015, 06:53 AM
I have no doubt, Blayne, you would be an excellent Walmart greeter and Walmart would be a better place for it. But we like you being a greeter here!!
Happy painting everyone and happy Saint Patrick's day too.

03-17-2015, 09:05 AM
Me: "Good morning! Greetings, and welcome to Wal-Mart! Oh, it's evening you say? What day is it? Where am I again? Oh, right, Wal-Mart. No, no, I'm ok in my house slippers--just don't run the cart over my little toes-y woes-ies! Wait, just let me run over there and pick up that loaf of bread before someone trips on it. What? My hospital gown is untied in back? Well, the weather is warming up, you know!"

03-17-2015, 09:20 PM
LOL love it! The only worse Greeter would be me.

Meow, mroow. Head bump. Purr. Swat. Hip-bump. Mrrow! Reeouw! Bounce. Purr. Wash wash. Purr. Sleep on customer. They're greeted.

03-18-2015, 06:25 AM
You all should send your résumé to Walmart.

03-18-2015, 07:38 AM
Ural, I apologize for overlooking your post. Thank you so much! I have recently been reading about "provisional painting," after learning that is the term for paintings that may have an incomplete look due to the surface not being totally covered. (Well, the definition is much more complex than that, but you get my drift.) I find that I tend to want to leave incompletely painted or roughly scribbled areas in my paintings--and I have to have a name for that besides "indecisive, lazy, possibly artistic scrawling." :lol:

Robert, has anyone suggested your social skills might need a bit of refining? You might get arrested for displaying such familiarity to strangers. Will they let you have art supplies and internet in jail? :lol: But a Wal-Mart cat greeter is an excellent idea and would undoubtedly draw more shoppers to their stores! Unfortunately, I think the stores would have to move the cat food to the front, in order to keep the cat greeter in the proper location! And also move the deli section to the front. That rotisserie chicken would smell pretty tempting to Ari, I imagine!

Jay, I'm sending my resume to Wal-Mart immediately! :lol:

03-18-2015, 08:39 AM
You really are a bunch of sillies!!!I love it!:lol: But on a more serious note, the WC pastel forum has been enormously helpful in my development as an artist. So many people, among them some amazing artists take the time to really look at posts and think about what to answer. I've never gotten a critique that was rude or unfriendly; tough, yes, sometimes, but always well-intended and often extremely helpful. I still remember when I first participated in the Spotlight a few years ago; I was quite nervous posting my painting. It was so reassuring to get positive feed-back! Thank you so much, Don for hosting this wonderful thread!:thumbsup:

03-18-2015, 08:54 AM
Dorothea, I'm glad you aren't put off by the silliness. :) And you are so right about how much one can learn here. I was just thinking last night that my almost-a-year here posting in the Pastel forum, reading and participating in Spotlight, and reading everyone's comments in the Gallery has been like a wonderful year of total immersion in art school. I've learned so much that is essential for doing pastels but also much that is transferable to any medium--the importance of values, warm and cool colors, composition. This has got to be the best forum on WC.

03-18-2015, 09:23 AM
I worry for the value of my stock in Walmart given the rush of emplyment applications. Stick with what you all do so well...make beautiful paintings. I need you here in WC to provide me feedback and encouragement.

03-18-2015, 11:40 AM
LOL Norma! And thank you for thinking we're more competent at painting than greeting--although you may just be saying that to protect the value of your stock! :)

03-18-2015, 01:30 PM
Haha you guys are funny, I don't want you to leave to Walmart eather, and I don't have any stock there. (maybe I should)
Now I will look forward to the other spotlights after reading here since I have only posted one photo. Its really nice to meet people with the same interest and there are really a lot to learn here from others. I always have been thinking that people are very helpful here on wc pastel forum.

Theodora, I was searching for a painting of yours, and I didn't see you here, so nice you are back. You were talking with Nick I guess about papers and you showed a small piece of a clementine on as paper. Do you have the whole painting here somewhere? It was just lovely!

03-18-2015, 01:48 PM
Hi Annalisa; here is the link to my clementine post:


03-18-2015, 03:14 PM
Dorothea, thank you for giving me the link, and so fast:wave:

I really like your clementines. I have one sheet of AS and also the primer, but
I have not painted anything in pastels yet. It feels like it takes less layers than
la Carte, so you must work with light hand and not many layers.

One time I must test black paper. Thank you again for showing that lovely painting!!!! Looking forward to see your coming paintings:)

03-18-2015, 04:20 PM
You 'guys' (gals) make this forum so much fun. Love your humor...really makes my day.
I have realized I really don't 'see' what's in a painting. I am trying to train myself to really 'look' so that I can give honest opinions. I am so critical of my own that I just cursorily look at others, so that I don't have to 'compare' myself to others. (my therapist helped me to see this...lol)

So with that, i am posting my clematis and tulip, knowing it is my own style and trying not to compare it to the others. I do have to go back and do some edges work....
realize I don't know what happened....I did turn it right side up...don't know how to fix...

03-18-2015, 05:01 PM
JudiB. I thought the lovely tulip was taking a nap!!! I just love the tulip. It's beautiful. The clematis reminds me of a delicate floral butterfly that hovered over the garden. Very expressive.
I wish I could help turn the painting but I'll leave that for the experts.
Very nice job

CM Neidhofer
03-18-2015, 07:52 PM
Ok, I have started the tulip. I HATE violet! It's in it's definite ugly stage. I HATE violet! Not sure I can save it at this point. I HATE violet! Did I mention I HATE violet! LOL Definitely lacking in my color choices. I see where I need to fill in!

On this note, I think I'm going to change my page names on my blog and Facebook to "Something Not Quite Right Pastels!" LOL :lol:

03-18-2015, 08:57 PM
JudiB, I like your clematis and tulip very much, especially the tulip! After reading what you wrote, I wondered if I'm guilty of doing the same--taking a cursory look when I should look closer. So in paying close attention to your tulip, let me say I think you did such a great job on the colors and on those tiny white lines outlining and highlighting the edges of the petals--how did you ever get such fine lines? Mine trend to smudge, making the petals look thick. Your clematis is beautiful too, and reminds me of the red one I bought but have let die, I think. My purple one comes back every year, but I didn't have much luck with the red one.

And, Christine, am I hearing mumbling about the color violet? LOL, and I love the "Something Not Quite Right Pastels"! :lol:

03-19-2015, 08:06 AM
JudiB, very nicely done - and looks even better rotated!



03-19-2015, 10:54 AM
LOL Jay! Funny, now that you mention it, a long time ago someone suggested I should improve my social skills, so I did. Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, that someone was a cat. Life works a lot better for me either retired or self employed than trying to work for other humans on their schedule. I'd have to start paying attention to what time of day it is when I want to nap and stuff like that, which cats don't usually think is important at all.

So I write cat novels and paint small pictures and bring home the cat food. >^..^< :cat:

Judi! Love how you combined the clematis and tulip in the same painting. Also what you did with textures in it, the fine scraped lines in the tulip on the edges of petals worked great to show their paper-thin delicacy. Nice variety of greens in the background and it's soft edged without being over blended, so great texture there too.

03-19-2015, 11:10 AM
Thank you Don, for righting my painting...don't know why it didn't stay right-side up...
...and for the comments, Rob, Don, Blayne and Jay. Today I started another...forget what the flower is....Should have it complete in a day or 2...

03-19-2015, 12:35 PM
Christine: Thats the beauty of the spotlight. It makes us reach and stretch. and then we want to get right back into bed! You can so it! Rah Rah...(I'm cheering for you.)
JudiB: love it even more. So delicate and beautiful. You girls just don't know your strength!
Robert: Stay here with us. You can post day or night or nap. We're good with all.

03-19-2015, 12:39 PM
Ok. This is I think my first Uart 400. Maybe I like it. Nupastel and cretacolor base and then went to Terry Ludwig and GA. For once the painting looks better IRL than the photo. Painting is 6 by 8, I think. Very vivid! C and C most welcome AS ALWAYS. Some time I forget to say it.

03-19-2015, 01:18 PM
Jay, your painting is PERFECT! The flowers are beautiful, just fantastic, with all those gorgeous colors. I just love that background, too. I really like the hard, flat look of the background, which contrasts so well with the roundness and volume of the flowers. It looks like a wall behind them. This is an absolutely stunning painting--sign it now and choose a mat and frame for it!

03-19-2015, 01:58 PM
Jay...What a lovely variety of color! and the background fits perfectly.
'You done good'! (an old expression of my hubby's)

03-19-2015, 02:01 PM
Thank you both, Blayne and JudiB. You guys are good for me.

03-19-2015, 03:13 PM
Judi, nice work on the Clematis and and especially the tulip. The colors you used for the background work very well with the violet flowers.

Jay, your flowers are lovely. I love the way you worked the pedals. The color is so vibrant. Its beautiful the way it is, but I would like to have seen that pop of orange worked in. My opinion, as I said, lovely as is.

03-19-2015, 03:43 PM
Jay, Very lovely painting! The flowers are great and the combination of background colors really put it over the top!


03-19-2015, 04:11 PM
Jay, wow! I love how you got the ruffled petunias! They are so vivid and so dimensional. I've meant to do something with them too but you've got it perfect. Love what you did on Uart 400. It's great paper. It holds so much layering and lets all the thick juicy accent strokes keep their texture. Great layout too. Leaves and stems elegant, don't grab too much attention but solidly there and leaf shapes recognizable to the plant. This is fantastic. Just exactly enough realism for recognition and wild lively strokes.

03-19-2015, 04:37 PM
Wow, thank you all so much.
Cali, I'm a purist at heart. My thinking was violet so Violet it was. For me, I would have had to do a battle of the Orange anf the Violet petunia. That would be interesting! A duel! Thank you
Thank you Don. It was all there in your wonderful reference.
Robert. Thank you. And using the Uart was exciting. I didn't expect to like it at all. All my papers so far have been finer or smoother. Thanks again.

03-20-2015, 10:38 PM
Another stage on my Tulip, actually stage 2 and some of Stage 3 since I will be doing some more refining with Ludwigs. This is basically where I did everything I could with Rembrandts and ran out of tooth.

Tulip stage 2
Rembrandt pastels over previous stage with Pan Pastels on white Colourfix Suede paper.

You can now see the idea I had for a background, yellow flowers very vaguely out of focus and receding. Will detail some of the nearer ones as I finish. This is areas of yellows and greens blocked in basically.

03-21-2015, 05:34 AM
I love the intense color in the tulip, and the background is terrific!

03-21-2015, 07:22 AM
Robert, I always feel as though I have to get popcorn to munch while I excitedly await the next installment. Beautiful, vibrant.

ural jones
03-21-2015, 07:29 AM
Now see, :angel: that's what I call a tulip! I couldn't do it, but Robert sure did~ it is nice to look at!
Not finished?

03-21-2015, 10:36 AM
So wonderful and positive paintings :) Thank you all for sharing them with us.

03-21-2015, 12:34 PM
JudiB you are doing great.
It is true that we shall not compare oneself with others. Its better to compare oneself to oneself, to see the steps of improvement one has done.

Jay your painting is fantastic, I saw it in the gallery!!

And Robert, your tulip wip, what colors. They scream -look at me! Nice.

You guys have been busy, while I have been looking at photoshop:) I need to relax and think what I shall do with my clematis, I have to find out how I will
do the upper right corner with some yellowgreen leaf or something

03-21-2015, 12:41 PM
This is about 6" x 9" on red-violet mat board. I am taking AnnaLisa's advice and only comparing myself to myself. I am happy I succeeded in getting the correct violet tones! The background is a bit too warm, but for now I'm finished.


03-21-2015, 12:56 PM
Blayne, lovely flower. Nice shadow also, it feels like a wonderful sunshine day.

Haha, yeah good that you don't compare yourself with others. It makes us feel
better and relaxed when we just compare ourself with ourself. And we can not be like others since we are so unique. Like handwriting maybe, its amazing that 2 persons don't write identlicy, maybe close but not exactly, so I think it is the same with painting. (I need to spell right...)

03-21-2015, 01:34 PM
Well Blayne, my poor crocus is buried in snow so maybe you are right and the background is too warm. But the snow will cool it off. Such brave flowers to be the first to test the air for spring.
Your crocus is very brave, standing all alone against the forces that deny spring. Very painterly! And you did get the best Violet tones. Nice!

water girl
03-21-2015, 02:44 PM
Robert and Blayne, I hope this means spring is just around the corner for you. I'm rather enjoying this violet thread. Thank you, Don.

ural jones
03-21-2015, 03:55 PM
Spring is coming folks! We have all the pear trees blooming white, the Japanese cherries, and Magnolias, the maples are budding and the redbuds are blooming. Daffies are everywhere and even the weeds are blooming. Then, I saw on TV there is still snow in Maryland! Gosh, how do you stand it up there?

03-21-2015, 04:26 PM
Here in New Jersey too. Was quite a mess.

03-21-2015, 04:35 PM
Greetings all: After all of your encouragement, I undertook the challenge to paint DAK's iris reference. This is on 9x12 pastelmat, matted to 8x10 so I could scan it without leaving dust. This appears "fuzzier" in the scan than it does IRL. I started with pans and then moved to soft sticks finishing with Senneliers.

All C&C eagerly awaited.


03-21-2015, 05:34 PM
Rob..Your tulip is absolutely vibrant...wonderful color. And I really like the background....

Blayne...Your tulip is charming....I love the color and the whispers of white on the flower. The background looks fine to me, too...but yes, maybe just a tad cooler and subdued to make the tulip stand out more...

Norma...love your iris...the colors and shading are beautiful...

03-21-2015, 07:08 PM
I love all these spring flowers. A great job by all! I had one lonely little crocus blooming, and then...snow yesterday...oh my

03-21-2015, 10:29 PM
Robert, Your tulip is coming all well and looks like it will be very vibrant and exciting!

Blayne, We've already sent some PMs back and forth regarding your violet - It looks good!

Norma, Fine job on the Iris! Very rich and colorful!


CM Neidhofer
03-21-2015, 10:34 PM
I'm calling this finished. Very frustrated with this color!! Not my favorite to begin with. At least I got my feet wet again after all this time! Constructive comments always appreciated.


03-22-2015, 02:20 AM
Christine, I love your tulip! You captured the shine on the petals, the anatomy is perfect and the light bouncing off it is so shimmering gorgeous. lovely backgrond, all those spring greens! Love the reflected violet on the stem, thanks for showing me what to do in my finishing layer! Remember Reflected Color! Wow!

Great iris, Norma! I like those narrow spikes coming up around it, they make very graceful accent forms. Good structure and great color. Nice depth to the background and I love the purple accents.

Mine has got a problem that the violet is standing out from the background, it's not quite harmonized. I think this is something I can fix at the end and have some ideas, reflected color among them.

Blayne... WOW... your crocus is perfect. Finite perfection. I don't say this often. You got much more than the color right. I love the mulch. The way you got the cedar chips on the ground around it is so perfect. Anatomy perfect, angle is effective, yellow center pops and sings, structure wonderful, depth and dimension and texture of the stiff curving petals all glorious. Sing of spring in this painting. It needs a nice mat and frame, or spacers and frame, I would mat it given the size so it commands a bit of attention in a room. Or group it with three other seasonal flower paintings if you used spacers.

03-22-2015, 09:40 AM
Thank you so much for the compliments, everyone! Robert, I've done about five crocus paintings the past week, several in water mixable oils, plein air, so maybe I'm improving. One would think! :) Incidentally, the background is supposed to be leaves, but I didn't give form to any individual leaves so they do read more as mulch, which is a great idea and one I like better because leaves can get so busy. Thank you! I'll complete it with a few touches to ensure it looks like mulch instead.

Norma, that iris is SO perfect! Absolutely! I really like the simple background, too. You must frame this one, and I think the mat color it is scanned with is perfect for it. Now aren't you glad you didn't give up?

And so is your tulip, Christine--perfect! You really captured the look of the petals, how they are soft yet have strength and definite shape. I don't know how to describe that look, maybe as a delicate, organic, tensile strength? Anyway, you captured it, and the colors look great! I like the touch of burgundy on the stem and the suggestion of pink in the background.

03-22-2015, 11:24 AM
Hi Folks!

Well, I thought I should try to contribute something since I spend so much time here reading and (hopefully!) learning. So many great pictures and so wonderful to see all the various interpretations. Anyway, here's my feeble attempt...was just going for the "essence" of violet if that makes any sense. Sorry for the bad photo. Canson MT Gray 9x12 with GAs. Cheers!


ural jones
03-22-2015, 11:58 AM
Nice arrangement and you have captured the 'essence' of violet very well. And also a lot of essence of saturation also.

03-22-2015, 01:24 PM
Norma, your iris is lovely. Graceful, colorful. I love the weeds you have drawn gracefully on the page. Very nice.

Christine! It's beautiful. And a perfect background color too. That is a lovely, lovely tulip.

Ahhhh, Zippie. Now that says Paris to me. Ok, I've never been but no matter. I love it. The flowers, the vase, the background. Makes me want to see more of your work. Very lovely.

03-22-2015, 01:41 PM
Zippie, that's so loose and fun! I love the brightness of the flowers, remind me of the asters photo a bit. Definitely essence of violet. Love the vase. The dark background sets off those brights so well. You caught hte essence of Water and Stems too without it being realism, that's just spectacular, it looks watery, clear and glowing wiht light, the violet shadow unifies it, so much good stuff happening in this painting. Making a centered composition work is much harder than using Rule of Three to place your focal area!

Heh, I'm facing that with my tulip and thank you for such an inspiring example! You did something difficult and glorious here!

03-22-2015, 03:01 PM
Wow, thanks for all those positive comments!

I feel quite out of my league around here amongst all your lovely paintings. "Loose and fun" seems to be my only option. I can't do straight lines and details without it looking overworked and ridiculous (I prefer loose and ridiculous!).

But I think that is what has attracted me to pastels, that wispy, dreamy look that's hard to get with other mediums. So much to learn. Onward!

ural jones
03-22-2015, 03:39 PM
Another Spotlight attempt. Although I really chose a
tough one this time! I probably should have tried another Tulip !:lol:


03-22-2015, 05:05 PM
Wow, Ural. Such drama! That is a hard reference to choose. You're making me want to try.
I love your water and the sky behind the hills. I like how you restrained yourself to not get the far hills too dark. ( That was my fear. ). Gosh that looks like Lake Como. Ever been?

ural jones
03-22-2015, 06:08 PM
Yes Jay, I felt that it would be a difficult subject to do. But, no one else had tried it so I just went ahead. I have a difficult time with violet and this scene seemed to be the lessor of the evils.:evil:
No, I have never been to Lake Como. Have you been there?

03-22-2015, 07:49 PM
Lovely sunset! I like the texture and shadowing on the hills, they are very three dimensional and the colors just sing. You captured the feel of the reference. Gradient plane on the water helps it lay flat and gives the whole painting depth! Simple and beautiful.

Finished my tulip shortly after posting this. It turned out I didn't have much more to do at all. A few accent marks on the tulip. Some color and detailing on the yellow flowers. Several pink petunias over what was there and a bit of fiddling toward the bottom - the upper part that's more receded didn't need anything at all. So now it's a tulip tall in front of a bed of shorter marigolds and petunias. Less is more.

Tulip, Marigolds and Petunias
7" Square
Pan Pastels, Rembrandt and Terry Ludwig pastels
Art Spectrum Colourfix Suede coated white pastel card
Photo references by Blackhorse and DAK723

Note: the petunias are actually magenta and cold pink, photo color on them is mysteriously off and hard to correct. Colors are a little brighter in reality especially in the high distance, it still recedes but it was hard getting the colors to come true and the main flower. Weird but it happens.

03-22-2015, 09:08 PM
I like it, Robert. The tulip in the front is as if it's saying, "Here I am. You cannot ignore me.":) The background turned out great

CM Neidhofer
03-22-2015, 09:54 PM
I'm calling this finished. Very frustrated with this color!! Not my favorite to begin with. At least I got my feet wet again after all this time! Constructive comments always appreciated.


Thanks everybody for the lovely comments. I guess it turned out better than I thought!

03-23-2015, 12:36 AM
Barbara, I think you just gave it a better title! "Here I am, you cannot ignore me!" That's exactly what it's like. I had a lot of planning to get the supporting background right so it'd do that and not just seem wrong. I like it more the longer I look at it.

ural jones
03-23-2015, 05:32 AM
Robert, sometimes the camera can get the colors wrong. But, I think you have created a very nice piece. Putting together the two flowers was a clever idea. The background does seem to recede and it looks great! Definitely a keeper, frame it or sell it!
Barbara, your tulip is nice and it 'feels' delicate too.

03-23-2015, 06:37 AM
Zippie, I love your cheery flowers, and how the violet color cascades down the wall and onto the surface of the table. The translucent vase with the stems going every which way is so pretty!

Ural, your landscape is fantastic! That is a really difficult photo to paint, I think, because the sky and sea are the dominant features, and there is no focal point. The colors you used are lovely, except I wonder if the intense orange band of sky at the top is grabbing too much attention? Just IMHO, I would soften that and intensify some of the warm color near the horizon. But that's just IMHO, and it's very early in the morning so maybe that intense color is too much for my eyes until I wake up! :lol: You gave the mountain a look of real volume and did just the right amount of detail to show the contours of it as well as the trees and grass on it.

It's great to see two versions of the tulip on the same page. Robert, yours is richly colored and stands imperiously against that impressionist background! Christine, you brought yours to a great finish! It looks more delicate than Robert's, and its petals seem to shimmer as if in a light breeze. They're both just lovely!

03-23-2015, 07:00 AM
Robert!! I just love the tulip! So perfect...and the whole field there too. You did a great job

Christine.. What could you possibly not like about your beautiful tulip? Just beautiful. We all need each other's eyes to admire out own work. It's a truly beautiful flower.

Ural, I have been and took a picture at sunset which reminds me very much of the reference. It's taken from Bellagio across the lake. I painted it in watercolor.

03-23-2015, 08:17 AM
Zippie, Thanks for joining us! Your vase of violet flowers looks lovely!

Christine, Your tulip is wonderful! What's not to like?

Ural, Nice job on the landscape! Definitely a difficult subject!

Robert, Lovely finish to your tulip! Dark and dramatic!


03-23-2015, 08:33 AM
Christine...Sign and frame that beautiful tulip! It's gorgeous!

zippie...I love your vase of violet flowers. I, too, am a 'loose-type' painter...not good with detail work at all. You did a really nice job with this...

Ural...Great job with the sunset...i was tempted to try it, as I really like doing landscapes, but thought better of it. You did it proud.

Rob...Your tulip just 'sings'! And I love the way you finished the background.
Another 'winner'!

03-23-2015, 09:17 AM
Look at this gorgeous bunch of tulips! We can all pat ourselves on the back!:lol:


03-23-2015, 12:19 PM
Today's effort. Dorothea's reference (thank you) with an idea to backlight somewhat. This is titled Bluebell Impressions because it is just an impression. 11 x 14, pastel mat, Cretacolor and nupastel first and then Terry and a few others. It is MUCH more purple but best I can show. Flowers stand out IRL. C and C MOST welcome.

Dorothea, thanks for showing a gallery of tulips. Nice!

CM Neidhofer
03-23-2015, 12:19 PM
Look at this gorgeous bunch of tulips! We can all pat ourselves on the back!:lol:


:music: "Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Me!!!!":music: :music: lol
What a lovely bunch of tulips! Great job everybody!

03-23-2015, 12:29 PM
Dorothea, how sweet of you to take time to do that! They're lovely, the way you've arranged them!

03-23-2015, 12:37 PM
Jay, we cross-posted and I didn't see your painting. Your Bluebell Impressions is lovely! It has a magical yellow-green light falling through the forest, like the light that filters through soft, green spring leaves. I like the shadows interspersed with the light, lacy foliage. This is a beautiful interpretation of Dorothea's photo!

03-23-2015, 12:58 PM
Thank you Blayne. This was very fast for me, like maybe 3 hours or a bit more. I was anxious to see if I could do this ref but didn't want tight. I can see now I've got some shadows missing in the foreground. The painting looks better IRL. Its a beautiful beautiful reference.

water girl
03-23-2015, 01:13 PM

03-23-2015, 01:32 PM
Wow, all of the tulips look lovely! It is so nice to see them all together. Jay, your Bluebell Impressions are just that! Very impressionistic. Nice work.

03-23-2015, 01:48 PM
Ural, I passed over your beautiful seascape. I love the colors of the sky and how they reflect in the water. You also resisted painting the mountains in silhouette by lighting it up. Nice job!

ural jones
03-23-2015, 03:44 PM
Jay, the Forest seems enchanted due to the
"lacy lighted leaves" as Blayne so aptly put it.
You have just enough hard edges on the trees to add interest there too!
It just feels good.
Christine nice of you to create the montage for us to see.
Thank you Cali!

And now for my final March Spotlight attempt.


03-23-2015, 04:21 PM
Oh SPRING! I hope this dose of crocus does it for our weather. (21 degrees this morning). They are so lovely, Ural. May I pick some favorites? I love the five in the back the best of all. Nice job.

Thank you for noticing some hard edges. They are tough for me. The painting probably won't escape my "helping it along". Uh oh... But what a great learning painting!

Thank you Cali. The forest was fun to do. You inspired me. I can't believe I attempted a forest!!! I'm so excited. (I think I see hansel and Gretel there).

Ural, I think it was Dorothea that put up all the tulips the tulips. Christine just showed us a second time.
(Now your other crocuses are pouting so I have to say I like them too.:lol: )

03-23-2015, 05:03 PM
I see that one little dark purple crocus pouting, eclipsed by its larger white and lavender striped cousins. I have a few of those giants, and they really are huge. Ural, your crocuses are all lovely, and I'm impressed you did a while bunch of them! They're very pretty, and especially since each is so individually shaped.

03-23-2015, 05:27 PM
Dorothea, I love it! Thanks for bringing them all together in the Spring Bouquet collage. It's a fantastic gallery. This is half the fun of the Spotlight seeing what everyone else does with the same reference. Everyone did them so well too! All different and all beautiful, some more open than others just like nature!

Jay, wow! Love your backlit forest. The light streaming through is so beautiful and I really like those bright light green leaves with light coming through them, so delicate and natural. Sometimes quick strokes make a perfect effect. The flowers are great too.

Ural, your crocuses are wonderful. Very natural and they feel more like I'm down very close to the ground finding a happy surprise, much more intimate and so natural. I love how you captured all the variations between them, shape and hue and value and angle. They are very natural and it feels like I'm out somewhere undisturbed, not like they are garden crocuses but maybe garden escapes. A sense of wildness about them.

CM Neidhofer
03-23-2015, 06:14 PM
Dorathea created the tulip collage, not me! I just commented on it.

Jay, the Forest seems enchanted due to the
"lacy lighted leaves" as Blayne so aptly put it.
You have just enough hard edges on the trees to add interest there too!
It just feels good.
Christine nice of you to create the montage for us to see.
Thank you Cali!

And now for my final March Spotlight attempt.


ural jones
03-23-2015, 06:37 PM
Oh, well thank you Dorathea for the posting of tulips.
And thanks Blayne , the little purple one is hiding!
They aren't easy to do. But not as difficult as the tulip was!
Robert, you are very kind, thank you.

03-24-2015, 11:06 AM
Thanks Dorothea for putting all the tulips together. Isn't it interesting how the same reference can generate such different interpretations!

03-24-2015, 01:38 PM
Jay, You've done a nice job with a very tricky landscape!

Ural, Those crocuses are very nice! Spring is here?

Dorothea, Thanks for the "Spring Bouquet" of our lovely tulip paintings!


03-24-2015, 02:32 PM
Thanks Don, I'm still growing those bluebells. A WIP.

03-24-2015, 04:51 PM
Well, it looks a lot more like Spring right here than it does
out my window this morning. Love that bouquet of tulips!

Sorry, I'm a bit late to the party.
I apologize, I know I've skipped some folks.
I'll try to get on board earlier next month...

Don, thanks so much for the warm welcome...maybe next month I'll
actually try to paint one of the references!

Ural, your landscape....just what I like...Full of atmosphere,
color and light. Great stuff. Also, your crocuses have that fresh dewy look with lots of variety. Really nice!

Rob, your tulip has such a great sense of depth. All those
details and layers are just so impressive. I bet it looks even better IRL!!
The background alone would make a great painting--even without the tulip.
Watching your progress on this piece is a great lesson for me.

Jay, really like your woods scene. It has that quiet, wispy feel and the more you look, the more you see. Wish I could stand in front of it and look in!

JudiB, thanks for your kind words. IMHO, nothing wrong with "loose" as long as you feel that you've accurately expressed yourself when it's finished.

Blayne, thanks for those comments. Your 'Tulip with Attitude' was killer!

I apologize, I know I'm skipping some folks, but I'm so far behind. I'll try to get in earlier next month. Thanks again everyone for the warm welcome!


03-24-2015, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the great lesson, and slipping in under the wire before the end of the month with my purple tulip. There has been some great artwork posted this month.:clap: :clap:
I have not commented on the individual artwork for which I apologize. Next month I will subscribe so I get email when there is a rely to the thread. Maybe I will not get so far behind.
I need to learn how to soften and blend without using my fingers. But fingers it was today as I just could not seem to get it to work with out using my fingers. This was done on Uart 9x12 Sanded paper. I blocked in my darks and a few lights with nu-pastels and then used a mixture of soft pastels to finish.


03-24-2015, 06:26 PM
Susan, You've done a wonderful job on the tulip! Very lovely! There are ways to blend and soften without using your fingers, but I personally find my fingers work best. They have worked best for 35 years and I have no intention of changing. The one possible drawback of using your fingers to blend is that you over-blend and dull the pastel color and sparkle. Done with a soft touch, that doesn't have to happen and it sure looks like it didn't happen on this painting! Very vibrant!


ural jones
03-24-2015, 07:02 PM
Susan, your tulip is well structured and very lovely. Well done!

03-24-2015, 09:21 PM
Zippie, thank you for your kind words. We love having you here

Susan, your tulip is exquisite! The petals seem to live. Very well done. Next month we'll be waiting for you!


03-25-2015, 07:54 AM
Susan, stunning tulip. The color seems spot on. I like the gradation from dark to lighter. It is very well blended. I has a glow. Excellent work.

03-25-2015, 08:51 AM
Susan, yours is so gorgeous! Delicate petals and smooth subtle gradations. Finger blending can be masterful and you've done something wonderful with it. Don't be embarrassed at all. The petals are translucent and so thin and natural, it's wonderful, the play of shadows and light within the flower's great. Simple background works well. Love the muted green of the stem against the saturated background, it's very cool.

It's an interesting point about finger blending. You used Nupastels and that's some of what made this come out so well. Different pastels behave differently and hard pastels seem to blend out better in terms of not overblending. Of the many different effects possible with pastels, this is a refined technique and very effective.

I went in another direction with big visible strokes, heavy impasto, less realism and more impressionism in my current paintings. But there was a time I did more realism with colored pencils and a set of Nupastels. It's just a different way of painting. You do it well.

Trying Pan Pastels might be fun with you, the applicators work well for blending. If you get a Colour Shaper, those work well to blend down into small areas. But there is something about finger blending that gives a great deal of control and an emotional intimacy with the painting. You know exactly what you're doing with a finger. You feel the pressure and no tool can match the sensitivity of your hand. Learning to use tools is useful but now that I have them - I still finger blend when that's what I need to do. I will always have more control with my fingers and that's also why I can't wear gloves to paint. They diminish my control of the stick and make it much harder to just delicately blend only a little. It's easier to go too far with a tool or gloved.

Also when using a stick, holding the stick directly without gloves makes it easier for me to control pressure. I think I paint by touch a lot of times.

03-25-2015, 11:26 AM
Susan. Beautiful tulip. I love the transparent feel to the petals.