View Full Version : The Spotlight - August 2016 - Sunsets

07-31-2016, 10:23 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…Sunsets!

This month, as we continue to enjoy beautiful summer weather here in the northeastern United States, I thought we would put the Spotlight on one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles…Sunsets!

Not too many things in nature are as beautiful as a glorious sunset! And they can be so varied and different depending on the climatic conditions and also depending on where you live.

Unfortunately, I live in only one place, nor have I traveled far from home. So I have no sunsets from the western USA, or the Mediterranean, or Scandinavia – or anyplace else! So, while I will offer a few reference pics, if you have any of your own that you would like to paint from, please do!

Since sunsets can be so varied, it is hard to come up with any sort of advice on how to paint them, but I will offer up a few tips that I have heard folks mention over the years! None of these are rules, of course, and feel free to ignore them!

Since the sun – if it is not obscured by clouds – is so bright, it is difficult to covey that sort of brightness with pastel or paint. So it might be better to keep the sun partially or fully behind clouds or obscured by a hazy sort of cloud cover, rather than paint the full sun out in the open! (Of course, as I google for sunset paintings, I see plenty that aren’t following this advice! So you don’t have to either!)

As we all know, mixing yellow and blue makes green – not often a sunset color! So what is one to do when you have the yellow sun, or yellow clouds, next to blue sky? One way to avoid mixing green, is to make sure you put some orange, and maybe also some magenta between any yellows and blues in your sunset.

As with all paintings, it might be best to simplify the clouds into larger shapes and avoid too many small shapes.

Keep in mind that the color of the light (usually more orange at sunset) will affect the other objects in the scene that are lit by that sunset colored light.

If you like to take photos of sunsets, here are some tips that I have found to work for me:

If you have a camera that you can set the exposure to over or under expose, then underexpose a little. You don’t want the lightest parts of the scene to become white if they are overexposed.

Don’t leave the scene when the sun sets. Sometimes the most beautiful colors occurs after the sun is below the horizon (the after-glow).

Look in the other directions, too. Sometimes the clouds on the opposite side of the sky are very colorful! Here is an example of a photo I took in the Adirondacks that is facing in the opposite direction of the actual setting sun:


Of course, if the sun is not obscured or getting duller as it nears the horizon, don’t look through the camera at the sun or look directly at the sun.

I’m sure some folks think sunsets are too much of a cliché to be the subject of “serious” painting. In fact, I found very few sunset paintings by famous painters. Perhaps the quickly changing colors – and short duration of those colors - were a deterrent to painting sunsets for any plein air painters! But one of my favorite contemporary painters does paint a lot of sunset paintings – Ovanes Berberian. He is an oil painter, but as we have seen in the past, pastels and oils can be applied similarly and can look quite similar,too. Here are a few of his works (please keep in mind that these works are copyrighted and used here for educational purposes. Do not copy or reproduce.)


Here Berberian has kept the cloud shape large and simple. Also note that the trees lit by the sun take on an orange and red appearance.


Here the clouds are a bit more complex, but still kept large and simple. In fact, all the major cloud shapes are connected into one big shape!

Here’s a link to one of his paintings in progress (2nd picture down, click on it to make it larger):


In the upper part of the painting, you can see larger areas of color still unblended and unfinished. One can imagine using the side of a pastel to create those strokes rather than a large paintbrush! Away from the brighter sunset colors, those colors are lovely shades of colorful grays!

OK, it’s time for the references!

(all photos by me)






As always, feel free to modify my references. And please feel free to use your own sunset pics, too!

Happy painting!


08-01-2016, 04:52 AM
Hi Don,

Thanks a lot. I find it hard to paint sky in a believable way.
If anyone is interested Les Darlow seems to like painting sunsets and sunrises and has couple of demonstrations on Youtube.

08-01-2016, 03:09 PM
Wow, thank you Don. Those examples are astonishing and inspiring. His canvas is so luminuous that it seems to create its own light. I look back at a few I've done (Some I had even been satified with), that are pretty images, but fall short of evoking the dazzling experience of real-life the way his do.

08-01-2016, 04:05 PM
I'll start us off with an old one I did a few months ago and I may have put it up already?. it came out the way I envisioned when I painted it, but for the exercise this month I would like to do one that brings in some of that glow and vividness from your examples. This was on canson and the colors were pretty subdued. Maybe I'll use a sanded paper and bolder color choices for the next one.

08-01-2016, 06:16 PM
wow Kim, that's really nice! :)

08-01-2016, 07:49 PM
Now for the new one. I am aiming for more vibrancy in this one. It still doesn't have that amazing glow in sample paintings, but it's closer. This isn't the greatest picture. It isn't as blotchy and smudgy looking as it appears here. This is from Goodspeed Airport.


08-02-2016, 10:06 AM
Wow, that's bold! I like how the sky is dramatic and suggests speed and movement with those yellows rays/clouds. It correspondents beautifully with the airport theme.

I haven't decided yet if I join you. All my attempts so far looked very unnatural.

Btw. here is something about sunset from the member of WC, Deborah:

08-02-2016, 11:41 AM

There were nice clouds on the eastern side of the sky yesterday, just like Don had said.

I have tried Fisher 400 for the first time. Wow, what a paper!

I don't think it is finished. Feel free to comment and to point out all possible problems. Thank you.


08-02-2016, 12:59 PM
Oh I'm glad you joined, Nick. The clouds on the left in your painting are luscious! I especially like the way you drew the lower cloud with the yellows and pinks, and how the sky picks up a little gold tone there. The right side isn't as distinct for me, maybe a little storminess brewing?

Thank you for the kind comments on mine. It was fun to pull out that garish hot pink Sennelier that I've never used before.

08-02-2016, 01:19 PM
Thank you, Kim. Yes, the right side needs something more. There were darker thin clouds, not lit by the sun, coming in front of those two big clouds.
I need to study the photo more to find out how to paint that effect.

08-02-2016, 02:09 PM
DON, I'm so glad this month has 90 days!!! This is one of my favorite subjects. Thank you. I love the references...especially that Eastern sky. And the cat tails, and the fisherman. And the....

Kim. I really like the new work very very much. It's bold! Maybe don't touch it for a bit. Really cool.

And Mr. Nick! The one who says he can't do skies???? Beautiful beautiful!!!! This is some competition this month!!!

I framed this morning. Three more ready for delivery. Good thing I have a big family!!!

08-02-2016, 03:14 PM
Jay, I have been thinking about framing all the time. But then I always decide to buy papers or pastels instead of investing into framing... *kind of sad smiley* :)

90 days? What am I missing here? :D

And thank you... You know you can say openly what you don't like, don't you? :) For example, I see a pig head in the upper cloud :D It has nice pointy ear and a blue eye.
So, now I don't know if it should stay that way (clouds always remind us of something) or if it is mandatory to change that :D

08-02-2016, 05:20 PM
Since you showed me the pig.....

The most important thing is how you feel. If you eye a pig every time you look, then you won't be happy.

90 days. I LIKE this spotlight so I'm sure this month lasts for 90 days. :wink2: :clap: :lol:

08-02-2016, 06:22 PM
:) 90 days full of sunsets sounds good!

08-02-2016, 06:47 PM
Kim, Lovely, energetic paintings! Your work always has lots of movement and energy!

Nick, Really nice job on those clouds! You've done a nice job using lots of subtle colors and shapes!

Hmmm...90 days of sunsets? That would take care of the Spotlights for September and October. That would give me a nice long break...hmmmm....


08-03-2016, 11:27 AM
Thank you, don.

While you certainly deserve a 90 day vacation if you wanted to take one, I sure look forward to the first of every month to see what you have in store.

08-03-2016, 01:22 PM
After this morning's effort, I think SIX days of sunsets sound just fine!!! Wow. Worked so hard and could not achieve the effect I wanted. So, critique away. Pastel Premier white without watercolor underpainting. (Hence part of the problem.) Caran d'ache hard pastels. Nothing performed for me today. I sprayed. Sprayed again later. I'll leave it for a day or two and try again. 10 x 12. I wanted that almost dark but the far field..I wanted it to glow with a ghostly fog. Not too much to ask, right? Maybe the elves will fix it!! There is hope!!! Comments welcome. come one, come all.

08-03-2016, 01:51 PM
Don, thank you. And yes, you certainly deserve vacation!

Jay, I think it looks good. I like the trees. And the landscape does glow.
Perhaps you could make a small change in the right tree. I love its top. But it starts just at the same height where the line of the trees behind it ends.

Hmm. Better try it first in Photoshop, maybe it would lose its fragility.

So, elves, huh? :D

08-03-2016, 02:10 PM
Thanks nick. I think the left tree is too skinny. And the right tree needs more dark what tree do you think ends at the distant tree line? The far right? My fir trees look like Eiffel towers!

It's funny. As I was having all this trouble today, I was sitting opposite the same paper framed into a favorite painting. So it's hanging there on the wall saying "nah nah...you can't do it..."

08-03-2016, 02:19 PM
Jay, forget what I said. Now, I am not quite sure if it was a good idea.

This is what I meant:


But if you make the tree darker closer to the top (even though not all the way up, just a little above the tree line), the whole painting will look different I am afraid.

Don't feel bad, I tried a mini demo by Karen Margulis today and I am not happy with that at all :lol: She is able to layer so much that I never know what colors to use.

08-03-2016, 02:30 PM
Thanks for taking the time Nick. Keep that axe away from my trees!!!:eek: :evil: :lol:

08-03-2016, 03:07 PM
I like the composition and I think it's well drawn. I think your relative distances came across correctly also. Tree in center- right is closest, tree on the left is next back, and tree on the far right is farthest back.

However, it does seem like it's at an unfinished stage compared to the style I'm used to seeing from you As though you still intend to put more layers.

08-03-2016, 03:13 PM
Ooh, sunsets! Love painting them....even though it has been said, and maybe correctly, that a sunset is so special any painting of one will be second class. Hmm, maybe why you couldn't find many Don? I don't care, I love painting them from time to time and have even sold a couple.

Here are some of my favourites

Heacham Sunset, from my own photo taken on the North Norfolk coast, where we are on the East coast but the shape of the coast means Heacham faces west :)


From my own photo taken on a trip to Finland in 2014. Love the Baltic sea :heart:


From a copyright free photo, I regret I cannot remember who the photographer was. One of my first left handed paintings after my right arm was broken.


And now I see a photo here which I simply cannot resist! Away for the weekend but I'll work on it next week. :clap:

Thank you to Nick 7 for the PM which brought me back to the Spotlight this month! ;)

08-03-2016, 03:32 PM
oh, here comes the Master :clap:

Ruthie, you make it look so easy! I like them all, but especially how you did the little waves in the second one. I was trying to paint this:

But it ended up looking really silly :D

08-03-2016, 03:46 PM
Wow! that's a fabulous sunset scene! I'll let you into a secret...I have problems with those little waves reflecting the light and shadow too, especially if I try to copy them from the photo. I find it best to just add slightly curved streaks of the different colours, as in the Finland one. Less is often more you know ;)
And...Master? I don't think so! But thank you anyway :)

08-03-2016, 03:46 PM
Ruthie. Gorgeous gorgeous! I'm happy you'll join us next week.

Kay: yes, thank you. I never got to the soft pastel stage. Just struggle struggle. And I didn't really so the sky and this is sunset spotlight. I shouldn't have posted but I need to post when I stop. It's a way of allowing me to stop and breathe. It's in the thinking place, my mantle.

Nick. That is a beautiful reference but after I saw your clouds, I know you can do this. Show us when you can. When you're comfortable with it. Isn't this FUN?

08-03-2016, 04:19 PM
Don't be too shy, Ruthie :) Your work speaks for itself!
I feel like there will be lots of copying :angel:

Jay, I painted it on a dark blue Canson. It looked like everything was made out of wool. Warm and fluffy, nothing like water :lol:

But yes, it will haunt me if I don't try again...

And I am glad you posted it! It's important to know how a painting develops. Remember my pears? :lol::lol::lol:

08-03-2016, 04:25 PM
I've been a no-show for so long, I decided it was time to get back in the game.
and these gorgeous sunsets are just the thing to get me inspired.

Kim....your sunsets glow....Nicely done.

Nick...I love your clouds...so soft and puffy.

Ruthie....good to see you back. and your work is beautiful as always. You make things look so easy....

Jay...Your rendition of the sunset scene is soft and lovely...i'm sure you will finish it beautifully.

I actually started that scene this morning, myself, and had a hard time with it.
I scrubbed it all off and started again...maybe a bit better, but I will check it again tomorrow to be sure.

08-03-2016, 04:43 PM
Nick, may I paint from your photo above? I'm thinking a wet underpainting and trying to reproduce those fabulous colours. I could do a WIP perhaps? ;)

08-03-2016, 05:19 PM
oooooh, that would be wonderful! :D

It's actually a printscreen from a video clip :)

Judi, welcome back!

08-03-2016, 08:57 PM
Jay, Your scene is looking good, but once you start adding softer pastels, they will give you a more brilliant, more solid, opaque covering! That's one disadvantage to hard pastels, they just aren't brilliant and intense. The paper may not be helping either - don't know anything about that brand. Does it have enough tooth to layer the soft pastels?

Ruth, So glad you have joined us! Lovely sunset paintings! I'm definitely looking forward to your next one, too!


08-03-2016, 09:08 PM
Jay, I'm glad you posted the painting and I'll look forward to seeing how it Develops!

Ruthie, you are back and with some wonderful gems to share. Thank you! I was just thinking about you and how I'd love to see what your take on sunsets... And my wish came true :)

And judibelle too! I can't wait to see you come up with!

08-04-2016, 11:21 AM
I will be glad for any tip! :clear:
Thank you


08-04-2016, 11:46 AM
OMG, Nick! Bold and beautiful!!! I have to go look at the reference.

Is the reference in the Spotlight? Looking quickly I'm stunned by all this beautiful work.

Nick, this is really cool. Maybe modify the dark shapes on the right? I LOVE your sun. That is so hard to get right.

08-04-2016, 11:57 AM
839279Don, Thank you. Yes the paper did have tooth. I did a quick spray and went on with Great American pastels after finding notes on a previous painting that I loved on the same paper. I had done that one also without a watercolor underpainting and noted that I used GA. It's a favorite of mine so...I had a plan!

Before I added the GA, I scuffed in many areas of the painting with an old oil brush. That pushed some of the pastel into the divots. Also helped me smooth out the GA if I turned chicken.

I was about to say "here's the painting". and realize I haven't loaded it yet. Bbl

The photo is emphasizing the white areas. But just to give an idea, "here's the painting." All comments welcome. I'll try to get a better photo. It's darker IRL.

08-04-2016, 12:20 PM
I'm happier with the look of this one but IRL, it looks more like evening.

08-04-2016, 12:41 PM
Jay, I am impressed at all the work you do (preparing the surface and all the different techniques). I just cut a paper :D

I like the glow. I really can't see anything to change. Well done!

The picture I used is from pixabay

I wish I knew how to paint it more...fragile? :)

08-04-2016, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the comments Nick. I'll let it sit a bit. So hard to get that night look.

If anyone has had ideas how I can achieve the evening look....please?

I couldn't link to the photo. It says No Hot Linking. I think what you have looks great. I was just curious about the shapes on the right. I love what you have right now. If you want it more delicate, do another one. This one is looking so good. IMHO, of course.

08-04-2016, 12:59 PM

Perhaps this will work...

08-04-2016, 01:05 PM
I was able to click on the link with my iPad..the one in post 37. What a beautiful reference! Complicated. Difficult!

08-04-2016, 01:59 PM
Oh my goodness, Nick, that's gorgeous! Frame it!

Jay, I like the alterations you made a lot. It's a very pretty painting and that sweeping orange sky looks lovely.

08-04-2016, 02:23 PM
Thanks Kay. Your comments and critiques are very very helpful to me. Please don't hold back is you see where I can improve. Thank you.

(As I look at it I can heat Jackie talking about uneven intervals regarding the sky...oh well...). Maybe I'll work on it again. Not today!

I agree. Nick! Frame time!!!

08-04-2016, 02:56 PM
Jay, I haven't noticed, but you are probably right. Perhaps just getting rid of the far left pink stripe would be enough :) It's a nice painting!

Your comments are very flattering, I didn't think it was very good. I need to learn to accept that a painting can hardly be the same as the reference photo. Especially with sunsets...
But still, if you see what could be improved I would like to hear it :) The left reflections are better than the right ones in my opinion. But I don't know why :D

08-04-2016, 03:07 PM
I like both reflections, both sides. Maybe the one on the right could be broken a bit not to have two equal bumps?

I like the way you did the trees on the left and on the extreme right..jagged tops. The part on the middle of the right looks a bit square. Maybe that is bothering you? Rough up the top of that? But it's looks so good, I hate to have you touch it. Enjoy it for a few days. Live with it. You deserve it!!

08-05-2016, 11:57 AM
Thank you, Jay. I think I will slightly correct the reflections on the right according to the trees above.

I have managed to paint another small one. I don't think I have ever painted a beach and I will appreciate any tips :) Thank you.


08-05-2016, 12:10 PM
Nick, it's nice to see you trying things out. Your water is believable. Distant shore looks good. Do I see a teeny tiny sailboat? The reflection on the wet sand is gorgeous. Where do you want us to look? The sky or the wet sand? I bounce between the two. I think you're having FUN!!! Nice beach!!!

08-05-2016, 12:26 PM
LOL, Jay, I am not sure where do I want you to look. But I understand what you mean.
This is the photo:
I didn't want to have the two people there and I lost the point of interest. I started with the dark blue sand but then I remembered Jackie :D and changed the colors...

08-05-2016, 12:45 PM
Nick, I suspect that photo was enhanced to push the orange. Your painting is better than the photo. But missing the people. Hmmmm.

08-05-2016, 01:27 PM
Don, in the reference with the rushes in the water, is the water partially frozen?

08-05-2016, 03:17 PM
Nick...Great energy in your beach painting., and you bold sunset is lovely. I like the way you did the distant shoreline, with the sun just peeking over the trees.

Jay, your painting turned out beautifully....and yes, the start of evening is brilliant.
I thought i had done that same photo, but it was the other with the trees that I actually did. Can't say I'm thrilled with it, but for the first try in several months, i'm ok with it as a study.


It's been so long that I've done this, I forgot how...hope this turns out ok...

08-05-2016, 03:20 PM
Nick, Some lovely bold paintings! You are doing great with your landscapes!

Judy, Glad you are back and painting! Nicely done!


08-05-2016, 03:21 PM
Don, in the reference with the rushes in the water, is the water partially frozen?

For reasons unclear to me, that is what it looks like:confused:. But, no, the pic was taken a week ago, daytime temp near 90! I would probably paint the water bluer than it looks in the photo!


08-05-2016, 04:09 PM
Oh my I love the sunsets you guys have posted!
Kim, beautiful paintings, my fave is the first one..loving the greys that pop that yellow so well!
Nick - that first one of yours is wow,,awesome clouds
Ruthie, yes I say you are the master, fantastic!
Jay, your composition is very pleasing, great depth and softness! Those colors are really working now!
Judibelle, so soft and pretty, gorgeous sky

So here is my sunset, I started this some months ago with acrylics and have finished off with pastel on top. Its a large canvas about 16x20. Mixed media so hope you dont mind.

And here is the ref photo I used

08-05-2016, 04:18 PM
Thanks Don. I'm thinking it is just the evening sky without cloud to reflect the sunset. And that plain sky is reflected in the water? Beautiful reference.

Judibelle, I think you painting is more than a study and very sweet. So glad you're back.

Raini, a choice! I just LOVE the second one. I love the boldness. Maybe if I touch it, some of the bold will rub off on me!!! The first was is high drama! Exciting!

08-05-2016, 04:22 PM
Jay, thanks lol but the second one is a photograph that I used for reference..maybe I should try it again and stay more true! Feel free to use the ref if anyone wants to try it :)

08-05-2016, 04:48 PM
:angel: IM SORRY!!! Not wearing my glasses...(of course I don't need them...). Lovely reference

08-05-2016, 04:58 PM
No worries Jay :wave: I like the ref too!

08-05-2016, 07:04 PM
Hi Judi, it's great to see you back! Aren't the pauses without painting frustrating? And the comeback is always so hard! We better avoid the pauses! :D
I like the purple you used it the sky.

Rainy, yours reminds me of a fairytale garden :) Pink and violet and very soft shadows. Nice!

08-05-2016, 07:33 PM
Thanks Nick☺️ I stumbled across a Scottish artist by the name of Scott Naismith on YouTube who's work I admire very much. He uses the CMYK color wheel. I had lots of fun exploring this!

08-05-2016, 07:56 PM
Thank you Don, Nick, Raini and Jay....it ISgood to be back!

Raini I love the colors in your sunset, and I especially like the way you did the trees. I can never get mine to really look right.

08-05-2016, 11:38 PM
:D :D :D Thank you Judi, I feel the tree pain lol! These turned out nicely but let me tell you trees and me have a love hate thing going on :D
Watched a few of Karen Margulis videos and picked up some very helpful ideas about contrasting grounds for trees, makes the greens very dynamic...same tip from Scott Naismith about greys in sky's...they should always be dynamic! Maybe that's an idea for a spotlight ...Lordy knows I can always use more practice! :lol:

08-06-2016, 01:55 AM
I just saw this. Here's a sunset I did last month. It's only my second one, just playing around with my new Rembrandt pastels on Reeves pastel paper. A3 size.

08-06-2016, 05:35 AM
Wow, Kerri, that is dynamic! Beautiful. Come join us and do more!!

08-06-2016, 06:08 AM
Thanks, Jay. I plan to :)

08-06-2016, 07:02 AM
Hi Kerri and welcome to The Spotlight! That purple cloud is fantastic and such great contrast against the orange. I like the breaking wave, nicely done water😄

08-06-2016, 07:43 AM
Hi Kerri.....the energy in your sunset painting is palpable....looking forward to seeing more...

08-06-2016, 08:20 AM
Kerri, I really like how you painted the sea!

08-06-2016, 11:10 AM
ok. Third time's a charm? Thanks to Don's thoughts, (cool down the yellow greens, make the trees darker to make it look like oncoming night.) and Thanks to the artist references he put up and quotes from that artists teacher...I think I got it. Took out the Terry Ludwig for the end. Power houses. All comments welcome. I THINK I like it. Someone please tell me if I do!!!

08-06-2016, 11:27 AM
So much better Jay! Your sky is fantastic, the glow from the sunset reflecting on the trees and a hint of the pinks and oranges in the grass peeking thru the deeper shadows, great shapes on the trees too ...I like it! :clap:

08-06-2016, 11:37 AM
Jay, it does look better and better! I like it too. :)

08-06-2016, 11:44 AM
Raini, Lovely painting! Love those clouds especially!

Kerri, Thanks for joining us! Very bold and beautiful painting! Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Jay, Yes! The darker, less intense colors of the foreground put more emphasis on the sky! And you've still retained the colorful aspects of the foreground trees and grasses! Lovely!


08-06-2016, 11:57 AM
Thanks RAINI, NICK AND DON. thanks everyone.

08-06-2016, 12:04 PM
The darker, less intense colors of the foreground put more emphasis on the sky!

Don, thank you for the explanation. :)

08-06-2016, 04:31 PM
WOW Jay...Fantastic Finish! Love it!

08-06-2016, 05:13 PM
I love when people are willing to share their knowledge and to give advice how to improve the painting. Thank you, Jay, for posting the painting early and to let us see how it developed.

08-07-2016, 12:21 AM
Thank you all so much for the encouraging feedback :)
I love looking through and seeing how everyone approaches things so differently and get such gorgeous effects with completely different methods.

08-07-2016, 12:29 AM
This is the first sunset I tried. Rembrandt pastels on Reeves pastel paper A3 size. I was quite pleased with how it was going, but there was a windmill in the foreground, and when I tried to put it in, I completely ruined it. I might try it again some time in the future, because I love the image, but for now, this is as far as this particular version will go.


08-07-2016, 06:08 AM
Kerri, this is beautiful! The sky is so well done and I really looked but can't see where it's "ruined"??

08-07-2016, 06:48 AM
This is really very nice! You work so big...
Recently, I started to work on A5... (I don't know the size in inches, but it's a half of an office paper)

08-07-2016, 07:43 AM
Lol, Raini, yeah, this is a pic I took before I started trying to put in the windmill.

Nick, I find working small harder. I think it takes more skill to get the detail in a smaller piece. With a big one, you can kinda just splash stuff around, so to speak.

08-07-2016, 08:41 AM
Thank you JudiB.

Nick. I think that is what WC is all about. Artists for artists. Honest comments are helpful to my growth. We have a gift in Don's Spotlights. I like sharing his suggestions. Glad you enjoyed.

08-07-2016, 09:29 AM
Kerri, that is beautiful! Really beautiful. I hope you can save it...it's so worth it!

Are you sure it's ruined? Sometimes I use a soft brush to clear off a bad patch. Sometimes I use masking tape to remove pastel. Someone said to use canned air. Charlie said to use some baking soda.

I hope you can simply go over the area. This is a beauty.

08-07-2016, 09:56 AM
Kerri, you can also use a putty rubber - a true lifesaver :)

08-08-2016, 12:09 AM
Yeah, I don't think I can fix it. But that's ok, I can just do it again. I learnt a lot from it, so hopefully, when I do it again, it will be even better. I've got better paper to work on now :)

08-08-2016, 02:29 AM
Jay, the final turned out great!

Kerri, both paintigs are beautiful. Shame about the windmill. The sky in this painting was stunning. Thank you for sharing it

08-08-2016, 07:13 AM
Thanks Kay.

Kerri, it's only paper and dust, right? Looking forward to seeing more. That sure was a beauty.

08-08-2016, 10:39 AM
Hi Folks,
Jumping in here after a lengthy hiatus...
Laughed at the suggestion sunsets may be cliched because who can resist???
Hoping to tackle at least one of the photo references but here's an effort from last year.
I wanted to see the effect of working on a black background, this is a smooth sketching paper so I realize I could have got better depth of colour with a textured surface.
Otherwise comments welcome!
The photo is from a trip made to the Gaspe region (Quebec) of Eastern Canada.


08-08-2016, 10:48 AM
Lovely, Leslie! And a beautiful reference. Will you do it again now and join us?

08-08-2016, 10:58 AM
Hi Leslie!

What a beautiful photo! Your painting is nice, I hope we will see more from you :)

08-08-2016, 11:09 AM
Lovely, Leslie! And a beautiful reference. Will you do it again now and join us?

Yes...looking forward to participating !

08-08-2016, 12:47 PM
Hi Leslie! Wow, love those colors, beautiful 👍 Looking forward to seeing more from you!

08-08-2016, 03:41 PM
Ooh, I go away for a weekend and come back to a multitude of beautiful sunsets! Sorry I don't have the time to respond to all of them but there are some great pieces here. Nick, I must say one thing...you don't need no demo!!!
I'll try and do one tomorrow and join in for the rest of the month, as long as things don't move TOO fast!

08-08-2016, 09:51 PM
Kerri, Too bad your windmill painting didn't work out! That sky is lovely!

Leslie, Thanks for joining us! What a lovely sunset painting and photo! Looking forward to seeing more of your work!


08-09-2016, 07:48 AM
Oh, Ruthie, sure I do! And would love to see one of yours if you feel like making one :)

Here is my today's attempt. And comment is very welcomed. I am not quite sure about the middle part for example.

Thank you!


08-09-2016, 08:08 AM
This looks gorgeous. museum of Modern art is missing a piece, I presume?

08-09-2016, 08:11 AM
haha, Jay, you are so funny! I will let it for a while to find out how I feel about it.
I used this picture:
Maybe I will try another one with the tree...

08-09-2016, 08:48 AM
Nice one Nick, i like your color choices! What support are you using? I've had my head buried in a new (for me) website with tons of free art magazines to read ...www.issuu.com. It's raining outside (pouring buckets...you would think we live in a rain forest and not the prairies lol) ...oh what to do on a rainy summer day...your piece has me motivated to try another sunset...off to play I go!

08-09-2016, 08:56 AM
Thanks Raini.
It's Fisher400.

Oh that website looks good. The last thing I needed :D

08-09-2016, 11:23 AM
I apologize for putting it here. It would be more appropriate for the previous Spotlight. It's a small painting done for learning purposes and hopefully you can help me with that :)
I was following the demo Paula Ford posted in her thread here:

I am trying to learn how to paint "distant anonymous trees". I can't find out how to give them the proper form and how to paint the ground below. I start with a very dark green or violet and then add lighter and lighter greens. But it hardly ever satisfies me. Maybe because of the shape of the small marks? Does the marks made with lighter colors need to be also smaller (and smaller)? How many greens do you like to usually use?
This is not the first demo by Paula that I have done, but I still don't seem to get it :angel:
I have checked her Spotlight about trees
and Don's Spotlight about green

Thank you very much


08-09-2016, 01:05 PM
Dbl post

08-09-2016, 01:07 PM
Wow, Nick, you're on a roll! The sunset is another suitable for framing. So simple and beautiful. It really makes a statement. This demo is lovely too. The background trees look like you achieved what you were aiming for.

Just to play with different colors and effects, I did a Nupastel sketch on a small 9x5 piece of dark brown canson paper.


08-09-2016, 01:42 PM
Nick, your demo trees look like distant trees. What is making you unhappy? Or are you talking about the ones in the middle ground?

Kim, I particularly love what you did on the upper part of the painting. I like the whole painting very much. Moody. Would be neat framed, I think. If you frame, please show us?

08-09-2016, 01:47 PM
Oh, I wonder how a painting would look, if your sketch is this great!

I think I need to change those trees. I will have to let it sit and think about it.

And thanks. Perhaps I need to keep things simple. I have just brushed off this one: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/07/09/14/56/sunset-1506365_960_720.jpg

:lol: :lol:

And I started to work small (I cut 9x12 sheet into four) that helps too.

08-09-2016, 01:54 PM
Jay, the distant row of the trees. I think I made it not variable enough. The ground under the two trees in the middle. And the bush on the right, maybe its lightest leaves are too long. It looks like a cardoon :D *sigh*
Maybe it can't be explained how to do it and I need to paint them many times to get how to twist the pastel in my fingers.

08-09-2016, 02:04 PM
I looked at that demo. (Thanks for sharing it.). She seems to paint her distant trees like little clusters. Little a little pile of popcorn. Add some raisins and some chocolate...

Small is hard, IMHO!!! Good luck.
Could not see the link.
Omg. I saw the reference. Good luck with that one!!!!

08-09-2016, 02:41 PM
I'm with you, Jay, I think that small is harder too... but it's also freeing, maybe because it takes less time and uses up less material. When I want to encourage myself to be more prolific in my exploration, I'll cut pages up like Nick mentioned. In fact, that's what I did with the sketch above (The other half of the page is a white charcoal portrait). I was doubtful about the dark brown background for a sunset, but it did come out moody. The photo is in poor quality. The colors are more saturated than they appear there.


08-09-2016, 02:50 PM
Nick, I love your colour choices in the first one. It is so peaceful and harmonious. Not sure it needs any more, except maybe cropping :)
And the second one.....I looked at that demo. I was one of the first to reply, way back in 2010!! I've compared the two and the hill and far tree colours are quite similar. In both paintings those colours are also similar value. it seems to me that your hills pop out, maybe the tops need softening against the sky? Where Paula's trees have some form and subtle variegation of colour yours maybe need just a little more form? To me the hills push forward because of the extra definition. I hope this makes sense!
Kedwards, I love this one. That light at the top is beautiful!

08-09-2016, 02:55 PM
Today I chose Don's photo which spoke to me, did a load of thumbnails in landscape format, then did one in portrait and decided on that......then I turned the paper and did it in landscape afterall! :wink2:

A couple of progress shots, though not really a WIP. This is on re-claimed fisher 400.



and the finish


I wasn't really happy with this 90 minute effort, so......to be continued.....:evil:

08-09-2016, 03:00 PM
.......I decided to do a quickie, this time in portrait format. I was trying to get the lovely shapes of the light. This one took me 30 minutes exactly....what I allowed myself. I MAY go back to it, but it wouold probably be best if I didn't! :cat:


I know it looks similar, same palette too, but I like this one MUCH better :)

08-09-2016, 03:06 PM
I do too, Ruthie. The first is very pretty and well-done, but the second is a stronger design and quite striking. Gorgeous work, as always!

08-09-2016, 03:19 PM
I can't stop looking at that second one, Ruthie. The shapes are fascinating and the orange glows like fire dancing above the horizon.

08-09-2016, 03:33 PM
Well, I have to join the party. By no means finished...I'm not quick like you folks with more experience But this is 10 x 12. Charcoal, watercolor map, and then some bright pastels for a start.
Same reference as Ruthie's in case you didn't recognize it.

Ruthie, your ROCK!!

08-09-2016, 04:34 PM
Kim, I love the portrait! You manage to tell so much with just a few strokes. And the sunset is great! :)

Ruthie, thank you! I will try that one for sure :) I like the first one more as a whole. But I like the water, reflections and the reeds in the latter one a lot. On second thought... the first one has nice highlights on the reeds... and I like the water too. LOL! I love them both :D
And so much thinking before you even begin! I need to made myself do that too.
Thank you for the tips about the landscape. :wave:

Jay, I like the underpainting. And the reeds (watercolor only so far?) and the pink reflection. I am looking forward to seeing more!

08-09-2016, 05:03 PM
Nick, there is a little pastel. Mostly the bright orange and some yellow. I went right to soft pastels after the watercolor underpainting. Didn't do anything on those distant trees or the reeds. That is charcoal. (I watched a McKinley video.)

Thank you.

Kim, I saw your sketch on the computer. Had seen earlier on iPad. What a difference in color between iPad and computer. I really like that sketch and I didn't even know the other half of the page was there. iPad gave no hint. Interesting.

oH! I see it was a new post. Love the colors.

08-10-2016, 07:17 AM
An experiment :) Any tip is very welcomed, I have never tried to paint silhouettes. Many of the stems of grass are blurred in the photo. I was not sure if I needed to include them as well (painted with grey stick?)


08-10-2016, 07:24 AM
Very pretty, Nick. The lower edge of the dark grass is lovely.

08-10-2016, 07:28 AM
Thank you, Jay. I am not sure if I get back to that complex sunset scene :clear: I find it easier to layer as less as possible so that the colors stay bright. And those clouds definitely call for lots of layers...

08-10-2016, 08:34 AM
Wow! You folks have been so busy and productive!

Nick, your "modern art" sunset is lovely! I just wonder if you need to add a second "coat" of orange and yellow to get those colors to be a bit brighter. Just a few strokes on top might give them more punch. I would say that almost every pastel I do, the brightest colors need a bit of a refresh at the very end. Just a thought.

Your "Paula Ford" landscape is nicely done! The only thing that I see that is a bit different from Paula's is the main trees. She has a bit more detail on the edges making her tree silhouettes more defined. You also have a bit of a larger shadow shape on the right side of the biggest tree where she has a bit more detail there. Those are real nit-picks - you've done an excellent job. The distant trees look good.

Kim, Your "sketch" is very nice! Lovely color harmonies!

That was page 7 - now onto page 8!


08-10-2016, 08:41 AM
Ruth, very nice paintings! I agree that the second version captures the scene better! Lovely shapes and colors!

Jay, Your off to a great start! Just a bit more color with pastels and call it finished!

Nick, You continue to out-do yourself! This is fantastic! Your color gradations of the sky are spot on! Silhouettes are the key to painting shapes! I like the way you have allowed the brightness of the sun to "wash out" the silhouetted branches in front!

I hope I didn't miss anyone!


08-10-2016, 09:12 AM
jay, nice work, and thank you for sharing the underpainting. I haven't done much with underpainting so it's educational to see how different people approach it. I can't wait to see your finished product!

Nick, the reeds are beautiful! How did you get the dark colors to paint over the background so well and with such fine lines? I have a view of the sunrise through trees out my front window and I always wanted to paint it, but it would have to be done similar to the way you did this one... sillouettes over the background... and I didn't think I could do it with pastels. Now I see that it can :)

08-10-2016, 09:20 AM
Keeping you busy, DON! Thanks.

Kim, I have to underpainting with the white paper to fill the divots. ( I like to paint on white with some lighter areas showing through.) Hope I can do this one; it's such a cool reference. And this time, I didn't use hard pastels first. Maybe it will free me up a bit. Thanks

08-10-2016, 09:42 AM
Don, thank you very much for your tips. I will try to change both paintings. Thank you.

Kim, it's on Fisher paper and the tooth was not filled when I started to paint the reeds. I used very light touch of a pastel pencil, letting it just glide over the abrasive parts. Sometimes I twisted the pencil to keep the point sharp during the single stroke. I bet that for you it will be a piece of cake!

08-10-2016, 09:49 AM
Well, here is another experiment :D


I wonder how to effectively simplify so many small reflections :clear:

08-10-2016, 11:36 AM
Do you know when you spent too much time painting? When you realize you sanded off the skin on your fingertip *facepalm* I need to reconsider using alcohol instead of trying to blend the first layers on a sanded paper...

I think this will do for couple of days :lol: I am taking a break :angel:


08-10-2016, 04:08 PM
How fast this thread moves! hard for an oldie like me to keep up :wink2:

Kim, thanks! When I see the two as thumbnails they look the same, except for the format...sigh.
Jay, thanks! I roll sometimes too :lol:
Nick, you are just like me, undecided over the two. Maybe it's because all my work ends up looking the same, be it a quick sketch or a more considered study. Maybe I should just sketch!
Thanks Don! Tell me, where was this photo taken? A friend has likened it to the Baltic Sea in Finland where she lives. Was it in NY state? Which lake?

Nick, love the one with the grasses, the colours are beautiful. It reminds me of one I did a while back, not a sunset but grasses against the sky. Yes, why not add a few blurred ones. the eye would not see every blade and flower in detail after all.
You have been so busy! Good work. Love the way you opened a gap in the treeline too! Blending with fingers on sanded paper??? Try packing peanuts or pipe insulation. It's much better for the fingerprints!

08-10-2016, 04:10 PM
Jay, whoops, forgot to comment on yours. It's a really good watercolour foundation you have there. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

08-10-2016, 04:37 PM
No problem, Ruthie. Thanks. And I'm glad to hear you rock AND roll.

Nick, I love the light zig zagging across the sky. Post 124. Just love that one. I wish I could see the reference for the other one. Is that a close up of reeds with reflection of sun?

Nick, time out. Rest. Grow back the ridges of your fingers!!! Breathe!!!

08-10-2016, 04:52 PM
Ruthie, I know that painting of yours. I have spent a lot of time browsing your gallery :)

It's good that your sketches are so good :D Consider selling them as well!

I have tried peanuts, but the Fisher400 seems to tear them. So, I don't know. A. Handell uses a piece of cloth, maybe I should give it a try.
Thank you :)

Jay, really? I had a lot's of doubts about that one as well. But I had fun while painting, even though I am doubtful about the results.
I will sent you the link to the reference, if you can't open it from here.
Thank you.

08-10-2016, 05:03 PM
Ah, so you're the one who looks at my website Nick! :thumbsup: :rolleyes:
Maybe you are too rough with the peanuts...a gentle touch is best. I use pipe insulation because I have lots of it!

08-10-2016, 05:25 PM
Ruthie, I bet I am not the only one! :)
Yeah, it seems that I should have been more gentle with my fingers too!

08-10-2016, 09:09 PM
Nick, Your "experiments" are continuously wonderful! Direct & bold!

Ruth, That photo is taken overlooking Braddock Bay off Lake Ontario just west of Rochester.


08-11-2016, 12:30 AM
Nick, love your work! I've discovered foam pipe insulation for blending is great. It comes in a long sort of hose and is really easy to cut off a piece the size and shape you want. It washes easily for re-use. I got some at Bunnings for something like $3.50.

08-11-2016, 03:30 AM
Thanks Don! I will be getting familiar with the Canadian side of lake Ontario in early October on a two week trip with friends. Can't wait!
I went to Rochester and Niagara way back in 1990 with family. Shame I didn't know you then. :)

08-11-2016, 06:42 AM
Thank you, Kerri. I feel pretty silly because I use sandpaper for "technical" works. I should have realized it would work on my fingers just as well as it worked on wood :D
I guess gentle Sanfix, Colorfix and La Carte have spoiled me.

08-11-2016, 07:29 AM
LOL Nick. I imagine sandpaper might even work a smidge better on your fingers than it would on wood. You get great results on it though. What grit do you use? Do you paste it to a board or anything before you use it?

08-11-2016, 08:36 AM
More great work, Nick! You've been prolific!

Now go let those fingertips heal... do it enough and you'll end up with finger tips with callouses uniquely adapted to smudging sandpaper. How are you liking the Fisher otherwise? It seems to be working well for you.

08-11-2016, 11:20 AM
Back again! 10 x 12 on White Pastel Premier 600/ charcoal sketch, watercolor underpainting, mostly Art Spectrum pastels and then even a few precious Rochè. (My kids like to give me presents.)

This is a very different style for me. All comments welcome. Feel free..I want to learn.

08-11-2016, 12:20 PM
Sorry, nothing but positive comments from me. It's gorgeous! The golden reflection and the streaks in the sky stand out brilliantly against the complimentary tones.

08-11-2016, 02:38 PM
Thank you Kim. It's a beautiful reference.

08-11-2016, 03:50 PM
Nice one Jay! I like that you used the shapes of the light. That's what attracted me most to this one. :)

08-11-2016, 04:01 PM
Thanks Ruthie. I was wondering if the distant trees were too dark. If the reeds are dark enough. And if it's a problem that they end in the middle. And the water is lighter than the sky. (Don't look, Mr. Carlson.). But I like the colors so ......I'm trying to keep my hands off.

08-11-2016, 04:04 PM
Hmm, maybe a greater sense of distance would be created if the far trees were a tad lighter. Didn't really notice though. To me there's no problem at all that the reeds end in the middle....it's not as though they are "just" in the middle. The sunset sky is likely to be as dark as the water, or even darker. My water is lighter in places than the sky. The moving water in the distance will be lighter as it is reflecting all the remaining light...at least that's what I'm telling myself :lol: Not the same as full daylight. Hope this helps :)

08-11-2016, 04:12 PM
Thanks Ruthie. Appreciate it!

08-11-2016, 04:37 PM
Hi Jay, I am using my phone right now, so the screen is small, but I like the painting. It has surprised me that (because I need to scroll to see the whole painting) I really like the crop with the water only.

08-11-2016, 06:52 PM
Jay, Absolutely lovely! Wonderful play of shapes! Reminds me a bit of a Japanese woodcut! I wouldn't change anything!


08-11-2016, 07:30 PM
DON, that was a fabulous reference. Thank you so much. As soon as I saw that, I knew I would do it. Great photo.

water girl
08-12-2016, 04:25 PM
I'm late to the party. Wow, Nick and Jay, your sunset colors are beautiful! What fun!

08-13-2016, 09:05 AM
I'm trying to keep up!
So much jammed into this thread...
Ruthie, Nick, and Jay loved your work and the discussion about technique.
Learning a lot.
I agree that Ruthie's second effort is powerful (the cropping concentrates the brilliant colour) but your first effort is also very expressive..I like the larger balance of soft sky and glowing colour.

And then so many distractions...

Raini thanks for the link - www.issuu.com (http://www.issuu.com)
Ruthie...I'm on the north side of Lake Ontario ...where are you visiting?

08-13-2016, 09:43 AM
Thanks Leslie! Well, I'll be with two non artist friends and I think one of them has pretty much planned the whole thing. We'll start off in Toronto for a few days, then go to another friend's lodge by a lake (dunno if it's Ontario or another lake!) Then we have 4 days on a boat....somewhere in the area. Then a night or two on the way to Niagara followed by the last night in a place near the falls. Then a long trip back to Toronto airport for an evening flight home on the 17th.
Sorry I can't be more specific so far! My friend is planning the whole thing! It would be great to meet people I know from the internet, just not sure it's going to be possible......

08-13-2016, 11:52 AM
After I wrote the above I decided it was time to paint! This one is based on my own photo but, happily, I strayed from the photo for a change, just used bits I chose, mixed things up and just played really. It didn't turn out too bad :)

Here's the photo, taken in Normandy, France a few weeks ago. Feel free to use it if you wish and do what you like with the resulting art. Just don't post the photo elsewhere please. :)


And the painting


08-13-2016, 01:15 PM
Ruthie! You've done it again!! Beautiful. And a photo we may use. Thank you. You know, Don is up in that area too!

Karen, thank you. Means a lot.

Leslie, thank you. What a fun spotlight!

08-13-2016, 02:34 PM
Thanks Jay. I would love to see yours or any others' interpretation of this photo!
Yes, I know Don is up near Lake Ontario, but I will be in Canada, without the necessary paperwork to visit the USA this time. :crying:

08-13-2016, 02:41 PM
Great minds think alike. I think we're going up to the falls early October. Never been so it's time. Enjoy!

08-13-2016, 02:58 PM
We can wave at each other over the border! Assuming you are in the USA? Maybe we'll be on boats which pass under the Horseshoe falls? :D

08-13-2016, 04:02 PM
Ruthie, I love the clouds in the upper part of the painting! And the different directions of the yellow and orange strokes below them. And the wind in the trees.

Girls, enjoy the trip! I spent several days at the Canadian side several years ago. It was fantastic. And the color of the water!! When I was not at the river I was sitting by the window of my room watching it for hours! :D

08-14-2016, 12:15 AM
I'm beginning to think that it's impossible to get realistic color from phone cameras. Even the reference photos look garish and unnatural on my cell. :( At any rate, here is my painting of a sunset. Terrible color and definition but it is what it is. ;)

Well bless me, I cant upload it. Great! Gives me a chance to get a good photo! :clap: See you in the morning!

08-14-2016, 12:40 AM
P.S. Jay, I love your painting! I did the same one, but yours is so much better!

08-14-2016, 07:16 AM
Sandra. Thank you. But it's a tease! Now I want to see yours!! Hope you have good luck loading. (I always load from the computer.)

08-14-2016, 09:39 AM
Ruth, Very nice sunset painting! And a great example of simplifying those many, more scattered sunlit clouds from the ref.


08-15-2016, 01:41 AM
Wow! Great paintings everyone:clap:
Sunsets are definitely not as easy as they look, the power went out just as I started to do this one but luckily I had the photo on my iPad so it was a good excuse to sit by the window and finish it. I think it came out quite well, 8x12 mount vision pastels on burgundy colour fix paper.
Thank you Don for the lovely reference and for hosting the spotlight once again,

08-15-2016, 05:07 AM
Ruthie, you've caught the sunlight nicely. Great light!

08-15-2016, 07:10 AM
Deanna, very lovely!! I love your colors.

08-15-2016, 07:28 AM
Deanna, that's beautiful. The burgundy worked well for a background

08-15-2016, 07:49 AM
Dea that's great! I did this one yesterday too!

08-15-2016, 02:07 PM
Deanna, I love the color of the water. So light!

08-15-2016, 02:54 PM
I'm working hard, knee deep in a pastel of the Charles bridge in Prague. The river is rising fast and I'm already over my head. But when a granddaughter asks...
Crucifix, statues, Christ on the cross. Oh my. If I don't surface for a while, send Terry Ludwig to rescue me!! (Btw, he's having the mystery box sale.).

This is way hard but I'm doing my best. Oh, did I mention it's also a sunset???? Could we ask for MORE???

08-15-2016, 03:19 PM
LOL Jay! Good luck!! I am sure it will be great!

water girl
08-15-2016, 03:29 PM
I too love your use of color, Deanna. Lovely!

08-15-2016, 05:04 PM
I need to know if I'm in trouble. I've never painted GOD before...and I don't do people!! this is obviously unfinished. 11 x 14 on Pastelmat. Doing my best. There are Hebrew letters in Gold that surround the top of the cross. and I took artistic license to enlarge the castle, (castle was requested too.) and let the river show. So the river bank will not be recognizable to anyone who has been there. This is on my bucket list!!! Comments welcome. I think I have to stop for the day. Many changes from her original GORGEOUS sunset photo.

08-16-2016, 09:55 AM
I like the triangular composition and how the clouds almost seem to swirl around the cross. I don''t know if you plan to keep them that way, but the dark sillouettes of the figures are effective. This could come out really beautifully. It's certainly off to a great start.

08-16-2016, 10:08 AM
Thanks Kim. Yes, the figures are blackened from time. And the clouds did swirl to accentuate the cross. I think that's what amazed my granddaughter..she was quite taken with the scene.

But I was disturbed to read that these is controversy about this statue because of the Hebrew writing on a circle around the cross. I don't want to offend anyone on WC.

Interesting to learn some history doing a painting. I have to think about what to do about that circle of letters. I guess a bit of suggestion. I'll try to finish the lower corner. I changed the direction of the river...what more??

08-16-2016, 05:37 PM
Dea, Nice job on the sail boat painting! Nice movement in those clouds!

Jay, It's looking good! I would imagine that at his size, any lettering wouldn't be legible and would merely be suggested.


08-17-2016, 02:39 AM
Jay, the sky in this is fantastic! I agree about the figures and about the lettering. Less is more! Keep going, this is going to be special!

08-17-2016, 12:05 PM
Ok. I changed history. I was really upset about the Hebrew letters possibly offending the viewer of MY painting...so I translated the words into Latin and hopefully, now, no more insult. (I had read up on the controversy about the letters.)
So, 11 x 14 on Buttercup Pastelmat. Some Hard pastels, Then Girault, Then pastel pencils...even some from CZECH Republic to be politically correct! Then Caran d'ache pastel pencils.

I see one little thing to correct but I'm open to critique. (Just be kind please? :crossfingers: :wink2: This was hard.)

08-17-2016, 01:43 PM
Jay, it turned out great! The only thing I would say is that the pink in the lower sky seems to be stopped by the right hand figure...maybe just scumble a little more beyond him?

08-17-2016, 01:44 PM
Here's my take on the boat one. Dunno, I may have to do a bit more on those dark clouds, though they don't look so dark in real life.
"The Red Sail" :wink2:


08-17-2016, 02:35 PM
It seems that the wind died out in the evening. It's brilliant, Ruthie. Makes me miss sea and boats a lot. I like the lower part of the painting a bit more - I like the landscape format.

Jay, my hat's off to you!

08-17-2016, 02:47 PM
Wow, two new excellent paintings!

Jay, Your's came out wonderfully! Agree with Ruth that the pink sky ought to continue.

Ruth, Lovely depiction of the sailboat & sunset! Lovely touches of red in the sky to balance the red sail!


08-17-2016, 03:53 PM
Thank you Ruthie. That stumble I can do!! I LOVE LOVE your red sailboat. And I too like the lower sky. The water COULD NOT BE BETTER!!!

Nick. Thank you. Means a lot.

Don, thank you. The pink stumble isn't too scary. I can do that. Funny, I had that pink and it seems too bright. From my chair across the room, I can't see those letters at all, which pleases me. Granddaughter wanted the gold so I put them in. Go for the gold!!

08-18-2016, 02:18 PM
Wow, Jay, that's great! you should be very proud of that. I love the idea of translating the lettering. I like how the figures stand out against the pink. Allowing the color to continue will enhance the effect (in addition to providing that visual continuity).

Ruth, i come to expect gorgeous paintings from you and you never fail to deliver. The sailboat looks so peaceful out there and the water..the sky... lovely!

08-18-2016, 03:26 PM
Thank you Jay and Kim! :wave:
I have done a few tweaks to the red sail one and am happier now. In the photo you may not even see what I did, but I have toned down those dark clouds and integrated them a little better, I think! The colour difference I can't reconcile. In some lights it looks cooler and in some warmer so both are, sort of, correct. :)


08-18-2016, 03:39 PM
Thanks Kim. Whew, that was work! But now I want to go there to see this beautiful city, Prague.

08-18-2016, 04:36 PM
This was a beautiful picture to begin with, but I like the addition of the warm tones in the clouds, Ruth. It adds harmony.

08-19-2016, 07:54 AM
I think you improved the sky. It's very beautiful. That water!!! It's like a lesson!! I'm so glad you paint with us.

08-22-2016, 03:30 PM
Shhhh, don't tell Don...it's a sunrise. (Another request.) 11x 14 on Charcoal pastel mat. My reference Hard pastels and a few Rochè. All comments welcome.

08-22-2016, 09:27 PM
That's stunning Jay! Nice work! I love the deep blue against the Orange and the water came out beautifully

08-23-2016, 12:47 AM
Ha! You are accepting requests for paintings! My list will be looong! :D It's beautiful, Jay. I wouldn't change a thing.

08-23-2016, 05:20 AM
Ooh, lovely one Jay! it's OK, we needn't tell Don it's actually a sunrise ;)

08-23-2016, 08:17 AM
Sunrise? SUNRISE!!!!?????

That's OK, Sunrises are fine! And so is your painting, Jay! Bold, with a wonderful abstract quality to it!


08-23-2016, 08:27 AM
Thanks Kim, Nick and Ruthie.
My resident boater has some critique. He made some good points too! I'll study a bit. I knew the waves needed tweaking. Those waves. They won't stand still for me!!!!
Was a fun painting to do.

Nick. I have a very big family. So I can find homes for my paintings!!! Yay!

08-23-2016, 08:33 AM
(Big smile here..). Thanks Don. We cross posted. Thanks. Bold and abstract! Who is the Jay? I'm always meek and mild!

08-24-2016, 12:24 PM
Dear all,

I am late to this one, but really love all the works posted so far. Different styles and composition but each capturing the sunset atmosphere wonderfully.

Here's my attempt of a sunset by a temple. I find it looks better from a distance more than up close, but not sure what to do when posting a photograph.

Thanks. Comments and criticism welcome.

- Srineet.


08-25-2016, 03:22 AM
Nice work Srineet! Well, some art does look better from a distance. All we have to do is step back from the screen :)

08-25-2016, 06:29 AM
Isn't it amazing how a few simple lines can capture the sun! Nice job.

08-25-2016, 08:40 AM
Srineet, Thanks for joining us! Very nicely done!


08-25-2016, 10:13 AM
I took another of my own photos for my next one (hope you don't mind Don). Wasn't inspired by the foreground which, when lightened, reveals part of my garden. So I went on a fantasy trip, inspired by Karen Margulis' Youtube demo from last Sunday (Have you been watching them? She is brilliant!)
For my first ziggy zaggy river/marsh/stream I was quite pleased :)


Oh, here's the photo by the way. Feel free to use it copyright free :)


08-25-2016, 10:31 AM
Wonderful travel for our eyes into your painting. Deep into the marsh. For a minute there, I thought you had a marsh in your back yard!!! The painting is well done; lovely color harmony too.
And thank you for this and the other photo reference you left us. This is a fantastic thread for references!!!

08-25-2016, 02:32 PM
Lovely painting, Srineet! I'm glad you could join.

Ruthie, nice creative approach to the painting and and lovely color in the marsh scene. It is characteristic of the lighting and landscape in the region where I live.

08-25-2016, 02:52 PM
Well done everyone!
There's a lot of scope for this subject matter...
sunrise ...sunset...silhouetttes...etc.
I haven't seen the Karen Margulis video but Ruthie your colour choices are very striking.....
but if I wander off to view that when will I get back to painting?

08-26-2016, 01:01 AM
Many thanks Ruthie, Jay, Don and Kim.

Ruthie, your new painting is fantastic, and very vibrant.

Thanks also for pointing us to the Karen Margulis videos. i saw a bit of it yesterday but intend to see more.


- Srineet.

08-26-2016, 08:41 AM
Ruth, A beautiful, harmonious painting! A nice example of how a photo reference can be enhanced!


08-28-2016, 12:57 PM
Ok, last of the month? Don's beautiful beautiful reference. Thank you.
11 x 14 on White Pastel Premier 400. Watercolor underpainting. Terry Ludwig pastels. All comments welcome. (Do the people work?)

08-28-2016, 01:11 PM
Now I have the giggles because I see the Shark in the sky! Why does it take posting a photo to show us the flaws? Funny!!

08-28-2016, 01:55 PM
I didn't see the wildlife till you pointed it out... a judicious smudge or two will take care of that!
People are great... fills me with nostalgia!

08-28-2016, 02:04 PM
Thanks Leslie. I'm very curious to see if people notice him. All the men in our family fish for a hobby so it's rather apropos! I'm enjoying him!! I agree, an easy fix. (I almost wrote "fish")

08-29-2016, 04:22 AM
Wow Ruth, that is beautiful so much of an improvement on the ref.
Jay, the people are great, I didn't notice the shark until you mentioned it but I like it:)

08-29-2016, 04:37 AM
Thanks Dea. Was a fun painting.

08-29-2016, 10:27 AM
Beautiful painting! The figures are part of what I love most about it.

08-29-2016, 10:27 AM
I have been spending a lot of time thinking and looking at sunrises and sunsets this month.
I've been posting photos on my blog of a cross Canada driving holiday we did in our RV.
The first days of the trip started very early and ended late in the day.. so lots of sunrises and sunsets!

But before the month ends I want to thank Don's for the great reference photos. As I live on the north side of Lake Ontario a lot of the locations are familiar. I've saved them for future reference.

Alas, I haven't had time to do more but will post an effort from a couple of years ago.
I wanted to experiment with fine grade commercial type sandpaper so did this one for fun (Rembrandt pastels)....based on my photo taken on Lake Ontario.


08-29-2016, 10:50 AM
Very beautiful Leslie. Lucky you to live near Lake Ontario. My husband and I used to take our youngest to a fishing camp on Lake Ontario. Had some wonderful memories, family, fishing and fish dinner cooked on an open fire!

Your painting is very beautiful. And kept well even on regular sandpaper! I love the color combination.

Kim, Thank you for commenting. We all know our weaknesses and figures are one of mine. But I'm trying and I was, sort of, happy with them. The folks on WC are making me feel good about them. Nice.

08-29-2016, 02:16 PM
Jay, Very nice job on the painting! The people are very nicely done! The whole painting has an ethereal quality to it!

Leslie, Very nice! Those brilliant oranges are really enhanced by the more neutral, dark color behind!


08-29-2016, 02:40 PM
Thanks Don. And thanks for the beautiful references. And for hosting Spotlight once again.

Tomorrow my five year old grandson comes for a few days so no painting for me. I'm looking forward to September Spotlight.

08-29-2016, 03:54 PM
Thanks for all your comments about my latest one!
Jay, I love the atmosphere created in yours above. I didn't notice the wildlife either until you said! The people work VERY well IMO.
Leslie, wow, that's vibrant! I love the abstractness of it too!

08-29-2016, 03:57 PM
Ruthie! THANK YOU. You made my day. 😄

08-29-2016, 03:57 PM
And here's my next one...on a sunset roll :lol:
Again from my own photo taken on a January afternoon walk beside the river Orwell in Suffolk, England.
I have a WIP and will post it tomorrow if you would like me to. No time tonight and my internet is playing up too so not sure about uploading photos then losing it all!

08-29-2016, 04:01 PM
Beautiful! There are quieter passages that I like very much. Those reflections in the puddles, a calmer sky. The camera pans in, music begins to play and we enter a story....very very nice!

And we love to see your demos, always!

08-30-2016, 03:09 AM
Thanks Jay! Looking at this here I think I may have over darkened the photo, which started out too light. it's so hard to get them correct sometimes. So I'll have another look today. I'll post a WIP later....you're probably in bed right now anyway :)

08-30-2016, 11:11 AM
Another beauty, Ruthie! Such a lovely balance of harmony and contrast.

And Leslie, I love your sky. The colors are so rich and lush!

08-30-2016, 03:12 PM
So many GREAT paintings!
It makes me feel guilty that I temporarily switched to watercolor.

Ruthie, please share your WIP, the painting is stunning! One of your best for me :)

08-30-2016, 03:29 PM
Thanks Kim and Nick!
Here's the WIP. I give up on getting the photo right. of course the painting also looks different depending on what light it's viewed in. :clear:

The block in, blende a little because it's on black colourfix

Working on the sky

More on the sky, a little more blending, treeline attended to and a few more marks in the foreground

Sorry guys, that's all for the WIP. I thought I had more photos than that!

08-30-2016, 03:38 PM
Ruthie, looking at the demo is like watching it come alive! Thanks so much for posting it.

08-30-2016, 03:44 PM
You make it look so simple... Painting reflections in watercolor also seems to be simple when I watch a demo :D

I am going to try this one for sure, thank you very much!

Don, have you said something about three months of sunsets? :)

08-30-2016, 05:02 PM
Don, have you said something about three months of sunsets? :)

I did jokingly say that earlier. Perhaps I wasn't joking?

What do you folks think...should we continue with more sunsets next month? I have lots more reference pics available.


08-30-2016, 05:03 PM
Ruth, Lovely painting and thanks for posting your WIP pics! It's always interesting and informative to see the progression!


08-30-2016, 05:13 PM
We get to vote?
I vote that sunsets or sunrise should always be allowed on days that have a sunset or sunrise. Just those.
And I'd love to have more references. Keep 'em coming!!
This has been such a fun Spotlight!!!

08-30-2016, 08:10 PM
We get to vote?

Absolutely! :eek::clap::angel:


08-31-2016, 03:11 AM
Thanks Jay, Nick and Don. there could've been more WIP shots but I sorta forget.....
Why not expand on the sunset theme next month and look at all types of skyscapes? There's a lot going on up there :)

08-31-2016, 08:50 AM
Absolutely agree ..more skies, or sunrises and sunsets.
As the daylight hours in Ontario are getting shorter
there's a better chance for me to catch the hours of dawn or dusk!