View Full Version : The Spotlight - December 2016 - Holidays

11-30-2016, 10:09 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 Holidays!

Well, not exactly....We're not really putting the Spotlight on anything since December is a month where everyone is really busy because of the Holidays! So, as we usually do around the Holidays, we'll take a month off from any specific topic and let everyone do whatever they want! Happy Holidays!

I know some artists do Holiday cards at this time of year, so if you happen to be working on some card paintings, feel free to share them here! Or whatever the topic, share them here! If you have any questions about the various topics we have discussed over the years, feel free to share them here! It's a Holiday free for all!

As my Holiday gift to all of those that make the Spotlight successful, I offer these references of some of my favorite photos that I have taken during 2016!







As always, feel free to crop, or alter the references any way you want!

And my heartfelt best wishes to everyone! Have a safe and happy Holiday season! :wave:


12-01-2016, 08:33 AM
Great collection of photos to get the creative juices flowing!:thumbsup:

12-01-2016, 09:21 AM
Beautiful variety of photos to choose from - thanks Don! :)

12-01-2016, 11:46 AM
Thanks Don. I fell off the radar again last month but I'm back now. Not sure which or when but I'll try to get one done AND keep up with the goings on here. :)

12-01-2016, 12:08 PM
Great photos, Don! I love that doe, she has such a good expression and there's wonderful light on her. Also her shoulders and neck make a pleasing line. Gorgeous hibiscus. A lot of them appeal to me.

I'm also tempted to try for a holiday painting of my new cat, maybe imagine her in a Santa hat instead of actually putting one on her to pose. Cissy is a super fluff like Ari and she's so affectionate. Unlike him though, if she notices I'm paying attention to her, she speaks up. She wants that attention in the form of scritching for as long as she wants, even if that means bending way over to the floor. She's much more talkative!

12-01-2016, 12:32 PM
I was expecting tinsel and balls and angels, and a Santa on a sleigh! LOL
Thank you, Don, have a nice Holiday Season, too.

Since I have never done any animals other than fish and birds before, I will try your dog or the deer. This should be an adventure.

12-01-2016, 01:33 PM
I'll start us off - I did the purple flowers, just cuz I like purple :) NuPastels on black Canson mt - it's on a 9 x 12 cut in half, so 4.5 x 6. C & C welcome :)

12-01-2016, 01:43 PM
Lovely purple flowers, Cali! That's a delightful pattern, you've gotten some nice sparkle between the hues of violet in the flowers. Black paper always makes light and bright colors sing!

water girl
12-01-2016, 01:51 PM
CaliAnn! Why do I always feel like a slacker before the month begins. :lol: :lol: :lol: Nicely done as always!

12-01-2016, 02:21 PM
Lovely, CaliAnn! I really like that combination of colors.

Happy Holidays to Don and to my friends in art here. Life has been busy (in a good way) and I haven't been painting or drawing for a couple of months, but I wanted to drop in to wish everyone my best. Cheers!

12-01-2016, 04:29 PM
Cali, I love the colours you used to get that violet. You obviously really see that every flower holds a combination of colour which makes up the basic colour we see!

12-02-2016, 03:25 PM
Great photos Don. And the cutest dog!!! Thanks.

Wow, CaliAnne. Your flowers just glow. Lovely. Love the background too. I think it's my favorite of your paintings.

12-02-2016, 06:33 PM
Thanks everyone.
Karen - you're not the slacker, I am - I was supposed to be working, not painting pictures! LOL

12-02-2016, 10:03 PM
CaliAnn, Very lovely flowers! Using a combination of similar colors really gives those flowers great luminosity!


12-02-2016, 10:07 PM
Great photos Don. And the cutest dog!!!

Yes, she is beautiful :clap: (and also stubborn and mischievous!:evil:) !!


12-03-2016, 12:01 PM
Talking of doing greetings cards etc, here is my this year's Christmas card. I got them printed in April! This was one of my first portraits after starting to use my right hand again. I vowed to keep it loose....and it worked!
Happy Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate!


12-03-2016, 12:48 PM
Oh Ruthie - he is fantastic! Do you want my address so you can send me a card? :lol: :lol:

12-03-2016, 01:25 PM
Ruth, Santa is fantastic! So 3-dimensional - he just jumps off the page!


12-03-2016, 07:29 PM
Don, what kind of dog is she? She is so beautiful!

12-03-2016, 10:01 PM
Don, what kind of dog is she? She is so beautiful!
She is a Sheltie, also known as a Shetland Sheepdog or Miniature Collie.


In the top pic she is about 14 weeks old - a week after I got her! And even though she is my 3rd Sheltie, I seemed to forget how small a puppy is and bought her a toy that was bigger than her!


water girl
12-04-2016, 12:47 AM
Wow, Ruthie! That is amazing!

water girl
12-04-2016, 12:49 AM
Don, you forgot to mention just how smart she is!

12-04-2016, 01:07 PM
This painting is based on a combination of photos I downloaded. It is on Canson MT and about 8 x 8. I am having it made into this seasons greeting card. The photo is more blurry than IRL


12-04-2016, 04:08 PM
Ruthie, your Santa is wonderful! I love his merry expression. You captured the heart of the character so well! Love it!

PURR Norma, the poinsettia is so gorgeous. I love that rich color. Wonderful drama and feel.

Both of these are fantastic cards.

Anyone who wants to paint my new beautiful cat for a Christmas card, enjoy! Here's my first really good photo of Cissy the Super Fluff, who looks like she could be Ari Cat's daughter and loves a scritch!

12-04-2016, 05:59 PM
Don - she is gorgeous! I love that first photo of her with the toy that's bigger than her LOL!

Norma - spectacular! The colors are awesome!

Robert - Cissy looks like she has real catitude in that pic! I'm so sorry about Ari - I lost both my sweet boys a few months apart, 6 months ago. I'm almost ready to get a new pair (or 3), just not quite ready yet.

12-04-2016, 11:24 PM
Purr thank you! I sketched her in pencil a couple of days ago, just posted today on my Art Journals thread. She's wonderful to draw, as inspirational as Ari and she sheds copious Cat Hairs of Inspiration. It's hard for me to live catless, though the barn cats are getting their own chunk of my heart too. Cissy does ooze with catitude! She wants attention NOW! and calls out in that high voice of hers to get it, a feline diva!

12-05-2016, 08:38 AM
Don, you forgot to mention just how smart she is!

Yes, Shelties are known to be quite smart and so is she! She certainly has figured out that "Sit, Stay, Come" mean totally different things depending on whether or not I have a treat in my hand!


12-05-2016, 08:39 AM
Norma, Lovely Holiday card, I love the composition!

Robert, So glad you have a new Kittie! She looks like a real fluff ball! What a pretty face!


12-05-2016, 09:43 AM
CaliAnn, Norma and Ruthie lovely contributions
...getting us in the holiday spirit!

Robert what an artistic photo of you new friend..love the soft focus and grey/blue tones.

Don what a beautiful sheltie!
My dogs' best friend is also a sheltie, always beautifully groomed
..unlike my less polished terrible twosome!

Scout and Sophie 2016

12-06-2016, 05:04 PM
Ruthie: Santa will surely leave you extra treats for the great portrait

Don. I'm smiling. Love the photos. Sammy has become so beautiful! Love your comments. My granddog was visit. She is as big as a pony! Yes, commands are subject to interpretation.

Norma: what a beautiful card!!!!

Robert: city's is just gorgeous. Best of luck with her.

Leslie: your terrible twosome are wonderful! What a picture! Their expressions are great.

I'll be painting in January. Just enjoying the pets, paintings and comments. Stay well everyone.

12-06-2016, 06:55 PM
Leslie, Your terrible twosome look great and very lovable! Grooming is over-rated! I'd rather have a dog that looks like they have been having fun running around and playing! Luckily, Shelties don't need to be groomed - and my dog gets so annoyed when I try and brush her that she rarely even gets brushed! And yet, she always looks like she has been groomed and brushed!


12-07-2016, 12:25 AM
Leslie, yours are cute! They both look great, that's a good photo for a portrait painting. They have a lot of character.

12-07-2016, 05:26 PM
CaliAnn, you were so fast with your purple flower, did you stay up all night? LOL Very nicely done, the colour shines.

Ruthie, I like your nice Santa. His nose really looks cold, maybe a small drink instead of the milk? :)

Don, your 14 weeks old Sheltie looks great with her stuffed toy, quite protective, better not mess with her LOL

Norma, that poinsettia is really glowing, nice card, .

Robert, your cat Cissy looks gorgeous, especially her colour.

Leslie, your terrible twosome look like fun. The white one looks ready for attack, the dark one staying back a little till you turn your head away.

Well, here is my first drawn/painted dog in my life (and I'm not young). Not sure about the background, also I had troubles with the ears and the eye. Hard to see which direction the forward ear goes. I think I will have to google it

NuPastel and Rembrandts on UArt 400
8" x 11.5".

The second one is the purple flower. Not sure I like it, next to last one on Velour paper.
NuPastel and Rembrandt, 6.5" x 8"

12-07-2016, 05:50 PM
Fana, Very lovely painting of my dog! The flowers are very nice, too - though you probably are noticing that it is hard to get detail or hard edges on velour!

Photos are often not too clear in certain areas because the shadow areas are too dark, so one thing you can do is to save them on your computer and bring them into any photo editing software. From there you can lighten, add or lessen contrast, or do other things to help you out. Here's the dog photo with the shadows lightened to help you see the ear better:



12-07-2016, 08:36 PM
Good painting of the dog! What you did on the background is effective, you have one side more muted than the other and shifted it to a bright green like grass. You have the general idea for a good background treatment, and on animal portraits it really doesn't need to be detailed or in focus. Sometimes it's good to gradate the background from light to dark too, change the value as you go across. That and make it gradual how much more color to one side. A trick that gives some depth is to make it a bluer green toward the back (top) and slightly yellower toward the front, maybe yellow ochre over the green, which would also lighten top to bottom.

Love the flowers and their background is elegant. It looks shimmering and nearly metallic. Very striking. Using a complement always brings out a floral subject so well.

12-08-2016, 09:51 AM
Very nice contributions.
As a first attempt the eyes on the pooch are very expressive.
Love the whole gold/lavender contrast bold but also with softness.
Cheers Leslie

P.S. You are braver than I am when it comes to attempting animals,
I should try my furry friends but...........:rolleyes:

12-08-2016, 11:20 AM
Thanks all for your comments on my Santa. He was a dream to paint!
Don, your Dog looks gorgeous. I love Shelties, though we don't see so many here these days.
Norma, wow, the centre of the Poinsettia just glows out from the lovely red!
Robert, say hi to the lovely Cissy for me :heart:
Leslie, your terrier..ble twosome look full of mischief!
Fana, Good work on the Sheltie portrait. You've really achieved the look of that thick fur they have, lots of depth in this painting!
Well, I should show you my girl, my mad Staffie, who is presently killing her extreme kong toy :lol: I'll show you the portrait of her I did for Hubby's 60th birthday this year. Meet Milly, athlete and trick dog extraordinaire!


12-09-2016, 08:05 AM
"my mad Staffie, who is presently killing her extreme kong toy"

Looks like she is pleading innocent to me:angel:

12-09-2016, 08:30 AM
Ruth, great pet portrait! Your color choices - as always - are spot on! I know, if I were to paint something like this, that I would be too timid to use that blue on the highlights. And yet, it is the blue that creates the wonderful 3-dimensional look - plus gives the wonderful warm-cool contrast that makes the colors come alive! It's so perfectly handled - looks easy - but isn't!


12-09-2016, 10:24 AM
Ah Leslie, don't they all look innocent when they want to :) Actually when i took the ref photo I was holding her kong....that's why her look is so concentrated...and not on me!

Don, thank you! Needless to say this one was a lot of fun to do. I confess that, due to time constraints and secrecy I actually traced her face area, hard to get the asymmetry of her nose which helps define her. And you know me, colour wherever I can get away with it!

12-09-2016, 04:41 PM
Hi All --

I'm a fairly new member. I've been trying to make the time to check in in the evenings but, alas, work has proven to be a great obstacle as of late.

CaliAnn -- I love your take on the photo of the purple flowers! I also love the background.

I've given this photo a go myself as I love the color purple. This is my first time attempting flowers because, to be honest, I find them intimidating. But you never learn anything unless your willing to try. So here goes...

My 1st attempt is on the right (Strathmore Paper; Rembrandt under painting; Sennelier finish). This was definitely a struggle as I probably overworked the paper by putting on too many layers. Lesson learned!!

My 2nd attempt is on the left (Canson Mi-Teintes Dark Blue Paper; Rembrandt under painting; Terry Ludwig finish). This went better but I felt the flowers looked too sparse. Actually, I have to credit my husband with that feedback and I agree!


So, I adjusted my 2nd attempt by filling in the flowers a bit. The lighting is much different on this photo. The actual painting looks much darker than this picture would indicate. The lighting on the photo above is much truer to form.


I'm getting ready to start my 3rd attempt on sanded paper. I'm curious to see how that goes...

Happy Friday!!!! :cat:

12-10-2016, 09:04 AM
Tamara, Welcome! Thanks for joining us here on the Spotlight! These are lovely! Very nice color choices and a nice blend of edges - including some very soft ones! Are you using a wet underpainting! Your soft areas have a real watercolor look to them - or are you just blending the pastel? However you are achieving it, it is a nice look!


12-10-2016, 12:28 PM
Don, I'm glad you liked your dog. It came out better than I expected.
Forgot about the shadows in photos, guess I should run them through Photoshop first. It is amazing how the colours changed and the ear is quite a bit more pointy. I may start painting critters after all LOL

12-10-2016, 12:37 PM
Robert, thanks for the advice on backgrounds. I find it very hard to visualize anything and once painted it is sometimes hard to change.

Now that the dog came out looking like one, I will have to try your very hairy bluish cat.....not sure I will post it though :)

12-10-2016, 12:51 PM
Leslie, thanks, the dog was easier than I expected. I remember trying to draw a deer when I was about 12. Quite horrible, never tried another critter other than fish and birds since.
Ruthie, thank you also, will have to try the cat now. I like your Milly, she looks very smart.

12-10-2016, 01:09 PM
Tamara, the colours on the first painting are so nice, especially the background. I'm waiting to see how the sanded paper works out. I have gotten used to it, now I am waiting for the Uart 600.

12-11-2016, 09:28 AM
Fana - your portrait of the sheltie is very nice indeed! I love how you caught his expression. I think your purple flowers came out quite nice :)

Tamara - I love your purple flowers! I especially like your 2nd attempt - well done :)
Ruthie Your staffie is gorgeous! She looks like she's trying to look innocent and sweet - love the expression LOL

12-11-2016, 03:33 PM
Don -- Thank you for your kind words. I used my fingers to blend the pastels in attempts #1 and #2. I was eager to try a watercolor underpainting for attempt #3 but I learned very quickly (wasting a sheet of UART 600) that I needed to mount the paper on board before applying a wet coat of watercolor. Lesson learned!

Fana -- Thank you! I think you did a really great job on Don's pup and also the purple flowers. I'm including my 3rd attempt on the purple flowers below. This time I did use the UART 600 sand paper and...I LOVE that paper!! The pastels feel so rich on this paper...wonderful experience.

CaliAnn -- Thank you!! I love many of your pieces. You are clearly very talented!

So, here is attempt #3 (final attempt). I ordered a sampler pack from Dakota Art -- which included a couple of PanPastels. I used these for the underpainting. Love them!!! To finish, I used Terry Ludwig on UART 600.


12-11-2016, 03:58 PM
Tamara, I like all your renditions, but I love the last one most of all. It is so free yet describes the flower so well. The background perfectly recedes to make the flowers pop!

12-11-2016, 04:18 PM
Ruthie - Thank you! I'm finding my way slowly...and loving every step along the way. I just showed my husband your painting of the dog (and the Santa!!). I absolutely love your take on color. I find myself drawn to color and I find that I love pieces where artists take full liberty with their own interpretation of color. It feels very...free!

12-11-2016, 05:25 PM
Tamara - that's a beauty! Frame worthy for sure! :)

water girl
12-12-2016, 03:53 PM
Ruthie, your sweetie makes for a lively portrait. This is no shy flower, for sure.
Tamara, your last version is outstanding!

12-12-2016, 08:53 PM
Ruthie, wonderful dog portrait. She really comes alive, you've captured personality so well in it. Her eyes are gleaming with intelligent mischief and eagerness to show off!

Tamara, wow! All three iterations of your flowers are gorgeous. I like seeing the progression and agree, your latest is the best, but all three are at least interesting and have wonderful color and balance. The finale though - wow!

Fana, please! If you paint my sweet cat in bluish light, please do post her! I'd love to see my little Sissy (found out how her name's spelled) in pastels! She's so beautiful and I found out yesterday what breed she is. She's a colorpoint colored Maine Coon! That's why she has such a big jaw and cheek fluffs for a girl cat, why she has the biggest paws of all the cats including the big-big ginger male and why she's a good solid 15 lb of fluff who's Ari's size. Her brother is twice her size, she was the runt! I have a teeny tiny Maine Coon! Only teeny tiny for her breed, but sweet and wonderful.

12-12-2016, 11:19 PM
Tamara, really nice 3rd rendition! I agree it's the best of the bunch!


12-14-2016, 06:39 AM
Thank you CaliAnn, Karen, Robert, and Don for taking the time to provide feedback. I'm definitely getting a better idea of which pastels and paper types that I enjoy working with most. I ordered a few more PanPastels so that I can begin experimenting with them for under-paintings.

12-14-2016, 02:42 PM
Tamara: The third rendition is particularly stunning. I love pans for blocking in.

12-14-2016, 07:46 PM
Tamara, that rocks! Pan Pastels are wonderful for underpainting, everything goes over them. They blend easily and they're a lot of fun by themselves too. Looking forward to seeing the results! You've got me tempted to play with my Pans again now.

12-16-2016, 01:24 PM
I love the third attempt MoodleDoodle. Thanks for showing all three. I'm a total newbie so it's encouraging to see three different tries with such success. I'll try to due one, but probably the first pic of the flower. That one appeals to me.

12-17-2016, 01:17 AM
Tamara, your third purple flower came out beautiful. I never think of doing anything more than once, I'm tired of it then.

Today I finished the Hibiscus and Robert's nice cat, Sissy. The Hibiscus is on my last page of velour, started with NuPastel and then the Rembrandts.


The cat was just a test on 4.5" x 6" UArt 400, NuPastel, Rembrandts and some Carb Othello pastel pens. I'm not sure about her eyes, hope they are all right.


12-17-2016, 07:25 AM
I' be fallen so far behind!

Fana, your Shellie is wonderful.

Ruthie...your dog springs from the page!

Tamara, the purple flowers are great welcome. So glad you joined us. Love the flower and the kitty too!

12-17-2016, 12:49 PM
Fana, Lovely paintings! I really like your choice of background colors - especially in the cat painting!


12-17-2016, 03:22 PM
Fana, great hibiscus! LOVE your portrait of beautiful Sissy the tiny Maine Coon! She is so beautiful and you captured her wonderful blue eyes so well! Love that expression! Thank you so much for doing her and posting her! That's my new sweetheart, so adorable! PURR!!!

I finally got to pastel! The temperature climbed over 60 so I got going at last on a Christmas present for my friend, the massage therapist Soteira. This is her long haired chihuahua, Stryker, sketched, then blocked in with Rembrandt pastels. I will be going over this with pastel pencils to detail and shade him a little more. He's holiday themed, he's a present!

Stryker the Long Hair Chihuahua
9" x 12"
Pastel on aubergine Colourfix sanded paper, from owner's photo.

I do need to do more sculpting on the head and face, get some fur texture in all over the dog and play with the background a bit more. Or maybe not. I simplified it from the afghan he was laying on but may put the afghan in over this in loose scribble strokes at the end.

12-17-2016, 09:07 PM

You and Robert have been my heroes on Wetcanvas for many years. I love too many mediums to pick just one and my abilities reflect that. I really just started soft pastels 2 weeks ago. Despite all this, I wanted to post my attempt to honor the fact that you shared such wonderful photos with us.

Thank you for the treasure trove of posts over the years in all the forums you post in. On behalf of all the lurkers out there, you have my gratitude.



12-18-2016, 10:05 AM
Robert, Wonderful! You've captured all the energy and personality that the dog no doubt has!

Mark, Thank you so much for the nice comments! One can tell that you are experienced in other mediums since with only 2 weeks pastel experience you've done such a fine painting! Very painterly! If oils are one of the mediums you work in, you may find some similarities with pastels!


12-18-2016, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the compliments! I'm so glad to meet someone else who has to try anything and everything that has color. It might be slower to learn without specializing but so much translates across mediums that I think the results become richer from doing many different ones.

That hibiscus is great. Like Don said, it resembles oils in your painterly rendering. Very rich deep darks, love the strong contrast and lively motion.

12-18-2016, 11:14 AM
Don, Robert, thanks for the compliments. That leaves the deer yet and I will be done with live creatures LOL

Robert, looking forward to your Chihuahua, he looks quite intriguing.

12-18-2016, 11:16 AM
Mark, your Hibiscus looks great, especially the yellow middle. Wish I could paint that loosely, I seem to overwork everything.

12-19-2016, 10:05 AM
Fana - Love the hisbiscus, especially the colors. Sissy came out purrfect, lovely expression :)

Robert - sooo darn cute and expressive! Can't wait to see the finished product, lots of life and energy to this cutie pie :)

Mark - only 2 weeks of pastel, huh? I think this is a beauty, I love your color choices. The hisbiscus really stands out, as it should. That's how I see hisbiscus all the time (lots are grown all over my neighborhood) - they just pop out from whatever the background and you captured that perfectly. :)

12-19-2016, 10:18 AM
You guys are way, way too kind. Thank you.

In fact, pushing to be more painterly has been what I've wanted for so long. I started recently just looking more closely at artwork I really liked--all in a very loose style--and realized that the majority of them were done in pastel.

So that spurred me to give them a try. I had dabbled with pan pastels a few years back, but was using them more as "powdered watercolor" at the time. These are my first sticks, of which I overbought as a Christmas present to myself I'm not ashamed to say!

For those who love technical details, this was done on a dark gray sheet of Fabriano Tizano with Mount Visions and tiny bit of Terry Ludwig. Great tip I got from Wetcanvas is to sand the surface of the paper (I used 600 grit). It really works, you won't feel like you are working on UART or anything but the pastel definitely layers better.

water girl
12-19-2016, 04:48 PM
Fana, you took Robert's photo and ran with it.Nice job on the hibiscus as well. Wonderfully done!
Robert, there is a subtle energy in your portrait. Lucky friend!
Mark, thank you for joining the challenge. You fit right in!

12-19-2016, 05:41 PM
Purr thank you! It seems I've got the likeness, so what's left are really just some final details. I might play with the floor it's on to give him something to sit on, or not, still not sure. Main thing is that a couple of shadows on the face in the white area need to be done carefully by figuring out where they'd be since the overexposed photo washed them out.

12-20-2016, 04:05 PM

Stryker the Long-Hair Chihuahua
9" x 12"
Pastel on Aubergine Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper
Photo by Stryker's owners, gift for Stryker's people.

Robert saw the stage photo and the likeness was there, which got me rethinking what needed to be done. Instead of refining it down into realism I limited the changes to just a few added stray fluffs, some nuances of tone and hue more easily accomplished with my Unisons and final details. The eyes are a little more luminous and Stryker's crazy fluff is a little wilder. Loved doing this, long haired animals are much more fun!

Onward to paint my cat! It would be nice to make the exchange portrait for Sissy a Christmas present, especially since Glenda said "Put a bow on her head and tell him that's his Christmas present." I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of sweet little Sissy with a bow on her head, although she would probably object! Her long blonde waves are enough head decoration!

12-21-2016, 09:59 AM
Rob- Stryker came out great!!

12-21-2016, 02:58 PM

Excellent work. I especially love the radiant background effect you have going, almost like his fur tufts just keep radiating outwards like an aura. It comes across as "tada, here I am!"

I have a long-haired chihuahua myself, and this is a perfect presentation of the subject!


12-21-2016, 04:35 PM
Thanks to all (Norma, CaliPage, Fana, and Jay) for the many kind words; they are very much appreciated.

Robert -- I'm so excited about these Pan Pastels that I ordered a few more to play with for my next subject. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked with a nasty cold so I'm not as far along in my experimentation as I would like to be at this point. I'll get back to it very soon and I'll be sure to provide an update on how things are coming along... :)

I hope everyone is on track for enjoying a very happy holiday season!!!

12-21-2016, 05:04 PM
Robert, Very nice finish! I also like the way the background radiates from the center!


12-21-2016, 05:36 PM
Just realized I missed a couple pages... sigh.

Robert -- The picture of Stryker is FAB!! I also love the expression you captured. And, the background accentuates all those wonderful tufts of fur!! It's great!!

12-22-2016, 12:34 PM
Purr and thank you! I am so happy y'all liked my long haired chihuahua! Mark, so glad you know the subject that well. This is a first for me, even though I like these little dogs.

Tamara, you won't regret it. Pans are so much fun and they can be very versatile. Try some masking techniques with them too - even simple things like holding a piece of paper next to a straight edge to get a clean hard edge or cutting a curve to pull color over the mask and get airbrush effects.

One thing I love doing with Pan Pastels is to choose a dark color, say one of the Deep Dark shades, then load the sponge. Dab into the darkest areas first, as the color wears off the sponge start sketching mid values, work out into the lightest areas. Repeat again and again till I have a beautiful value sketch in black or deep dark color, then start painting over it with the other Pans or with sticks. This is a great way to combine Pans with other pastels too, it can establish values easily.

Next up, I'm going to start on Sissy today in hope of finishing her portrait before the actual holiday.

12-22-2016, 03:42 PM
Fana, great Hibiscus and, oh, such a cute rendition of Robert's kitty!

Mark, Hi! Another colourful Hibiscus!

Robert, I'm blown away by your chihuahua! It's just fab, full of energy and life!

Sadly I don't think I'll be able to do any for the spotlight this month. We are going away for Christmas and friends will be staying at my house while we are away. EEK!!! I have had to CLEAN house!!! They arrive tomorrow and I just have the bathroom to do plus making some mince pies. Then I can go to my sister's and, maybe, relax.....

Happy Christmas everyone! :wave:

12-23-2016, 07:55 PM
Posted the kitty sketch in Studio earlier. Here's stages!

Sissy Portrait Sketch Stage
Carb-Othello Stabilo pastel pencils on
Fresh Gray Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel card, my photo ref.

This was possibly the hardest part, getting started and getting her proportions. Next I'm going to go right to Unisons since I now have them handy, just do her in Unisons and finish up with pastel pencil whiskers maybe. Whiskers are a bit more important on her than they were on the dog, who didn't seem to have many.

12-24-2016, 10:31 AM
I want to wish everyone here in the Spotlight a safe and happy Holidays! :wave:


12-24-2016, 02:31 PM
Thanks Don for all your hard work and for the safe holiday wishes.

Sorry I have not been around guys. Some lovely flowers and dogs and kitties.

I've been helping Santa and the elves but I'll be back in January.

Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate...may it be filled with goodness.


12-24-2016, 05:29 PM
Purr thank you both and Happy Holidays! I finished Sissy the Little Maine Coon in time for the holiday, though her frame will take a few days to ship. Just posted her to Glenda's Facebook page so she'd see her before the holiday.

First, I got the background in and took a progress photo...
Background in warm blue-grays defining the shadow. Blended with a chicken's wing feather rather than fingers or other blenders.

Sissy, my Maine Coon Sweetheart
9" x 12"
Pastel pencil and Unison pastels on Fresh Gray Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded pastel paper.
Photo reference my own, of my own sweet cat.

I didn't do stages all over but finished her area by area, worked on her muzzle and face working out from muzzle, then outward and got her body in, last tweaks... and didn't stop for photos. So sorry no in betweens of just the muzzle or something but at least she's done! I love how she came out.

This is only the first, I'm also planning another one of her in a cardboard box marked Fragile.

12-28-2016, 04:57 AM
Robert, this is my favorite work of yours. I feel the purring! Just lovely.

12-28-2016, 08:27 AM
Robert, This is really lovely! Nicely done!


12-28-2016, 12:09 PM
Robert, this is a sensational piece. I love it. You've brought her to life with love! Your portrait is a million times better than the photo!

water girl
12-28-2016, 02:04 PM
Outstanding, Robert!

12-28-2016, 02:10 PM
I love your color scheme, with the blue green and light orange. Absolutely gorgeous.

12-28-2016, 10:47 PM
Purr thank you! I love my Sissy so much, even in the short time I've had her this cat has taken her own place in my heart. She's so beautiful and she will pose, when she wants to, when she's in the mood. My tiny Maine Coon!