View Full Version : The Spotlight - January 2017 - Color Temperature

12-31-2016, 06:58 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…Color Temperature!

In my opinion, one of the most important – and yet sometimes most confusing - topics that artists encounter is color temperature. Lots of artists talk about it, art teachers mention it, and you can read about it in many art how-to books. And it seems like the more you read about it, the more confusing it gets – rather than becoming clearer! And now I may just be adding to the confusion by making color temperature the subject of our latest Spotlight!

One reason color temperature can be confusing is that people refer to color temperature in two different ways.

1). As a way of generally dividing the color wheel into warm and cool colors.

2). To refer to warmer and cooler version of the same basic color; for example, a warm or cool yellow.

The first way is usually not too confusing, although not everyone agrees about exactly where the transition or dividing line between warm and cool lies. But, generally speaking we can agree that some colors on one side of the color wheel are warm and some on the other side are cool. For simplicities sake, we’ll call the colors raging from red through orange and yellow warm. We’ll call the cool colors green, blue and violet.


Another reason that color temperature can be confusing is that it is inexact. It is based on individual perception and individual feeling. So, in one book or video, an artist may say that yellow is the warmest color, while another artist may say that orange is. There really is no exact dividing line separating warm and cool either. Green and yellow-green might be considered somewhat neutral as they are near the transition, as are red and red-violet. The simple answer is – it doesn’t matter which is warmest or coolest - or where the dividing line is. We don’t need exact definitions or delineations of warm and cool to use the concept in our paintings!

As for the second way of referring to colors as warm or cool – choosing a warmer and cooler version of the same color – we will discuss that in a future Spotlight!

Creating Mood with Color Temperature:

In many cases, whether we are concentrating on color temperature consciously or not, our paintings are predominantly painted using warmer or cooler colors. We often use color to help us express a certain mood. While each individual has their own perceptions – which can and do differ – for the most part we associate warm colors with warmth, sunlight, fire and passion. Cool colors are often associated with cold, night, quiet and calm.

It seems to me that a certain mood is created in the paintings below by their use of predominantly warm or cool colors. On the left, a landscape by William Trost Richards, on the right, a landscape by Paul Cezanne.


When colors are close together on the color wheel, such as in the paintings above, the color scheme is called analogous. When using an analogous color scheme, the usual choice is either predominantly warm or cool colors. Some paintings, such as the Cezanne, will include touches of color from the oppposite side of the color wheel, adding a bit more visual excitement.

Another pair of paintings showing the different moods created by predominantly warm or cool, analogous paintings. Paintings by Richard Trost Williams.


One more example – this time featuring paintings by Degas:


The “cool” painting on the right also has some of warmer colors scattered throughout that – in my opinion anyway - creates more visual excitement than a purely analogous painting does.

That visual excitement created by using contrasting warm and cool colors will be discussed next!

Using Warm and Cool Color Contrast:

As we have discussed in previous Spotlights, contrast is one of the most important aspects of visual art. We often think of contrast as primarily the use of light and dark values. But contrasting warm and cool colors is another way of helping objects stand out against each other, as well as creating excitement and dynamism in a painting.

Let’s look at some examples.


Above is a Renoir portrait painted in all warm colors. With apologies to Renoir, what would the painting look like if it had a cool colored background to contrast with the warm hair and skin? How much would it change?


The green background isn’t particularly different in value (dark or light), but the figure – especially the hair - stands out much more! One could find the painting is now more dynamic and exciting as well! At least I do!

Let’s look at another example. A couple portraits by Vincent Van Gogh.


On the left, we have a painting that is mostly warm colors – reds, and browns and primarily orange skin tones. On the right, we have a painting that is almost all cool colors – except the beard! And, my, how that beard stands out! Especially against those greenish skin tones on either side of the beard! Color contrast – especially the contrast of warm and cool – can be a powerful tool for artists!

Here are a few more examples of very dynamic paintings that use color temperature contrast by Van Gogh!


There are many reasons why these Van Goghs are so visually exciting - intense color and bold brush strokes and shapes - but also because of the use of warm and cool color temperature contrast!

Using Color Temperature to create Depth:

I think most of us are familiar with the concept of atmospheric (or aerial) perspective – that as distance increases, colors become cooler and less intense until in the far distance all colors have changed to the blue/gray of the atmosphere.

Here’s a link to a previous Spotlight on Atmospheric Perspective for those who may be unfamiliar with the concept:


Atmospheric Perspective is especially useful for landscape painters, but many believe that the basic idea of using color temperature to convey depth can be used in other types of paintings as well. The thought is that our brains are so used to the effect of atmospheric perspective, that we associate warmer colors with “closer” and cooler colors with “farther.” Take another look at the “warm” portrait by Renoir and compare it to the altered version with the cooler background. Does the cooler background also seem farther away? If yes, is it because it is cooler, or because it contrasts with the warmer colors of the near figure? Or both? I don’t have a definitive answer, but using the concept “warm colors advance, cool colors recede” is a common strategy. Each person can decide for themselves if it is useful for paintings other than landscapes, and when and where they want to use the idea!

For some additional information on Color Temperature, here are a couple links:

James Gurney’s blog:


An article on advancing and receding:


OK, we’ve digested a lot of information! For the most part, we’ve limited our discussion to using warm and cool color temperature in general terms or by using them in large areas of our paintings, such as foreground versus background. In future Spotlights we will look at more subtle uses of color temperature!

It’s time to paint!

The references:

I’ve done something a bit different this month. Since photographs already have their own color scheme, I’ve decided to leave only the foreground objects in color and grayed out the rest of the photo. This way, we can each decide whether to create predominantly warm or cool paintings or whether to use color temperature contrast – and how much! Feel free to experiment! Try some small thumbnails using different color schemes if you like! Share your experiments and your paintings!

Photo by Fagan

Photo by stalksthedawn

Photo by Pat Isaac

Photo by Dave Slaughter

Photo by me

As always, feel free to modify the references!

Have fun painting!

And...Happy New Year!


01-01-2017, 10:54 AM
Happy New Year, Don!
Great lesson, once again. I have a really hard time with the warm/cool issue, so I really appreciate this...
Thank You.

01-01-2017, 11:41 AM
Happy New Year, Don! Oh that's wicked, graying out the backgrounds! This is going to be fun. Tempting to just play with some of these in multiple iterations in small paintings, do both versions! And you had to include the cat! Purr and thanks for including the cat!

01-01-2017, 02:26 PM
Happy New Year Don and everyone. Don...you worked hard on this! Very interesting. The choices we get to make will make it exciting. Thank you.

01-01-2017, 03:40 PM
Happy New year Don and all the Spotlighters! Being a confirmed fan of complementary colour schemes I will try to work on some analogous ones this month....though I guess you'll see some warm amongst the cool, or vice versa. :)

01-02-2017, 11:29 AM
Happy New Year All!:wave:
I've been quite looking forward to clearing away holiday decorations and getting back to the studio.

Don you've given us something really interesting to chew on!
As I'm relatively new to the forum I'm going to follow your links to the past before settling on a subject.

Just like Christmas candy..so many choices...too many decisions!:lol:

Cheers LeslieSave

Donna T
01-02-2017, 04:24 PM
Happy New Year Don and everyone! Thanks so much for a great lesson, Don. You explain it all so well!

01-03-2017, 09:58 AM
I started a painting yesterday with this lesson in mind. I used a reference from the Jan2016 Spotlight that I found when reading up on that lesson. I'm going to give uploading from my iPad a try again. If it doesn't work I guess I'll have to break out my laptop. I did a block in in blue tones on this snow scene and then did an alcohol wash over it. I'm thinking a cool scene with just a few touches of warmth for interest. My lightest lights are actually darker on this underpainting as I've found I hadn't been starting out dark enough so I plan on added the lights on top. I'll post the photo too, if all goes well with technology. So only the original file of the photo was the correct size. Anyone know of a thread on uploading or resizing on an iPad. I've had trouble finding one.

01-03-2017, 11:58 AM
Trying to post again. If this works Ill add the other photo.

01-03-2017, 12:01 PM
I think this is working. OMG, technology hates me.

01-03-2017, 12:09 PM
Sorry about so many posts. New to this and trying to get it right. 5 x 7 Uart 500, mix of pastels. Thanks everyone.

01-03-2017, 04:29 PM
Hi Cali,
I came across that photo as well last week and did a version of it which I posted in the gallery. It's called "Winter"'
As for resizing images on your iPad, I found a free app called Image Size. It's very easy to use, doesn't seem to do anything else but if that's all your looking for, maybe check it out.

01-03-2017, 05:21 PM
Lucy, Thanks, that's a great idea. I'll look at your post as well.

01-04-2017, 06:20 PM
Oooh Cali, it's shaping up beautiful. Love your underpainting. Thank you for sharing stages.

I'm thinking about which one to do myself, but definitely want to do one this time. Maybe two of the same subject. Both the cat and the blue bird appeal to me though, so maybe do different subjects with complementary backgrounds?

01-04-2017, 08:17 PM
Cali, Looking good so far! Nice cool winter scene!


01-05-2017, 10:02 AM
Cali, looking forward to seeing more of your progress!

and technology must be on a rampage :evil:

as my computers are also giving me a hard time this week :envy:
Cheers Leslie

01-05-2017, 12:04 PM
Happy New Year everyone! Thanks Don for the wonderful photos and lesson.

Calipage - lookin good - can't wait to see what you do with it :)

01-05-2017, 12:44 PM
Good start Cali! This is one I've done too so I'm looking forward to seeing your finish.
Looking at the refs I find that I have done all but the Bluebird in the past. So I know what other colours are in them and can't turn my brain off from that it seems! I don't really fancy the Bluebird at the mo but who knows......

01-05-2017, 12:47 PM
Maybe I can post one I did the other day. It's small, 6.5 square, and is done on a reclaimed piece of fisher 400. All I knew is I wanted to do a snow scene and it sort of changed and grew as I worked. No ref for this one. But I notice I used all cool colours, except one pale salmon pink. I quite like the effect of that, even though the composition is not my best! Icy Pond....


edited to add that the "brown" in the trees is actually a mars violet which I usually think of as a cool colour....but against the grey violets it looks really warm!

01-05-2017, 02:55 PM
Ruthie, this is nice! It's a beautiful scene, very atmospheric and moody. Love the texture of the icy pond and the fade of the distant trees. The bit of salmon really works like a hint of sunset, just that hint of it.

Looking at the composition, the one thing I'd do with it to tweak it would be to place an animal somewhere in it. An animal becomes the focal point and your bushes are pointers from the sides leading in toward the center. It could be small and close to the edge of pond like a squirrel or more distant deer somewhat closer to those middle distance trees - but an animal is an element that would change the balance and liven it up. It looks to me like the stage is set.

If you wanted rule of three points, you could put a cardinal in the right side bush or a pair of them - bright male, drabber female. That'd bounce out and give an interesting focal area. Would work better than the left side.

When something seems to have a bland composition to me or unbalanced, my first fix thought is "add in something movable."

01-06-2017, 10:38 AM
Ruthie, I love the color harmony and feel of the painting. Wow.

water girl
01-06-2017, 12:44 PM
Calipage, great start.
Ruthie, I feel as if that water is frozen and I'm wondering if it will hold my weight. :thumbsup:

01-06-2017, 04:00 PM
Robert, thanks! Adding an animal had not occurred to me at all but I do see your point and will think carefully about that. The painting is only small though so I may find it difficult!
Cali, thanks! Though I am a colour-holic I am enjoying using my newly sorted greys and muted colours. I think they work well for winter scenes.
Karen, thanks! I'm glad you see it as ice as that is what I wanted to convey. If I were you I wouldn't trust it to hold your weight though! Not enough room to skate anyway :D

01-06-2017, 06:02 PM
Yeah, that's why I thought cardinals in the bush - they'd be one or two strokes each but could work if they're sort of calligraphic. I put a pair of cardinals into a 3/4" x 1 1/4" watercolor once - wasn't talking about detailed renderings. It doesn't take much to be recognizable, it's like doing figures as a dot and squiggle.

01-07-2017, 11:54 AM
Oh yes you are right Robert! Thing is, we don't have Cardinals here and, although the scene is pretty generic, I think of it as being here in the UK. I will think about putting something in there though :)

01-08-2017, 10:37 AM

Very nice chilly painting! The icy pond is especially impressive!

Some good lessons, too! As you mention, warm and cool can be relative depending on what colors they compare to. We'll be discussing that in future Spotlights. Also, it may be noted, that even such principles such as colors getting cooler in the distance are not always true. Each painting has its own principles depending on the light and many other factors. So the warmer trees in the distance work just fine!


01-09-2017, 08:13 AM
CaliAnn. Nice cold winter scene. And congrats on getting the technology to work.

Ruth, I just love the work you did on the lower two thirds of the painting. The bushes and rushes and water. As I view on my iPad, it gets cropped to that part and looks super. The water, the strokes are just fabulous.

Been two months for me for painting so I'm going to wade in with pans. Just to get back. Thinking temperature. (Not hard to do when it's freezing.).

01-09-2017, 01:04 PM
Calipage, I'm looking forward to seeing your finished river scene. I was tempted by the photo also, but don't know how to do snow.

Ruthie, your field looks so cold, but I like the touch of yellow on the horizon.

01-09-2017, 02:03 PM
an attempt. 9 x 12 on Fabriano Tiziano. Little tooth so I had to use fix. My granddaughter sent me the sunset from Cayman Islands. Pans and a few hard sticks. All comments welcome.

01-09-2017, 07:52 PM
Happy New Year to you Don, and all you Spotlighters - may 2017 bring you dusty fingers!

Ruth, as always, a lovely painting! I like Robert's idea of the cardinals, they are bright and lively birds and would be happy to sparkle in your painting!

Still-trying, what a wonderful seascape! I think the temperature is perfect, nice and warm and sunny! Better than the cold snap we're having here right now. All my cats have to stay inside - it's like a feline insane asylum. :cat:

Calipage - way back there - excellent work - are you taking photos with your phone and then putting it on your ipad? You must PM me and tell me how to do this!

Here's my little attempt. I took the bird and worked him on the same color paper, with different backgrounds covering. I used the textured side so the orange would shine through in both versions and keep it warm.

I didn't expect the changes that I had to make when changing the backgrounds - silly me, I thought the same colors would work for the bird in both versions. Nope, when I switched to the cooler green background, I had to find warmer blues to keep from losing the bird in the background.

Here's the color palette, very limited. On both "ends" are the background colors, and the bird colors in the middle. The Unisons at top are what I used to warm the bird up when I changed to the green background.


I shamelessly used transfers of the photo to get the bird on the paper, to save time and concentrate on the temperature changes. Even so, I've managed to really screw him up in places.

I'm not sure which version I like better, or if I have a preference. Both have their strong points. The orange complement background really pushes the bird out, but the analogous green background is more soothing.

First bird:


Second bird:


Thoughts and suggestions welcome!

01-09-2017, 08:08 PM
Ruthie, I didn't know that you didn't have cardinals. You do have robins though, that'd still be just a brown streak and a shorter red one for the breast to give the impression. It could be done in two strokes for a male robin. Or there might be other red birds in the UK. But there are so many British songs and poems with robin redbreast in that I know you have them!

Jay, that's beautiful! I love the way the warmth predominates. Gorgeous sunset scene. I especially love the edge of the water, can practically hear it rushing in, it's so beautiful.

Sandra, yeah! I slightly prefer the cool background to the bird, but I prefer green seasons so that's affected my view. Very striking contrast on the autumn colors! Looks like that, like autumn foliage in the distance. Tracing to get the proportions makes sense when that's not what the painting is about. It's a tool, like any other. You rendered the bird wonderfully both times and even changed the pose slightly between them, the head's a little more cocked in the autumn scene!

No pasteling yet but I'm still planning to have a go one of these days. Depends quite a bit on the weather... been cold here and past a certain point my hands don't want to work.

01-09-2017, 08:29 PM
Sandra, you did both! How nice. Good job. He looks quite happy in both paintings. I think I prefer the orange background myself.

Thanks for the comments about my seascape.

Hope to see you often. Btw, I email or text photos from my phone to my iPad or computer.

01-09-2017, 10:25 PM
Jay, very nice sunset/seascape! Very warm with a nice few touches of cool strokes!

Sandra, Very nicely done bluebirds! Glad you did two versions showing how the change in background makes a difference!

I didn't expect the changes that I had to make when changing the backgrounds - silly me, I thought the same colors would work for the bird in both versions. Nope, when I switched to the cooler green background, I had to find warmer blues to keep from losing the bird in the background.

Excellent point! A color can look quite different depending on what colors surround it!


01-10-2017, 08:06 AM
Robert, thank you. I missed your post. I hope the weather warms so you can paint.

Don, thank you. Beach scenes are my addiction!!!

01-10-2017, 10:21 AM
I'm very pleased to see some landscape interpretations of this month's theme.

Ruthie I really like your composition as it is, harmonious colours and sense of distance.
Forgive me Robert but adding anything else would be a distraction.

Jay, Again this piece has a lovely balance of warm and cool although I find the hard edge of the foreground wave takes away from soft transitions of the upper areas.

Sandra both your bluebirds are interesting. I like the simplicity of the first one.
Very nice sense of soft feathers and expression.

Enjoyed them all!:wave:

01-10-2017, 11:14 AM
Leslie, that wave edge is bugging me too. Thank you for reinforcing my thoughts. Thanks for comments!

01-11-2017, 11:20 AM
Days are short and I'm up before the dawn to get my pooches out for their much anticipated morning walk.
The cold winter skies with just a hint of warmth inspired my response to Don's theme of colour temperature.
C&Cs welcome!
I posted more variations in the Gallery forum..didn't want to clog up the Spotlight forum.
P.S. mislabeled pic as 2016 - not quite ready for the New Year:lol:

01-11-2017, 11:31 AM
Leslie, that is so beautiful! Love the atmospheric blue. I love dawn and twilight blues, you've captured that time of day so rich and powerful. Reminds me of some of the times I was in New Orleans, the light there tended to have that richness too. Beautiful sunrise! Just enough warm color to balance the rich blues!

01-11-2017, 02:48 PM
Leslie, Wonderful painting!! And don't worry about clogging up the Spotlight - the more posts, the more variations, the better! I'm on my way to the Gallery to see more!


01-11-2017, 02:59 PM
Leslie, that is just beautiful. Makes me want to bundle up and walk the path with you. I'll walk the dogs tomorrow..ok?

01-12-2017, 08:09 AM
Robert thanks for the positive feedback..this was sketched somewhat from memory so thought it might be a bit clunky.

Jay, you won't be sorry you missed this morning's walk..heavy rain...fogged up glasses..runny nose...soggy dogs :( not a pretty sight....

Don don't encourage me we're only halfway through the month:lol:

01-12-2017, 08:28 AM
I'll bet your dogs were the cutest again after a nice fluff with a towel. They are adorable.

01-13-2017, 01:34 PM
Soggy dogs! Only thing worse is sitting under the awning and suddenly having soggy moggies in my lap - wet cats huddling against me for warmth on rainy days can be a trip. I think I'll contemplate that beautiful scene and its like from plein window with a dry cat on my lap.

01-14-2017, 09:44 AM
Meow back to you Robert :cat::cat::cat:!

water girl
01-14-2017, 10:24 PM
Leslie, I really like your soft touch in this one. It almost looks like you have used velour or suede mat board. Well done!

01-15-2017, 05:11 AM
Hello spotlighters,

this is my first post in one of your challenges. They are great and I sometimes lurk, but have not so much time to post. But this month I made a pastel which accidentally could fit to your challenge. The reference is in the december/january landscape challenge, which I host.
I made the reference photos, the situation when the sunset photos were made, was spectacular. It was freezing cold -15 C / 5 F but the colors of the sunset were so warm that it was really feeling paradoxical.
So I call this painting "warmed by color"


C&C always welcome


01-15-2017, 09:04 AM
Esther what a great interpretation of the theme!
We usually associate cool blues with winter but this balance between warm and cool is very atmospheric.

Karen I should have mentioned with my posting that I used Rembrandt, Richeson pastels on sand paper...yes, sand not sanded ... cheap and fun for quick sketches!

01-15-2017, 10:51 AM
I finally have done one of these and it has been a great lesson. Not only about colour temperature but this is the first time I've used pastel at. I find it is VERY different to what I have been used which is mainly Canson mitientes unfortunately. I also did the fruit mainly in pastel pencils which I have never used so extensively before. Thank you for the great lesson an c&c most definitely welcome.

01-15-2017, 10:53 AM
I should have read my post more carefully, that should have said pastelmat.

01-15-2017, 11:09 AM
LucyLoo you've done a great job with the still life:clap:

VERY 3 dimensional, excellent shadows and that beautiful table cloth makes me want to get out my iron...

if I still have one?:rolleyes:

01-15-2017, 11:19 AM
Thank you Leslie. I certainly appreciate it and I totally admire your work. Your piece here in the spotlight is beautiful as are the other ones you have posted.

While I'm at it, Ruthie, Esther, your scenes are also beautiful.

01-15-2017, 01:30 PM
Very nice work, Jay, good colours.

Sandra, your birds are nice. Maybe the green background needs a darker blue.

Leslie, your pooches and I are getting cold looking at your picture! LOL
Very nice colours.

Esther, your sunset is great, I especially like the track in the snow.

Lucyloo, your pears look good enough to eat.

water girl
01-15-2017, 01:43 PM
Esther, I like your title and I really like the glowing colors you have chosen for the horizon.
Lucyloo, this is well done, and demonstrates the two varieties of pears quite well.

01-15-2017, 03:46 PM
Thank you Leslie, Lucyloo, Fana, Karen.

Lucyloo, your pears are very well painted, very realistic.

Leslie your painting is gorgeous. This is how I would like to paint, but it will take a lot of paper for me to get somewhere near. :)


01-15-2017, 07:03 PM
Esther, Very lovely winter sunset! A nice contrast of warms and cools!

Lucyloo, Really nice job on those pears! And they look very warm against that cool background!


01-16-2017, 06:17 AM
Esther, I'm fascinated by your lovely winter scene. Your cool blue is near and the hot orange sky is far but you managed to tame them and make it all work so beautifully! Lovely painting. And you did the photo at -15? Wow.

LucyLoo, great pears. The tablecloth!!!! Just beautiful.

Thank you Fana.

This Spotlight is making me think! Work! I'm going to try those leaves today.

01-16-2017, 11:29 AM
Only because I wanted to do one of the references. But this kind of work is NOT for me!!!! Uart 400 5 x 6 hard pastels and then a few Giraut. ( I don't know how you guys manage with Uart!) I'm unhappy but putting it up in the spirit of sharing and learning. ALL COMMENTS WELCOME! Sympathy too!

01-16-2017, 05:08 PM
Ohh, why don't you like it? I think its very nice. I've never tried Uart so can't comment on that but felt the same about pastelmat, it definitely takes getting used to.

01-16-2017, 05:21 PM
Esther, once again your painting is beautiful. After reading your post though, where is the landscape challenge?

water girl
01-16-2017, 07:14 PM
Jay. You have made this painting your own. I'd be very pleased with it. There is a nice, subtle movement to the leaves. :thumbsup:

01-16-2017, 07:46 PM
Jay, Not sure what disappoints you. There's a movement and rhythm to the leaves that is very pleasing! You've captured their essence and that's what it's all about!


01-16-2017, 08:06 PM
I understand your frustration with the paper
nevertheless I think you've done very well!
Your composition is fresh and lively!
Put it aside and I think you will see the positives in a day or two!

01-17-2017, 08:19 AM
Lucy, thank you. I love pastelmat. I don't like the painting because of the scratchy look. And because I couldn't make it look the way I wanted. I like to paint with the side of pastels....and this didn't allow me to do that. The precise line escapes me. Yet if I use pans and apply with those pan brushes, no problem. I also had problems trying to figure out which leaf was in front of what and their shapes. Thanks for commenting. Maybe I should have stuck with it and not posted, complaining. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

Karen, you're sweet. I didn't mind the shape of the work but the execution. Maybe, because I never use pastels that way, I just don't know how. Idk. I kept wishing I could go to a brush or use one of those little wooden sticks to do the stem. I guess I'm admitting I need some basic pastel stoke lessons. I'm self taught so I have probably developed some nasty habits. Or I'll just stick with the landscapes and sea scapes that I'm comfortable with. Certainly will for my next! Thanks the comments. How would you have done the stem?

01-17-2017, 08:25 AM
Don, sorry, I didn't see page five. Thanks. I wanted to get the near and far colors but they were all on the warm side. Degree of warmth.

Thanks Leslie. Nothing like blaming the materials, eh? I have a box that pastels go in for "time out". Punishment. They often never get out!!! Will try something comfortable today to get my mojo back..hopefully.

01-17-2017, 08:32 AM
I don't think it's a case of blaming materials...we assume that if an expert recommends something it should work for us but I haven't found that to be true.

For each artist there's a combination of paper and pastel that works best for them.

I'd start a thread on this subject but am not sure how to word it?:cool:

01-17-2017, 10:23 AM
Leslie. Good idea! I keep a little book and I record the paper and pastels I used for each painting. (Obviously I keep my stuff in their boxes, pretty much). So I can look back if a feel a painting was successful

But yesterday I totally forgot to use one of those color shapers! That's what I was missing. After two months of no painting, I didn't put that tool out. That helps me to push the color into something that has tooth.

Sorry guys. Running on a bit. But today I have a sky and seascape. So I can be as expressive as my soul needs to be. As long as I use warm and cool colors!!! :lol: :lol: :angel:

water girl
01-17-2017, 01:10 PM
Jay, I'd have used pastel pencils as my fist choice. Another thing to try is finding a hard edge on your pastel stick. Experiment on a scrap of paper. I know you'll get it right. I have great confidence in you.

01-17-2017, 01:54 PM
Thanks so much Karen. I feel better today, in my element of sea and sky. This is charcoal colored pastelMat 11 x 14 with Rembrandt and Art Spectrum and then Great American for the dark purple gray color in the water. I'll look at for a few days but so far I'm much happier with this style of work. C and C most welcome. Thanks for commenting everyone. It helps. (Gosh it feels stormy in my room!)

01-17-2017, 03:21 PM
luckyloo123, the landscape challenge is in the landscape forum.

Jay I like your seascape, it is full of motion.
Maybe the leaves were to motionless for you :)


01-17-2017, 04:16 PM
Thanks Esther. I'll have to paint them in a storm.

water girl
01-17-2017, 05:26 PM
Jay, you nailed a very stormy sea.

01-17-2017, 07:09 PM
Lucy, wow! Your pears are gorgeous. I love the smooth shininess you achieved, it has this lovely look to it of some of my favorite realist painters. Very true to life. Very intense and interesting. The wet pear really stands out.

Jay, I don't know why you're unhappy. It's very painterly and lively, so full of motion I can feel a bitter winter wind blowing those leaves around. Precision is not necessarily the best thing in a painting. This one has some wonderful vibrance and the snow texture's fantastic.

That brooding, atmospheric sea and sky one on charcoal Pastelmat is a stunner. Very strong and intense. It seems almost claustrophobic, there's no way to get out of the way of nature's fury in it. So intense and powerful!

01-17-2017, 09:00 PM
Thank you Robert.

jay your stormy sea is very lively. Good job.

01-18-2017, 05:20 AM
Thanks Karen.

Robert: Claustrophobic! That's a scary place to be! You made me gasp! I hope no one is caught in the storm. Thank you. That was such fun to do.

Thanks Lucy. I enjoyed that one.

01-18-2017, 07:45 AM
Jay, VERY dramatic love it!
Cheers Leslie

01-18-2017, 05:20 PM
Thanks Leslie. I like to paint from my shoulder, with motion. That makes me happy. Thanks so much.

01-19-2017, 05:33 AM
Sorry I haven't been around. We're decorating our living room so the only painting I have been doing is on walls :(
I'll be back as soon as I can!

01-19-2017, 08:24 AM
Jay, Very moody and lots of energy and motion in that seascape!


01-19-2017, 03:21 PM
Thanks Don. I think the large wave needs tweaking. But that's the fun part.

01-23-2017, 01:24 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2017/40985-image.jpg Everyone has such nice paintings so far, sorry I'm hopeless at commenting on them iduvidually, I get confused with who's painting is who's :)
I'm a bit late this month but here is my version of the pairs, is it weird that I could see these colours in the black and white background?
It is raining here at the moment so I had to take the photo inside so it's not the best, A4 size art spectrum and a couple of mount vision pastels on sand courfix

01-23-2017, 05:13 AM
Deanna, I think that is a first on the spotlight! A selfie with a self portrait! You did a very nice job on the lovely and sensitive self portrait. I'm looking forward to seeing the pears too!

01-23-2017, 01:56 PM
Deanne, you are a bit sideways on my monitor but you and your portrait look very nice :)

Here are the 2 birds I did, plus the pears:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2017/54042-210b72_Jan17.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2017/54042-214b72_Jan17.jpg

Wet Canvas is very slow today, I think I will wait with my cat and leaves til later.

All are Uart 400, Nupastel, Rembrandts, Art Spectrums and CarbOthello pencils.

01-23-2017, 03:30 PM
Deanna your self portrait is very well done!
Fana, you have been ambitious with 3 projects.
You have shown what a difference colour (temp) makes in setting off your pretty birds!

01-23-2017, 04:12 PM
Leslie, not quite done yet, here are two more:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2017/54042-211b72_Jan17.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2017/54042-215b72_Jan17.jpg

I like the Spotlight, it gives such a nice selection.

As usual, Uart 400, Nupastels, Rembrandts, Art Spectrums and CarbOthello pencils.

(Ooops, I just see that the cat's left eye is too small)

01-23-2017, 04:27 PM
You're on fire!

01-23-2017, 09:53 PM
Oops, this one was meant for the portrait swap over in portraits, technoligy strikes again:)
I will post my pairs today when I get home

01-24-2017, 03:27 AM
Here we go hopefully this works

01-24-2017, 07:53 AM
Fana, what a good illustration of how the change in background color changed the subject. And so many!!! I admire your leaves especially.

Deanna, your pears are lovely. I love what you did with background and tablecloth. Inspiring!

01-24-2017, 09:36 AM
I love your palette of colours.
The subtle colour changes i.e. background is very effective.

water girl
01-24-2017, 01:26 PM
Fana, you are on a roll, for sure. I particularly like the the last two. In the cat, it's your color choices, in the leaves, it's the heaviness of leaves about to fall.
Deanna, your pears are beautiful, but it's your background colors that make this a stand out.

01-24-2017, 10:35 PM
Fana, Wow! So productive! Very nice paintings, and I'm glad you experimented with different warm/cool backgrounds with the bluebird! The color in the 2nd goes great with the blue of the bird, in my opinion!

Deanna, Glad to see your pears! Very lovely!


01-27-2017, 01:03 PM
Deanna, your self portrait is awesome - great selfie with it, that gives a comparison for accuracy without showing the same pose. Gorgeous work. Love your pears too, thanks for posting them. Pears are so rich and lush, love the values and the rounded realism, it looks painterly and gorgeous.

WC will replace a file with the same filename, so it's important to rename art photos to the art title and keep titles unique, or you get accidental substitutions like that. I figured that was how your portrait turned up.

Fana, wow you've done a lot! Cool birds, liked the warm golden background more but both are well done. Awesome leaves. Your problem with the cat's eye isn't the size - they are both the same size and accurate. It's a matter of placement. I've done this too. It happens with human portraits but for some reason is especially common with cats. The eyes are on a level with the edge of the painting, not horizontal in relation to the head. The nose tweaks off at an angle to my left (cat's right), and the head and ears are at an angle with the nose. The eye on my right (cat's left eye) thus pushed way up toward the ear - because it's lined up with the edge of the painting instead of with the head.

The best way that I have to counter this is in the sketching stage. I turn the paper so that the cat's head is perfectly vertical to me while sketching it, and make sure the placement of the eyes is on a line with the nose coming vertical right between them, mouth, ears, etc. in relation to each other. It's very hard when the cat's head is at a slight tilt because it's easy not even to notice that there's a tilt - until some features follow it and others don't.

01-28-2017, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the compliments, I find the Spotlight is good practice. Unfortunately it shows the many gaps in my so-called art education. I just don't like theory, I want to sit down and paint correctly LOL

Robert, I have to check the cat painting again to work out what you are saying. Right now I have the same problem with an owl picture, have to check the placement.

I'm looking forward to next month,

01-29-2017, 10:59 PM
Thanks everyone, I am really pleased with how the pears came out.
Robert, I can't take credit for the portrait, that was done by a lady named Nancy for the portrait swap.
I know I can't post pictures on my phone on the same day but I forgot that for a moment until I had done it :)
Fana, you certainly are productive and that is the best way to improve,