View Full Version : The Spotlight - May 2017 - Springtime Splendor

04-30-2017, 08:20 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…Springtime Splendor!

Every year about this time we take a month to celebrate Spring! Here in the Northeast, after the usual cold and dreary winter, Spring is always most welcome and eagerly anticipated! Birdsong begins to fill the air and the rather colorless days of winter are replaced by the colors of flowers blooming and trees blossoming! And that's what we will put the Spotlight on this month!

Here are the references (photos by me):







Please feel free to alter, crop, and manipulate the references as you wish! Let's celebrate Spring!


05-01-2017, 08:57 AM
Thanks Don!

Your photos are bright and cheerful..I particularly like the first one
..very ethereal...can I paint it ...we'll see?:angel:

I'm going to try and stay on topic this month:lol:

05-01-2017, 01:16 PM
Thanks Don. Spring is beautiful here in New Jersey this year.

Leslie, I too am drawn to that first photo. Sings to me!!! I'll have to give it a try for sure. (Lovely, Don.).

05-02-2017, 01:29 PM
Here's a mini I painted on Uart just the other day that's very spring-themed.

I like it so much I'm doing something unprecedented and painting it again, only larger.

Watercolor underpainting, pan, and soft pastels.


05-02-2017, 02:26 PM
I happened to just finished one from a photo that I took last spring. Had a hard time rendering the trees/bushes. They just look like a mess in the original photo. =p
11x14 canson mi teintes smooth side with mount vision sticks. C&c welcome.


05-03-2017, 01:17 PM
Shallbe, what a nice soft feel that has, and pleasing colors too.

Stillwater: nice photography! I love what you did, leading us into the tunnel by sharper focus there. Then taking us deep into the scene. Very nice. My instinct would be to perhaps omit the duck? I think you did a great job on the trees.

05-03-2017, 08:40 PM
Shallbe, Very nicely done! Speaking from experience, sometimes it is difficult to capture the delicacy of flowers and leaves, but you have done it!

Stillwater, Lovely painting! Without seeing the reference, I would say you did a nice job simplifying the foliage to help lead us to the focal area!


05-04-2017, 10:16 AM
Shallbe I do like your blending and choice of colours...it's so easy to make mud!

Stillwater, this is a very interesting composition with the deep reds vs the yellow greens. Nice reflections draw your eye in!

05-04-2017, 12:03 PM
Very nice blossoms, Shallbe, look like spring!

Stillwater - the reflections are just great!

05-04-2017, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the compliments everyone!
Still-trying, I debated about the duck myself! I kept it in there because I feel that from focal area the hanging branches on the left side would lead to the duck, then the white water ripple under the duck would lead it back to the focal area. But I probably should have put the duck a bit closer to the hanging branches and made the ripple on the right side more clear than the left side.

05-06-2017, 08:24 AM
I took QUITE a few liberties with Don's photo this month:angel:
I was interested in the combination of white, pink and orange
so I cropped the photo and darkened the background
in order to emphasize the textures and colours of the spring trees.
Rembrandts, Richesons and Senneliers on 1000 grit sandpaper.
I like working on the black sandpaper for sketches such as this.(instant gratification!)
Comments welcome.


05-06-2017, 09:16 AM
Leslie, Beautiful job! All your artistic choices are right on, in my opinion!


05-07-2017, 02:39 PM
Hi all :)
I am sorry for being absent for so long. "Offline life" challenges simply took over my mind and there was no desire for me to paint or to think about art. I hope that is going to change. Thank you Don for keeping hosting the Spotlight and for the photos!

05-07-2017, 11:34 PM
Thanks for all the comments on my mini painting. I have gotten such rave reviews of it elsewhere that I am painting another, larger version of it.

I just purchased a small set of Sennelier sticks... Hope they will be useful for the blossom.


05-08-2017, 12:49 PM
Leslie, very nice trees with good reflections.

05-08-2017, 03:11 PM
Hi all :)
I am sorry for being absent for so long. "Offline life" challenges simply took over my mind and there was no desire for me to paint or to think about art. I hope that is going to change. Thank you Don for keeping hosting the Spotlight and for the photos!

Nick, I hope you will be painting again soon, but don't worry if it doesn't! I've had stretches in life where I didn't paint for 2 years or so. It happens.


05-09-2017, 04:18 PM
I was made aware of this challenge by Leslie. Just bumping the thread now. Have to finish the landscape challenge first. See you soon.

05-10-2017, 03:38 PM
I was made aware of this challenge by Leslie. Just bumping the thread now. Have to finish the landscape challenge first. See you soon.

Looking forward to seeing your paintings!

Just a note: This is a "sticky" thread which means it always stays near the top of the page - so no need to "bump" the thread back up to the top! (Still appreciated though!)


05-12-2017, 02:04 PM
Stillwater, I commented on the duck because I had the same dilemma. I liked the duck and the wake it made. I left it in. But it kept bugging me and ultimately, I cut the painting down to exclude it. So I guess I was talking to myself! You did a lovely painting there. Beautiful.

05-12-2017, 02:13 PM
Leslie. gorgeous! I LOVE IT. I'm not sure I'll have time but that's the reference that interest me too. I love the crops and how you handled the colors. Good job!

05-13-2017, 10:00 PM
I am SO excited to get on here after two years and see Don is still doing these monthly challenges! I love this one Don, and can't wait to try one of them! Thank you for keeping them up!!

Shallbe, I LOVE your spring painting! It's so soft and simple! I love what the watercolor underpainting adds... I just got some water colors.. I think I'm going to put that on my list to try! :)

Stillwater that painting! It's beautiful as I remember yours always were! I LOVE the reflections in the water, and the color scheme just touches my heart!

Leslie I love yours too... I think you were fully justified in taking liberties with Don's reference photo, because it looks amazing! I love the reflections and the soft highlights! Beautiful!

05-14-2017, 08:41 AM
keepingpure, So glad to see you again! We look forward to seeing your latest pastels!


05-14-2017, 10:47 PM
Leslie, I love how you captured the reflections in the water. I've never tried working on black sanded paper before, but now I really want to give it a try.