View Full Version : The Spotlight - December 2017 - Holiday Cards

11-30-2017, 10:42 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…Holiday Cards!

It's Holiday time and I thought we would do a little something different this month. Every year at this time, some folks create their own Holiday cards from original paintings. While I haven't done it - although I do make my own cards, but they have never been from paintings or more specifically pastel paintings - I am hoping that some of our pastel artists will be up to the task! Feel free to share any Holiday cards that you have painted from the past, as well as paintings that you may use for this year! Ideas, sketches, thoughts, questions, are all welcome!

I tend to take very few photos in the winter, so I don't have any references, but feel free to share any references that you may have! Here are a few of my most recent Holiday cards - two are from photos which everyone is free to use - and the other two are more of my usual Holiday card style (Simple and done on the computer...:eek: )




Please share any and all of your Holiday card ideas and paintings!

And have a very wonderful Holiday season!


12-02-2017, 12:19 PM
Hi Don and all. I will look out some of my previous years Christmas cards and post. Good subject, let's get in the spirit!

12-05-2017, 07:32 AM
Beautiful photos and great theme. I may manage to do one this month, it's been too long since I did a Spotlight. Love the one with the candle!

water girl
12-05-2017, 05:04 PM
Quite a few years ago, I photographed two of my paintings and turned them into Thanksgiving and Christmas cards. They were not the usual subject matter, but worked none the less. It was those few touches of red in the wildlife painting that turned them into holiday cards.


12-05-2017, 05:51 PM
Both of these are so beautiful, Karen. My favorite is that egret, though. Egrets always go right to my heart. Wonderful work and they do elegantly as card subjects, the little bit of red makes it perfect.

12-06-2017, 02:50 PM
Karen, Thanks for joining us and sharing these two beautiful cards! That background on the Thanksgiving card is absolutely fantastic!


water girl
12-06-2017, 07:00 PM
Thank you, Robert and Don. I forgot how much fun it was to create my own holiday cards.

Donna T
12-08-2017, 08:14 AM
Wonderful cards, Karen! The egret card has an old fashioned or nostalgic feel to me and who wouldn't hang onto a copy of those birds? I'm ashamed that I've never attempted to make a holiday card. If I start now maybe I can have one ready for next year!

12-09-2017, 01:50 PM
I was wondering how this month's challenge would work out, but seeing Karen's birds I immediately felt I had to post. (I lurk, a lot.) I love the birds on the branch, with the soft background that really make them pop.

Urge to pull out pastels rising...

12-15-2017, 05:05 PM
This is an old painting, but hella fun to do, especially the "floury" part!
Hiya everyone. I'm trying to get back in the "stick" of things, thanks to some not-so-gentle prodding by Karen.



water girl
12-15-2017, 08:16 PM
Kris, this would make a wonderful card!!! Pick up the sticks!

12-16-2017, 11:52 AM
Oh wow! Kris, this is beautiful and so perfect on theme! That'd make a fantastic card. It's the sort of thing that makes you drool and think of going in the kitchen to do it. Love the composition too. The floury bit worked fantastic. I'm not sure how you did it, but you really got it. Happy memories of cheerful messes and a lovely collection of cookie cutters. I love the metallic effect on those, you really got the shine.

12-16-2017, 04:44 PM
Oh wow! Kris, this is beautiful and so perfect on theme! That'd make a fantastic card. The floury bit worked fantastic. I'm not sure how you did it, but you really got it. Happy memories of cheerful messes and a lovely collection of cookie cutters. I love the metallic effect on those, you really got the shine.

Thank you Robert, and thank you Karen, for the virtual kick in the ass!

Like I said, this was absurdly fun to paint. The "flour" was one of Terry's off whites, scrumbled across a sprayed surface. I could have easily covered the entire painting with "flour" it was so much fun!

The cookie cutters I directly attribute to Dianna Ponting. We did a cookie cutter in the class that I took with her (where I met Karen, the pint sized dynamo), and she kept saying "make it look like ribbon!" I learned my lesson well. Although I'm way rusty now!

Yep, gotta pick up those sticks again!

12-16-2017, 10:54 PM
Kris, So nice to see you! Lovely painting! Those cookie cutters are fantastic!! It might inspire me to bake some cookies tomorrow!


Donna T
12-17-2017, 12:03 PM
I think I remember when you posted those cookie-themed paintings, Kris, and it's nice to see them again! They really would make great cards because we can all relate to the allure of freshly baked holiday treats (or just the dough in my case.) Your still life work is always an inspiration so I hope to see it again.

12-17-2017, 03:13 PM
Well, this might sort of count as holiday cards. It's decorations anyway! Not pastel either, but it's something. This was a collaboration with my grandchildren. Definitely crafty.

Grandson was bored and bouncing off the walls. Last year I got him origami sets and supplies because I thought he might like them, but he hasn't played with them. So today I decided to show him how to do something. Flipped through the book and found the lily pattern, which is a little advanced, about like the crane. More than that, I hadn't done it yet.

So we each took red sheets and sat side by side as I figured out the instructions and helped him create his. His came out flawless, he's a quick learner. We had a couple of "back up and redo this" points but we got them done. Granddaughter got in on the act by finding wire for the stems, twisting it into hanging loops, painting it green and yellow for stem and stamen and then varnishing it with gloss varnish. So these are really a collaboration with my grandkids, a holiday present for my daughter when she gets home from work. Two holiday lilies for Lily.

Two Lilies for Lily
Origami paper, glossy and matte, painted wire.
Collaboration with grandson (the brighter lily, I did the smaller, darker glossy one, different kind of paper) and granddaughter (wire, painted hanging stems and stamens, wire design.

Donna T
12-17-2017, 03:22 PM
Those are beautiful flowers, Robert! I'll bet they are displayed long after Christmas comes and goes. You are so lucky to have grandchildren to get crafty with and they are soooo lucky to have you! Thanks for sharing!

12-18-2017, 01:28 PM
Not in pastels but could work as a card if I printed it up...

Magenta Ornament for December Watermedia Challenge 2017
5" x 8"
Lyra Opaque Watercolor and Finetec Pearlescent Colour on large Moleskine Watercolor Journal. Photo reference by ColdPress for challenge.

Really need to do a pastels one again. I had the most beautiful pastels ornaments page in San Francisco, unfortunately I had it on the wall for a decoration and the room above mine had a leak in their plumbing. It got ruined. Kept it but don't know where it's packed.

Donna T
12-19-2017, 08:12 AM
That would definitely make a nice card, Robert!

12-20-2017, 08:34 AM
Robert, those origami lilies look great! And complicated! And your painting would be a perfect holiday card!


water girl
12-20-2017, 12:09 PM
Perfect for a card, Robert.

12-21-2017, 01:22 AM
Purr, thank you! I might have a go at a pastel holiday theme piece this weekend, because the WDE invitation has a lot going for it. It's shelves with holiday decorations on them, if I block out a small area I could get a nice holiday still life instead of a too-cluttered painting.

12-23-2017, 11:37 AM
Karen, your cards are just beautiful. The egret is my favorite.

And Kris, what fun! Very well done. Now I want a cookie!

Robert, very nice flowers and I love the ornament. Nice work.

Many good wishes to you all whatever you celebrate. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all.

12-23-2017, 04:43 PM
Very nice pictures and paintings!!!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas!!!!

12-25-2017, 11:36 AM
Merry Christmas to all! Happy Holidays to those who celebrate other ones!

2017 Christmas Card (from life)
6" x 8" hard pastels on toned tan Strathmore Mixed Media card.
Happy Holidays!

model: Miss Gemini III, royal majesty of the clowder, resident kitten.

12-26-2017, 03:39 PM
Very nice, Robert! I hope you and everyone here on WC had a nice, safe holiday!


12-26-2017, 04:10 PM
Purr thank you! We sure did, our house was full of guests and pies and joy!

Donna T
12-26-2017, 04:24 PM
Oh I love this card, Robert! The paw that can't resist reaching out for the ornament is the best. I hope there are a few pieces of pie left for you. :)

12-26-2017, 08:08 PM
Oh yes, lots! I had pie for breakfast this morning, it was wonderful. Start of a glorious week! Purr thank you. I had the idea for this card for a long time, ever since I held back the ornament out of the box packing up last year. Now I've finally done it! Miss Gemini III posed for the paw.