View Full Version : March Pastel Strokes

03-02-2008, 03:56 PM
Welcome to the March 2008 Pastel Strokes!

Those who have participated in previous months already know the guidelines. For all newbies to this monthly challenge, they are as follows:

* An individual volunteering to host the monthly project proposes to a guide or a moderator a new photo reference near the beginning of the month.
* The guide or moderator approves the host and reference photo and the selected host posts the project in Pastel Talk and also a thread in the Soft Pastel Studio with a link to the Pastel Talk project link.
* Interested participants create a painting from the photo and upload it to this thread for viewing and discussion.
* The image may be cropped, rearranged, and interpreted in any manner! Use different effects in your software program and try painting something different, tweak the color, add or subtract things. This is a friendly chance to share the creative venture. Have fun with it!
* You may paint as many versions as you like, and they may be any size.

These two photos are available to paint, and hopefully, they will prepare you for a fresh breath of spring to come after this chilly winter. The first was taken at the Kaufmann Memorial Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri, and the second at a lovely cottage garden close to Alma, Kansas in the picturesque Flint Hills. Have fun with this, and take care! :)



Kathryn Wilson
03-02-2008, 05:02 PM
Thanks for doing this Paula! These look wonderful and I know folks while have a great time working on them.

Have fun!

03-04-2008, 07:30 AM
Thanks for hosting this month Paula. I'm thinking about doing the garden photo. Although I may be in way over my head...lol.

03-04-2008, 01:06 PM
Paula - these are so lovely. Would love to do them, but my month is so full. Will be jumping the fence this week to take an oil painting class from Linda Besse (http://www.besseart.com) and also have to go to Virginia later in the month to tkae care of a daughter who is having surgery. Maybe while I'm there, a little down time will provide a chance to do these. Thanks for doing this. Ya'll have fun!

Deborah Secor
03-06-2008, 11:55 PM
Paula, I'd love to have larger sized pix of these...do you plan to post links for us? I mean, I can muddle along, of course! But I love the garden and thought maybe a quick little one of a crop from it... I'm so ready for SPRING!


03-07-2008, 10:18 AM
This is my attempt at the garden scene. It's on Canson, lightish brown (can't remember the correct name of the colour) 14"x10" and mostly Unison pastels. I left out the tree and changed the path a bit. C&C welcome.


03-07-2008, 01:59 PM
very nice, John!

03-07-2008, 02:20 PM
That's lovely John!

03-07-2008, 02:55 PM
John, excellent job! Very skilled work on the foliage, the strokes reflect the different types of foliage very well, and you've got realistic looking shadowy areas behind/ under the leaves and stalks which I always find difficult to get. I like the way you added more flowers to make it more colourful too.


03-07-2008, 09:24 PM
That is awesome, John!


03-08-2008, 12:35 PM
fantastic John...

03-08-2008, 03:00 PM
This is so beautiful John, after seeing your painting I can't wait for spring now. I'm not that good at doing floral, but I might try this one or maybe I will try the daffodils. Thank you for the beautiful photo's Paula.

03-09-2008, 11:30 AM
It's March!!! already! I have to figure out where the Feb. strokes went as i never got to comment on the last paintings:crying: I'm taking new medicines, so i should be able to come back more frequently!

this months photos are beautiful! i like having 2 choices.

Jon this i wonderful! It looks like impressionist painting leaving the tree out, because it leans in the wrong direction off the page. I love your line of trees in the back. Great job!

now for me to start!:D

Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 11:39 AM
Betsy - the past Pastel Strokes go into the Pastel Library - they are still viewable, but the Library is closed to comments as it is "under construction" at this time.

03-09-2008, 12:15 PM

Nice job! Portrayed beautifully!


03-09-2008, 02:36 PM
Thanks for the nice comments though I could stand some criticism too! I paint garden scenes quite often and sometimes think I should be able to simplify rather than make so many strokes. But Monet used plenty of brushstrokes in his paintings, didn't he? Thanks for posting such a lovely photo, Paula.

03-09-2008, 07:58 PM

That is a very nice painting of the garden. This is just about one of the prettiest gardens I've seen, and the flower combinations are just wonderful. Thanks for the kind comments about the photos too - my main reason for my digital camera is to take reference photos, and I try to take a bunch. I'll add some more to the reference photo library, and I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do. Take care pals!

03-09-2008, 08:59 PM
Beautiful John.

Haven't started mine yet but after seeing yours, I may not. You did all the foliage so nicely. Not sure I have the patience to do that many strokes!

Look forward to seeing the rest of the pictures!


K Taylor-Green
03-11-2008, 08:41 PM
No criticism here! This is beautifully done, John!

Merethe T
03-12-2008, 07:21 AM
Ah, lovely spring-feel in the air this month....nice photos!
Beautiful painting, John, really makes me wish for spring! I'd get totally lost in all those greens, so no crits from me either!


03-12-2008, 08:20 PM
John - Such a beautiful explosion of color and remarkable detail to define flowers and foliage. You mention you think you might like to simplify?? Why not try another one with that in mind. It would be interesting to see! The one you've done is lovely.

03-13-2008, 07:25 AM
John - Such a beautiful explosion of color and remarkable detail to define flowers and foliage. You mention you think you might like to simplify?? Why not try another one with that in mind. It would be interesting to see! The one you've done is lovely.

It's not so much that I'd like to simplify. It's just that lots of teachers say that you shouldn't paint every leaf and I then feel guilty about putting in too much detail. I like the work of impressionists like Monet and the pointillism of Seurat and others. It's painting with little strokes of broken colour like an intricate tapestry that I really enjoy. I don't find it fussy or laborious either - you can make a lot of marks very quickly with pastel. I wouldn't know how to simplify a scene like that anyway - I was hoping someone would post a simplified version?

Little Dragon
03-14-2008, 09:01 PM
Hi all, thought I would jump in here and try my luck. First off, John, awesome work, you really captured the feel of the picture.
This is my first time posting and fairly new to pastels.

Here is my beginning WIP. I've got the basic colors blocked in. Now to start layering. Any hints, tips, comments are appreciated

Little Dragon
03-15-2008, 10:03 AM
Wow, I got so into this once I got started, I stayed up late working on it. I may want to go back and put a little more definition between the pedals but I dont want to overwork it so...c&c welcome.


By the way, I used Nupastels and a strathmore sketchpad. The finished drawing is about 12" x 12"

03-15-2008, 10:30 AM
Nice work! I like the peachy colours in the petals and you have defined them beautifully. The painting also has a nice natural softness whereas the photo tends to make everything sharper and harsher - that's the magic of pastels :)

03-16-2008, 03:25 AM
two fabulous submissions already !! .... john, awesome !! ... pray tell ... how did you go about it? ... did you do the flowers first? ... then the leaves? then fill in the negative space with darks? ... would love to see a wip of it !! ...

little dragon ... yours is awesome too !! ... i hope you'll continue to fill in the negative spaces in yours such as you've started on the top right ... your blossoms will really pop then !! ... great job on the details !

Little Dragon
03-16-2008, 01:11 PM
Violet, you're absolutely right about the background. Thanks for the tip

03-16-2008, 06:11 PM
Thanks Violet. I usually create dark areas first with charcoal or dark pastel and then it's easy to paint the foliage on top of that background.

03-16-2008, 07:33 PM
Violet, you're absolutely right about the background. Thanks for the tip

goodness .. !! ..i thought it was yet to come !! .... regardless, it's fabulous !!

Thanks Violet. I usually create dark areas first with charcoal or dark pastel and then it's easy to paint the foliage on top of that background.

at least you make it *sound* easy !! .... lovely results ...

03-17-2008, 02:29 PM
I hesitate to post after these 2 beautiful entries. I have a hard time with florals, so mine sortof took off in its own. I didnt have the photo before me, after the initial sketch,so had to do it by memory...Is there anything I can do now to make them look more realistic ...or do I need to start all over again? (This is my first time posting in this thread, but am enjoying working with pastels and want to do more...)
thanks for you comments...

03-17-2008, 03:35 PM
Well, you have captured the colours well with good variations in the greens. You really need to work from the photo, I think. If you do you will see that there is much more variation in the flowers than you have painted. They have different sizes and some don't have any orange colouring at all. I would also look for and paint light areas where the light hits the flowers. Effects of light are very important for flower painting. If you look at the photo you will see areas on the petals that are nearly white. I like pastel because it is so easy to correct areas you don't like by brushing pastel off and repainting. I usually don't have the patience to start all over again.

03-17-2008, 04:41 PM
Thanks, John....Can one just print out the ref photo? I wasnt sure how to do that, and I paint down in the basement,whereas the computer is upstairs....
but I will try brushing off and re-doing the areas you mention...

03-23-2008, 04:14 PM
My view of Kaufmann Gardens on LaCarte paper approx 12 x 12. I loved the tree so changed it's direction! I think it works!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Mar-2008/129317-Kaufmann_Memorial_Garden.jpg

03-23-2008, 04:33 PM
lovely interpretation !! ... great zig zag lines !! ... fabulous colours and values !!

Merethe T
03-24-2008, 10:02 AM
Gorgeous painting! Soft and romantic, great colors!


03-24-2008, 01:16 PM
Thanks Cravia. I just toured your website and must sayyour work is incredible. Your capture of light in the still lifes is superb.

03-24-2008, 02:30 PM
Yes - that's what I aim to do but I keep putting in too many strokes! I'll have to force myself to use the side of the pastel sticks more. It makes the painting much softer too. Reminds me of Monet's poppy field painting style:


03-26-2008, 09:26 PM

This isn't a big deal or anything, but that is the view of that beautiful cottage garden. The little close up of the daffodils was from the Kaufman Memorial Garden. I just thought I'd mention it in case you planned to title it. Hope this helps. I also thought I'd mention that I saw a news spot on the local news, and some group painted the flowering trees with blue on the trunk and branches. I found that a bit annoying because now it will mess up my reference photos for this year. Rats.

Mario V
03-29-2008, 03:51 PM

I'm new to WC and I'm looking forward to monthly challenges.
Just curious, can someone explain the low amount of entries for March?

Kathryn Wilson
03-29-2008, 03:55 PM
I think the biggest contributor would be that Wet Canvas has been experiencing some site problems - we were off line for a number of days, and the inconsistency of site stability has lowered numbers in both the forums.

And it's spring! Spring and summer shows are coming up and everybody's painting, painting, painting.

04-01-2008, 09:37 AM

Yea! It's finally April. I truly do hope everyone had fun with this, and is enjoying a great spring. Take care, pals! :)

Kathryn Wilson
04-01-2008, 09:53 AM
Paula - thanks for doing this for us! Beautiful photos produced some outstanding paintings. :thumbsup: