View Full Version : January Pastel Strokes

K Taylor-Green
01-01-2008, 02:12 PM

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.

Below is your photo reference for January. This is my grandson, Ethan, taken when he was four yrs old. He was very engrossed in a video at the time!
Have fun painting and I hope to see many different versions. There is a larger version of the photo downloaded in the RIL.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Jan-2008/41107-Ethan44-4.jpg

01-01-2008, 11:20 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: I'm so glad this thread is back! Can't wait to get started on your adorable grandson!

Thanks for bringing it back!


01-02-2008, 09:23 AM
what a sweetie!!!

01-02-2008, 12:19 PM
what a beautiful boy!!!!!!! not sure if I'll have time to attempt this one or not, but am so grateful that this is up and running again....

Tracy Lewis
01-02-2008, 07:59 PM
OH WOWEEE! I have missed this since the op's and softies split. Has it been here all the time?

K Taylor-Green
01-02-2008, 08:53 PM
No Tracy, we took a break for the holiday months. The forums are quieter in November and December. I'm glad so many are welcomeing the Strokes back!

01-02-2008, 10:32 PM
I've already finished mine...where do I post it and when? It will only be my 2nd post to the forum and my first here...so not sure what to do. Your Grandson is adorable.

K Taylor-Green
01-02-2008, 11:21 PM
Wonderful!!:clap: To post it, click on post reply, then look at the top of the ossting window, You will see a postage sized scene, clicK on it and follow the instructions. Can't wait to see it!

01-03-2008, 06:08 AM
Hi...I have posted in the watercolor and scratchboard forums before and here once. This is my 2nd pastel ever and my 1st portrait. I had a lot of fun doing it and think I may try more portraits. It's on colorfix paper. IRL it is a little darker and brighter.


K Taylor-Green
01-03-2008, 10:59 AM
Linn, great! You have captured that wide eyed look of concentration as he watched the TV! And good for you, getting the rest of his head from such a tight crop.

Lisa M
01-03-2008, 11:08 AM
Count me in on this one. . . . I've been asked to do a commission of two siblings, but don't know if I can. With the lessons in the latest Pastel Journal and the examples for this month, maybe I can make some progress.

Tracy Lewis
01-03-2008, 08:36 PM
Sorry Ethan, I did my best. The colours are not too good at the mo. I may repost tomorrow. A4 pastel paper, far too many hours. Not brilliant, but better than this time last year. lol.

Tracy Lewis
01-03-2008, 08:39 PM
Great job Linn. This was a toughie.

01-03-2008, 09:20 PM
Tracy...like yours...nice feel about it...great hair...the color and the texture.

K Taylor-Green
01-03-2008, 10:06 PM
Tracy, I am glad you gave this a try. Growth is important and comes with practice. The hair is great and there is a softness I like.
What kind of pastel paper are you using?

01-07-2008, 10:58 PM
Two great portraits! I'm working on mine but life keeps getting in the way.


01-08-2008, 01:15 AM
Portraits are always a wonderful challenge I never quite get them the way I want them but it feels like I do get closer each time I try. This is on 12"x 16" canson paper. and I used Gallery soft pastels. Don't Know if you have heard of them but they suit me pretty well along with my wallet while I am still learning. Hope you like.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2008/101027-IMG_3085.JPG

K Taylor-Green
01-08-2008, 06:49 PM
Welcome 10 fingers! Very boldly done. Not crazy about Canson, myself, but you seem to have a feel for it!:clap:

01-08-2008, 07:51 PM
I'm happy to see the monthly pastel strokes back. I see there are already some terrific submissions. Hope I can participate this month, but not too sure as we have too many people staying here at the moment and I have not been able to get my pastels out.:( Will try and come up with a solution to this dilemma as I dearly miss it.

Great photo Katherine. I can see Ethan will be breaking hearts as he grows older.

Linn, Tracy and 10fingers - all wonderful portraits.

Cheers for now

01-08-2008, 09:10 PM
10Fingers, you've really captured his look of innocence. Nice job.

Decided I'd better finish this one since I have a couple of others waiting to be done. I'm not totally satisfied with it and see several things that need work but I'm one of those people who tends to overwork a painting so I am calling it done.

Thanks for looking,

K Taylor-Green
01-08-2008, 10:20 PM
Great job, Gwen! So soft looking. You did a really nice job on the hair.

Pam, I hope you get to join in!

01-08-2008, 11:14 PM
Thanks Katherine! I keep practicing portraits.


01-09-2008, 01:46 AM

This is my first pastel portrait (also first color portrait).

K Taylor-Green
01-09-2008, 11:10 AM
On my! A great one for a first! I am so glad you joined us here.

Lisa M
01-09-2008, 12:34 PM
Hiya all--Looking great so far!! I'm working on mine, too, and will post later today, if I get my work done and get out of here so I can go home and play:cat: .
If any are interested to know, the current Pastel Journal issue has some features on portraits--great reading, examples and tips. I haven't visited their website to know whether you can access the issues there; give it a try I guess!

01-09-2008, 02:06 PM
Hi I posted on the wrong page.
But here is mine although I think the face is too round.
I am not very good at drawing faces.

01-09-2008, 07:14 PM
Mancha, that's a super start for your first pastel and color.

Gill, you're doing fine. I really like the way you handled the yellow shirt collar.

One thing I have learned about portraits is that it takes practice, practice, practice and then more practice which is what I do. And I still struggle with color.


K Taylor-Green
01-09-2008, 08:32 PM
Gill. nicely done! Binky is right. Just keep practicing! The hard work pays off.

Lisa M
01-10-2008, 11:44 AM

Here's my version. I have been commissioned to paint two young children for my brother's friends (first legitimate paid work!), so I was happy to have some more practice. I wanted to test out the velour for portraits, having done just two other people-subject paintings, both on Strathmore.

I used some ochre-yellow velour paper since I had a left-over partial sheet, about 9x11 or so, and also because I recently read somewhere from a pro portraitist that one should always use yellow underpainting for skin tones. I also tried the warm/cold values treatment as discussed in the current PJ, but certainly I didn't get that painterly, colorful, loose result!

Any C&C is always welcomed. I keep seeing little things that need adjustment for the likeness, but decided to stop here and move on to another project.

Thanks for looking!

01-10-2008, 12:01 PM
CONGRATULATIONS on the commission!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:

Ethan looks great and I love your use of colors and background. Have you tried suede matt board to paint on? I haven't tried it yet but a while back I posted a thread here asking about suede vs. velour, and the suede won. I'm taking a workshop on the 19th from Alicia Sotherland in which I'll get to try the suede out. I can hardly wait!


01-10-2008, 12:12 PM
Some fabulous entries are here since last time I looked...well done everyone.

Lisa M
01-12-2008, 10:37 AM
Binkie--I haven't tried the suedeboard. I need to order more paper soon, so perhaps I'll do some price checking and try it out.

Alija--I really like your portrait style. That is the kind of character work that fills children's books! If you can replicate it, you're in business!!

01-12-2008, 04:48 PM
Oh so glad I found this. I am fairly new here & to pastels. I am excited to give this a go... Is there a time limit?

K Taylor-Green
01-12-2008, 10:20 PM
Not really a limit, but a new one goes up in February. But you can work any of them that you like.

Lisa, this is wonderful!! I would like for my daughter to see this one.

01-13-2008, 12:53 PM
Well I did it. There are still some tweakings I could do, but Im gonna call it done for now. Thanks so much for the reference. Your Grand is a doll & was fun to try to capture.


01-13-2008, 01:49 PM
Here's my try with it. :) Done with Sennies on canson (the smooth side).


01-13-2008, 07:04 PM
What an adorable little guy! I bet you have a lot of fun with him. Here is my attempt.


01-14-2008, 12:52 AM
Hi again! I tweaked:) I also didnt crop as much off...
Just curious is it a better likeness? Is the crop better this way? There were just minor adjustments.. but just wondering if it made any differece really.

Also good job to all of you.. This has been such fun for me.. seeing all of your work.. Us all learning together. Amazing, this computer age, it feels I am taking a workshop without leaving home!

WC Lee
01-14-2008, 02:27 AM
Wonderful paintings, everyone :)

Thought I give this a try using the 20 half stick senneliers set on Arches watercolor paper coated with colourfix. Did this rather quickly and loosely trying to not to blend with my fingers .. but I couldn't help myself and blended the background :D


01-14-2008, 05:12 AM
I don't know that I'm even game to give this a go. :eek:

He is a cutr little fellow.

Love evreyones paintings so far.

Take Care
Lots of Love Carolynn :):):):heart::heart::heart:

01-14-2008, 05:54 AM
Boy, there are some wonderful "Ethans" appearing here. I hope to finish mine up today and post it.

Maw-T, I think you're likeness is excellent on both. I don't think I see a real difference between the two, but I think I like the tighter crop. Very nice job!


01-14-2008, 12:11 PM
Okay, here's my try at Ethan. He actually looks a lot like my 13 year old son did at that age. He was a real cutie to try and do. This is my first portrait in pastels. I felt like I didn't have the right colors for the skin (or maybe don't know how to use what I have), but I did my best. I do have a birthday in less than 2 months, so maybe I can think about a portrait set in my future. :D Anyway, this was fun.


01-14-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm sorry -- I must have messed up somehow. Not sure why the image didn't appear. I'll try again -- I'm learning!


01-14-2008, 06:12 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jan-2008/102668-P1000707.JPG Hi Katherine,
This is my first post in soft pastels and i have only been using them for a short period of time, so i decided to be brave and have a go at the portrait of your grandson. used A4 pastel paper and derwent pastel pencils and artspectrum pastels.I know i have a long way to go but thought what the heck ,i can only but try.

K Taylor-Green
01-14-2008, 09:25 PM
My goodness! You guys have been busy!!:eek: So many good versions here!
Maw-t, both are great likenesses. But I like the crop. As you can see, I cropped the photo even tighter. He was so into the show he was watching, he didn't even know I took the photo.
I love to see new, more inexperienced people try these challenges. You learn a lot.
Of course, these monthly challenges aren't geared to strong critiques, but anyone wanting more can post their portrait on it's own in the Soft Pastel Studio and get more varied responses, stronger critiques, and particular questions answered.
BTW, Ethan turned 6 today!

01-14-2008, 11:54 PM
Happy Birthday Ethan! My Grandson had a Birthday today too.. Some coincidence, Caden turned 4 :))

01-15-2008, 05:58 AM

8.5 x 11 inches on sketch paper
I realized I put the brown line on the wrong side of the shading. It makes his nose look huge. <grin> Seeing it on the computer I think I could have used some more colore on the Right eye. C and C welcome.

01-15-2008, 05:31 PM
I went for this in a very "go for it "kind of way .It was an exciting ,and enjoyable experience . Sorry if its not a good likeness but I have to start somewhere. Thanks for the chance.
Kind regards Will www.lorimerart.co.uk (http://www.lorimerart.co.uk)

K Taylor-Green
01-15-2008, 08:33 PM
Wonderful! Two more nice tries.
Will, you are correct. Getting the placement of the features ,and the perspective right, is more important than capturing a likeness when learning to do people. Learning to draw and paint generic human faces well tends to lessen the fear when you start drawing people you know!

Shaun, very nice work. Practice and patience will pay off.

01-16-2008, 10:30 AM
Well done to everyone who has posted so far, some great works here.
Well I wasn't sure if I could do this but I thought I'd give it a go, and was surprised and pleased with the results.
Its 9 X 11 using various soft pastels on Ingres paper.

C & C welcome.

K Taylor-Green
01-16-2008, 07:34 PM
Wow, Paul!! Excellent!

01-18-2008, 04:10 AM
Hi All,
Thanks, Katherine for telling me about the Pastel Strokes project. I've never worked from a photo -- I've done all my drawing and painting and even my recent foray into soft pastel portraits from life. I guess you just download the photo and print it out and tack it next to the easel? I'm game. I haven't drawn children in at least 35 years, so this will be a triple challenge for me: working from a photo, making a child's portrait, and doing it in soft pastels.

I'll try to find some time to do this; I'm very busy for the next few days.


01-18-2008, 10:18 AM
Not sure whether this is a good choice for a first post. Have only quite begun trying my hand at pastels and usually shy away from painting people. Just thought I'd give this one a shot. Here it is - comments and suggestions welcome.

- Srineet
(Pastels on sketchpad paper 7 in x 54 in)

K Taylor-Green
01-18-2008, 05:44 PM
Welcome Srineet. Guess you got to jump in somewhere!
This is a very loose rendition, but I think a regular pastel paper would help you define it more. You can build up more color with a paper that has some tooth to it. Sketch paper will take your pastels, but can't hold much.
Your drawing is nice.

01-19-2008, 01:05 PM
Hi every one i have not been here for a while so am happy to be back, i have been looking at everyone's paintings and i must say i am very impressed, here is my try. sorry i have not done your gorgeous grandson justice.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2008/92313-Photo-0047.jpg

K Taylor-Green
01-20-2008, 07:34 PM
Hi Chris! This is a very nice addition to our monthly challenge.
Guys, I am still working on mine. You know how slow I am!

01-20-2008, 08:01 PM
Wow! I'm really getting behind on all the great paintings. It's so interesting to see the different interpretations and renderings. Great work, everyone!


01-23-2008, 10:47 PM
I agree everyone sees things so differently, and it is great ,i have only had a go at a few pastel works and it is so challenging totry new things.It is not easy to get someone's features just right but i will have to practice more.I like everyone's version and its good to see so many having a go.

01-24-2008, 08:13 PM
Finally able to try my hand at your beautiful grandson,
everyone here has done such a magnificant job in portraying Ethan.
here is my rendition (just playing with portraits) so certainly not a masterpiece
he has such a wonderful face, I had to try

thanks Katherine for hosting


01-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Wow! some terrific submissions from all that have participated in this month's pastel strokes. I don't recall ever trying a portrait in pastel, so this is my first attempt. I really wish I could do eyes. They are always too close together.

But I had fun trying this, and it actually came out better than I thought it would. I will have to try more portraits in the future.

Since we have three additional people and one more dog staying here at the moment, I set up a temporary work area, about 30 yds from the house. Not an ideal set up, but in the shade and quiet. Polychromo pastels on the wired side of Canson. Still trying to get values right, what other colour could I have used in the skin tone? Blue or green? I did use some purples, maybe not the best choice.


Dennis Griffith
01-27-2008, 01:25 AM
Hi everyone, thought I would give it a go. Cute little boy Katherine. I bet he can be a real handfull. My granson is also four come this Feb. I don't think I did him justice, but here's my submission.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2008/100980-Ethan_005.jpg

01-27-2008, 06:06 AM
looks great Dennis! you've captured that look of innocence young children have. what kind of paper did you use?

K Taylor-Green
01-27-2008, 10:17 AM
Dennis, I think you did a wonderful job! There is a good likeness and the colors are great!

Dennis Griffith
01-27-2008, 10:21 AM
Thanks Pam for your lovely comments. In regards to the paper,its Strathmore charcoal paper velvet gray.

Dennis Griffith
01-27-2008, 10:28 AM
Thanks Katherine, it really helps when you have a nice and clear photo to work from, like the one of Ethan.

01-28-2008, 06:10 AM
Thanks Katherine, it really helps when you have a nice and clear photo to work from, like the one of Ethan.

I agree, it especially helps when one is learning portraits (and learning pastels too as I am)
dennis , looks like you have been doing portraits a while, had a look at your pastels, and I see you are quite acomplished

01-28-2008, 03:21 PM
hi all its good to post in the challange this month ...although i really waited until the last minute.

Ethan is a captivating subject as much as he is captivated with his own:D
I love to see all the different ways to approach paintings and have benifitted from everyone! Good job!
(on a side note)i was wondering if a snow scene could be used as a challange as i haven't tried one yet and would love to see how everyone else will do them?

this is on watercolor paper with colorfix, then with a watercolor underpainting remb, unison, and all most at the end (waiting for my order) ludwig darks yeah! oh 10X12" oh yeah the yellow under his chin comes across on my moniter very dark...its not i don't have a program that will fix it.

01-28-2008, 03:59 PM
Betsy I just love your portraits, and confess I miss seeing your girls in the weekly threads that we had here.

WC Lee
01-28-2008, 04:51 PM
Betsy: very nicely done :) .. I see you got the ludwig darks, now you can really start pushing those darks :) lovely job on the eyes.

01-28-2008, 05:06 PM
Pam thank you...i miss the quick stretch weekly too!!!! WC I figured that you would notice the darks i mentioned:) ...they have definately shaken up my dark, med, and light values....eveything has had to move up to make room for them!

K Taylor-Green
01-28-2008, 07:48 PM
Betsy, this is a wonderful rendering! Great background as well!

01-30-2008, 08:19 PM
Hello :)

All the work done so far has been inspiring me to get out my soft pastels. Here I am squeeking in under the deadline :)

I have five (5) colours of Rembrandt sticks, but I decided to try this portrait with my limited palette. This is 9x12" Rembrandt on Fabriano Ingres pastel paper.


I completely understand if you don't want to show the model this portrait for fear of scaring him, lol. :)

I've used a similar limited palette in oil pastels and it has worked out better than this one. I guess the tones of my blues are different between the soft and oil pastels.


K Taylor-Green
01-30-2008, 08:42 PM
Well, the values are right! Colors aren't as important as values, anyway. The likeness is good. Sure makes for something different!

01-31-2008, 12:43 PM
eyepaint good to see you! i have been looking in op forum seeing what you guys are up too....still inspirations with colors for me! Likeness is good, im so afraid to try colors that are different you are sooo brave...but you always make it work.....i like all your stuff.

01-31-2008, 12:56 PM
Katherine - I'm greatly relieved that you haven't run away in horror of what I did to poor Ethan
Betsy - hello! Long time no "see"! Is there a soft pastel sketch thread like the one in the op forum? I can't find one. I've missed your chicken sketches and the ones of your kids when they were little.

01-31-2008, 02:02 PM
hi EP I have been missing as health reasons keep me busy.
nope there is not one yet ....that i have seen...i don't think enough people were participating after all the op's left:crying: or maybe the holidays. Its good to see you here:p

02-01-2008, 10:19 PM
Well I did it. There are still some tweakings I could do, but Im gonna call it done for now. Thanks so much for the reference. Your Grand is a doll & was fun to try to capture.

Maw-T Am I allowed to stop by and say that this is a very nice version? I note that this one in particular has a very child-like quality. Whenever I have tried to paint children they come out looking about 15.

Good job everyone! I really enjoyed looking at this thread.

02-03-2008, 11:47 PM
I hope I'm not too late for this but here is my contribution. This is oil pastel.

Thanks for looking.


02-04-2008, 04:57 AM
Wow, glad I checked back over here - wonderful job!


02-08-2008, 11:09 PM
Nice job on the Ethan portrait.


02-08-2008, 11:18 PM
Thanks, T. Welcome to the pastels forum. I hope you will be posting your work. I look forward to seeing it. Folks here are very helpful and supportive so jump right in.


02-08-2008, 11:29 PM
Lisa M. Love the eyes on your portrait of Ethan,


02-08-2008, 11:40 PM
Maw t. WOW, I'm impressed!

02-09-2008, 12:03 AM
Love your colors and soft edges on Ethan.