View Full Version : MAY 2008 Pastel Strokes

Kathryn Wilson
05-01-2008, 07:13 AM
Welcome to the May 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:

* 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.

For May I've decided to honor the Kentucky Derby with a great photo by Crias from the RIL and a colorful bird photo submitted by dcannatella in the RIL. I look forward to see what you do with them - hope you'll enjoy them and are ready to paint!




* An individual volunteering to host the monthly project proposes to the Moderators several photo references for approval near the beginning of the month. The approval process helps the host pick out the clearest and best photos for the participants to paint from.
* The Moderators 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.

Merethe T
05-01-2008, 03:28 PM
These are great, Kat!! Love the birds.....I'd love to paint them, will see if I can squeeze them in between commissions...


CM Neidhofer
05-01-2008, 09:05 PM
Love the birds also. Having a hard time finding time lately, but I'll certainly try.


Kathryn Wilson
05-01-2008, 09:26 PM
Not to worry ladies, we have all month and a lot of people are real busy too.

Mario V
05-02-2008, 03:26 PM
Great colorful birds!!! Horse movement is also interesting but I'll try these brilliantly colored birds first.

Thanks Kathryn!!!

Kathryn Wilson
05-02-2008, 04:58 PM
Hi Mario - I thought the birds were bright enough for our pastels!

But the horse - really clear photo on the legs and the confirmation of a racehorse - a great one to practice on if you want to try a horse for the first time.

Folks, this isn't a test, this is for fun and trying out something new that you haven't done before - join in and have some fun!

Little Mary
05-02-2008, 05:59 PM
I would like to try this. I am a beginner at doing pastels. I would like to see some work of pastel pictures so I have a clue what to do. Please help me. I am going to try to do the birds they are beautiful.

Kathryn Wilson
05-02-2008, 06:07 PM
Hi Mary - we will be here every step of the way. If you have questions or need help, just post here and you'll get all the help you need.

Mario V
05-06-2008, 05:09 PM
Looks like I'm going to open the bird painting season :).

I've used the same idea for the background in wc as in the painting for Strelizia. If you like, see this (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=494611)post.

Gray Sansfix (Schminke) 13x19 paper, with Senneliers and Rembrant pastels.

Please make sure that your birds smile:D even more than mine does :wave:

C&C very wellcome


05-06-2008, 06:03 PM
Hi, this is the first time I did birds too, and I think my first time doing a pastel challenge. Quite new to pastel.

I like Mario's macaw's that's facing us. Such details on the head!

Canson mi-tientes craft paper and smi soft pastel. 9.5 x 11 inch.


05-06-2008, 06:09 PM
Looks good Mario!

I couldn't pass up these parrots. I'm using grey paper as well and I'm still undecided as to the BG. So far, I've strategically placed some branches and leaves.:lol:

I'm only about half done, so not ready to post yet. You're quicker than me:) .

05-06-2008, 06:11 PM
Sandra, you've gotten some lovely results on Canson. And you're quick as well, oi!

Kathryn Wilson
05-07-2008, 12:09 PM
My apologies guys - I am not getting posting notices in my email - so I've missed these first efforts!

Those birds sure did attract my attention and Mario and Sandra good efforts on both your parts!

Pam, I'm going to try to begin the parrots too this next week - life has been way to hectic this last week, but I need some painting time!

05-08-2008, 01:33 AM
Thank you, Pam, Kathryn. Oh, I didn't even realize that there was a smooth side to the mi-tientes paper. Now I can use the back too...haha...

05-09-2008, 04:42 AM
Beautiful parrots, Mario and Sandra.

I will, I must, squeeze them into my schedule. I've actually saved this photo before, thinking to do them.

Kathryn Wilson
05-10-2008, 08:04 AM
Keep plugging away at these paintings you all, I'm still here despite the slowness of the site and not getting email notifications - :crying:

I've set aside this next week to get the parrots started and maybe even give a whack at the horse. It's been years since I've tried to paint a horse.

When painting a horse, you have to think about shapes - what is a horse constructed of (drawing sense). Even down to the hooves, each part of a horse is made up of round shapes and remember to "draw through" - in order words, the leg is not a flat shape, but is a round tube. If I have time, I will try to demonstrate that for you.

05-11-2008, 02:46 PM
Things are starting to function a tad better here. I've started on a big macaw-painting, I'm in love with those prismatic intense colours. :-D
It will be a developed painting, as it is going into my next show. But, I have nothing to show yet, as I just barely started, I'm developing the skeleton drawing.

05-11-2008, 03:42 PM
Here is my picture of the Macaws done on green pastel paper.

05-15-2008, 05:31 AM

Alija, lovely sketch, so smart of you to use green paper!

Well, while the site was down, I was 'up' and painting furiously. I did a large painting of the Macaws, a full sheet of AS Colourfix, 50x70 cm. I'm in luuuuv :heart: with them birds! It is a fully developed painting, where I focused on building volume on the birds. It really helped having had a budgie when I grew up, I know the tactile feel of a parrot type of bird, though budgies are tiny compared to macaws. Bg is way more sketchy, and muted.
Wc underpainting, Rembrandt, Schmincke.

I do like the Colourfix, it suits my 'style' better than the Wallis, though I love the 'grabbiness' of Wallis, the result is much smoother and even. Colourfix allows much more broken colour, without my even trying to do it. (And I can get it from the UK!)

Macaws, in frame, but no glass (for photo):

And a detail, just for showing colour-shifts that disappear in the shrinking of a photo:

C&C always welcome.


Mario V
05-15-2008, 06:02 AM
Charlie, this is really really beautiful :clap: :clap: :clap:
I love the blue-red contrast :) you made

Kathryn Wilson
05-15-2008, 08:11 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap:

Way to go Charlie! This turned out lovely and thanks for explaining about your use of Colorfix - I agree, I like to use it for the broken color effects.

Unfortunately :crying: I came down with a rotten cold, so I haven't even started my version yet - and this site keeps going down!

05-15-2008, 10:54 AM
I am new to pastels also and will try the birds! I will be like Little Mary and need help along the way but that is what is so nice about the forum. This is my first challenge also.


05-15-2008, 11:53 AM
Wow, this is really pretty! The feathers ruffle up and they shine with colors! So colorfix is a good paper to get.

05-18-2008, 03:50 PM
I am having a bit of a struggle uploading this successfully. I keep thinking I have done it but then it doesn't seem to work. :confused: Oh well, one more try. I did the birds as they are so gorgeous. All C&C appreciated. This is my first posting to a strokes event. I am afraid the edges of the picture show the tape and the board... but it is best I can do with available technology:)

Here goes....!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-May-2008/139011-P5181498.JPG

05-19-2008, 07:57 AM
Mario - A great painting, a very vibrant red and first one up. well done.

Sandra - Well done, I quite like the effect of the paper on this.

Gill - A great sketch, the parrots are great.

Charlie - A beautiful painting. The blue scheme you have used is fantastic and you have created a good realistic look to the feathers.

Patricia - WOW, A beautiful painting. Excellent colour choices, great birds and the handling of the tree stump is particularly well done.

05-19-2008, 08:07 AM
I had a go at the horse, its 10 X 8 on green pastel card using mostly unison pastels.


C & C Welcome.

05-19-2008, 10:13 AM
Paul - Thank you. There is a wonderful sense of movement in your picture. I love the colour harmony that you achieved by bringing in a touch of green into the foreground track are. It ties everything together in an effective but subtle way. The greens you have used are also very vibrant and the overall folliage area is interesting and varied. It is a very attractive piece.

Charlie - I love the boldness of your technique... and your colour choices too. Very Striking... very tropical.

Gill - a lovely simplicity in these birds. The background of the photo is very complicated (SO MANY LEAVES!) that it is nice to see the birds rendered mainly on their own.

Kathryn Wilson
05-19-2008, 09:45 PM
Patricia - way to go! You've got that leaves just the way I'd want them to be in my own painting - it's what I loved about the photo, even more than the birds themselves.

I would look at one little thing in your painting - on the tree stump there is a line that doesn't seem quite right. It's where it joins in with the parrot's wing in the center bottom of the painting. In looking at the photograph I see what it is confusing there too -- why not just do away with that line altogether and continue the shadowing through that light area? Hope that makes sense.

Paul, I am so glad that someone attempted the racehorse - you did a bangup job on it! Horses are not easy and every little bone in the legs you did extremely well. :thumbsup:

05-21-2008, 01:07 PM
Thanks Kathryn,
You put your finger on the 'trickiest' part of the picture. I tried to put a highlight on the tail of the bird to demonstrate more clearly the fact that the dark branch juts forward and there is a gap between it and the main trunk where the light passes through. I am of two minds about changing it but the thought did cross my mind! I also thought about superimposing some leaves on the lower part of the trunk... to situate it a bit further back among the folliage, instead of completely in front. It would also break up that long expanse of wood... Any thoughts? If I can figure out how to do some digital experimentation I might try it!

CM Neidhofer
05-23-2008, 12:50 AM
Here's mine. I've been working on this the past week and the background proved to be a little too tedious for me this week, so I kind of blew that. I like the parrots though and enjoyed doing them.



05-23-2008, 03:43 AM
Patricia, yours look like a photo! :clap:

Christine, I love the ruffled feather parts and the beak looks deadly.

Paul, what clarity to your painting and the shine on the horse. :clap: Beautiful. And the background and the ground are not overpowering, like mine. :lol: Markers for the background and soft pastel pencils for the erm...overweight horse that seems to be walking no matter how the jockey pushes it. :D


05-24-2008, 11:16 AM
Hi all,

This is my version of Macaws on Suede mat board, hard and soft pastels of different brands. Appreciate comments.


Lisa M
05-24-2008, 03:48 PM
Wetbeeee--What an excellent study of leaves! And the parrots are gorgeous too! Welcome to Pastels. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Kathryn Wilson
05-24-2008, 04:00 PM
Hi Christine - love your birds! They stand out really well against your subdued background.

And Sandra! Your background is so inventive - this little patch could really be made into a material pattern of sorts - :clap:

Wetbeee - welcome to the Pastel Forum. It sure looks like suede board would be the choice paper for this painting if your painting speaks of how well it worked for you. The softness and texture of the leaves is amazing!

:o One excuse after another from your Moderator - I came down with strep throat as a result of a nasty cold. Oh me - but I will be trying these parrots too in the future.

05-27-2008, 07:52 AM
Thank you Lisa and Kathryn for your coments.

Kathryn Wilson
05-27-2008, 02:21 PM
I promised I'd get something on paper - so here it is so far. About 4 hours into it. I did my usual underpainting to block in colors. This is on the old Ersta sand paper (now called Uart); approx. 22" x 27". I'm using Mount Vision and Great Americans for this so far (I might have to take up the "mighty pastel pencils" for the details). I put some texture into the tree stump and that's worked out well for me.


And a close-up of the big macaw's face:


05-29-2008, 08:47 AM
So sorry guys, I’ve been ’out of the loop’ being overly busy. Now I finally have time to comment. I don’t like to post, get lovely feedback, and then just disappear... no manners...

Paul – great horse! Those are difficult, and you did wonderfully in making it look like it actually runs. Love the little dustpuffs hiding his hind hoof. Great bg, too.

Patricia—wonderful macaws! Great foliage, while it is detailed, it recedes very well. All over, you are fab with the realistic surfaces and details.

Christine—Gorgeous colours in the birds! Deep glowing ones. Bg works well indeed. You’ve hinted at the green mass of vegetation, and detailed a few – well, that is all it takes. Good job!

Sandra—the bg really adds energy and movement, it looks like the horse is rushing by the landscape.

Wetbeee—Welcome! Oh, my, this is simply totally gorgeous! The foliage is to die for!

Kathryn – hope you’re feeling better, streps are no fun... Love the warm olive-y green, it goes wonderfully with the reds of the birds. And you solved the tricky bit with the sawed through stump beautifully, the tail now rests over it, and it looks whole!

05-29-2008, 10:36 AM
Sandra... Great horse, he does look like he's moving. How fast is another matter. :)

Wetbeeee... A beautiful painting, the way you have portrayed the background really sets this off.

Kathryn... A great start, hope you're feeling better soon.

Colorix... Thanks for commenting.

06-01-2008, 08:48 PM
Wow such wonderful pieces throughout the thread. Glad to see some racehorses too!

I'm late, but I was hoping to finish this. It's been sitting for two weeks now and life just keeps rolling on through, so I'm going to submit what I have for now. I was only experimenting with the background, (and now I can see I've accidentally cropped part of the top off, oh well). Will give a closer look at everyone's tree stump as I can seem to make the further one, look further away in the painting. Had a blast working on the birds. This was a first time I'd ever tried birds. C&C always welcome, thanks!


Kathryn Wilson
06-01-2008, 09:00 PM
Me too on doing birds for the first time - and I'm in love with the colors! I'm way behind on the project too, so keep at it and we can still submit the finished ones later on.

Go for it - you've got a good start!