View Full Version : Critique: post your Starting Landscape

Deborah Secor
11-19-2008, 10:52 AM
If you've created your own version of the landscape I did in the video Get Started in Pastels: Deborah Secor Paints the Landscape (http://www.artistsnetwork.com/video_preview.aspx?id=12545), please share it here. I'd be delighted to give you some hints and tips on how to improve it, if you'd like, and you can ask me any questions you have.

I'd be happy to help out in any way I can!


02-28-2009, 01:55 PM
Hi Deborah,

I purchased both of your videos and they are really great. I am a hobbyist painter and just recently started with pastels. I have posted my attempt at your Landscape workshop.

I did not have the larger sheets of Wallis on hand so used a 9x12 Wallis pad that was Belgian Mist, not white. I know you recommended 12x18, white, and then did an underpainting but I used what I had.

Would appreciate your comments/suggestions.

The painting is on 9x12 Wallis, Belgian Mist, no underpainting. The pastels were a combination of Nu-pastel and 1/2 sticks of Sennelier.




Deborah Secor
03-01-2009, 04:58 PM
Hey, Steve, glad to see you posted your painting! I hope you're pleased with it as it stands now. I suspect, if you're like me, you'd like to know how to move on a bit with some aspects, and I welcome specific questions you might have, too.

Let's evaluate this... I think you've done a good job of beginning the gradation of blues from dark above to lighter at the horizon. I'd suggest that you do a little more blending of those colors by overlapping some light over the dark and dark over the light. There's a bit of a jump yet. Trust me, as you build up the layers of pastel it will begin to gradually fill up the tooth of the Wallis paper more.

The clouds are a great start. You've used layers of colors to make those elusive grays, and it's really working. I suggest you create some sky holes around the edges to loosen them up. Use more white where the sun is hitting directly--and notice that the upper cloud is wider than the middle one... I'd cover the middle one with more sky colors to 'carve' it down some, and then use some layers of the grayish colors to add soft edges.

You really captured the shape of Sandia, the mountain range in this photograph, and your cloud shadow is excellent. Be careful not to allow the band of cobalt blue to follow the contour of the mountain, but pull the blue down into the grays below.

How about darkening the three trees in the front? If you don't have a dark enough green, try this. Use a foam brush to erase some of the medium green that's there now. Then use your black, or the darkest blue or purple you have, to add some strong dark colors, creating a band of shadow along the right side of each one. Then use an orange to make the sunny side. Then go back over both colors with your medium green, not scrubbing it in but using the flat side of your pastel stick to put some softer layers on top. You can add the lacy edges once the overall shape is established. (If the trees just won't go dark enough, you might want to lighten the green hills behind them a little.)

I'm glad to see that you have that notch in the foreground plane that I fought to keep in my painting. Now use a little yellow-green (or green with yellow over it) for some grassy strokes that come all the way off the bottom of the paper.

Overall, I'm really pleased that you have a good range of values (needing just a bit more dark), you've seen all the principles of how to build sky and clouds, and you have a really credible landscape here with good depth. I hope you're happy--and that my comments are of some help.


03-02-2009, 06:30 AM
Hi Deborah,

I'd like to start by first thanking you for your generosity in creating this thread and then for your extremely kind comments.

This is my first time working with the Wallis paper and I was really amazed at how the layering works on this paper. You can just keep adding and adding pastel and it just takes it.

The sky blend is really my fault. I was using the Sennelier's for this and in the bottom, lighter portion, I had two lights I could work with but then there was a big jump to the top color and I couldn't get the blend to where it should be. I'll add a couple of blues, to the ever expanding collection, to try and cover that range. It was in the sky that I really noticed the build up of layers that could be done as I tried for that blend but didn't get it.

There were two things that you mentioned on the DVD that I have embedded into my mind. One was to create greys by overlaying other colors. I'll have to experiment to see what combinations will work but the colors on the DVD were just right for those clouds and I pretty much had those shades so that was really neat when the grey's appeared out of the combination. The second thing was that you suggested to not start with the color that you want to be the final color but to work up to it over a few layers. I didn't adhere to that advice as strongly as I should. I used it in the clouds, and on the main mountain mostly. And for me, that mountain and the clouds are my best parts in this painting.

I didn't have a really dark green for the trees and here's where I should have followed the "don't start with the final color" advice more closely. I had other darks, and even black as you suggested, but got locked onto "green" and just didn't follow through very well here. I tried lightening the green hills behind, as you suggested, but just got too timid and didn't get it done.

I think your excellent suggestion for the foreground would really enhance the painting. I also lost that notch while working on the painting and added it back in. Very similar to the DVD.

Again, thank you very much for your comments and the two DVD's are really great and I highly recommend them. I will be viewing them over a few more times and probably do another version of the landscape and try the "shadow" one.


Deborah Secor
03-06-2009, 04:45 PM
Kewl, Steve! I'm so glad some of the things I said stuck with you. Keep going. It's like I told my husband years ago when he wanted to learn how to ride horses (a former pastime of mine)--once you know the basics you need to just go out and get some miles in the saddle. That's what teaches us best, don't you think? So, if you do give that second version a go, don't hesitate to post it here. If I don't respond, send off a PM to me and give me a link--and that goes for anyone! I'm happy to help out. :wave: