View Full Version : Pastel Strokes March 2009

03-01-2009, 02:32 AM
Welcome to Pastel Strokes March 2009!

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.
* Interested participants create a painting from the photo (s) 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. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN WITH IT!
* You may paint as many versions and as many photos as you like, and they may be any size.

March not only holds the first day of spring, but is one of the best months to go on an African safari. I hope you'll pack up your supplies and join me for an African bird painting safari.

***Be sure to try clicking on the links during your trek!***

Just as we are boarding our plane for a flight to Africa we are offered daffodils. Daffodils are not only one of the first flowers of spring, but are used as a symbol of hope by cancer societies around the world.


After arriving in Africa and spending the first night at our hotel, we're ready for our safari adventure. We load all our supplies into our transportation and head out, looking forward to setting up our easels and getting ready to paint the first bird on our birding safari.

Arriving at the grasslands, the guide points out 2 ground hornbills which have just come into sight. Ground-Hornbills are huge prehistoric- appearing birds about the size of a turkey, They are usually seen in pairs or small groups and stay within sight of each other.


male ground hornbill

female ground hornbill

Then the guide sights a kori bustard moving in the grass. The kori bustard is the largest and heaviest flying bird in Africa. Although it can fly, it prefers to saunter through open grassland and lightly wooded areas. It is a ground dweller, hence its name bustard, which means bird that walks. It stands approx. 4 feet (120 cm) in height.


In the link below the kori bustard is "displaying." It's quite a sight to see!


kori bustard

But that's not all the guide brings to our attention, waving an arm toward a secretary bird. The secretary bird is a large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. It's a long-legged bird that stands approx. 4 ft. (120 cm) in height. It is a popular bird which graces the coats of arms of a couple of African nations.


secretary bird

From the grasslands we continue on to an area of shallow lakes and muddy swamps where we stop to take advantage of the painting opportunities:

The guide notes two yellow-bill storks settled together. The yellow-billed stork is a large wading bird in the stork family and prefers aquatic habitats, including shallow lakes, mud flats, coastal lagoons and meadows.


yellow-billed storks

Then the guide motions to a shoebill bird standing near the edge of the water. Also known as a Whalehead, the shoebill is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.


shoebill bird

Before we can continue we have to help our guide get our transportation away from its precarious position nosing into the water and back on the road.


Once the Landrover is on dry land again we all pile in and head toward drier climes.

All of a sudden upon reaching the arid areas of desert and dry grasslands a huge bird appears and is running near our vehicle. We recognize it as the ostrich. The ostrich, which has the largest eyes of any land animal, has the ability to run at speeds of about 74 km/h (46 mph), the top land speed of any bird. Although it does not fly, it is using its wings for balance as it runs.


This bird is such a character that we all vote to stop and paint it.



Once we've finished our paintings our birding safari comes to an end and we return to our hotel.

On the last night before we all head back to our respective homes we rent a meeting room in the hotel to relive our adventures and display all our fabulous paintings.

I hope you have enjoyed your trek!!! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask or PM me.


Tracy Lewis
03-01-2009, 03:40 AM
Daffodils are also the national flower of Wales, and today (1st march) is our national ST's day. ST David's day. I must then try this daffodil.

03-01-2009, 06:48 AM
Wow! Wonderful selection! If we do one of the bird photos, we will have to smile and giggle the whole time. You have offered us a marvelous collection of subjects.

Thanks, Binkie.

03-01-2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks for sharing your great pictures. I would love to go to south africa to see the elephants. Did u see any??? I am hoping to do the daffodil as I love spring as it means horrible winter is at an end.

03-01-2009, 12:14 PM

Gill, I'd love to go to Africa too to see all the animals, but these shots were taken at the the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It's a wonderfully huge park near my home in which the animals have so much more room to roam than in many zoos.


03-01-2009, 05:36 PM
I forgot to wish everyone from Wales or is Welsh - Happy St. David's Day!

Also thought I'd start off the paintings with this one:


03-01-2009, 06:02 PM
Youv'e done the ostrich very well. Such a cute compostion, and a bird full of charachter which you have caught. Eyes are wonderful----sorta makes me think of Goldy Hawn!!! Very nice.

03-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Gwen- I LOVE YOUR OSTRICH Maybe it wants to play with your doggie Avatar.

Seriously - great colors and patterns and I think you have got that textured skin down beautifully on the neck. Oh and those eyes!!!

It just makes me laugh laugh laugh....

No time this week to paint with you but I wish you and the others a delightful safari..... Barb

03-02-2009, 02:10 PM
Thanks IMaybe and Barb! We will be on safari for entire month of March. If you have time later in the month it would be great if you could join us!


Deborah Secor
03-02-2009, 02:34 PM

Hee hee! I had fun with this crazy duo... Yes, there is a little pastel in their beaks and heads, but I admit it's in my sketchbook so it's mostly pen. Hope that's okay here! I think I may go back with some white gouache and give them more contrasting feathers... we'll see.

I felt like the one was saying to the other, "Try not to stick out too much in the crowd." :lol:


03-02-2009, 03:09 PM
Deborah - LOL They are great! Every time you open your sketchbook to that page they'll be watching you. :lol:


03-02-2009, 06:50 PM
What fun!!!

03-03-2009, 02:35 AM
These are great! I loved the story and all the birds are fascinating, especially the bustard. It really grabs me. The hornbills do look prehistoric, that open horn above their heads reminds me of Parasaurolophus and reminds me that the dinosaurs have not died out. They've become smaller and they are everywhere...

03-03-2009, 07:47 PM
Hi :wave:
I'm back. I bought new pastels..more colors, better quality.
I tried the daffodil as my first for this month. Thanks so much for the reference images. Without this group I would never have seen those different birds let alone have the opportunity to pastel a few up.
On the daffodils, I did not want a black background so I tried something different with the background.

I like the two birds done in this link so far. Such different techniques.

03-04-2009, 04:41 AM
Peg, So glad you joined us on safari. Looks like you are enjoying those new pastels and put them to good use. Nice work!


Art Dude
03-04-2009, 11:01 AM
Hi, i really enjoyed the last challenge and have attempted the Secretary Bird this time. Daler Ingres Pastel Paper 90gm 12" X 9" using Rembrandt Pastels.

03-04-2009, 02:19 PM
Art Dude - Great job on the bird and background! Hope you had a chance to watch the bird in action by clicking on the link. The bird wasn't being very cooperative for photo ops. It took several trips to the animal park to get the shot, and it was pacing back and forth by a fence trying to join another secretary bird that was fenced separately.


03-04-2009, 10:07 PM
Thanks Binkie...I am enjoying these pastels...and these references.

03-05-2009, 01:12 AM
Peg - I'm so glad you're enjoying the photos and pastels. Pastels are definitely addictive! I started in art from the very beginning a few years ago with a basic set of Nupastels and kept "needing" more and more colors as I quickly became hooked.


03-06-2009, 04:14 AM
This is a fun portrait of the secretary bird.



Tracy Lewis
03-07-2009, 09:57 AM
Robert, you are speaking my 11 year old son's language. HIS AIM IN LIFE IT TO MEET A REAL DINOSAUR! He reckons they can't all have died out.

03-09-2009, 09:28 AM

Silly birdies!

Thanks, Binkie. These were fun.

And, it's fun watching the flower and the birds come in.

8"x10", Canson Mi-Teintes smooth side.

03-09-2009, 02:16 PM
Jenny - I love 'em! You did a great job on these two!! You certainly put a big smile on my face this morning just when I really need one.


03-09-2009, 02:44 PM
Thanks, Binkie. Putting your two photos together seemed a great way to take advantage of the natural look of the bird in an entertaining way.

03-11-2009, 04:24 PM

I haven't posted in this forum for a few months now as I have been over in the acrylics and the wildlife forums.

The birds seem to be popular so I thought I would try and even things out a bit and have a go at the daffodil.


I've used cartridge drawing paper for the first time with my FC polychromos and unison pastels. Not sure whether I like the cartridge paper as the pastels seemed to lift the colour off towards the end stages of the painting so I thought I had better post it quick before the whole thing disappeared!


03-11-2009, 05:47 PM
Hi Pam, So glad you decided to join us on safari this month! Great job on the daffodil. You're using a couple of my favorite pastels brands. Feel free to give one of the birds a try!


03-12-2009, 05:20 AM
Thanks Binkie!

Hopefully I will have time to join in the thread again and have a go at one of the birds.


03-15-2009, 10:05 PM
Thought I'd try something I haven't done before. Here's our transportation: All we have to do is pull it out of the water and get it back on the road.:)


CM Neidhofer
03-15-2009, 11:08 PM
Good job, binkie! I was thinking about doing the truck also. Didn't get to it today though. Probably tomorrow.


03-16-2009, 12:22 AM
Hey Christy - Thanks! I look forward to having you join us!


03-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Binkie, love your all-terrain vehicle. Note: just because they're called "all-terrain", it doesn't make it so. Keep out of large puddles! :lol:

Here are two more birdies.


Some of the colors are off, but it's raining outside, and this is close enough, though the bills are much more yellow.

For my seventh pastel, I'm okay with it. I have a pad of Strathmore 400 pastel paper, so I thought I'd give it a try. With my inexperience with pastels, it didn't make much difference to me. My focus is learning to work with the pastel layers and colors. Ditto when I use oils and watercolors.

Thanks again, Binkie, for the great photos.

03-16-2009, 11:22 AM
Fabulous adventure - thanks so much for taking me along.

I have so enjoyed the ride...

The secretary bird has always been one of my favorites but this has been fun to see the interpretation of each piece.

Aren't daffodils hard to paint? I've never had much luck with them myself - unless very loosely defined.

Hurrah to all the painters here. Keep on painting...the month's not over.

Oh and... I don't see the official sign of March for me... a Shamrock?

Perhaps thats the teeny tiny decal on the truck and I'll have to slip it in later...


03-16-2009, 09:26 PM
Jenny, I love your birds, and only your seventh pastel!!! You go girl!

Barb - Don't you see the shamrock plant by the back tire of the truck? :evil:


03-17-2009, 06:02 PM
It's so much fun to see everyone's artwork. I attempted the jungle vehicle about two weeks ago and was hesitant to submit it then, but here goes...


03-17-2009, 07:23 PM
nanaj - I'm so glad you joined us on safari!! I can't even imagine why you were hesitant to submit your painting, it is wonderful!! All the reds and oranges make it pop!


03-18-2009, 10:04 AM
Thanks Binkie for you positive comments. It is so much fun to see everyone's work.

03-19-2009, 01:55 AM
Hi All :wave: :wave: :wave:

All the bird look great so do the landrovers and daffs

i gave the daff a try im not shore of it but here it is
Soft pastel on blue Mi-Teintes wrong side (10x8)

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

03-19-2009, 02:13 AM
Graham - I'm so happy you joined us! I really like your treatment of the daffodil. The lavender is a lovely addition.

We're getting a fabulous bouquet of daffodils this month!!!!!! They are all so great! :clap: :clap:

We have great transportation while we view a super array of birds!!


03-24-2009, 08:07 AM
Well not exactly the same picture , but I made this fellow last month and it was fun to do . http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Mar-2009/160243-crop_hornbill.jpg

The ostrich is one of my very first I ever made and I almost forgot that I did.

We are planning a trip to south Africa next year , That would be a dream of 30 years come true

If this post is not correct , than just remove it


03-24-2009, 03:34 PM
Yolanda, I'm so glad you joined us!!

Beautiful job on the hornbill! I wouldn't think of removing it. Your ostrich is great too and has a lot of character.

How exciting to go to Africa! I have no doubt you'll have a fabulous time. I've always wanted to go on a safari to photograph the animals. You'll have a lot to paint when you get back!


03-29-2009, 04:22 PM
wow i havent the time this month to work in the challange but i wanted to say that there are alot of great paintings this month.

CM Neidhofer
03-29-2009, 05:24 PM
Oh man...this month has flown by. Don't think I'm going to get a chance to get anything in here this month. :( I just came off one week of 50+ hours at work, then Thursday got hit with a snowstorm. I put in 13 hours, had to spend the night at work so that I could be there the next morning to open. Most of the other casinos closed for the day, but not us. :p I'm off today and go into a new schedule of one graveyard shift starting Monday night, three days off then three days of day shift and back into the graveyad on Monday. Going to take a little getting used to but I think I can do it! :p I'll be looking for next month's project and hopefully a little more time to participate.


04-01-2009, 12:50 AM
As March comes to a close and we end our safari, I want to thank all those who joined me on this painting trip. Here are the great group of paintings by which to remember our travels together.



04-01-2009, 01:26 AM
Thanks for hosing, Binkie! It was entertaining and interesting.

Kathryn Wilson
04-01-2009, 07:17 AM
Thanks for hosting Binkie - looks like the birds won out on this one!

I will unsticky, but leave it in the forum for a few days in case anyone needs to finish up, then I will place it in the Library Archives.