View Full Version : October 2009 Pastel Strokes

CM Neidhofer
09-29-2009, 05:15 PM
Welcome to the October 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(s) 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.

* You may paint as many versions and as many photos as you like, and they may be any size.

I am posting a little early because tomorrow morning is busy, followed by work tomorrow night and another errand morning on the first, so I hope it's okay to do this a little early.

I have included three references this time, hopefully a little something for everyone. These three are photos of paintings I would like to tackle, but would like to see others' versions of them before I start.

First is a lady who graciously posed for me at the 2007 Central City Bed Race Day. I think she's just adorable and I hope will satisfy the portrait artists.

Second is a little wagon that was sitting in the courtyard of the motel we stayed at in Ouray, CO. I have attempted this once already, but wasn't happy with it and it fell into the circular file!

Third is a photo of the Anasazi Cliff Dwelling Palace in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

I hope everyone enjoys painting these references!


Vivien Maloney
09-30-2009, 02:03 PM
Great photos Christine, they'd all make good paintings.

09-30-2009, 03:31 PM
Oh, the bed-race lady is gorgeous! The cliff dwelling is very interesting, and the wagon is a real challenge as the light is so even from all directions. Great selection!


CM Neidhofer
09-30-2009, 05:41 PM
Thanks, Vivien and Charlie! I know the wagon is a challenge. As I said, my first effort didn't make it to light of day. lol Hope to see your work here soon.


10-04-2009, 05:51 PM
Wow Christine!
Your pic of "the palace" in Mesa Verde is so much better than mine are! You must have a great camera with good zoom! LOL! love all the pics. You did a great job!


CM Neidhofer
10-05-2009, 01:25 AM
Waiting for some interest in this month's Strokes....waiting...waiting....:p


10-05-2009, 03:08 AM
... thinking ... choosing ... considering ... freaking ...

CM Neidhofer
10-05-2009, 04:30 AM
... thinking ... choosing ... considering ... freaking ...

LOL :p


10-05-2009, 09:35 AM
:wave: Thanks, Christine!:clap:

I've saved a copy of the cliff palace and will have a go at it!
Interesting shadows!

CM Neidhofer
10-05-2009, 11:52 AM
Looking forward to seeing it, Elsie!

Merethe T
10-05-2009, 02:28 PM
Glad to see you're planning this months strokes - look forward to see what you'll do! Challenging photo's, should make for different interpretations! Love the colorful lady!

Thanks for hosting, Chris! Will you be painting too.......?

CM Neidhofer
10-05-2009, 04:42 PM
Glad to see you're planning this months strokes - look forward to see what you'll do! Challenging photo's, should make for different interpretations! Love the colorful lady!

Thanks for hosting, Chris! Will you be painting too.......?

Possibly, if life would stop throwing non-motivational things at me for a while.

10-06-2009, 12:26 AM
well Chris, i'm going to have to give at least one a try. it may take a week or two but i will get one done. i like the wagon i don't get to use red to much so it will be a treat. not a trick and a treat tho. just a treat.

CM Neidhofer
10-06-2009, 01:30 AM
well Chris, i'm going to have to give at least one a try. it may take a week or two but i will get one done. i like the wagon i don't get to use red to much so it will be a treat. not a trick and a treat tho. just a treat.

Oh heck...paint it black and orange and call it a treat and a trick!! lol

10-06-2009, 04:53 PM
Hi, Christine, thank you for the photos. I'm sort of new to soft pastels. I did these challenges once or twice before for pix of landscapes and recently have been trying more figure and portraits for soft pastels.

I have been looking at this grand lady's pix for many days now and really want to try my hand at it though not in a realistic rendition.

Here is my ideal view of her. Using up some roughed up Strathmore Gray Scale paper that I had soaked and dried. I have drafted her almost 10 times with oil pastel sticks which would be a better medium for this paper but chucked nevertheless and here it is with Cretacolor Pastel Carre sticks.


This one, I was using up a narrow band of a sheet from the Strathmore pastel paper also using Cretacolor Pastel Carre sticks plus General's Pastel Chalk black pencil. It started off as the caves but there were just too much details for me to handle so I just sketched this right over it for practice.


10-06-2009, 05:56 PM
Sandra, she came out looking really great. the wagon is also nice.

CM Neidhofer
10-06-2009, 06:32 PM
She looks very regal, Sandra! And the contrasting colors for the wagon are always a winner. Thanks for participating!! :clap:

10-06-2009, 08:05 PM
Thank you, Pete, Christine, for your kind comments. If you are interested, you could see two of the better sketches I kept from the oil pastel drafts here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8198003&posted=1#post8198003) at my thread.

10-07-2009, 04:03 PM
Sandra, yours are great! Christine, all three of these are so fascinating and I'm so tempted to try to do Racy Lady in Red as if she was in a Degas painting, lit from below by footlights... I might try that as a sketch when I'm feeling a bit better. Sandra's version made me think of Degas too.

I love the Anasazi palace. That is just so awesome, so tempting in its own way. Nothing like good stonework to appeal to me. The little wagon is tricky, Charlie's right about the lighting which seems to be from straight above it.

Now that I've seen the refs I may get to doing this month's, it's too cool!

Vivien Maloney
10-10-2009, 12:15 AM
Hi Christine; I'm progressing (slowly!) with the wagon painting. The wagon is ok to draw and paint but the background - which is filled with tree foliage - is a major stumbling block with me (too much foliage). Do you mind if I change the background? I'll keep the wagon as this is the focal point anyway. I somehow visulize the wagon in a more open landscape? I connect these wagons with the West etc?

CM Neidhofer
10-10-2009, 02:04 AM
Viv, you can change the references any way you like! Change background, crop and use just a portion of the photo...all up to you!

I know the trees are daunting. I tried it with the trees myself. I managed to get that front one on our right to not look too bad, but I totally wrecked the background. But now you've given me some food for thought too! Looking forward to seeing your piece.


10-15-2009, 09:29 AM
I wanted to try this cheery looking lady. I don't have a great selection of pastels, but did my best with what I have. It measures about 8 x 10 ins.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2009/137575-wc15Oct09.jpg

CM Neidhofer
10-15-2009, 02:53 PM
Very nice mum! She is just adorable, isn't she? I'm going to give her a go sometime in the next few days. Thanks for participating!

10-15-2009, 10:40 PM
mumwond, you made her younger and a lot more cheerful. Very nice skin highlight too! Good job.

Robert, I hope you would still attempt these pieces! Looking forward to them.

Vivien Maloney
10-16-2009, 04:04 AM
mumwond, great portrait! I didn't want to try her as I thought I'd make a real mess, and instead I'm making a real mess of the wagon reference - oh well I can't win - that's art!

Shirl Parker
10-16-2009, 10:45 AM
You've certainly captured her cheeriness.

10-16-2009, 11:09 AM
[quote=gakinme]mumwond, you made her younger and a lot more cheerful. Very nice skin highlight too! Good job.


I wish I could work the same magic on my own face!

10-18-2009, 01:46 AM
Sandra- nice job on the wagon, and I like how your version of the smiling lady turned out .... keep at those pastels!

Mumwond- nice job on the smiling lady, you did a great job at capturing the happiness eminating from her.

This is my attempt at the smiling lady (hope its ok to call her that?). Her smile was just so cantagious I had to try painting her. This is my first painting ever using velour, and the first time doing portrait type work with teeth showing. It was fun. Thanks Christine for the ref. photos. 6.5 x 9 inches on velour. There are a few things needing fixing, but done for the most part.


10-18-2009, 07:39 AM
That's really lovely, Rugman. Oh, I wish--------

CM Neidhofer
10-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Excellent, Ron! How did you manage to work this in such a small size??? I think I'd go nuts trying to do that!! Did you use pastel pencils as well for a piece that small? Very nice.

Vivien Maloney
10-18-2009, 02:04 PM
Well here's my version of the little wagon. Sorry about the background! I realised after I'd (very carefully) drawn the wagon, that I should have done the background first and then superimposed the wagon over it - too late then! I know I haven't got the hills receding enough but I already had about 30 layers of pastel on and didn't want to spray with fixative, so I could apply more. We live and learn!
9x12in, Art Spectrum, Colorfix paper and a variety of soft pastels and a little pastel pencil.


C & C welcome

CM Neidhofer
10-18-2009, 03:43 PM
Viv, it's lovely!! You did a really great job! I think just a little touch of light to the back of the cover there to fix up the little bit of blue and it'll be perfect! Okay, now I'm inspired. Tonight's my Friday at work. I'll be off for the next four days. Time to paint!!

10-18-2009, 05:01 PM
Viv- I think you did a great job on the wagon and the background. I know what you mean about getting too many layers!:)

Mumwond- thanks so much!

Christine- thanks a bunch! I used pastel pencil for eyes only, and I keep a handful of sharpened hard nupastels which I used for teeth, normal mount vision sticks for the majority of the painting.

Vivien Maloney
10-18-2009, 08:16 PM
Christine; thanks for your comments. I hadn't noticed the blue bit on the white cover, but I'll fix that.

rugman; great portrait! You've caught her expression beautifully.

Merethe T
10-20-2009, 04:13 PM
Nice work, folks!

Sandra- nice work, our colorful lady is a beauty, and the wagon turned out nice as well.

Mum - also a nice piece, the lady look so happy!

Ron - your version of the lady is beautiful, love the softness!

Viv - nice work! The painting has a dreamy quality that suit the subject very well. Nice job on the wagon!

10-23-2009, 08:50 AM
Wow, the Smiling Lady has been very well represented so far. I say so far because here is mine. 8x10ish on pastelmat.
I've done a couple of pastel portraits from life, very big but I haven't done a portrait since last year, except in graphite.
I knew from early on that this was not going to look like the lady but, time was limited so i went with what appeared.
I've also attached a photo showing all the pastels I used for this one. Now I've got to put them all away!


CM Neidhofer
10-23-2009, 09:38 AM
Very nice, ruthie!! She is well represented here. I'm working on her myself. I'm not a portrait person though, so it's slow going. But since it's not a commission, I figured it didn't have to look exactly like her! Hopefully have mine done by the end of the month. Thanks for participating everyone!

10-23-2009, 12:29 PM
Thanks Christine. Oh and, Viv, sorry I didn't mention your Wagon. I really like it and the background you've given it.

Vivien Maloney
10-23-2009, 03:15 PM
Ruthie; nice portrait!

10-25-2009, 03:55 PM
Seems our happy lady is very popular! Here is another for the collection.


Thanks, Christine, for all of your great photos. I have been eying the wagon but doubt I will get around to it. The Anasazi Cliff photo is also intriguing; some great colors could be pumped into those rocks.

8"x10", Canson Cream Mi-Tientes.

CM Neidhofer
10-25-2009, 04:27 PM
Very nice, Jenny! Like the background a lot. I'll be finishing mine the next couple of days or so. Thought about trying the wagon again, also, but running out of time. Great job to everyone! :clap::clap:

Vivien Maloney
10-26-2009, 01:39 PM
Great portraits everyone! I've been waiting for someone else to do the wagon to see which way they handled it - composition etc? It's always interesting to see somebody elses way of painting the same subject.

10-27-2009, 07:49 PM
Ruthie and Jenny- great job on the smiling, happy, lady in red! Its interesting to see how varied each person's version is.

10-31-2009, 11:34 PM
It was fun to see all the interpretations this month, everyone. Good work!

Hmmm ... wonder if there will be any last-minute posts. Hurry up, y'all!