View Full Version : May 2010 Pastel Sketch Thread

05-01-2010, 08:23 AM
Hello Artists! :wave: Welcome to the Monthly Pastel Sketch Thread!!

The monthly pastel sketch thread is for pastelists of all experience levels who use soft pastels, hard pastels, or pastel pencils.

The idea is to fit some sketching time into your week by completing a sketch in one hour or less. You can sketch anything, whether it be from life or photos.

It's a good idea to time your sketch, keeping it within 60 minutes. You know how time flies when you are creating. So get your pastels out, set your timer, and when your time is up, please post your sketches here and share your efforts with us.

For inspiration, please visit our Image Library here
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/ (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/../RefLib/)

Last month's thread hosted by Paula:

05-03-2010, 02:29 PM
thanks for hosting, Don...
guess I'm first in this week. I have done more sketching, but with wax pastels, not applicable in this thread.
So here is the first of my practice flower series....pansies done on black construction paper, 9x12.


05-03-2010, 10:56 PM

This is fantastic! Beautiful colors! Thanks for starting us off for this month!


05-03-2010, 11:01 PM
Great start for this month's thread, wonderful colors - the black paper gives a nice effect.

05-04-2010, 07:16 AM
Wow...lovely pansies Judi! How was it working on construction paper? I had thought of getting some to practice on.

05-04-2010, 08:20 AM
thanks, Don,Nan, and Linn...
The construction paper doesnt hold much, Linn, but the pastel goes on easily. I wouldnt use it for anything except practice...
Working on crocus today...will post later...

05-04-2010, 07:24 PM
Judi, your pastels are brilliant! It's a gorgeous study. I'm so glad you decided to do flowers this month, you've made a beautiful start. They glow on the page, this is so wonderful. Can't wait to see your crocus.

Canson mi-Tientes is pretty good for that sort of thing too, it'll go on easily. I use it a lot for that sort of sketching because the pads are cheap.

05-04-2010, 07:26 PM
Judi, your flowers are beautiful! Way to go!


05-06-2010, 03:35 AM
Beautiful flower and color combination, Judi.

Alright, I'm back.

This one was from last weekend but I didn't have enough time to post it here.

While surfing, I saw RoseArt actually put out a small 12 pc set of soft pastel for Thomas Kinkade color scheme. I always liked his work especially all the illumination in the painting so I gathered my SMi soft pastels in the same 12 colors and did a piece from a composition landscape book.

Bogus Recycled Rough Paper 9x12 inch
Golden Acrylic Ground
SMi soft pastel & Cretacolor carre hard pastels

This time, I stood up and away from the painting and set it upright so I don't breathe the stuff as it's falling off onto the newspaper. I have to get better at smoothing out this primer because it's blotchy at the moment.

Cretacolor is not that bad when I don't have anything to compare with. It's a sufficient set.


Tonight I did this piece. This is velour paper with pan pastel and Cretacolor hard carre pastel sticks 8x10 inch. Imaginary.

"Red River Valley":lol:


05-06-2010, 11:35 AM
these are really nice, Sandra....Really love the colors!

thanks for all the comments on the pansies. I think this will be an interesting month....

05-06-2010, 03:45 PM
Sandra, I really like your scene with the Thomas Kinkade palette. Could you please list or post swatches of those dozen colors so I can try the palette? I think that'd be fun. It certainly is brilliant. I'm sure I'll have all the colors in some pastels or other. I love the sunset light and those buildings, they look so solid and the light is so tangible in that sketch.

Very cool Red River Valley too. I didn't think Pan Pastels worked well on velour, but I guess you found a cool way to make them work! I like using sticks on velour sometimes though.

05-06-2010, 04:40 PM
Judi, love your Pansies!
Sandra, I really like the sense of light in your first one and you are brave to use pans (or any other pastels IMO) on velour!
I did some sketches while in Cyprus last week but haven't taken pics/scanned them yet. Will try to get them on here but don't hold your breath, they're not inspiring in any way!

05-06-2010, 05:33 PM
Can't wait to see your Cyprus sketches, Ruthie. They're probably a lot better than you think they are!

I like velour with medium soft to soft pastels. Nupastels just sort of slid off them, but softer ones like Grumbachers or Rembrandt worked really well. I think anything softer than hard pastels would be okay on velour. Senneliers are fun with velour. It doesn't layer as much as sanded papers though. I used to think it was the coolest pastel surface -- till I got here and discovered sandpaper!

05-06-2010, 10:48 PM
Thank you for your comments, Ruthie, Judi, Robert.

Robert, these are the colors.

Dark Blue
Light Blue
Yellow Ochre

I borrowed one of the photos from the sellers. I picked them from my 2 sets. My SMi tend to have neon color so it might look brighter than this set.


I actually did not enjoy using pan pastel or hard pastel on that velor paper. The Cretacolor hard pastel dust kept flying up and I needed a lot of swipes to make the color stick on the velor paper. Same with pan pastel. I'll put soft pastels on it in a bit to flesh it out some more. I actually used the only stick of Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel blue color that I have and was quite pleased with how well the color sticks to it. I'll experiment a couple pieces in a bit more. Have to use up this annoying paper anyway.

05-07-2010, 12:18 AM
Sandra, Very nice sketches! The first one just glows with intense color!! The second, on velour is darker and more mysterious! Velour, in my opinion is well suited for portraits (people and pets), but very difficult for any other subject as it is very difficult to get intense color and lights and darks. I find the mid-soft pastels (Giraults, Mt. Visions, Rembrandts) work the best for me. The surface is too soft for the harder pastels to leave enough "color." The real softies work well, but tend to fall off!


05-07-2010, 02:12 AM
Thank you, Don, for your comments.

Another imaginary piece with soft pastels this time on the velour paper. I thought all was going quite well until I turned it upside down and half the dust fell on my scanner and the floor. Geez. What do they produce this paper for anyway? :eek:


Added soft pastel to yesterday's piece.

I'm going to take your advice, Don, and use Girault for my next piece on velour and I'll do a portrait for that one.

Only 3 small sheets to go.

05-07-2010, 10:27 AM
those pansies are beautiful! They are one of my favorite flowers. You did a great job on them! I hope you do some more on some good pastel paper! And frame them!!

Sandra, Those sketches are really nice. the first one is wonderful with the colors! the second one is also good and like don said more mysterious. i have never used velour paper as i don't do portraits or animals. i'm not sure I would use it for that anyway. I have heard to many stories of the pastel just falling off of it. But you did a great job on it!


05-07-2010, 08:08 PM
Ruthie and Sara...thanks so much for your comments on the pansies.
Sandra...your abstracts are so vibrant...love the colors.
Here is my second flower....crocus...again on the black construction paper (no, I wont do that again...will use better paper!)


05-08-2010, 01:26 AM
Judi, Another nice sketch! The construction paper may not be the best to use, but the dark color makes the colors glow in contrast!


05-08-2010, 01:56 AM
Judibelle, those crocuses glow! I love the warm colors and the vibrant intensity of the flowers. The focus is clearly on the flowers, everything leads the eye to them so well. Gorgeous work. I hope you can get a Canson or Strathmore black pad, since you're doing such amazing things on black paper.

05-08-2010, 05:42 AM
Sandra, love your colour combinations.
Judi another lovely sensitive sketch. You captured the essence of the crocus and I agree with Don that the black paper enhances the colours.

05-08-2010, 12:20 PM
Ok these are the 3 sketches I did while in Cyprus. They were all done in April of course but couldn't post them then. They all took less than an hour from our terrace while I was waiting for my Sister to get her act together so we could go out!
1st one was a perspective challenge, a crop of the next block of apartments. Colours are bad but I intended to go a bit further with it so had just started with cool and warm colours.

The next is a simplified version of the view from the terrace and it disappears in B&W as the values are all much the same!
And the last is one of many rather stunted little trees on the hill just below us. I may do a painting of this at some point.

05-08-2010, 02:44 PM
Ruthie, I love these! Your perspective drawing of the apartment block is very clear, it could be developed farther but it's great for a plein air. Your coastline view is magnificent. I love that one. I think that one needs to be framed and hung, it's just too gorgeous. Your tree sketches are great little tree studies. I love the shape of the right-hand tree, it's so asymmetrical, distinctive and natural that it has an art nouveau elegance to it.

Very cool travel sketches! Thank you for posting them! As I expected, they were much better than you thought they were! Also a whole lot better than my attempts at travel sketching even last year. Though with a year's sketching practice since that last disaster on Mt. Petit Jean, I think this year's mountain studies will be a lot better.

05-08-2010, 02:48 PM
Thanks Robert! And I'm sure your next mountain studies will be much better. Even I have seen the improvement in your sketching since you've been doing so much. That should be a lesson to me too.
When are you hoping to get out there and do some plein air?

05-08-2010, 05:24 PM
Judi, very nice colors. I used to do construction paper too. You know the other cheap kind I use now? 65 lbs cardstock acid free from Michael's. I'm waiting for my black colorfix primer to come in so I could slather the stuff on the $3 pack and have fun with black background. For practice that can't be beat. A pack has 50 sheets and I even bought a pack of strong purple, orange...etc. You know my type of bold colors. I'll use those rather than colorfix sanded paper for now until I get better. My clear primer is coming too on Monday. So next week it'll be a lot of primed surfaces!

Here is my set up. I got a taller sketchboard to block off the wind and sun in my eyes while I paint soft pastels outside.

I'm certain I don't like Rembrandt and Sennelier. I like Great American, Unison, Terry Ludwig. And surprisingly Dale Rowney is small and handy and soft like Great American and Unison. I'm definite I'm going to buy Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel. I don't like my Cretacolor hard pastel set as much anymore because the colors are just not vibrant enough. SMi colors are not that vibrant either compared to Dale Rowney.

Sennelier Pastel Card 9 x 12 inch
A mix of hard and soft pastels

Image based on Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel's Seated Demon 1890. So nice to see a good looking man in an old painting without them being plump. Very advanced painter.



For those who are interested, I did a couple of pan pastel gestures here. I'm not going to post nude stuff over here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8728496&postcount=164) anymore.

Ruthie, the second piece is very peaceful and calming. And I like the tree too. It's very real.

05-08-2010, 06:28 PM
Ruthie, it could be anytime now. Kitten said she'd drive me up there when the trees on the mountains have finished leafing out, last time she went up the trees were still brushy brown without leaves and it was too wintry looking. Judging from the foliage down here, it won't be that long. Now it'll be more when she's got a day free to bring me out there.

Also I bet if I use sanded paper or PastelMat, that they'll come out better. Last time I tried Graphitints on normal sketchbook cartridge paper and that was part of the problem -- no blocking in, no side strokes to cover vast areas and get it done fast. This time I'll work bolder and save details for later or for sketches of the details done separately.

Sandra, did you just say you're not going to post nudes on the All-Media Sketching Thread any more, where I'm used to seeing them? Your link was to a specific post and I think it was from that thread but could have been from another thread. The butt icon is enough, I think, isn't it? I didn't think anyone there didn't like your nudes.

This seated demon is very dramatic! He came out so well. Your copies of the masters get more accurate every time. Thank you for posting a photo of your setup too, that's so cool. Good idea using the big sketchboard for a wind shield. I might try that when I go outside, it could really help and doesn't weigh much more than the smaller one.

Glad you're finding out which brands of pastels you like best. Thanks for the tip about Daler Rowney and brilliant colors. I may look at those later on.

05-08-2010, 08:41 PM
No, no....Mistake. I'm not going to post nudes over here at this Pastel sketch thread. I'll post it at my All Media Sketch thread instead because sometimes, I get carried away and the subject might be too provocative. I'll point you all to my nude posts when I post them.

I'm really impressed with Daler Rowney more and more. You know, another one I'm asking Blick about is the Prismacolor soft pastels. They bought Grumbacher and it's probably the Grumbacher formula. Apparently, a lot of people like that pastel and one lady had paintings from 40 years back and the color is still as good as before. So I'm researching on that too. I definitely don't like Blick soft pastel. Too hard.

I now realize the shape and size of pastels are as important as its softness and hardness. So far, for that softness close to Unison and Great American, Daler Rowney has the perfect thin shape. Though not square or rectangular shape, it is very responsive.

05-08-2010, 10:24 PM
Oh, okay! I'm relieved. I can see why you'll shift to posting them at the All Media Sketch Thread only because all the regulars there are used to them, that was why I was confused that you wouldn't post there but would post here. Call it a fibro fog moment. I've been having a lot of them the past couple of days.

Cool that you're finding the brands that suit you most. You might like the Unison half sticks. I keep drooling every time I go to Dakota or look at the ads for those, the color range in the half stick sets is gorgeous.

05-09-2010, 09:18 PM
Ruthie...very nice sketches....
Sandra...vibrant, as always! Love your yard setup...
Here is my not-too-great attempt at my azalea bush, which is still in bloom.
The blossoms are so very delicate-looking, I just couldnt duplicate them on the paper.
Used bugra paper with limited pastels (had to work upstairs and didnt want to lug all that I would want, up, as I was working in the dining area.)

May try them again, with more of a variety of pastels...

05-09-2010, 10:46 PM
Ruth, Very nice sketches from your trip! The atmosphere of the 2nd one is excellent!

Sandra, Very dramatic sketch! I'm not familiar with the artist so I'll have to look him up!

Judi, Another nice flower on dark paper! Keep them coming!


05-09-2010, 11:01 PM
Judi, lovely azaleas! It's very hard to capture every detail on a flower without painting that flower super close up as the single main subject of the painting. I love the loose way you convey their brightness, delicacy and vivid beauty on the dark paper. This is gorgeous just the way it is.

05-11-2010, 08:09 AM
Judi...great flowers...your colors are wonderful in all of them!

Ruthie...great sketches...I especially like the ocean scene.

Sandra...great sketches...I like the last one you did of the figure...as far as colors they are wonderful...goes to show less is more! Like your outdoor setup also.

05-11-2010, 09:47 AM
Hi all! I thought I would post a quick sketch of a pear I did. I spent all of 20 minutes on it. The morning light was coming through my studio window and landing on a shelf, so I placed te pear, and started painting. I had to be quick, as you know the sun has no allegiance to anyone!

I used Canson MT Ivy color, (4 1/2" x 6 1/2") and I lightly sanded the paper to see if I would like it. It wasn't bad, I'm not sure if I would do it again, but I didn't hate it. I used Rembrants, Giraults, and whatever I could quickly grab, as time was of the essence!


05-11-2010, 01:03 PM
Chris, Great Sketch! Love the colors!


05-11-2010, 04:43 PM
I did this quick sketch this afternoon to warm up for a portrait workshop I'm going to tonight. (Canson MT light grey, size 9"x12"). I want to give a shout out to Derek (Dcam) for recently recommending the Derwent tinted charcoal pencils. I believe he used them in a pastel painting, and he was pleased with the results. The painting was great - I believe the thread is called Roof Tops. Take a look at it, the painting is wonderful.

Anyway, I used these pencils for this portrait, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. I think they just might be my new favorite pencil for quick renderings! Anyway, here is what I did, and thank you to HughHill for posting the photo in the RIL. It is fun working from a black and white photo!


05-11-2010, 06:39 PM
Chris: Lovely sense of line in this. Glad you liked the Derwents. Did you get the FULL set? They are fun. really nice head here. good job, Derek

05-11-2010, 06:45 PM
Hi Derek!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, and for your nice comments.

Yes, I got the full set, and I'm gonna us 'em tonight! I'll let you know how I do! If it's not a stinker, I'll post it as we only sketch for one hour. (Portrait workshop at my local art club - we have them twice a month.)

05-11-2010, 09:22 PM
Chris...I love the pear and the portrait!

05-11-2010, 10:26 PM
Pastel on Velour Paper using mostly Rembrandts. 11" x 14" finished size.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-May-2010/121184-DSC03054.JPG

05-12-2010, 12:00 AM
Chris, Very nice charcoal pencil sketch!

GraceWays, Thanks for joining us! This is great! I can hardly call this a sketch - it's a beautiful painting!


05-12-2010, 08:50 AM
Graceways...beautiful portrait!

05-12-2010, 09:47 PM
Don, Linn, Thank you!

Graceways, Nice portrait!

Judibelle, Nice azaelas!

To everyone else that has posted sketches, I have admired them all and enjoyed seeing them! The computer won't allow me to go back any more pages to see specific names. Nice work everyone!

05-13-2010, 12:47 AM
My apologies! I was reading along and saw the thing about velour and well thought, "I'll post what I did!" The portrait of Adelaide was not a sketch. I am hardly trying to intimidate anyone here. I think I probably spent an hour editing on it when I went to frame it! I can't even think how long but not an hour. . .Please forgive me! I'll pay better attention next time!

05-13-2010, 12:54 AM
My apologies! I was reading along and saw the thing about velour and well thought, "I'll post what I did!" The portrait of Adelaide was not a sketch. I am hardly trying to intimidate anyone here. I think I probably spent an hour editing on it when I went to frame it! I can't even think how long but not an hour. . .Please forgive me! I'll pay better attention next time!

No problem! We're glad you posted, even if the painting took a wee bit longer than an hour!!


05-13-2010, 09:38 AM
The following is a portrait I did Tuesday night at my local art club. We sketch for a total of one hour from a live model, and it is great fun!

This is on Canson paper - great for sketching!


05-13-2010, 01:38 PM
Chris, Very nice! Love the way the sketch blends into the paper! It's not as easy as it looks to get that effect! I've tried many a time and never know where to stop the sketch!


05-13-2010, 01:50 PM
Thanks Don! Sometimes working slow has it's advantages :lol: ! It gives you that "unfinished" look!

WC Lee
05-13-2010, 04:00 PM
great sketches everyone :)

here is a couple of quick sketches using a mud stick made from pastel dust, a charcoal pencil and white conte. The first one was done last week on toned paper (10 minutes) and the second is on newsprint (15 minutes), both 12 x 9


05-13-2010, 04:19 PM

You are good! And only 10 - 15 minutes! Nice sketches!

WC Lee
05-13-2010, 04:31 PM
thanks Chris :) these two just worked out well from the get go ... most of the time, it takes a bit longer working out the alignments (which is usually off when I sketch fast) and bits of details.

05-13-2010, 06:05 PM
I have a question about the future of your study based on the Vrubel piece. I love the shapes and colors. So very dynamic, dramatic. It pushes the margins out in every direction, as if he cannot be contained by the paper size! The question has to do with "protocol" when using an existing art work: are you free to display this piece in a show? Coming to pastels on my own, as a self-taught artist, I naturally have done a lot of copying from art books. I never know what to call a derivative work, or what can and cannot be done with it. Any ideas?

05-13-2010, 11:44 PM
W.C. - Absolutely wonderful sketches! The first one especially, has wonderful lost and soft edges!


05-13-2010, 11:54 PM
I have a question about the future of your study based on the Vrubel piece. I love the shapes and colors. So very dynamic, dramatic. It pushes the margins out in every direction, as if he cannot be contained by the paper size! The question has to do with "protocol" when using an existing art work: are you free to display this piece in a show? Coming to pastels on my own, as a self-taught artist, I naturally have done a lot of copying from art books. I never know what to call a derivative work, or what can and cannot be done with it. Any ideas?
OK, I'm a bit lost (not particularly surprising or unusual!) I'm not sure what piece (Vrubal) you are referring to. In general, and in my opinion, any copy of a work done since about 1910 (not sure when copyright laws came into being - but somewhere around there) shouldn't be displayed in a show and definitely should not be sold. The works have a copyright and it belongs to someone else! Copies that are done from old masters paintings (pre-copyright) should clearly be labeled as a copy with the original artist's name. If signed, it should say something like "After Degas" with your signature.

Discussions of this sort come up from time to time in our "Soft Pastel Talk" forum (the same one that this thread is in). Feel free to start a discussion thread on the topic to get more opinions or to ask more specific questions.


05-14-2010, 01:22 AM
Thank you, Judibelle, Don, Robert, and mmmaxie for your comments.

Chris, beautiful pear. The colors are so attractive. A very modern touch to it. And what a pensive looking portrait. Very nice indeed. I sold my tinted charcoal pencils because the three colors I like best - natural, peat and ocean deep has only a lightfastness of 1, 2 and 3 respectively out of 8. I didn't realize it until much later. It has a great texture and I'm now using hard pastel to replicate the efforts. But they are indeed special.


Chris, for your portrait, is it hard pastel? Is it the normal A4 size? Did you finger blend at all first? It's so simple yet so pretty!!

Judi, love the white highlights on your flower. It has energy.

WC, incredible 10 mins pieces. So simple yet so elegant.

Grace, thanks for showing your velour piece. I've been wondering what portraits would look like on that paper. The child looked so soft on that paper. Great twinkle to the eyes and great smile! Beautiful color scheme.

Don, I think mmmaxie was refering to my copy of Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel's Seated Demon 1890 piece.

I am following the rules of the Classical Forum here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=582712) and advice from an admin.

Now that we are starting to look at the work of more modern masters in addition to old masters, we have to be careful of copyright issues.

Here's the info I received from admin:

'I believe the rule is that the artist must be well dead for 70 years before one can 'copy' the work and post it anywhere. It cannot be sold nor exhibited. '

So when studying modern masters, we cannot post direct copies of their work. We can comment about aspects of their work in discussions. We can make hommage to their work.

Always check the dates then before copying artwork!!:thumbsup:

Morbid as I am, I check that he's pretty dead and decayed before I copy his work. :lol: :lol:

I'm copying so much so that one day, I could improvise.

But today, I continue to copy.

The movement Symbolism really surprises me, how modern their pieces and how refined they are in their interpretations.

This piece is based on Franz von Stuck's Sin 1893. It is a personification of an evil woman. The original made her kinder. Mine is more wicked I think.

I won't post image here since it might offend but I used my brand new Faber Castell Polychromos Hard Pastel set of 24 I received tonight and it's so good a hard pastel. I waited for 2 months to decide and it was the right decision. The 120 pc set is on the way and I couldn't wait to use the exact colors. But for now, it's a limited mix.

Warning: Nudity involved ......Here is the piece (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8748935&postcount=279).

I'll try and do something with more clothes on next time. :lol: I've got a new set of Daler Rowney coming too.

05-14-2010, 09:06 AM

The pear was fun to do - only a few minutes, so I just grabbed any color and started in!

Thanks for the info on the tinted charcoal set. I didn't know that. I think I'm going to use them only for practice sketching, using fixative at the end to keep them from smudging/smearing. I won't be using them in any finished pieces that I would sell, but they are fun to use, so I'll just play around with them. With my luck, I'll get a real keeper, and I'll have to just leave it in the closet :lol: !

For the portraits I posted, the first one was done using almost exclusively the darkest charcoal pencil in that set, with a few touches of the blues and lavenders. It's done on light grey 9"x12" Canson MT paper. I don't finger blend at all. I just use the pencils.

For the second portrait, also light grey (different grey) 12"x16" Canson MT paper. I used the tinted charcoal pencils, whatever colors I grabbed I don't know. You can be sure it's going into the closet, (some not so lightfast colors used here!) so it won't fade :lol: ! No finger blending here either.

Glad you enjoying your Faber Castell pastels. Copying works you admire is a good thing. Much can be learned from it, and when you've had enough, you'll know, because you will just start trying things out yourself. You will then begin to develop your own style, while also learning from the best! It's all good!:D

05-14-2010, 09:10 PM
Chris, beautiful pear and excellent portraits. I love the shimmering colors on that pear. May have to try sanding Canson M-T myself sometime.

Grace, well done on the little girl's portrait. You captured something very difficult with her smile and intense expression.

WC, great sketches with the "Mud Stick." That warm neutral you mixed up was perfect for these portrait sketches.

05-14-2010, 09:54 PM
Don, I think mmmaxie was refering to my copy of Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel's Seated Demon 1890 piece.


Gee, my memory must be going! You posted the Vrubal only a few days ago!

Nice sketches in the link that you provided!


05-15-2010, 12:29 AM

I got the idea to sand Canson from someone here on this forum. I think his name is Pete. It was interesting, and I might try it again. It makes a mess though, so do it outside. I still like Canson on the smooth side without the sanding. It's great for sketches.

05-15-2010, 06:48 PM
Excellent portraits Chris; I can't believe you didn't spend hours and hours on them. Really lovely line work.

Graceways, welcome and it's a pleasure seeing your work. Hope to see more!

WC, yet another beautifully draw, sensitive portrait. Greatly admire your skill with these! Funny, in my former incarnation as an artist, all I did was figure and life drawing. Now all I want to do is still life.

Here's another, which I hesitate to post because I think it's horrid. BUT, I did it during an overnight at Lake Tahoe. I took some pastel pencils, but was very limited as far as colors. So I used the opportunity to create colors with layering, which I rarely do. So it was a good learning experience!


05-16-2010, 12:35 AM
Chuas, that's anything but horrible! I love that glass and the polished stones. You've got some great realism going here. The only thing that looks a little unfinished is the texture of the blue surface the glass and stones are on, if you shaded that carefully to flatten it (a little bit cooler and more muted toward where it meets the wall) I think that'd complete it perfectly.

You already have that cooling and muting going as it is, it's just that the texture is smudged and not smoothly moving back, it's got patches of irregular brighter and thinner areas out of that context.

It doesn't look bad. It looks unfinished, and at that only nearly finished. Awesome!

05-16-2010, 04:57 AM
Thanks for showing the colors! I'll have to try that limited palette sometime, it should be interesting.

05-16-2010, 03:30 PM

This is very nice! The glass and the rocks are well done! I think there are a couple compositional things that you could do to make it better. You didn't ask for C&C, so I'm sending you a PM!


05-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Thanks Don and Robert, much appreciated. I'm going to try that with the background.

Limited palette can be fun, but can also be treacherous. First large rock in the glass I did looked like a pickle (which could be in a glass, but it was really supposed to be a rock). My attempt to make it look less like a rock turned it into a penis (which was horrifying because I really didn't want one of those in a glass!). I think (hopefully) it looks like a rock now.

05-17-2010, 02:35 PM
I had to giggle at your penis comment, Chaus. Too funny. Great sketch by the way.
Some great sketches, judibelle of the flowers.
WC, your portrait sketches are always noteworthy.
Others' sketches, I have seen and enjoyed but I am currently overburdening my computer without opening anther window. The 20 minute pear has exceptional colour.
Both these sketches are 5 x 7, the pears on inktense red tinted wallis paper and the mountains on sienna pastelmat. Both are at the 1 hour mark give or take 5 minutes. MVPs, dalery rowneys, and unisons. I painted these at a local cafe/galley in support of Canadian mental health week. In an ideal world, the art walk would be outside but early spring here can be quite unpredictable. The pears reference is one of mine that I have used before but because this was the first time working in front of adults, I wanted something I was comfortable with.

05-17-2010, 02:47 PM
Glad I could amuse you Terri! Your pears have some of the richest color I've ever seen. Absolutely gorgeous! Also love the little landscape; it's got a sort of dreamy quality. Again, great color!

05-17-2010, 07:18 PM
Terri, both of these are great! The pears have such sensual shapes and gorgeous rich color. I can see why you went back to that reference, it's gorgeous. Beautiful composition. Your landscape on PastelMat just eases my soul, it's so wonderful with the snowy mountains and vast long meadow and distant trees. Both of these sketches are awesome.

05-18-2010, 12:27 AM
Terri, these are great sketches! Very nice composition on the pears and the landscape captures the scene in a minimal amount of strokes! Wonderful work!


05-18-2010, 12:42 PM
Thanks for the comments. Working that small, 5 x 7 is a challenge for me. Definitely helps with simplifying things because I can't make marks that small.

05-18-2010, 04:48 PM
Well I'm well behind on this thread again. Too far behind to comment on all but I've looked at them and there is some really great work on here!
These are 2 sketches I did yesterday. Both done in 1 hr 30 in total.



The first is from one of the photos posted by Paula Ford for the spotlight May challenge. They're both on canson mi-teintes but the poppy one was mistakenly started on the textured side which I hate. It didn't come out too bad though. (Anyone who recognises this, it's from the plant parade challenge over in Florals but I won't post it there 'cos it's only a rough sketch. Will have to do another one now for the challenge.)

05-19-2010, 02:10 AM
Ruthie, both of these have a really nice feel to them. Really liked how you handled the foreground waves. I like the energy of the poppies. I will make a point of checking out the plant parade as I really enjoy poppy paintings. Not enough time to do one for plant parade right now.

05-19-2010, 01:24 PM
Ruth, As I mentioned in the Spotlight, I really like your rock and water! The poppies are nice, too!


05-19-2010, 06:18 PM
Water and rocks painting is really nice Ruth! The poppies are nice too, in spite of that awful pitted paper. You really have the water down. I like the wave "crests." Good work Ruthie!

Here is a sketch of some peppers. Feeling really bogged down and have thrown about three paintings in the trash. So though I'd loosen up with a couple of sketches and just lay some color down without getting fussy about it. I like the ref photo though, and may try these peps later and with more time. On La Carte Card, Mt. Vision and Girault pastels. About 40 min.


05-19-2010, 07:35 PM
Chaus, very painterly. Made some great decisions on dealing with the reflections/highlights on the peppers and lovely colour choices. Nicely done!!

05-20-2010, 04:37 AM
Great peppers Chuas. The colours and reflections are lovely and make for a very interesting sketch. Hope it helped you loosen up!

05-20-2010, 01:38 PM
Chuas, Very nice sketch! Agree with the previous comments - nice and painterly!


05-21-2010, 11:14 PM
Here goes another sketch, just playing, not getting too fussy. On white Wallis, mostly Schmincke and Terry Ludwig. Many thanks to the photographer. I REALLY need to start setting up some still lifes! C&C's welcome!


05-22-2010, 06:42 AM
Chuas, this is great! As a sketch I think it's a pretty good painting!

05-22-2010, 09:47 AM
Chuas, Very nice! Just playing and not getting too fussy might be a good strategy! This is a fully realized painting - simple, bold and excellent!


05-22-2010, 11:47 AM
Thank you so much Ruthie and Don. Back some time ago I made a comment about being plagued by self-doubt and Jackie Simmonds came back with something like "welcome to being an artist!" :lol: So true.

Most importantly maybe, this was FUN. Thanks again!

05-22-2010, 01:26 PM
Ok, this one timed myself, to about 25 min. La Carte Card, mostly NuPastel and Girault.
C&C appreciated!


WC Lee
05-22-2010, 02:10 PM
great stuff everyone :) I better start getting off my butt and do more sketching or painting or something. Haven't been getting any inspirations lately :( Here is a small quick one using the desktop image on my computer as a ref .. as far as I remember, I think the image changes every half hour but it feels like I had more time than that. Anyhow, this is done on a piece of 6 x 8 masonite coated with gesso/aluminum oxide grit mixture.


05-22-2010, 04:45 PM
Chuas. That would've taken me 3 hours and still would not be as good. Maybe you should concentrate on speedy art. You are VERY good at it!!!
WCLee, I like the simplicity of this with the trees disappearing off into the distance. It looks absolutely great from a few feet away...wouldn't know it was a sketch!

05-22-2010, 06:25 PM
WC Lee, coolness! I like your screen wallpaper landscape, it's got beautiful perspective and a wonderful light pouring through it. Made me smile to see it.

Chuas -- WOW! I like your silver metal coffeepot with its glass top, that is so beautiful and vibrant. Simple and elegant. Very powerful and real. You're getting good at realism -- is that one from life? I agree about the one with the colander from an RIL photo, that isn't a sketch. That's a full-on gorgeous painting and should be framed and hung. I'd be tempted to buy that one, it's fantastic.

05-22-2010, 07:05 PM
Chaus, both "sketches" are lovely. Eggs with colander is exquisite. Perhaps giving yourself the time deadline, helps you not over think a painting.
WC, nice little landscape with interesting colours and textures. Hope the inspiration bug bites, I always enjoy seeing your work.

05-23-2010, 12:17 AM
Many thanks all! The colander one included one of my best "mistakes." I'd done off white on red for the light showing through the holes onto the background, then mucked it up by getting the dark red all over the white. So I just took a small stiff brush and knocked the pastel "holes" out and was delighted with the result! I love those happy accidents. Just wish they happened more often!

05-23-2010, 04:27 PM
That was a great accident! I think you got a cool texture you wouldn't have had if you had just avoided getting the dark into the holes.

05-23-2010, 04:49 PM
chuas, the shine on the teapot is beautiful. Nice accident on the colander. And you got a good shine on the jalapeno too. Your flower vase piece with the pebbles look very realistic. I had to look at it a couple of times to make sure this was really pastel and not a colored pencils. It's so clean. Now I'm encouraged to use my pastel pencils more often.

WC, nice looking trees there.

Terri, the pastelmat piece is so soft looking. You actually use inktense pencils to stain your support before you did the pear? Wow, really nice and red.

Ruthie, I like your seascape, especially the sunny island.

Thank you, Chris, for the additional info on your piece.

Image is based on rjmarchitect/Russ' contribution to the Travel Photo thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=555788&page=17) at the oil pastel section. I was deciding between graphitint + watercolor or oil pastel but took the easy way out.

Faber Castell Polychromos Hard Pastel
Carbothello pastel pencils
Recycled Bogus Brown Paper 9x12 inch full page

Having some lopsided fun here - totally unintentional :lol:

The grayish beard are silver hard pastel with white. 1 hr
Love how these hard pastels work. It's not dusty and I could actually erase it with my normal Design 2000 white eraser without leaving marks on this paper. Finally, I don't have to use my kneaded eraser.


05-23-2010, 05:08 PM
Chuas, I can't tell you how good that coffee pot is! The handling of the metallic surface - the shine, the reflections, the colors - are all outstanding! And so is the tabletop and the shadow! And all in 25 minutes!!

W.C., Nice job on the landscape! Lot's of sunlight in this!

Sandra, Nice sketch! I find the harder pastels quite useful for portraits and any kind of sketch with fine lines and details!


05-23-2010, 11:13 PM
Thank you, Don, for your comment.

I did the pig that Lin posted a reference of at WDE a few weeks back.

Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel
Derwent and Carbothello pastel pencils


Here's some hard body!

Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel
Derwent and Carbothello pastel pencils
Recycled Bogus Rough Paper 9x12 inch full page


05-23-2010, 11:51 PM
Good stuff Sandra! Your work is so confident and expressive. I think I would recognize your work if you posted anonymous; it's got a very individual Sandra stamp (a great one!) I wish I had your kind of moxie. Many thanks for the comments on my more studied style.

This one is a bit more than a sketch, but I'm leery of posting in the gallery at the moment so here tis. I didn't even "notice" until I'd started, that this one has a colander too. Ok, so maybe Colander and Potatoes II.

On Clairefontaine Pastelmat in light grey, mostly Mt. Vision pastels. Tricky part on this one was getting the two very bright shafts of light on either diagonal end of the painting...C&C welcome!


05-24-2010, 09:01 PM
Chuas, this is fun! I like your colander and potatoes painting. The shafts of sunlight really work, they're elegant. I love the light on the potatoes especially, that makes me smile. The light makes me smile throughout it, the shine on the wooden table and the shadows that make the light sing.

Sandra, the old man, the young man and the quizzical pig are all splendid. They all have great facial expressions and personality, as well as detail and accuracy. Your personal style is very powerful, you go right to the emotions of a living subject and it's not just about how they look, it's also as much about how they feel and interact. Your paintings feel alive. Well done!

05-25-2010, 01:29 AM
Thank you, Robert, Chuas, for your comments.

Chuas, the potatoes in the colander is outstanding! And the light shafts too. I can't believe those thick sticks of Mount Vision could do such details of the eye of the potatoes and the colander holes.

05-25-2010, 12:26 PM
Thank you, Robert, Chuas, for your comments.

Chuas, the potatoes in the colander is outstanding! And the light shafts too. I can't believe those thick sticks of Mount Vision could do such details of the eye of the potatoes and the colander holes.

Sandra, I've found that the consistency of Mt. Vision pastels allow it to be broken, then broken again and then sharpened with fine sandpaper and the piece will hold together. I often break a large piece off and use the side or round end to cover large areas, and then use another piece to divide and use for fine detail. Something it's really hard to do with the soft softies!

05-25-2010, 01:49 PM
Sandra, Very nice pig and even more impressive man! Perhaps next a pig with "six-pack" abs??:angel: Just kidding, but with your imagination anything is possible!

Chuas, Another fine work! Your paintings have reached a point of consistent high quality!


05-27-2010, 01:41 PM
chuas....your work just keeps getting better and better!
sandra...your sketches are all impressive
I finally got around to doing one more flower from my calendar...Rose of Sharon..on black background

also did some pansies from life, but havent decided on the background yet..

05-27-2010, 05:27 PM
Judi, love the colour and energy in this one. Looking forward to seeing your pansies.

05-27-2010, 06:59 PM
Wonderful piece Judi. Colors just glow and sing. Made me smile:clap:

05-28-2010, 07:45 PM
Thanks, Chuas and Terri,
did finish up the pansie thing today...wanted to get it in under the wire of May...
I did do a pastel pencil sketch of two of my peony buds getting ready to open, but didnt scan it. But while I was sketching, a darling little hummingbird came right up to it, even while I was sitting right there! What a treat...

05-28-2010, 09:03 PM

Some very nice flowers! You're achieving some really intense colors!


05-28-2010, 09:45 PM
Judibelle, your pansy is gorgeous! So vibrant, it thrums with color and motion and life. I love that. The Rose of Sharon is beautiful too. Flowers are great subjects and you're taking to them so well.

05-29-2010, 12:13 PM
thanks Don and Robert. Didnt get as many done as I would've liked, but did get in a plein aire this morning, of my budding peony bush. Sat right outside the front door to do it, too...

Hope to continue to follow it as it full-blooms...

WC Lee
05-29-2010, 04:24 PM
Sandra, great sketches :) I personally don't like using the harder pastels, not even for the initial sketch or underpainting.

Chaus, you are getting those colanders down pat :) the potatoes looks good too

Judibelle, great looking flower sketches :)


Another sketch before the month ends :) done on 12 x 9 charcoal paper using a variety of pastel brands ... rembrandt, winsor & netwon, unison, mount vision, richeson hand made, and sennelier. Some areas, I used the wrong color but oh well, only a sketch :D


05-29-2010, 09:37 PM
Judi, love the transparency of your pansies. You are really on a roll.

WC, I can't imagine you using wrong colors. It's still so perfect looking.

It's sunny outside and I tried my new set of Daler Rowney soft pastels along with pan pastels.

Gray paper with colorfix clear primer


Bogus Recycled Rough Paper with colorfix primer.

It was a failed piece of a manga girl and I just put layers of soft pastels on top. Miles and miles of green fields really is very wearisome for me. So hard to do different colors. I lost heart half way.


Sigh, I don't know why I keep insisting on doing landscapes with pan pastels. It has such a sponge shaped look but I don't know how else to lay down large amounts of color that could be smooth.

I'm going to try do a couple more tomorrow but with hard pastel and smaller ones.

05-30-2010, 12:10 AM
Judibelle, your peony buds plein air sketch is wonderful. I love it. Peonies are among my favorites anyway and you captured that feel of them, like the composition and the way they're all coming up slightly spreading -- it's got motion and expectancy. When they bloom, please paint them again!

WC, your latest sketch is great! Love that smile.

Sandra, that Pans and sticks landscape really grabs me. So rugged and wild. I love that one.

Here's a sketch I did tonight, fooling around with perspective. A made-up landscape. I'd have to look at a reference to do better, but I remember all the Midwestern flat areas where a farmhouse or two was all you would see and then just fields. It always looked lonely to me.

5" x 7"
Color Conte limited palette
Light gold Canson Mi-Tientes, smooth side.

05-30-2010, 10:22 AM
Judi, Nice flowers! It seems you have been quite productive! Good for you!

W.C., Your portrait sketches are always a pleasure to look at!

Sandra, Nice landscapes! Yes, those wider angle, more panoramic layouts can be wearisome to lay out! Sometimes combining elements (3 or 4 single trees becoming one group of trees, for example) might be one way to simplify and make things quicker! Or maybe a wet underpainting (instead of the pans).

Robert, Nice landscape. You've captured the wide-open feel!