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View Full Version : how LOW can you go? a small challenge


Deborah Secor
07-31-2010, 01:37 PM
I'd like to challenge anyone here who is interested to join me in something I've been thinking about lately: How FEW strokes can I use to make a small painting that effectively expresses enough about a place or thing?

I just read an article about the watercolorist Jerry Stitt where he said that painting is like golf, the one with the fewest strokes wins! :lol: Good analogy.

I would think in pastel this would be an even more useful way to think than in watercolor, since our medium allows us to layer with transparent colors or create a thick impasto stroke, or use that 'dry-brush' stroke that's characteristic of pastels. It seems to me that some of the great pastelists use an economy of strokes, having learned how to make a few strokes most effective. Bill Cone (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_SXS3PpD9a5U/S_myemve-DI/AAAAAAAAAg4/lBXK7gGto3U/s1600/westside+am.sm.jpg) comes to mind. His beautiful, spare strokes convey just enough, not overloading you with detail. And Tony Allain (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_PH-1mRwJfFY/TCKbXPjdt3I/AAAAAAAAARA/90NVkL-79aQ/s1600/Still+life+11.JPG) is another one. I know there are others, too!

Anyway, my challenge to you all is to paint a small piece and use the fewest number of strokes you can. Twenty or fewer strokes is my goal.

Anyone want to play?

(BTW, I see that attachments are showing, but not inserted images.)

Paula Ford
07-31-2010, 02:27 PM
That is such a wonderful idea Deborah!! I'll try.

(I can't see my own avatar, but can see yours. Some paintings are showing up, but others aren't :confused: )

Nansketch
07-31-2010, 02:33 PM
Deborah,
This is an interesting challenge, what size are you thinking? This concept would seem to be very good for charcoal, certainly pastel will work well along the same thought. How to simplify?? Ok, I'll try --

Nancy

Deborah Secor
07-31-2010, 03:00 PM
:D Great, Nancy! I think you could do this in any size that pleases you. I haven't gotten into it yet but I'm thinking of smaller pieces myself, perhaps square ones. Maybe 6x6" or... I don't know!

I'm doing some notan/thumbnails to get me started. I think it will help me think of the shapes so I can plan a bit more.

I thought of a couple other painters that distill things well. Casey Klahn (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dZnmZ5QscKo/S6oNwZrsbqI/AAAAAAAAE4U/H6A47oHJga8/s1600/Clear+River+72.jpg) and Loriann Signori (http://loriannsignori.blogspot.com/2010/06/back-to-cooking-similarities-and-one.html).

robertsloan2
07-31-2010, 03:44 PM
That's scary, Deborah, really scary. I love my little strokes, my nearly-pointillist textures in foliage and things. I could do this but it'll come out completely different from what I like doing in pastels.

It might be good though. I'm in. I'll give it a go.

It did something great for me in watercolor - I tried something like this after reading a sumi-e book and did a number of the exercises, amazed at how much could be conveyed in only a few strokes. When I went back to doing more detailed work without trying for minimal strokes, it made my paintings bolder and more vigorous.

I like my fur and foliage textures, probably won't ever give those up. But this is going to be interesting in itself. How can I resist an invitation to work small anyway?

Question about the rules of the challenge - is it all right to work it out beforehand with preliminary sketches, notans, charcoal value sketch and so on? Or do I have to do this cold just looking at my subject and reference?

Deborah Secor
07-31-2010, 04:52 PM
Good, Robert. :D Let's just make up the rules as we go! I'm doing some notan sketches and thumbnails (about the same thing, actually) so yes, let's work out what shapes to use so we can see where the underlying strokes will be most useful. In notan you find black, white and gray, or some arrangement using three or four values, which I think might help me decide what's first, second and third. Then I need to think about where the smaller strokes will be necessary and most informative.

I also figure if I use a big zig-zag shape, or a huge swoop that curls and curves back and forth, that's ONE stroke! So I'm going to try to think through what's needed and in what order, large to small.

I'm wondering if one back-and-forth stroke that creates the furry back of a cat wouldn't be considered a single stroke, or if you could scribble, repeating and repeating a series of small circles, and call that one stroke. Texture is part of the explanation of a place--like an up-and-down ziggy stroke to make grass.

If you play around with single strokes and come up with some suggestions or ideas, show us. I'd love to see what comes of it. :)

Paula--where did your post come from?? Oops, I didn't see it before! Glad you want to play with us...!! I see your name, Nan's name, and Robert's and my avatars. Very spooky place right now!

I'm going to go do some strokes and see what comes of playing around.

Deborah Secor
07-31-2010, 05:18 PM
492521
Each one is one stroke. :thumbsup:

I can see how these would be good for a line of trees, or for the complex area of leaves or just to cover a larger area like the sky. In the odd little squiggle at the bottom right I thought of a mountain and then how I could bring that color down into a foreground area using just one stroke, assuming I would then break it up with some others along the way. You could conceivably paint half the piece in one well conceived and executed stroke, if it was a small painting, I think.

I may try shooting a series of shots to see how that works....

Turpintine45
07-31-2010, 08:49 PM
Oh my goodness I have a hard enough time with all the strokes and corrections I do now!!! However, I suppose if I kept it as small as you say and did those thumbnails that Jackie gives her stern teacher voice about I might be able to do it. I may watch and learn from you guys first. Jen

deb9654
07-31-2010, 09:41 PM
This is such a cool idea. I've been playing with it and have done 3 of the same composition. Now I have more ideas with your samples. Back to get dusty! :)

Greenbrier33
07-31-2010, 09:45 PM
Deborah, fun challenge!

In terms of subject matter -- keep it to landscapes or are other subjects permitted? Also, are there any suggested photo references?

I'm thinking that a low-stroke approach might better unify my painting. I noticed my amateur work often lacks unity between various elements, such as the sky and ground, or between some nice trees and their surroundings.

Using LOW just might help me paint "togetherness".

I'll give it a try. Still using a 30-color Blick set; so maybe this exercise will be easier for me than for those using hundreds of "upscale" pastels.

robertsloan2
07-31-2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks, Deborah! I like your stroke examples - I was thinking along some of those lines too, like continuous line drawing when there's complex shapes. Your scribble for foliage does look really good. It'd be slightly different from doing all separate short strokes but this is its own challenge.

It also gives me an idea for a gradated sky, if I do that big blocking in stroke twice - once all the way down with the darker blue, then go heavy with the lighter blue on it but keep going lighter and lighter on the way up. Been looking at a photo and did a pen drawing of it in color to figure out what has to go in.

C_Line
07-31-2010, 10:50 PM
Okay, I'm here to say officially that this challenge is one that I've often tried with acrylics - not easy mind you! But it's such a good practice to do. So, I gave it a whirl tonight on a little 4 x 6" piece of blue paper using a reference photo of a farm I took this spring. I zoomed in on it to make simple geometric shapes and it still took me about 80 strokes! YIKES :eek: I'm anxious to see those who're able to do so in 20-30.

493571

Deborah Secor
07-31-2010, 11:22 PM
Celeste, glad you gave it a go...!

Here's mine, 6x6" on white Pastelmat. I did three little notan sketches to figure out the shapes and values first. I grubbied up that glaring white to start with, did a very quick sketch in charcoal and rubbed it into the paper, as you can see, and then I just went for it:

493591

493631

493601

493611

493621

Well, it may not be the best painting I ever did, but... it's only about 20 strokes! This is going to take some practice. Maybe smaller. :D

deb9654
08-01-2010, 12:54 AM
Here are mine. I did 5 and they're posted in the order I did them. They're all 6x6 on Cranson. I didn't do much planning on the first few but found that it was better if I planned my palette and basic strokes so I could get more accomplished with them. All are 20 strokes or less.

493791

493801

493811

493821

493831

robertsloan2
08-01-2010, 04:59 AM
Celeste, that was great even if it took 80 strokes.

Deborah, that's a brilliant example. Thank you for showing the layers. That's helping me a lot with the one I'm planning. It's beautiful. I love that last orange stroke, that searing bit of light on the trees is so cool.

Deb, your series is great. I like the way you did five different little ones all on pretty much the same landscape, that's another great exercise.

Awesome. I have an idea for what i'm going to do but want to start out fresh when I get up - also decide on color of surface.

C_Line
08-01-2010, 10:03 AM
Alright, here's my quick, emphasis on quick! 20 stroke exercise from this morning. 4 x 7"

494801

sketchZ1ol
08-01-2010, 03:35 PM
hello
what are thougths about rubbing. erasing ?
since i work on paper, it's part of the process

soon as the " upgrade " is done, i'll post some pics -
hope the good folks will make a thread to explain how us with old tech can upload ...

great challenge/historical issue: to get onto the blank page

:} Ed

Deborah Secor
08-01-2010, 04:25 PM
Try loading pix this way, Ed:

Click on Post Reply and scan down to Manage Attachments. Load your photos and let it do it's thing, then close that page. The click on the paper clip icon above the text box and choose Insert All, and your attached paintings will show up.

Technically I felt like finger blending was a 'stroke', but whatever! I think the challenge here is to minimize, but not to become obsessive. I had to count strokes to keep myself honest--I was amazed at how few it is.

Deborah Secor
08-01-2010, 04:28 PM
Deb, these are strong little paintings. Tell us about the process you used. What did you figure out as you went along? Was it hard or easy for you?

Celeste, I like the distilled tree, but the squiggly stroke along the bottom is so much fun!

Lyta
08-01-2010, 05:45 PM
I think you've posted something about this idea before, Deborah... Was that in Watermedia? I really liked the concept and finally tried it... Certainly not my usual way of painting!

Oh, and I love what the rest of you have done so far! :thumbsup: It's amazing how detailled a painting can look with so few strokes...

Here's my little seascape with 25 strokes, 6x6''. I used pastel pencils. The photo isn't the best (artificial light), but you get the idea. I only needed as much strokes as I did because the sea has so many individual strokes... I might try again with a new subject. This one turned out a little childish, I don't like it... :eek: Maybe the technique isn't for me, after all. :wink2: I'll definitely try to do something better tomorrow... :o

deb9654
08-01-2010, 06:09 PM
Deborah, I was trying to figure how to get the detail I wanted yet keep the strokes to a minimum. I used a ref pic I took the other day and just jumped in without thinking about it too much. I really had to resist the urge to fiddle with additional strokes, which for me is a good lesson because sometimes I just overwork to the point of wreckage. :) Once I did a couple, and you had posted the stroke samples, I figured it might be a good idea to think it through a bit more so I could make the most of each stroke. I think that really helped me to get some good detail yet keep the stroke count down. A couple of the strokes were finger blending...mostly on skies, but I tried to do any blending with the pastel in the midst of the stroke.

I really like what you all have done. Celeste, your colors are so vibrant! Deborah, I like your blending on the road especially. Lyta, I think doing they with pastel pencils would be so hard for me!

Greenbrier33
08-01-2010, 06:22 PM
I love all the previous posts...really, really nice paintings.

My attempt is an honest 20 strokes, although on several of them I kept the pastel on the paper and just scrubbed it around, such as to fill in some background areas. Incidentally, this source photo is from Dak's August Challenge. I wanted to paint that photo anyway and thought Deborah's idea would be good prep work.

I attached a pic of the off-paper scribbles made to study color interaction, and the plan for which colors would be invited to this party. The strokes are numbered 1 - 20; so it's obvious how they went on.

Deborah, thank you so much for this idea! Although a short exercise, the planning, thought, and lessons learned are not.

Nansketch
08-01-2010, 08:20 PM
Good to see everyone's work -- I guess I better get thinking.

Celeste -- well, I love your first one -- glad it was more than 20. Also, attempt two -- good jobl -- everything is clear, crisp -- good shapes and I, too, love the squiggle.

Deborah - wonderful colors, very strong

Deb - I like the simple shapes of yours, great progression

Dave - I like the lines and the colors in this - clear, crisp

Lyta, -- it may not be your favorite but it is a good attempt and you learned from it. It seems that pencils may be too limiting -- I hope you'll try again.

I need to go plan what I am going to try.
Nancy

sketchZ1ol
08-02-2010, 05:21 PM
hello

maybe stretching semantics...

Lyta,

took your post and ran with it with charcoal on paper
used a 1/2" chunk of medium Grumbie (easy to find/buy, i think)

idea is to break thru the blank page and make value and texture by touch/pressure on the surface

so here's the semantic part:
first stroke, the cloud line.
lift.
second stroke, everything below - varying pressure.
lift.
third stroke w. kneaded eraser on cloud stroke.
lift.
fourth stroke w. eraser to make barn eaves.
lift.
that's all = 5 min.

could spray the paper, wash for sanded support, or just go from there.
point is, get the base mapped out.

didn't use a pastel, true, but you get the idea, no?

:} Ed




499111
4 1/2"h x 6"w on newsprint

sketchZ1ol
08-02-2010, 05:47 PM
hello
Celeste, David - no prejudice, criticism - just been dealing with 'vista' type landscapes lately
Celeste - your piece brings to mind some work by Miltion Avery - linear/industrial + random/organic
:} Ed

robertsloan2
08-02-2010, 05:57 PM
Ed, that is spectacular, and I think you took the record for fewest strokes. I love it. Charcoal to me acts just like pastel so you might as well have used a black pastel for that. Would work the same.

David, very cool the way you did the August Spotlight one for it. Worked out great. Thanks for the preliminaries.

Lyta, that's a cool idea. I think it might have helped to zigzag a bit more on the sea strokes, but it worked!

Celeste, yours is neat. I like how you did that, it's very bold and jumps right out at me.

Still meditating on mine, today's a high pain day and I want to be in a better state of mind/body before I try something this tricky. But I'm thinking mine through based on a WDE image I already did in brush pens. I might even work from my sketch rather than the reference, that'd help me simplify it.

Ruthie57
08-02-2010, 06:23 PM
How interesting is this! Well done all those who are participating and putting such thought into how to proceed with the low strokes challenge.
Don't know if I'll have a go but I may. Not sure I can get down to 20 strokes from the gazillion I usually use though!!

sketchZ1ol
08-02-2010, 06:42 PM
hello
aw c'mon Ruthie !
we'll all learn from you marks...
have a go !
:} Ed

allydoodle
08-02-2010, 11:59 PM
Now this is really out of my comfort zone! I was at a portrait workshop today, and the model was just not sitting still. She decided she was going to sketch as she sat, which would have been okay if she just kept her eyes in one position for longer that 5 seconds! Not the case, she kept moving them around like crazy, and since I start with the eyes and move outwards from there, I was sabotaged from the get go. Anyway, after three atempts, I just erased my so called sketch and gave up with that.

Out of sheer frustration, I pulled out a reference photo that I had taken last year (from my supplies bag), and just started scribbling away, keeping in mind the 20 stroke limit (it was near the end of the workshop, so I knew I didn't have much time anyway). I actually like it, (a surprise to me, as I don't work too quickly in landscapes) and I might take it a little further, trying not to overwork it. I wasn't going to give this go, as I didn't think I could come up with anything worth showing to anyone, so I really did surprise myself. I just might try it again. I found that it forced me to be more instinctive and gutsy, as time was running out. I didn't plan any colors out, so if I try this again, I would do more planning, this was definitely by the seat of my pants! It was an interesting experience, especially since I wasn't planning to give this challenge a try :lol: ! This is done on Canson Steel Grey, no sandpaper involved in this crazy experiment! I used Art Spectrum and Rembrants. Size is 10" x 5 1/2".

500201

Turpintine45
08-03-2010, 01:53 AM
You are all doing so well with this really like what you did Chris. If my husband ever gives me my table back I will have a go! Jen

allydoodle
08-03-2010, 10:37 AM
Okay, now I have time to reply to everyone's 'go at this'.

Deborah, I like your progression. Nice composition too.

Deb, Nice little ones. I especially like the first and third. They could probably be used as underpaintings as well.

Celeste, Love your colors and strong strokes. To me, it almost looks finished!

Lyta, I think you did great with the pencils. Not an easy task, those points being so pointy! Those pencils would be very difficult for me to use.

David, Wow, you've got a lot in with a little bit. Nice one here!

Ed, Really nice one. I think it's cool how with so little strokes, you've managed to have your style show through. Excellent use of values. You've definitely won for least amount of strokes!

Ruthie57
08-03-2010, 04:04 PM
Ed, Ha..not sure what you would learn from me! Chris, now that is a lovely little landscape, simple and free and maybe more so for having no planning involved.

Nansketch
08-03-2010, 09:56 PM
Ed, Love the charcoal -- a complete scene

Chris, Wow, the colors are great and you've created a lot of depth.

I'm still working on mine -- well, thinking about mine -- I'd hoped to put a building in but -- now not so sure.

Hopefully more time tomorrow.
Nancy

sketchZ1ol
08-03-2010, 10:58 PM
hello
well i suppose the number of arm movements could be debated :)
first thought was the challenge of an open surface
Robert's comment is well said, and any pastel stick of any colour/value could be used to start...
material i reached for first was charcoal - most familiar/versitile to me
no crit to you, Lyta - from my own experience, just offering a material as a bridge from 'pointy' to chunky', but not to insist that it must be done with my approach/post
any comments from you, Deborah ?
:} Ed

Deborah Secor
08-03-2010, 11:56 PM
I'm dropping in to look quickly and then have to be off again. This is a very busy week...I resume teaching classes Thursday and I have an article in the works. I'm enjoying all your experiments and hoping I can visit--right after I post my next chapter, prep the class, and spend a little time in the studio. Well, you all are doing GREAT! :thumbsup: I'll be back... sometime. :D

Lyta
08-04-2010, 04:53 AM
Ed - I like what you did with my idea, it does seem to work better in charcoal. :thumbsup: I haven't forgotten that I wanted to do something with my hard pastel sticks one of these days, just haven't gotten around to it yet. :o

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 06:21 PM
Here's my next one, only 20 strokes, including finger blending once in the clouds and using a Shaper in the grasses. I decided I didn't need to paint fast, just well, so I considered each stroke carefully.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2010/23609-20-stroke_Sandia.jpg

6x6" on canary yellow Pastelmat.

Here you can see my stroke count to the right and my test colors below that.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2010/23609-20-strokes_-right.jpg

I'm going to try a couple more... This is really a fun exercise!

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 06:27 PM
I think you've posted something about this idea before, Deborah... Was that in Watermedia? I really liked the concept and finally tried it... Certainly not my usual way of painting!

Oh, and I love what the rest of you have done so far! :thumbsup: It's amazing how detailled a painting can look with so few strokes...

Here's my little seascape with 25 strokes, 6x6''. I used pastel pencils. The photo isn't the best (artificial light), but you get the idea. I only needed as much strokes as I did because the sea has so many individual strokes... I might try again with a new subject. This one turned out a little childish, I don't like it... :eek: Maybe the technique isn't for me, after all. :wink2: I'll definitely try to do something better tomorrow... :o

I did do something like this over in the gouache thread! It's so different in pastel, but effective, I think.

I think your pastel pencils make for a very interesting effect, since we can see the strokes much more this way. Glad you shared this! C'mon, try another one... :D

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 06:42 PM
Hmmm, well, since the attachments don't show in a quote, forget that!

David, I love the color in your daisies. Good planning with your focal areas, and very nice to see the colors laid out.

Ed, you definitely distilled to the essence there... :) Why not do a color version now??? This one might be equal in some ways to my thumbnails. Here's a shot showing them, with arrows next to the ones I chose to use.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2010/23609-thumbs.jpg

Chris, yours is beautiful! I love the transition of color from reds to oranges mixed with the green. The sky is also very effective. Glad this worked for you!

Well, maybe we'll see a few more to come from some others.. Robert? Nancy? Ruth?? :wave:

Greenbrier33
08-05-2010, 10:46 AM
Beautiful work, Deborah. I like the highlights in the grasses / trees that pull the ground into the sky where that canary color shows through at the cloud tops and on the horizon.

This "painterly" approach is becoming more appealing to me, after spending the first couple months in a detailed manner (for a newbie) with pastels. I am learning that details can ruin a painting if the fundamentals (value, color, etc.) are poorly executed.

Lyta
08-05-2010, 01:02 PM
Wow, Deborah, that's beautiful! Definitely doesn't look like just 20 strokes at all. You're right, it was a gouache project! I can recall it now.

robertsloan2
08-05-2010, 03:17 PM
Chris, yours is beautiful! So bold and simple. I like the sky and the subtleties in the foliage - you said so much with so little.

Deborah, yours is unbelievable. I know you kept track of the strokes and that's a cool way to do it, just make a mark with the pastel you used. I think I'll have to when I do mine. Still planning it, though I don't think that would work at all with Pan Pastels unless it was a sketch done on white where I'm letting the color wear off to do the light and medium tones. I'll have to use sticks because some of the strokes will have to be long or scribble over large areas. That or do it on an ATC so that a Pans stroke covers a substantial area anyway.

Nansketch
08-05-2010, 09:58 PM
Here is my progress on this project - First some tests that I did, all under 14 strokes, any blending counted as a stroke. Really had a difficult time making the barn lookl like a barn. All are about 4x6 in. Then, a 6x6, should've used a bit more pressure so it would be darker, 18 strokes/blends. Fun exercise. Great to see everyone's work, look forward to seeing more.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2010/141858-small-2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2010/141858-small-1.jpg

Nansketch
08-05-2010, 09:59 PM
Ooopps , I duplicated my images, my apologies.
Nancy

Deborah Secor
08-05-2010, 10:55 PM
details can ruin a painting if the fundamentals (value, color, etc.) are poorly executed.

Well put, David. :D

Nancy, the color in your paintings is yummy! I'm glad you took the challenge and went so LOW! Good job. :)

Deborah Secor
08-05-2010, 11:17 PM
Here's another one I did today. You can see the photo, the thumbnails and the hash marks alongside it on the board.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2010/23609-on_board_4.jpg

And one more.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2010/23609-3.jpg

It looks better cropped.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2010/23609-3cropb.jpg

I decided what I wanted to do was to slow down and work to make each stroke more efficient. Instead of rushing and trying to make every stroke quick and intuitive, I thougth them through carefully. Very interesting way to paint. Not my usual m.o.

Nansketch
08-06-2010, 10:54 AM
Deborah, yours are all gorgeous, taking your time and thinking thru each stroke really paid off. This is really a good practice technique.
Nancy

Greenbrier33
08-07-2010, 09:03 AM
That highway is a beautiful place. Amazing how color and line can make for an impressive painting.
Love the cream atmosphere, rising from the soft purple mountains which complement the yellow fields.

Potoma
08-07-2010, 03:32 PM
This is a set of 20 and below pieces I did in a workshop a few years ago when I was the only pastelist with a bunch of oil painters. One version was developed into a larger piece at the same time at a different point in the storm.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/59298-IMG_2894.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/59298-strokes20.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/59298-Storm750.jpg

They're all on 5x7 Pastelbord, either white or gray, and the the larger on is 8x10 gray Pastelbord.

I've been in a 20 or 25 and below mood with oils lately. When I was researching the concept a month ago, Deborah, I saw where it is listed as a future chapter of yours. I'm very much looking forward to it and I appreciate you had a much more liberal definition of a stroke than I was giving myself in pastel, above. With oil, a stroke is how ever long a heavily loaded brush goes. Technically, a single pastel stick is a pretty heavily loaded brush!

Deborah Secor
08-07-2010, 04:09 PM
Bonnie, these are neat. Our brushes are always loaded! :wink2: It's one of the things I had to redefine doing this experiment in pastels. But that's one of the great advantages of our wonderful medium, isn't it? So use it efficiently and well, making every stroke (however long and drawn out it is) count. The chapter is in toddler-hood, and I need to find some time to record more of my thoughts and impressions.

sketchZ1ol
08-07-2010, 06:34 PM
hello
well durn, i thunk it, but you guys said it first :mad:
and a Very important concept :cool:
Bonnie, your 8x10 really sets an enjoyable mood
:} Ed

Turpintine45
08-08-2010, 12:31 AM
You have all been doing well at this and we seem to be getting the hang of less is more. I especially like the last ones of Deborah's and Potoma.:)
I have been playing about with this and I found it easier once Deborah slowed it down. I used the side of the pastel for sky and lake and a continuous scribble for each colour of the trees. If you count blending in the final count was about 25. I did the hatches like Deborah on the last one which is the one I actually counted.
I have used a ref photo from one of the challenges. I can't remember whose but thank you. They are on watercolour paper about "5 1/2 X 8 1/2". Jen

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/216461-IMG_4010_Medium.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/216461-IMG_4011_Medium.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2010/216461-IMG_4012_Medium.jpg

kathrynlovespets
08-08-2010, 12:52 AM
Potoma--those are wonderful

Lyta
08-08-2010, 02:20 PM
Oh, some new great paintings! Love them.

I promised to try again, so here's another seascape. I didn't need thumbnails because I'm currently painting this subject in oils, so I should be familiar with it...

A5 sized paper with assorted hard pastel sticks, exactly 20 strokes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2010/165920-Hoernum01_20Strokes.JPG

Next time I'll go for a more realistic sea texture, or a different subject. :lol: I should use this as an opportunity to practise more varied strokes - like broken lines, turning the pastel as I go for varied line widths, etc. - because I have some trouble doing that and it's certainly useful even for paintings with more strokes.

Here (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8987131&postcount=59) is the current status of the oil painting - many, many strokes already. :D (It will look a little less wild when it's done.)

miker107
08-09-2010, 03:31 PM
Oh, some new great paintings! Love them.

I promised to try again, so here's another seascape. I didn't need thumbnails because I'm currently painting this subject in oils, so I should be familiar with it...

A5 sized paper with assorted hard pastel sticks, exactly 20 strokes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2010/165920-Hoernum01_20Strokes.JPG

Next time I'll go for a more realistic sea texture, or a different subject. :lol: I should use this as an opportunity to practise more varied strokes - like broken lines, turning the pastel as I go for varied line widths, etc. - because I have some trouble doing that and it's certainly useful even for paintings with more strokes.

Here (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8987131&postcount=59) is the current status of the oil painting - many, many strokes already. :D (It will look a little less wild when it's done.)

Wonderful painting Lyta. I'm partial to seascapes and light houses in particular. The oil painting is coming along nicely.

I've been monitoring this thread since I've been back and I'm thinking of participating in this to get myself back in the swing. Thanks for starting this one Deb. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute something in the next day or 2.

Greenbrier33
08-09-2010, 07:25 PM
Mike, what's the best piece of advice you could give to someone painting a seascape?
I tried my first one yesterday. Disaster. Hate it, and am looking for answers now after this experience. The sea was not kind to me...

Lyta, the paper looks toothy and as if it would hold quite a bit of pastel. What brand / type is it?
I like your painting and checked the oil -- nice work!

Potoma
08-09-2010, 07:46 PM
Thanks so much, Turp and Pets. I have done others in oils and am taking that back up again - sometimes to leave at 20-25, sometimes to bring up to 50 (which is tough to keep count for!), sometimes as the basis for a real painting. It's such a great loosening up exercise.

Lyta
08-10-2010, 05:09 AM
Thank you, Mike and David! The paper is Clairefontaine Dessin Grain, it's an 83 lb (180g) drawing paper. I've never used it for pastels before, I think the texture might be too large in scale, if that makes sense... The back side is fairly smooth and works for sketching, so I guess you can't go wrong with a pad if you find one. :)