View Full Version : The Spotlight - May 2010

Paula Ford
05-01-2010, 12:58 PM
Here is a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!

The Spotlight is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.

Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.

Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere. And no critiques unless specifically asked for. The intent is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!

Please note: The photos this month are taken by me, some are from the Wetcanvas Image Library, and also there are two taken by DAK723 (Don). You have our permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos, similar to the photos in the Reference Image Library, still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you cannot copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.

This month the Spotlight is on painting water.

There are certainly lots of types of water; fast water, slow water, stagnant water, cold water, warm water, ocean water, lake water, river water, dark water, light water, sparkling water, water with/without reflections ... just to mention a few.

Here is an example of something I painted showing sparkling lake water.

From the masters, here are two examples from my favorite painters showing how they painted water.

This is such a beautiful piece with crashing waves by Edgar Payne.

and a very beautiful piece by John Singer Sargent

This is quite the challenge this month! So, let's experiment and have lots of fun exploring how to portray different types of water.

Below are the 6 photos in this challenge.

The first is one taken by Don (DAK723) of some beautiful waves at the lake. Great composition too! Thank you Don!

Link to the larger file:


#2 is also taken by Don. I love the waves, wet beach, and reflection of Don's gorgeous dog.
Link to the larger file:


#3 - Is taken by me. It's a sparkling pond in Jasper, TN
Link to the larger file:


#4 - This photo was taken by Lorna12 and came from the WC Image Library. Thank you Lorna! Gorgeous photo!!
Link to larger file:


#5 - This photo was taken by me. It's in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY.
Link to larger file:


#6 - This photo was taken by Just Granny. Thank you!!
Link to larger file:


Paula Ford
05-01-2010, 12:59 PM
I love looking at other artists' websites to see how they handle various subjects. Here are just a few of the artists I admire. If you're interested to see how they paint water, check these out!

I always say "don't reinvent the wheel! If you're stuck on a painting, go see how other artists handle the problem!"

Aaron Schuerr http://www.aaronschuerr.com/index.html

Bill Creevy http://www.billcreevy.com/billcreevy-pastels.html

Albert Handell http://www.alberthandell.com/

Barbara Benedetti Newton http://www.barbaranewton.net/

Bill James (he is a member of WC!) http://artistbilljames.com/

Bob Rohm http://www.bobrohm.com/

Cindy House (also a member of WC!) http://www.cindyhouse.com/index.php

Frederick Somers http://fredericksomers.com/

Greg Biolchini http://biolchini.com/newsite/home.htm

Joe Mancuso http://www.mancusofineart.com/index.html

Kim Lordier (also a member of WC!) http://kimfancherlordier.com/

Lorenzo Chavez http://www.lorenzochavez.com/home.html

Maggie Price (Yes, our Maggie!!) http://maggiepriceart.com/

Marc Hanson (also a member of WC!) http://marchansonart.com/

Michael McKee http://www.michaelmckeegallery.com/indexHome.html

Phil Bates (yes, WC member!) http://www.prbates.com/prbates.com/Home.html

Richard McKinley http://www.mckinleystudio.com/

Terri Ford (also a member of WC!) http://www.terrifordart.com/

Tom Christopher (yes, WC member!) http://tomchristopherartist.com/♦

05-01-2010, 01:55 PM

Wonderful photos! (of course, the first two are kinda nice, if I do say so myself :lol: ) And some great links! I look forward to trying my hand at a few and seeing what others come up with, too!


Winny Kerr
05-01-2010, 01:57 PM
What fabulous photo's, every one of them, and I personally love the extra specific challenge of a subject, like water in this case. Your own painting of water is so good.:thumbsup: I won't know which one to choose to do now...:rolleyes:
Thank you for hosting.

05-01-2010, 02:37 PM
Wow, thank you for a wonderful theme and gorgeous references! I love painting water, this month is going to be as much fun as the flowers were!

05-01-2010, 02:47 PM
Great challenge! This month, I'll be able to join in!


Winny Kerr
05-01-2010, 02:50 PM
What would be the best underpainting color for water?

05-01-2010, 04:52 PM
Paula, great pictures! its going to be hard to make a selection in such a wonderful group of ref. Thank you for hosting this month.

Lisa Fiore
05-01-2010, 06:45 PM
Paula, that painting of yours is amazing! What size is it? The sparkly water is fantastic!

And Don, I absolutely love the photo of your smiley, happy dog! :)

I hope to participate this month, and look forward to seeing what everyone does.

Paula Ford
05-01-2010, 09:10 PM
Paula, that painting of yours is amazing! What size is it? The sparkly water is fantastic!

And Don, I absolutely love the photo of your smiley, happy dog! :)

I hope to participate this month, and look forward to seeing what everyone does.

Thanks Lisa! That painting, "Nick's Lake," was I believe 12"x18".

Happy painting everybody!

05-01-2010, 10:11 PM
Oh nooooo!! Not water!! says

05-02-2010, 07:07 AM
I'm really overwhelmed and so glad to have found wetcanvas.... The pastel artist's works you have introduced here are incredible.
Best wishes Dirgni

05-02-2010, 07:54 AM
Wow! Great photos Paula and lovely examples of water paintings too, including your own. Thank you for hosting.
I love doing water so will do as many as I can this month. Got a few of my own too from my trip to Cyprus which was wonderful. Only been home half an hour!

05-02-2010, 10:32 AM
I love the ocean pictures...especially the one with the collie...I may have to try it.

05-02-2010, 02:22 PM
Joy! Rapture! I'll give it my best.
My thread ' RIL. meantime...active river water ' is open to explore, with the rules and such, but i hope someone gives it a go - helps to calm and re-see the sticks you have, in itself. Something like a hearth, or a simmering stew, the sparkle,smell of water...
:} Ed

05-02-2010, 05:06 PM
Hi gang,

Guess I'm the first for this month. Trying to practice landscapes so here's this one! C&C welcome!

05-02-2010, 05:55 PM
Good job, Dena. I like all the colours in the water and you did a great job with the reflections. If you are practicing landscapes, you are doing a fine job.

Thanks for hosting this month, Paula. I will give a couple of these a shot, because I need to learn how to paint water. I might even paint the trees too.:D


Mary Y
05-02-2010, 09:32 PM
Thank you for the beautiful photographs there are several I would like to try.

Dena, lovely painting, I like the trees and how you did your reflections .

Vivien Maloney
05-02-2010, 09:55 PM
Paula; great photos, lots of choice, now which one will I do..........?

Dena; good on you for being first and a lovely painting you've done as well!

05-02-2010, 10:53 PM

Very nice! The water looks very good and you have done a nice job on the trees, too. Nice variety in colors and strokes and enough detail in the branches and clumps of leaves to make the trees work! One tiny suggestion - you might want to make the nearer trees a bit taller so that the tops of the near and far trees don't line up. Just a thought.

Considering that you have just started practicing landscapes, you have done an excellent job!


05-02-2010, 11:07 PM
Great reflections, Dena. I like the whole scene and especially love the darks between the trees.

05-02-2010, 11:10 PM
Here's my first attempt this month! While I have done a number of Adirondack lake paintings, I have never done any "real" waves. I tried to take the advice I usually give others - start with the big shapes and then work into the smaller shapes, just looking for shapes of color/value and not thinking too much about what those shapes really are!

I started with a wet underpainting, using alcohol over my initial pastel layer. Thanks to Paula for introducing us to those wet underpaintings in the March Spotlight! I am finding that they have helped me tremendously!

Just trying to establish the big shapes and lay down the basic colors, trying to get some color transitions in the sky and water.


Here's the finished painting. Approx. 10" x 15" on light gray Pastelmat, using Mt. Vision pastels.


I am finding that the Pastelmat is giving me very good results. I do find that it is quite limited in the number of layers that I can put on, so the wet underpainting really is a good idea on this paper. C&C welcome.


05-03-2010, 05:48 AM
Dena, lovely landscape, reflections in water very nice!

Don, great light and waves!


05-03-2010, 06:56 AM
Dena...lovely landscape and water!

Wow Don...great job on yours! You handled the ocean waves very well.

05-03-2010, 07:01 AM
Dena....really beautiful! Love the water/reflections. Trees are great, also...
don...WOW beautiful waves! And your rock 'rocks' (to use a phrase from
Robert). Well done!

05-03-2010, 07:27 AM
Dena that's lovely! The water is really well done.

Don. Your first real waves have come out brilliantly. So has the rock. Love the colours you've used in it and the light and shade has given it real depth.

I'm beginning to see the application limitations of pastelmat myself and have also found that a wet underpaitning helps no end.

Ooh I really want to go to the studio and start one! I told myself I should spend the day with hubby, having been away for a week and today's a bank holiday......BUT, he's just sitting about and doesn't want to go out so I may just sneak out there in a while........................

05-03-2010, 08:14 AM
Don, fantastic waves. I love the rock. This scene is gorgeous, you really captured the light on the sea with it. I am going to need to do one of these, I can only hope I can do it that well.

05-03-2010, 10:30 AM
Thank you to everyone for the kind comments on my painting, especially about the trees! I seem to really struggle with those and never really think they look good. More practice! Don, what a great job on the rock and the water/waves. I want to do that scene too but I think I'll do more trees first.

Mary Y
05-03-2010, 10:34 AM
Your waves are lovely, they have beautiful colour and movement in them.
The rock is great and your pallet suggests that hazy look you get at the coast.A beautiful painting of the sea.

Paula Ford
05-03-2010, 10:45 AM
Dena, Don, both paintings are beautifully done!! WOW! Love'm

The alcohol underpainting really makes a difference to me too Don. So glad you're enjoying it.

I'm working on the other big rock, ocean scene. Not sure how it's going yet. It's so different from what I normally paint. We'll see...

Winny Kerr
05-03-2010, 10:57 AM
Oh wow, Dena and Don, those two paintings are beautiful. I also find the alcohol underpainting a huge help. If I goof (often) I can brush it off and still have that under tone in place, or even freshen up, and start again.

05-03-2010, 11:05 AM
Don- Great job on your painting. The rock looks great with all those different planes and the rolling waves are very well done. I agree with you about the alcohol underpainting. It takes the threat of contamination out of the picture and gives you a road map for the painting. I use a wet underpainting all the time now.


05-03-2010, 12:52 PM
Hafta share... :lol: Anyone but me who sees a giant head emerging from the water of one of the pictures (the one Don painted). Hint: it's a profile!


:eek: :D

Charlie (being silly)

05-03-2010, 01:07 PM
Well, I couldn't see it Charlie :o but as soon as I said to Hubby - what's Charlie talking about - he saw it and showed it to me. Maybe there's some artist in him afterall!

Well I snuck off to the studio and, taking advantage of my absence, Hubby put on an English WW2 film. Result two happy people :)

Here's what I did. The easiest bit was the sky, then the water, then the tree covered hill, then the gull. But those rocks............:rolleyes: :eek: :crying: :( :mad: :confused:


05-03-2010, 01:38 PM
Ruthie, beautiful! Great reflections and gull.
Charlie, too funny! Very obvious head!

Paula Ford
05-03-2010, 02:15 PM
I see it, I see it! :lol: :lol: :lol:

WOW, great work Ruthie!!

Here's the one I'm working on. I'm too chicken to put the bird in. Was taking a break so I thought I'd post anyway. It's 12x16 on Ampersand Pastelbord.
(Edit: For those of you who saw the 1st photo, I changed it out for a better one :D )


05-03-2010, 03:01 PM
good to see your work, Don and Dana.
Charlie, what's your brand of Aquavit - can't see the face but it's a matter of approach, i guess.
Ruthie - nice move with the gull.
Paula - finding those greens - wonderful.
My off-beat approach to the subject - water. i've been touting up my pixs of water, so this is a charcoal/value study - the material seems parallel to pastel. 5"x7" on Canson paper.
There are olive greens, burnt umbers, and gold ochres within the water, and that's attractive to me, but it values out so close.
:} Ed

05-03-2010, 03:42 PM
What would be the best underpainting color for water?

I live on Long Island, so I've got all types of water: rivers, creeks, lakes, bays, and ocean. The color of the waters vary by season, tide, time of year, temperature, weather, etc.

I would look at the water to see if it was blue, blue-gray, grey, blue-green, green, white, orange, red, or brown. Also remember the water will be reflecting the sky or other background.

Not much help, is it? But then again, water is an amazing substance, and very hard to pin down.


05-03-2010, 04:08 PM
Paula, just beautiful! Positively glows!

CM Neidhofer
05-03-2010, 06:36 PM
I see it too, Charlie! Looks like an Egyptian dude with one of those pharoah hats on!

Paula Ford
05-03-2010, 09:08 PM
Thank you Dena! I've changed the sky and have calmed down the colors a bit... and am calling this one finished. Here is the new version. I'm headed back to my studio to paint some green trees and turnips :lol:


05-03-2010, 10:06 PM
Charlie, It took me a good minute before I saw the profile!

Paula and Ruth - Very nice paintings! Interesting to see the very different mood and atmosphere in two paintings from the same ref!

Ed, nice sketch! Now for some color??

Thanks to all who commented on my painting!


05-04-2010, 06:12 AM
That is a definite head coming out of the water Charlie! When I paint that one I will have to remember the head!

Ruthie...really like your bright colors!

Amazing rocks Paula!

05-04-2010, 08:03 AM
Ruthie, our near and dears do surprise us sometimes. Mine does that too, he 'sees things' that go by me. Really beautiful light in your painting, the water's great, and look, the gull has dropped a... dropping! :-)

Paula, magical mystery in yours, fab water and rock!

Amazing how we see things differently -- this is, to me, *the* coolest thing with the Spotlight!

Ed, my choice poison right now is a wee dram or three of GlenGrant. Slainte. Others see it, so look again! Good start!


05-04-2010, 10:56 AM
Ruthie- The subject for this month is water, and you nailed it. Beautiful reflections.

Paula- Where are the trees?:eek: Those rocks are amazing. They have so much depth to them. Great colour shift in the sky too. Okay, now you can go back to your comfort zone.:wink2:

Ed- Interesting sketch. I look forward to the coloured version.


05-04-2010, 01:12 PM
Charlie, I saw the profile immediately. Very cool! I might accent it in one of my versions, that is awesome.

Ruthie, I love yours. Blazing light and the gull is so cool.

Paula, yours is more subdued but so atmospheric it's utterly lovely. Wonderful painting.

I still need to relax and do one of these, got the one with the rock up as my wallpaper now in order to tempt me to paint it.

05-04-2010, 01:41 PM
excellent work by all. Looking forward to seeing more post. I am going to give one of these a try as soon as I get a chance. thanks for the great reference materials. james

05-04-2010, 02:49 PM
Thanks Dena for your comments about my effort!
Paula, Yours is beautiful and I agree it was from a better ref. I could not make that rock look 3D (partly my own failings) but it even looked flat in the photo. Your ref shows the other rocks in front of the big one which I couldn't see from the first ref.
Ed I love your charcoal drawing. The water looks very realistic.
Thanks Don. Although the ref wasn't the same. Paula cheated :D
Thanks Linn. I did what I often do and increased the saturation on the ref to encourage me to brighten up my painting.
Thank you Charlie. You are a cheeky monkey though! That's not a dropping but part of the reflection :cool: It was hard, that Gull (not as hard as the rocks tho') being soooo small. I had to try and do the right shape strokes to get the overall look and that's not easy for me.
Thank you Doug. I am quite pleased with the water although I have to say that wasn't the main challenge for me as I love doing water and reflections. Maybe next month's spotlight will be rocks.........
Thanks Robert. I do like to use bright colours where possible. from a distance (like right down the garden) even the rock looks impressive.
James. Thanks. Looking forward to seeing yours.

05-04-2010, 04:03 PM
Suruchi---Lots of improvement in this second landscape!

Don---Like the color you added to the rock, nice wave treatment.

Charlie---Yup, there is a man in there!

Ruthie---You sure brightened it up. Good job on the bird too.

Paula---Yours is marvelous, but I think I liked the previous version even better. There was a very interesting thing going on with the light that's missing now. Wish you had left the other version up so that I could compare them.

Ed---Nice charcoal sketch. Amazing what can be done with just black and white.

Ruthie---I think Paula was working from the same reference, but she switched her WIP pic for the finished one. The reference pic is nice, but problematic, in that the lighting is really quite flat. I tried to figure out the direction of the light, but there are no shadows that I can see, not even from the gull. My best guess is that it's early morning light coming from directly behind the photographer, near the horizon.

What I think Paula did, was to change the direction of the light in order to create some shadow to give more form to the rock. Maybe she'll chime in and describe how she approached this. The light appears to be coming more from the left in her painting.

I've been giving this some thought as I intend to do this one myself.


05-04-2010, 04:42 PM
Oh I see! Thanks Dan. Because Paula changed the angle, not just the light, I thought she meant she had worked from a similar ref from a slightly different angle! I am even more impressed that she was able to do that from the ref photo in this thread. I would never have the imagination to make such changes.
erm..sorry for calling you a cheat Paula!! Well, it was only in jest anyway!

05-04-2010, 05:22 PM
Ruthie---She may indeed have worked from an additional reference, that is just what I have been looking for on the web, but she may have done it in her head instead. Haystack Rock is located at Canon Beach OR, a popular tourist destination. There are many pics on the web, from many different angles. Most seem to be taken from the other side, so the image is mirrored to ours.


05-05-2010, 04:34 PM
When I checked out the photos for this month, I was worried, I usually avoid doing water in landscapes, Guess that's what a challange is all about though. I think I'll lurk awhile, and see how you all come up and do water, so I can learn as I go... Great photos!
Dena: Very nice , love the red color of the grass in front of the trees, really makes those trees pop out.
Don; Very nice love the rugged textures in the rock, and your color variation in the painting.
Ruthie: Just beautiful, really love the bright colors you used-nice.
Paula: Very nice really like the clouds in the background
the texture in the rock, and the color variations in your water-nice.
I'll keep watching I started one with an under painting with alcohol, have the rock part done, but gonna watch you all for a while and see how you all do water. :wave:

Paula Ford
05-05-2010, 06:04 PM
Thanks everybody!! I never use a photo as is. I always try to make the composition better by arranging the elements. In this case, there were no rocks overlapping to show distance, so I arranged them to overlap. I also took lots of liberty on the right side. It shows a bunch more depth than the photo.

05-05-2010, 06:11 PM
Well I went on ahead and finished the one I started, not really sure the water looks like the photo, but at least I tried. I did the "face rock". Done on scrap 5" x 7" green velour, underpainted with alcohol; with pan pastals and various semi- hard and soft pastels. C/C and comments are most welcome.:o

05-05-2010, 06:19 PM
Here's my second spotlight painting for this month. About 11"X11" on Wallis, with who know's what all sticks! This is brighter IRL. This photo looks rather faded. C&C always welcome!

05-05-2010, 06:22 PM
Beautiful work everyone! I'm scared to try water, since my last attempts went beyond bad into the abysmal territory. Inspired by seeing all of the great paintings though!
Chuas :(

Paula Ford
05-05-2010, 06:27 PM
Beautiful work Dena!!

05-05-2010, 06:38 PM
Thanks, Paula!

05-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Tammy, Great job on the water! No reason to avoid it from now on!

Dena, Wonderful water and reflections! Love the color of the rocks, too!

Chuas, In a certain respect, water is one of the easiest things to paint because in most paintings with water, the viewer knows it is water, just by the context and the composition. So, even if it very simplified and not done totally "realistically," it still reads as water. That's the way I approach it!


05-06-2010, 03:18 PM
Tammy, you really conquered the water problem! This painting's a breakthrough, your surf is magnificent. Enviable surf, inspiring me to try for it! Lovely rock too. Well done!

Dena, wow! Your reflections on the beach are fantastic. This one is perfect. I could not change one thing in it, make one suggestion of any kind. It's got glorious depth, it's got a sense of wetness to the water, it's got hard solid craggy rocks, it's got vastness and distance. I like how you did the sky too, that's really cool.

Here's my version of the face rock, done in a bit under an hour:

A Face in the Stone
7" square
Cretacolor pastel pencils
ProArt wirebound sketchbook paper, white
Photo reference by JustGranny

It started out sketchy and then became a slightly more developed drawing. I layered the sky a lot working from pink through violets to blues. Went looser in the sea and surf but still layered blues and greens intuitively. Lot of fun with the rock. Once I could see the face I couldn't not see the face!

05-06-2010, 03:34 PM
Tammy and Dena, great paintings both, of rocks and sea!

05-06-2010, 07:32 PM
:) Thanks for the comments.
Robert: Wow, I just love the vibrant bright colors in yours, and the deep textures in the rock.

Had some time last night and started DAK's" Beautiful waters at the Lake"
with the under painting, just finished it a while ago. Done on scrap velour 5" x 6" with various semi-hard and soft pastels, whew, this one was a hard one alot of details in the photo. Thanks for a great ref! :)

05-06-2010, 08:15 PM
Thank you! Tammy, this one is great. I love the waves -- you really got the waves looking good in this. That golden beach is so tempting!

Paula Ford
05-06-2010, 09:41 PM
Robert, I love your piece! Are you going to frame it?

Tammy, Very nice and vibrant piece!

Paula Ford
05-06-2010, 09:43 PM
Ed, I'm sorry, I missed your sketch! It is really nice. It's got tons of movement. Very nice!

05-07-2010, 03:54 AM
Robert, your sketch wasn't there when I commented last. It's great, love the layering in the sky and the colours on the rock...and the face!
Tammy, you're already getting more confident with water! Nice piece.

05-07-2010, 11:39 AM
Today I did my first proper waves with Don's Dog having fun on the beach. This was great fun to do, even though it was a bit difficult to get the dog right being so small. It's 10.5x8.5 on pastelmat, light grey.

I'm posting it now while it's fresh and I'm still happy with it. When I start looking again and faffing I'll probably ruin it!


Paula Ford
05-07-2010, 12:01 PM
WOW! What a beautiful piece Ruthie!!! Just beautiful!!

05-07-2010, 12:13 PM

Unbelievable!! I'm speechless!


05-07-2010, 12:35 PM
Stunning piece Ruthie! The water is PERFECT!!

05-07-2010, 01:38 PM
Tammy, the big rock, it's lovely, the birds add an amazing amount of life to the scene! In the tree-one, the clear separation of water, sky and grass is good, lovely statement.

Dena, beautiful reflections in the 'orange' stone.

Rob, *love* this one, totally adore it! "The Face of the Ocean", Posedion himself!

Ruthie, absolutely wonderful! In such a small size, too. How do you do it, pick up pastel dust with micro-tweezers, and drop them in the right spot? :-) (Yeah, cheeky. :-) Now, you set a very high standard for us. Don't 'faff', it is just amazing as it is!

OK, I'm not extatic about mine, I am not so fond of the paper. Had to rework the tree, as it a) got at least half again as big, b) got too dense foliage, and c) had too weak values. A "full-headed" tree is way easier, (easier, as in less fiendlisly difficult).

It is a painting about the tree, with the water more impressionistically thrown in.

Pale yellow Colourfix, assorted pastels (mostly Remb and Unison). Size about 12x16" (30x40cm).


I hope to do some real waves, from one of the other refs.


05-07-2010, 03:13 PM
Ruthie, you are done. Step away from the painting with your hands up! It's gorgeous! I love your waves! You captured the motion of the water and the windblown happy dog -- that collie racing along the sand is grinning and you've got the whole good-day happiness of it so right!

No faffing and spoiling it. If you get the urge, just grab more Pastelmat and do another of the Spotlight images, okay? You achieved finite perfection, it can only ever happen with a specific painting (or story etc.) and there's a point where doing anything to it would diminish it.

Charlie, this is so cheery and light-drenched and happy too. That tree puts a big smile on my face. Yes, it's the focal point. The thin foliage is very tricky compared to full-leafed trees, I know what you mean. Yes, the painting is about the tree and the challenge was about the water. But it's a wonderful scene with that glowing sun prickling on my back just to look at it.

The impressionistic water works, in fact works just right for the painting being about the tree. Looking forward to one where the painting's about the water next! On paper that works better for you.

Thanks for all the comments on mine! It started out to just be a sketch and then turned into a serious drawing, not quite a painting because it went more in the direction of drawing, but still more of a serious piece. I don't think I'll remove it from my sketchbook to frame it, but mostly because I don't actually have a square frame in my pile of clearance frames I got from Blick. I guess I could later on, that might be cool.

Paula Ford
05-07-2010, 03:19 PM
Charlie, What a beautiful piece!! I love the grasses in front, how you handled that tree, and the colors in the water are wonderful!

05-07-2010, 04:26 PM
Paula, Thank you! Don, Thank you....I think! (If speechlessness is good). Chuas, Thank you too! Charlie, OK, you got me. I did the Dog with pastel pencils and very nearly completely ruined it with faffing! The white on him is Schminke pastel tho'. The pastel pencil white can't cut it. Robert Thanks for your eloquent comments! OK I won't touch it again. Apart from the dog faffing it was quite spontaneous and I don't want to spoil that. There are a few things I would change though.........

Charlie. Your tree is centre stage and deservingly. It glows and doesn't look re-worked or laboured at all. I also love the sea. Overall a painting to be proud of actually!

05-07-2010, 05:01 PM
Lots of nice works here. Charlie your painting radiates! Ruthies dog and wave painting almost caught me off guard...I thought I was looking at the reference photo! Nice touch Paula. Sorry didn't look through all the posts.
Finally got out of my slump and am productive again. I started a water scene painting just before this thread and will post it on the gallery page. Here is my version of one of the reference photos. 12" X 8.5" on colorfix which I wasn't very happy with. Ran into a few problems but the end results weren't as bad as I was expecting.

05-07-2010, 05:29 PM
Thank you to eveyone for your kind comments. I'll try to get another painting done this weekend. I'm inspired by all the great paintings you are all doing.

Ruthie, unbelievable! I may have a go at those waves but yours will be the acid test!
Tammy, I love both of your paintings. Great waves and sea in both.
Robert, love the "face " rock - he "rocks" in your words!
Charlie, your tree is really so beautiful. Love the colors and the light.
Marc, great job! Wish I could get my trees to look that good. I know, more practice.
Happy mother's day to all the moms!!

05-07-2010, 07:33 PM
Ruthie; Very beautiful!
Charlie: Another beauty; really soft colors.
mollerman: I thought yours was a photo, just beautiful!

Well the waves by the lake , I wasn't happy with, put some more colors to make it "pop" a bit more, hope I didn't ruin it.
I also did the other rock, a bit different on the colors this time, I'll post it, but I may go back and re-work some areas. Its on pastelmat 9.5" x 7", with various soft and semi-hard pastels.

Really beautiful work being done this month, and I am learning from you all about the different ways to do water, Thanks!:)

05-08-2010, 12:59 AM
You didn't ruin the waves in the first one, Tammy, they look lively and powerful. The second one, you've given an impression of how sparkly the water is with all those intermittent highlights. Very cool.

Thanks for all the comments on my face rock. Had to do that one emphasizing the face, once I saw it I couldn't not see it. Had it up as my wallpaper on my computer for several days before painting too.

05-08-2010, 04:36 AM
Mark I love your lake and reflections. You have given the scene a soul which photos tend to lack.
Tammy you do so well on that velour! Looking forward to seeing the pastelmat one too and hearing how you compare the two surfaces.
Thanks everyone for your comments on mine. I have some wave photos from when I was in Crete and this has given me the confidence to tackle one of those now! (Not that I need confidence. I'll try anything and if it doesn't work chances are I still learn something from it)

05-08-2010, 09:32 AM
Marcus, a great step out of the slump! It glows beautifully, water's beautiful, reflections good! Love how the cools set off the rusty undergrowth in such a lovely way!

Tammy, the white waves work great in both of them!

Ruthie, wonderful words on confidence, trying anything is the way to grow and expand the old comfy zone. If we think on it, the greatest artists who've painted the largest number of masterpieces must also have the largest number of so-so:s and stinkers. Thank you for the sage advice!

Rob, Paula, Ruthie, Marcus, Dena, Tammy, Thank you!

Robert, I'm so glad you said it brought a smile to your face, as my mission with painting is to bring something cheering into peoples homes. A small way of uplifting people's spirits. (And for me to afford my pastel habit, too!)

I'm much more happy with the painting today, I'm glad to say. Funny how battling a paper that fights back colours one's perceptions. (Not to mention battling PSE to make the photo look like the actual painting!) The water wasn't easy either, as it is so warm in colour, with the pink and orange greens.


Paula Ford
05-08-2010, 09:39 AM
Oooooo, beautiful piece Marcus!!

05-08-2010, 09:58 AM
Tammy, Your doing great with the water (and the waves) in both of yours!

Marcus, Very nice piece! The water is just right!

Charlie, Wonderful all around! You've caught the scene (and made it more beautiful)!


05-09-2010, 09:38 AM
Paula, Wonderful challenge and photos this month, thanks for getting us started. Well, I haven't actually started but will get going soon.

Wonderful work by everyone --
Dena --love your colors and reflections
Don thanks for showing the underpainting - great finish
Ruthie -lvoe the colors and waves in your first pic. The dog on the beach - WOW!
Paula - the light seems to just be breaking thru the clouds - love it
Tammy - good job on both of yours -
Ed - love your sketch - look forward to seeing more
Charlie - very peaceful scene - love the colors
Robert - wonderful colors and shading -- love your sketches
Marc - very serene, peaceful water
Really enjoy seeing everyone's work --

05-09-2010, 11:54 AM
good to see the images here. coming in from page three...
Tammy, Dena, like the palette.
Robert - yes won't miss the profile now. direct.
Tammy, like the compo.
Paula - we're cool. charcoal is a friend. your sharp lines were a pleasant surprise.
Charlie, the land undulates more than the water - unexpectedly good.
Mark - very stable piece, and the fog on the water really held the lower right quadrent.
Don, you ? colour.
Makes no sense to do this on 9"x12" paper.. !!?!? ... unplug the phone, load the slow-cooker, and stick my toe in the water.
wip. :} Ed

05-09-2010, 05:28 PM
Thanks for all the comments on my face in the rock!

Ed, wow. This is magnificent! You really caught the smashing wild motion of the water and the powerful solidity of the rocks. Great values and subtle hue shifts make it something unique and beautiful. Gorgeous painting well worth taking the time to do it on 9" x 12".

05-09-2010, 05:45 PM
This is from Paula's beautiful photo of the Jasper Pond. I've cropped a bit of the photo to focus more on the main trees and their reflections. No underpainting on this one!

On Uart 500 grit, Mt. Vision pastels, approx. 11" x 17"

C&C welcome.



05-09-2010, 07:18 PM
Don, that is fantastic! You're making me itch to use my sanded paper again and go beyond just sketching. I love those distant hills, the sky texture, the lake texture and reflections, the trees, the grass, the foreground, okay, I really like everything about this one. It's great.

05-09-2010, 08:03 PM
Wow Don! A beautiful painting of the pond! Pure perfection!

05-09-2010, 10:31 PM
Beautiful picks!
Hopefully this month I will have the time to work on some of those.

Paula Ford
05-10-2010, 10:30 AM
Don, It's beautiful! Love the crop! Really beautiful!

05-10-2010, 12:25 PM
Thanks nancy.
Nice one ED. You really got the movement.
Don, this scene looks so serene and peaceful. I love every part of it. It's very well done!

05-10-2010, 05:45 PM
Man, stay away for a day or so without looking at this thread and it really loads up. Everyone's work looks Great!!! I still havn't got around to mine, but your works are wonderful to view. Keep them coming. james

05-11-2010, 11:04 PM
There is some really beautiful work here. I'll have to go back and make some individual comments.

I tried my hand at one of the landscapes. I am not very experienced with them. The water seemed less challenging that getting the trees to read right. Something is off about it, but after a couple of days of looking at it, I can't figure out what it is missing. Maybe you guys can help?


8" x 9 1/2" on sanded paper (I bought it so long ago that I don't know what brand). Pastels (most are from the 90's) Grumbacher, Rembrandt, NuPastel and Conte.

I think I'd like to try one of the rock pictures next.

Paula Ford
05-11-2010, 11:32 PM
Beautiful piece Robin!! You're not experienced in landscapes? You could have fooled me.... this is really wonderful!

05-12-2010, 09:14 AM
Thank you, Paula! Your paintings are truly beautiful. As I am looking at it today, it seems like there isn't enough value change between the different areas of my painting. I shouldn't run into the same problem with the rock picture.

05-12-2010, 11:55 AM
Lovely work Arby!

I started this one yesterday and finished it off at my art group. Couldn't get the close up foliage on the right to look real so I scrubbed it off to start again but didn't have time (my excuse anyway). Now I look at the photo I notice that I haven't darkened the bottom area of the tree on the right which I think I should've done when I decided not to put the foliage in. I'll go back and do that..........


05-12-2010, 12:41 PM
great work Arby and Ruthie. Everyone is really doing some great works here. james

05-12-2010, 12:42 PM
Thanks everybody for all the nice comments on my painting!

Robin, This is very nice! Your inexperience does not show!

Ruth, Nice as always!


05-12-2010, 02:06 PM
Hi everyone!
Robin, your landscape if beautiful! I love the textural feeling. Trees are my downfall too but I really think yours look great!
Ruthie, beautiful job. I especially love the water and the reflections.

Here's my next offering. I'm not too thrilled with the trees, as usual. My Bob Rohm workshop begins on Friday and I sure hope I can improve on my trees!
Anyway this is 9X12 on recycled Uart (I love that I can re-use it!) with mostly Nupastels and Mt Visions. C&C welcome and appreciated as always!

05-12-2010, 02:07 PM
Actually now that I see this uploaded, it looks like a blurry mess! Yuck! Doesn't look that way IRL. I may try to photograph it again and re-post. Sorry!

05-12-2010, 02:29 PM
Well I like it Dena. The waves are very convincing and I love the colours of the beach and grasses. The trees are fine too. Why do you think I haven't done this one? The foliage. I am not good at foliage!

05-12-2010, 03:29 PM
like the recent pics here.
Arby, since you asked - I'm not going to the ref.
looking at your work:

the foreground and the backshore appear to have the sun coming from two different directions - foreground frontal, backshore from the left.
the shorelines appear to have equal colour/value, so there's little sense of distance.

My WAG (wild *** guess)
The piece overall has great sensitivity and detail - can't go wrong with that!
:} Ed

05-12-2010, 03:41 PM
Looking good, Ed.

Don, it's lovely! The sunny greens draw the eyes to the the trees beautifully, reflections are great.

Robin, it is wonderful! Looks like you're seasoned as landscape painter.

Dena, looking very good in this pic!

Ruthie, wonderful water! Nearby foliage is my nemesis, but I see perfectly good foliage in your painting!


05-12-2010, 08:10 PM
I have to say it....

You guys ROCK! (and tree, and lake, and sky) :lol:


Paula Ford
05-12-2010, 09:24 PM
Here is my interpretation of the 2nd rock photo. 12"x13" on Uart. C&C always welcome.


05-13-2010, 07:50 AM

Hi everyone, love everyone's work but have to say Paula your paintings "rock" and I love the your dog Ruthie, it's quality!

Anyway here is my attempt, bear in mind it's my second only pastel painting and I was limited to 36 pastels - no blue-greens at all :( but please be as harsh as you like I want to improve. I particularily struggled with the lake to get good reflections and sparkle think I overworked the tooth on the paper.

Paula Ford
05-13-2010, 11:26 AM
Robbie, This painting is stunning! Honestly, I love how it looks very dramatic because of the sky and everything else is just beautiful!!

My only suggestion would be to look at the position of the reflections of the trees in the water. They should be straight down from the trees on the bank.

Beautiful work!

05-13-2010, 12:35 PM
Dena, Very nice beach scene! Everything looks great! The biggest difficulty with scenes where the water goes to the horizon, is getting that horizon nice and straight - that's the only thing that I can critique!

Paula, Love your rock! The water has such movement and beautiful colors!

Robbie, Don't tell us this is only your second pastel, because it is way too good for that! Excellent job with a limited number of sticks!


05-13-2010, 12:57 PM
Paula, love the rock and the colours you've used in the sea.
Robbie, this is great. I'm studying those foreground leaves to pick up a tip or two!

05-13-2010, 01:02 PM
My only suggestion would be to look at the position of the reflections of the trees in the water. They should be straight down from the trees on the bank.

Hi Paula, thanks for the comments - you're right the refelctions are way off, there is a gap with highlighted reflections but not as big as the one I have painted, I really did struggle with the lake, I might scrub it off and re-paint that part.

05-13-2010, 01:11 PM
Robbie, Don't tell us this is only your second pastel, because it is way too good for that! Excellent job with a limited number of sticks!

Thanks Don, I only bought a set of 36 Unison landscape pastels to see if I liked the medium but I am well and truely hooked now (havent touched my watercolours since I got them!) I must buy some more I really did find it hard at times with such a limited palette. Your version of this is very good, especially the reflection in the lake and the foreground foilage is stunning!

05-13-2010, 01:21 PM
Robbie, this is great. I'm studying those foreground leaves to pick up a tip or two!

Thanks Ruthie, the foreground leaves are just single flicked stroke for each leaf, starting at the bottom of the leaf (attached to branch) and pushing the pastel in the direction the leaf is pointing - pretty random until I got the desired affect.

How did you do your waves? I'm going to try the rock picture next so advice would be good.

05-13-2010, 02:22 PM
Paula, the warmth of the near water and the beautiful layered coolness of the distant water gives a wonderful depth! The rock is awsome! The whole painting is awsome!

Robbie, great painting! 36... nearly enough sticks, and you sure got one of the best brands there is, the Unisons, no wonder you're hooked! A trick for reflections: turn the paper 90 degrees, and you'll see instantly how the reflections work. I do that as a part of the routine check. Now, if you re-do the water, and have the sticks for it, it could be slightly darker than the sky. You nailed all the other values, and your distant mountains are wonderful, better than the photo! I love that violet!

I may get to my waves any century now... :-)


05-13-2010, 03:00 PM
pretty durn crisp!
nothing wrong with a limited/fixed selection of sticks.
which Unison set is this? - looks put together with thought.
when you say ' scrub off ', i understand that as a watercolour technique - let me suggest that if you decide to rework the water, set the piece flat/horizontal; use a putty or a burnish over packing tape to lift off, control spill/dust. it's tedious with several layers of pigment and may need several applications, but something may show up in the process on which you can rework.
if the piece is on an easel, and if possible, tilt the top edge towards you from vertical = no spill/dust on the foreground below - can then use a fan brush to remove the pigment ( or sable round/ make-up brush ?! ).
Hope that helps.
:} Ed

Mary Y
05-15-2010, 01:35 AM
The work in this thread is at an intimidatingly good standard.
I hope to come back later and comment but while there is daylight I would like to paint.
Paula thank you for hosting this thread and thank you and Don for the wonderful reference photographs.
I tried this twice , the first is colourfix with soft pastels 12"X9".
The second is on pastelmat and pans for the sky and start of the ocean then soft pastels. It is my third attempt on pastelmat and I find it strange to work on.9"X9"


Then the wind changed.


C&Cs appreciated.

05-15-2010, 11:51 PM
Mary, both of yours are lovely. They have a completely different look, I like the Pans and sticks combination for the shifting textures and dramatic surf. Well done. The one on Colourfix with sticks is more textured throughout and the surf is a bit less dramatic but still nice, the trees look great. I think the focal point shifts between them.

Robbie, your painting is gorgeous! Even limited to only 36 pastels and no blue-greens, it came out wonderful. Congratulations!

Paula, WOW! Your rendering of the rock is superb. I love the light on it, that light is pouring through everything and all other elements draw my attention to the rock. It is magnificent! Your surf is so lively I can hear it crashing!

05-16-2010, 11:03 AM
Mary Prefer the first one in general although I like the sky and waves better in the second.

I reworked my painting, totally re-painting the lake and foreground and adding quite a lot more yellow and purple where I thought a bit more contrast was needed. I'm still not happy with it but it's better than it was.

05-16-2010, 01:19 PM
Mary, lovely two versions! The first one is more accurate in drawing, but the second has greater confidence in the strokes, and really good colours and values!

Robbie, you worked magic with yours, those bits of yellows really lit the light in the scene!


05-16-2010, 02:18 PM
Mary, Like both your versions! Interesting, though, what a bit of suggested movement can do!

Robbie, You should be happy with this! It is excellent! Adding yellow really added the sunlight!


05-16-2010, 02:52 PM
without a doubt. more crisp/sharp.
wonder where you'll go with the burnt sienna ( or is it a W&N burnt umber tint 4 ?) - makes sense to me.
:} Ed

05-16-2010, 03:34 PM
Mary, both of these are really good! I like the more detailed trees in the first but prefer the sea in the second, particularly the horizon line and the waves. Both are great efforts.
Robbie, yeah that's even better. Agree about the yellow highlights and the tree reflections are better too.

05-16-2010, 05:27 PM
Mary, you've done a beautiful job with the ocean in both versions. And I like the delicacy of the tree in the first one

Robbie, I really like the second version. The purples added depth and really lead my eye into the painting.


05-16-2010, 08:02 PM
I tried another subject. I made my own support using artboard with two coats of Golden acrylic pastel ground. I don't think the artboard was a good choice, since the tooth filled up quickly. Next time I will try it on watercolor paper. I used a mixture of pastels - grumbacher, rembrandt, sennelier, nupastel, and conte. Since I didn't have many blues in the greenish range, my painting is more purple. C&C is welcome.



05-16-2010, 08:16 PM
Robbie, working over your painting improved it dramatically. I liked it before, but now the foreground is so vivid and striking it draws me right in. Gorgeous.

Robin, the purple cast to your painting of the rock doesn't hurt it at all. I like the way it came out. The seabird is just right down in the lower right, it's great. Beautiful painting!

05-17-2010, 07:38 AM
Robin, gorgeous glow, wonderful water and reflections!


Mary Y
05-17-2010, 07:49 AM
Thank you ,I found the two surfaces very different to paint on.I felt I had very little control over the pastelmat with soft pastels.
I liked your "rock face".

[B]Robbie, Thanks for your comments. I thought your first painting was lovely but the second is even better. I love how you paint foliage.

[B]Charlie, Your version is beautiful.Lovely colours and a beautiful tree.Thank you for commenting.

Don, Thank you, I loved your version of Jaspers pond.

Ruthie,I also preferred the waves in the second. Your Waves with Don's Dog is a stunning painting.

Thank you for taking time to comment.
Your trees and water are very good and I really like your latest .The rock and reflections are lovely and your seagull looks just right how you painted him.


05-17-2010, 09:28 AM
Thanks! That seagull was a tough little bugger. I can't tell you how much more confident I feel about my painting since I have come here. You guys are great.

05-17-2010, 01:35 PM
Robin, Great rock painting. I like the blues and violets. The whole thing looks fresh and full of light.

Well, I did another today but it turned out as a sketch as I did it on Canson mi-teintes and I immediatley didn't have the patience to try and do it properly :rolleyes: as I don't like that paper (although I use it in my portrait class and am very patient with it then). If you look carefully you can see the impression of the canson watermark in the sky!

This took 30 minutes and is far from perfect but it was fun. I keep saying it....I must do more sketching.


05-17-2010, 04:41 PM
Robin - Love the rock and foreground, only thing I would say is it looks like there is a halo around the rock against the sky - is this the problem you mention with the tooth filling up? Still if I'd have painted this I would be very happy indeed!

05-17-2010, 05:50 PM
What wonderful paintings you are all doing with Paula's wonderful references.I really wanted to get in and have a go.:clap:

I have been lurking but was at my daughters' in Dallas so no oportunity to paint. The day I was to leave I put my back out badly and although I made it home filled with pain killers and muscle relaxers I can't paint. I am all bent over and not getting better so probably have to go back to Dr. and dreading that. For now will have to be content with brief lurks. Keep up the good work. Jen

05-17-2010, 06:15 PM
Ruthie, it's great! I love the way you found the green patches in the water right under the edges of the surf. Gorgeous light flowing through it, great broken white texture on the surf, beautiful rocks. I love it. Well done! Thanks for your comments on my rock face!

Sorry to hear about your throwing your back, Jen. That's no fun at all, I can remember all too many times I've done it. Take care of yourself. Hope you don't have to go back to the doctor, but if you do, hope the doctor actually helps rather than just telling you there's nothing you can do.

05-17-2010, 10:43 PM
Ruthie, it looks more finished than a sketch. The blue wave on the left looks so real. And you have a lot of strong values and contrast, especially in the rocks.

Robbie, that was one of the problems I was having. If I tried to wipe it out the edges wouldn't budge. I'd just erase more of the sky. I did try using the pastel ground on watercolor paper, and that is holding a lot more pastel.

05-17-2010, 11:31 PM
Ruth, Wonderful job on the Rock painting! It absolutely captures the sunlight and the movement of the waves!


05-18-2010, 04:27 AM
Rutie, I swear I commented yesternight... gone! This is wonderful, and a *great* way to fuss less, as the paper won't allow it. Love the water, and the flowing foam is simplified wonderfully!


05-18-2010, 09:36 AM
hi Ruthie - looks like you used a dark brown Canson if i read the foam right = excellent choice - usually the traditional 'knock down' underpaint for brush painters on a white surface, and you went the step ahead.
if you used softies, great touch!
:} Ed

Paula Ford
05-18-2010, 12:13 PM
Mary, Excellent job on your trees down at the lake!!

Robbie, I really love your painting. You know what I love the most? The colors of the mountains and the sky... beautiful!

Robin, WOW! Beautiful colors!

Ruthie, Gorgeous Rock and water!!!

05-18-2010, 03:18 PM
Thanks for your kind comments everyone! Actually it's not bad for a quick sketch now I look at it again. Nice of you all not to mention the shape of the rock. There's a story attached to that.....the face you see is of a Giant. But another Giant came along while I was doing it and stepped right on the first Giant's face, squashing it!!!
Ed, It was actually dark grey canson, but a warm grey, so you're not far out!
Jen....ouch!! I hope your back is better very soon.

05-18-2010, 03:35 PM
Ruthie, listen to Charlie, this painting is a painting and it's complete in itself. It's not loose like my sketches and the paper color isn't an integral part of how it looks. I think it's wonderful. Those greens in the water make it perfect. The warm rock in the foreground and cool big rock help with atmospheric perspective too -- it's splendid.

05-18-2010, 03:38 PM
Thank you Robert! You encourage me so much and I really appreciate it. see you in the sketch thread. did another yesterday...............

Mary Y
05-19-2010, 04:05 AM
Your "sketch" is lovely,I think rock sits very nicely in the water with the very realistic waves in front.Beautiful sea.

Paula , Thank you for your comments.

Jen, Hope your back is is on the mend.


05-20-2010, 02:11 PM
Hi, my turn for a sketch, this one is focusing on the water, and I call it "Emerald Wave". Had a lovely time sitting in the garden (second time this year, it's been miserably cold), taking out my sticks and painting.

7x9.5" (18x24cm), creamy yellowy Colourfix.


Does anyone see the dead dinosaur? It hit me just when I uploaded it... :rolleyes:

C&C always welcome!


05-20-2010, 03:12 PM
Lovely Charlie! Your wave about to break is superb and the sea in the distance is beautifully realistic also. The dead Dinosaur? No even Hubby can't see this. At a push I can see a Turtle about to dive from the rock into the foam!......Actually, maybe I see it now?! But it still looks more like a rock than a dead dinosaur. I don't think it's dead either. Dying maybe...............

Paula Ford
05-20-2010, 06:48 PM
Oooooo, beautiful piece Charlie!! I really like the crop too.

05-20-2010, 09:42 PM
Charlie your waves are great I especialyy like the green that makes them transparent but I don't see the Dinosaur! Wish I could paint like that.

Went to the doctor today and he put his finger right on the spot on my back! More pain killers and muscle relaxants, rest and heating pad. Hope it goes away soon. Thanks for the good wishes. Jen

05-20-2010, 10:40 PM
I don't see a dinosaur either, but I did get a good neck workout trying to find it! The colors are wonderful.

I tried one more painting, using my last piece of pastelbord (5x7). Can one of you tell me which paper is most like this surface? Whatever paper I buy I'll have to have it shipped to me, so I want to be sure that I'll like it.



--- Now that this painting is on the screen, I can't see any of the browns and purples that I can see in the original.

05-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Charlie, Wonderful waves and the colors in the water are superb. Those small little touches and sparkles as the water recedes in the distance give it great depth! I suppose the one part of the rock does look a little like a lower leg and foot, but it takes a bit of imagination to see a dinosaur from that!

Robin, Very nice piece! Your water absolutely sparkles!


05-22-2010, 05:49 PM
Gosh, I missed a few days and it is really hard to keep up, wonderful work by everyone.

Hope I didn't miss anyone since my last post
Ed, love the rapids, very effective motion
Don, there is so much that I like in yours - the foreground grass, mountains and the reflections
Robin -- so, I think you've done three -- love the shoreline on number 1, the pallette on 3, and the update on 2 -- great job
Ruthie - the lake scene is beautiful - great feeling of distance. The rock/waves -- great motion -- agree with the group -- a sketch -- Wow
Dena - really like yours - the tree and water are both well done
Paula - beautiful -- love the spray and your colors
Mary - both are lovely, love the tree in 1
Charlie - always love your colors -- that rock is gorgeous as are the waves but I don't see the dinosaur.

So, for mine -- I don't think I've done water, certainly not this type of picture. Tried 3 of the same -- trying to learn - would love to know your thoughts on any of them,

all are 9x12 in
1 - some quick sketches to work it out (I cut off the bottom, there are more sketches)
2 - quick color sketch on mi-tientes gray -- 30 min - smooth side of paper still grainy
3 - on wallis with a wc underpainting -- (I deleted the photo of u/p in error) the u/p was to ligth and the finished also seems light
4 - this is on lacarte, very bright orange (called salmon) - not used to this paper but a lot of fun - please let me know you thoughts on this one. Is it too bright, is the direction of the strokes irritating, some spots are showing more on the photo than in real life
Thanks for any C&C, you opinions are very much appreciated.





05-22-2010, 06:18 PM
Charlie, I love Emerald Wave! That is incredible! I tried to see the dead dinosaur, being fond of such things, but instead thought the rocks looked like a big giant rocky sitting cat with its front legs in front of it. Sort of like seeing cloud pictures. I did see the diving turtle.

Natural formations do things like that. I think your dead dinosaur is too subtle to worry about breaking it up. The waves are incredible and the rocks are gorgeous, the sky is amazing, the whole painting wonderful. Price this one out of my reach, okay? I'm out of wall space. I just want to make sure it goes to a good home and that someone appreciates it in all its wonder. If you do a calendar for 2011 then please, please include it. And count me in for pre-ordering said calendar anyway. Just let me know when and how much.

I don't have a big enough house for as many Herczfelds as I want, but I am thrilled and happy with the ones I have -- and the portrait of my own beautiful cat, that's one of the best.

I hope I can get a wave to look that right, with that green in it where the light shines through and shows the plankton and algae in its transparent part... I am going to study this and the reference. Might do one more this month, just to get that wave. You're inspiring. I saw the green but you saw the amber!

Robin, your peaceful blue-cast scene looks like early evening or just before dawn, it's gorgeous. A blue scene like that reads so true and so rich, I can hear the birds going off in chorus when I look at it. Love the water, the foliage and the sky. That's awesome.

I went from Ampersand board samples to Colourfix, it was pretty close to the same fineness but the Colourfix is just a touch more coarse. I'd almost suggest the 800 grade Uart as a possibility. You could try a Dakota Sampler to find out, that would give you a nice variety of surfaces. But I love Colourfix for its being great as a bargain paper, using primer on 140lb watercolor paper. You can't go wrong with the primer for cost, it's worth having it shipped if only to create tons of sandy practice paper on mucked up watercolors!

Nan, I like the progression of all four of yours, from sketch to study to first and second painting. They're each beautiful in their own way. I like the bird in the Mi-Tientes color sketch, that's detailed enough it stands as a fine drawing in its own right. The one on Wallis seems smoother, more blended and rather serene. The final one on LaCarte Salmon is not too bright, it's just lively and great. All four are excellent, even the sketch. Well done.

Of all the colors LaCarte comes in, the one that attracts me most is that crazy salmon. I might try a sheet of it someday despite the sneeze-and-destroy problem.

05-23-2010, 08:13 AM
Robert, thanks for your thoughts -- yes, I love that salmon paper - happened across it a small local shop - they ordered by mistake

Paula Ford
05-23-2010, 10:46 AM
Good for you for doing your sketches first Nancy!! Great pieces! You learn a lot when doing the same piece over and over.

05-25-2010, 01:23 PM
Hi, my turn for a sketch, this one is focusing on the water, and I call it "Emerald Wave". Had a lovely time sitting in the garden (second time this year, it's been miserably cold), taking out my sticks and painting.

7x9.5" (18x24cm), creamy yellowy Colourfix.


Does anyone see the dead dinosaur? It hit me just when I uploaded it... :rolleyes:

C&C always welcome!



Your piece is BEAUTIFUL! My only CC is that I wish I could paint pastels like you! :)

05-25-2010, 01:27 PM
Everyone's work is so beautiful. I am in OH!

I actually never painted water with pastels, so I am a little scared at trying this one out. But I guess there is no other way to learn. :wink2:

With school ending I have not have time to work on mine. I will try to do so today.

05-25-2010, 04:38 PM
Robin, lovely water, well done!

Nancy, great three, and your reminding us of how important the prep work is!

Rob, aw, thanks, I'm embarassed. (Yes, it is way to pricey. Lean back and think of all the delicious new sticks you'll get, to make glorious paintings with.)

Maria, thanks, and do paint water for the first time, this is the perfect place to try it out.


05-25-2010, 09:22 PM
Well, I worked on one today. But it looks so awful, I am unsure to post it. ... I really had trouble trying to do waves.

I worked on a small surface, so maybe if I had done a big piece i oculd have done better ....

05-25-2010, 10:55 PM
Maria, post it anyway. Maybe someone will be able to help. Sometimes if something goes wrong, Charlie or Deb Secor or someone will make one comment that makes it work right. I've had that happen so many times, stinkers turn into gems that way.

Awww thanks Charlie! I will. I can try to do something like that wave myself too, this is definitely one to study!

05-26-2010, 05:51 AM
Rob, anything to help you control your art-addiction. ;-)

Maria, yes, post it anyway. It may feel awkward, but the truth is that you learn more from posting 'stinkers' and getting advice on how to solve them, than on posting the good ones and get lots of oh-ah. (The latter *feels* much better, of course. :-)


05-26-2010, 01:54 PM
hey, i like oooo ah !
and the Spotlight, Sketch forums here are a good way to present allways; dip a toe in the water, so to speak.

speaking of water - Charlie, was it the T-Rex carcass in the wave? i almost reached for the poteen, but spun the pic around first to try and find something -
being comfortably silly...

:} Ed

05-26-2010, 10:00 PM
Ed, you may be right... a close look, that wave could be a dead dinosaur's spine with the neck stretched out and tail and legs going down under the water. Not very clear, but sort of there. Beautiful though. I think if I put a dead t-rex in the water I'd be sure the whole bulk of it was there and not transparent.

05-27-2010, 01:00 AM
OK. I have monstered some courage. Here it goes but please don't laugh! :o

05-27-2010, 05:16 AM
Maria!!! It is lovely! No need to be shy about posting! The 'mirror' of the water/wet sand works wonderfully!

Ed, yes, the t-rex, or bronto, or possibly stego, you got it! (I've still not found a diving turtle, nor a cat... :-)


Paula Ford
05-27-2010, 08:41 AM
Laugh? It's lovely!!! So glad you posted Maria!

05-27-2010, 12:57 PM
glad you posted.
if i stray from a fair critique, you have my permission to shoot me.
oh, delete that - you didn't ask for a C&C.

like how there's a clear sense of foreground, midground, background - the sharp waves and the soft clouds are great for that.

oops! stuck my toe over the line!

teasing a bit.
Seroiusly, keep posting: good people/advice/honest struggle here.
meant what i said about the sense of depth in your piece.
:} Ed

05-29-2010, 05:31 PM
Charlie, Robert, Ed. Thank you so much for your positive comments.

This is the only thread I participate in, and I do it only as a learning experience, so I really appreciate everyone's advice and encouragement.

All I learned in pastels, I have learned from wet canvas. Maybe one day I should take a class! :p

05-29-2010, 06:31 PM
Hi Maria! Glad you posted! You've done a nice job on this - especially the reflections in the water!


05-30-2010, 07:40 AM
Oops, I've got a little behind, sorry!
Robin. This is lovely, the reflecions are great and the whole thing looks cool and calm.

Nancie, you put a lot into this and I hope you got a lot out. I actually like the colours in the sketch best but the 3rd one I think is the best painting.

Maria. We wouldn't laugh at your work whatever! This is really good and the water looks like water because you have done the reflections so well. So now I'll expect to see much more of your work!

I haven't done any more and won't have tim now but I think I did 4 of the pictures so that's not bad.

Thank you Paula for hosting and providing such great pics (thanks also to Don for some of those). Whatever the subject next month's challenge is bound to be harder for me!

05-30-2010, 12:00 PM
I clicked on "The Spotlight" and found out everyone was working on WATER! I love water and have thoroughly enjoyed all the wonderful paintings everyone has posted. I also really like the reference photos you selected, Paula. This piece, though not from the same photo that's in this thread, is from Haystack Rock at Canon Beach.


Waves from (me on) Whidbey Island :wave:

Winny Kerr
05-30-2010, 03:37 PM
Beautiful Sandy, just beautiful.

05-30-2010, 03:38 PM
Sandy that is gorgeous, in fact it's pretty much perfect!

05-30-2010, 03:44 PM
Sandy, wonderful painting! The water is phenomenal!


05-30-2010, 03:54 PM
Thank you so much for your kind comments, Don, Ruthie & Winny. I forgot to mention this is 20 x 16 on Pastelmat. It is a new paper for me and I am enjoying the challenge. I do love how well it holds color.

pastel lover
05-30-2010, 03:54 PM
Hi Everyone,

I finally finished a spotlight before the end of the month! (just barely). I'm not really happy with it especially the photo of it. IRL the foilage is more purple & green that blue & in an effort to get that closer to right, the orange is now way too bright. Anyway here it is. 5"x7" ampersand board with asst. softies.
Thanks for looking.


05-30-2010, 03:55 PM
Sandy, Wow! Beautiful! Awsome!


05-30-2010, 04:07 PM

This is excellent! The water has some nice sparkles and reflections!


pastel lover
05-30-2010, 05:13 PM
Hi Don,

Thanks so much. I like to do water...I need alot more practice, but I enjoy it.


05-31-2010, 04:41 AM
Tanja, this is great. The water looks so real and I also love the sloping tree covered bank in the bg which I think you've captured extremely well.

05-31-2010, 06:10 AM
Tanja, the water looks great, and the rest glows beautifully!


05-31-2010, 07:44 AM
Wow! the standard of the paintings in this month's Spotlight is unbelievable! I haven't had any time to take part this month and on Friday I'm going to Europe for six weeks, but I am planning to post something for July's challenge.

Sandy, Beautiful painting! The water is perfect and love the way you have rendered the rocks and the sky.

Tanja, I Love this! love the bright colour palette and the light on the water is beautiful.

05-31-2010, 01:14 PM
Tanja and Sandy ... gorgeous pieces! :clap:

Don and Ruthie ... Thank you! :heart:

05-31-2010, 06:38 PM
Hi everyone; I just discovered this thread this afternoon, and can hardly wait for next month's Spotlight. Since I really don't have time to do any works based on the reference photos, I hope you don't mind if I show you three that I did this past week at a Pastel Plein Aire workshop. It was taught by Karen Chambers. http://www.karenchambers.com She has another one scheduled for August in Taos, NM. I think she still has room for 2 more students if anyone is interested. This was my first pastel workshop. I have been using pastels off and on for about 2 years, but I've never attended any workshops until this past week.
Looking forward to the next Spotlight...


pastel lover
05-31-2010, 11:11 PM
Hi All,

Ruthie, CHarlie, Julie & Maria - Thanks so much for looking and for your wonderfully kind comments. I do appreciate it.


pastel lover
05-31-2010, 11:12 PM
Hi Beth,

All three of these are wonderful! The last one is my favorite, I love the rock w/ moss, the falling water & the composition. Very well done.


05-31-2010, 11:36 PM
Beth, those are gorgeous! Well done! Thanks for sharing your workshop experience.