View Full Version : The Spotlight -- June 2010 "Go Green"

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05-31-2010, 04:48 PM
Gorgeous greens, cool greens, tricky greens – this month, we shine the Spotlight on how to paint Greens and get the greens you need and want.

First 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!

Introduction to Greens

Did you know that he human eye is extra sensitive to green and yellow, and can see and distinguish an enormous amount of different green nuances? Maybe that is why pastel painters so often have more greens in their palettes than any other colour. Greens frustrate many of us, and no matter how many green sticks we have, they are never enough.

In this Spotlight, we are going to look at how we can make greens work for us, so let’s start with looking at how some masters of old have handled greens.


This is a Raphael, a portrait which has unusually much green in it. Raphael didn’t have access to the bright and saturated greens we have today, so he made do with green earths, and yellow/blue mixtures, and did “make do” rather well! The rich greens really makes the person ‘pop’.

Jumping forward a bit in art history, we encounter Rubens. This beautiful landscape was one of the first that really used atmospheric perspective to its fullest. The sense of depth was amazing to his contemporaries.


But, where are the greens? They’re not so prominent, and we can’t blame lack of pigments, as Raphael showed us that was not a big issue. The simple reason is that there was a fashion of avoiding greens in landscapes, and instead using a lot of browns. Even the great masters fall for what is fashionable!

Caillebotte, below, shows us beautiful muted greens in a landscape under a cloudy or hazy sky. The greens are ‘knocked down’ with the help of warm and cool pinks and violets:


Below is a famous early Monet, where he gives a tour de force demonstration on how to handle the vivid greens of silk. By this time, there existed bright green pigments, even brilliant greens.


Let’s turn on the sunlight! Heavily influenced by the impressionists, the Swedish (internationally little known) artist Johan Krouthén (pronounced YO-han cro-TEEN), really found the light in all the green around him:


I’m showing you Krouthén as it is interesting to see not only the usual “big stars”, and as he handled greens masterfully, and managed to separate them and give such subtle changes that they enhance depth in what in reality would be a rather uniformly green scene. In real life, one sometimes squints at his paintings, they seem to radiate so much light. Check out the cool pinks and purples that gives life to the cool greens of the shadow on grass along the lower edge of the painting.

Yet one more Krouthén. The image is really awful, possibly a reproduction that is severely off, as the actual painting is looking more like the one with cows. But, for the purpose of this Spotlight on Greens, it is a lucky thing, as we can clearly see the colours he’s used to influence the greens in shadow – look closer at the lower right quadrant, and you’ll find blues, violets, green-blues, rusts, and magenta:


As you see from these examples, greens can be manipulated to become what we want of them. That is the good news! The other news is that it takes some fun experimenting to learn how to handle them.

You may have greens like this in your pastel collection:


Some are dark, some are bluish and other brownish, some are fresh new-growth-green.

We looked at some oil painters above, and I dropped hints that they used other colours to change their greens. We pastel painters can do the same. Is that blue-green in your box of the value you need, but not of the right hue, as you want a brighter more spring-like green? Add a bit of lemon yellow or bright yellow to the green, scumble it on top, or underpaint with the yellow, and get exactly the colour you want. Or, you really need an olive green, but only have a green that is neither blue nor yellow? Add a bit of orange or red to it to make it a warm olive, and a touch of pink to make it a more grayish olive. No blue-greens in your box? Easy, just scumble in some blues!


Top two stripes above shows a warmer and a cooler green, with other colours scumbled over them. Bottom three stripes are started with pink, orange, yellow, and various greens scumbled over them. To get a better look at what this scumbling does, I put a filter with holes over the patches, and looped the images (it’s me, not your seeing things, it does flip :-).

(Post number two continues the text with a Demo, and then the task for the month.)

05-31-2010, 05:05 PM

To show how you can put this in practice, I invented a simplified landscape of a tree on a hill in front of a distant green hill. The one on the left was started with greens; a bluer green for the distant hill, and a medium dark green for the grass, with a yellowy brighter green for the foliage in sunlight, and a dark bluey green for foliage in shadow.


To the right is a spot of sun, functioning an indication of the direction of the sunlight (an arrow would have been better), and an underpainting meant to manipulate the greens that are going to go on top of it. Pink for the distant hill, as red does grey down greens, and as pink also has a blue component in it, for the aerial perspective. Orange for the grass in sunlight, and blue for the shadow patch, as well as the foliage in shadow, and a warm yellow for foliage in sunlight. Looks rather wild, doesn’t it!? The one on the left is much more natural looking, but needs a bit more of life.

After fixating, the same colours that make up the underpainting to the right were used to manipulate the greens in the left part of the image. The image on the right got basically the same greens as the start of the scene in the left part.


Surprisingly, the end result is rather similar! It is a personal preference which method one likes to use. Both are good bases for a more developed painting (not shown here).

The whole palette used for the demo, 17 Unison sticks, with one earth brown:


All those bright colours in the box we feel are out of the place in a landscape, eh? They can all be put to good use, be layered, hatched, crosshatched, and scumbled, to push and pull colour in the direction we want it to go.

On the below stripe of green, the top row colours are layered into the basic green. Below that, there are computer generated ‘blobs’ of the same colour results, but homogenized into flat colour. The point is twofold: to show how greens change with other colours, and to show how more beautiful and vibrant a scumbled patch is than what a stick of solid pre-mixed colour would be. Back up a meter (yard) or two from the screen, and you’ll see that the bottom blobs are accurate compared to the layered squares above them.


Do paint this kind of tests yourself. If you do, you will internalize the knowledge of what one hue of yellow will do with a special green, and what another hue of yellow will do with that same green. You will find which purple produces grey with a particular green, and which one just tones the green down without taking out all greenishness.

This Month’s Challenge

Is to paint green things, using the pastel sticks you already have. Below are this month’s images, and in the links are large resolution versions. You may crop, rearrange, and alter the images as you want, but keep them green, or make them even greener.

Use your normal method, or, use the above described method of using other colours to push the greens bluer, yellower, duller, whatever you need and want.

When you post, do show us the underpainting – if you made use of one (it can be made anyway you want it). Post the underpainting in the same post as the finished painting, it is much easier to see the beautiful transformation that way. If you have your own method, do share it, describing and showing how you did it. If you didn’t do an underpainting, don’t show it (logical:-).

Tip: Make use of a scrap or margins to test colour combinations.

This month's photos are chosen to givie us a wide variety of greens to try. (Another Spotlight will focus on gorgeous green landscapes, therefore there are no traditional landscape images this month.) The links lead to a larger version of the images, in the Reference Image Library (RIL). Thanks to all the members who have uploaded the photos!

This month’s reference pictures

The photos are from the Reference Image Library, and 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. If you want to give away or sell your paintings, that's fine, and it is polite to credit the photographer.

First, two bright green models, posing prettily:


Carlanna, Green treefrog



Scoller, Pretty Model (parrot)


Rose leaves are green, right? Not always..., but there *is* a green component in the red leaves, you can tease it out, and the background has both cool and warm greens:


Rose by Merkira


Limes that are, well, lime-green, on a green-blue plate:


Fagan, Limes on a plate


In the next two, there is man-made green paint, and foliage with different greens.


llis, Green door



Sonia1370, Window in a farmhouse


Have fun going green!


05-31-2010, 05:16 PM
Oh, boy! Oh, boy! I'm bouncing on my seat until the photo prints out. I'm trying the limes first.


05-31-2010, 08:38 PM
Thank you for the wonderful photos, and a great challenge, which it will be for me because my greens are always so garish and never what I want. Here's to going green!

05-31-2010, 09:01 PM
Charlie, Thanks for the great start this month - your choice of paintings, samples and explanations are very helpful. (love the flippy chart) Wonderful references -- tough decision what to work on -- but I want to try a few of the color samplings before I dive in. Good thing we've got all month.

Thanks again!

Paula Ford
05-31-2010, 09:14 PM
Wonderful Charlie!!!

05-31-2010, 10:11 PM

Wonderful presentation, demos and references! I look forward to going green!


05-31-2010, 11:50 PM
Charlie, this is a wonderful challenge! Thank you! I knew it'd be a good one and I knew I'd be getting out all my favorite colors. Only to find that yes, I'll be getting out my favorite colors -- my greens! Yep, I'm one of the ones who can never have enough greens.

I haven't done a painting yet using my Dakota Greens Sampler.

This is the month to do it -- with other boxes around of course. I'm going to have fun with this... so excited!

06-01-2010, 03:50 AM
Great challenge Charlie! And lovely pics too. I must do the Parrot first! This will be good for me as I have so many problems getting the right green and, in landscape, making the forward greens stand out from the bg ones.
Ooh, I may have to start right away.........................

06-01-2010, 05:57 AM
Thank you, it was really fun to put it together. Seems people avoid green, as there was nary a green still-life in the RIL. :-) Let's change that, by conquering greens!


06-01-2010, 01:03 PM
five stars for the blending pixs!
will do that with my Rembie 60 pc. 1/2 sticks on a gray surface.
went to local Goodwill/jumble shop ( don't know what the word is in your country ) to get green plates, cups, glass, etc.
no printer, CRT screen = headaches.
bought six objects + green towel/cloth for $7 us.
my approach to follow your idea to make a bridge from objects/still life to landscape.
will post as best i can.
:} Ed

06-01-2010, 01:27 PM
Wow, alot of variations of green in your charts, thanks! I have not done a bird or animal in pastels yet, so I'm thinking I may try the bird and the tree frog; I really like the color variations in both. Those limes look like they maybe fun to paint too. Thanks for the great refs.:clap:

06-01-2010, 01:55 PM
Charlie, well set up explanation and presentation. Froggie is going to have to be painted. Note: I did my goals for the month before looking at the spotlight challenge.

06-01-2010, 02:50 PM
What the heck, I'll go first. I printed out your demo and colour chart Charlie, took them to the studio and did a few swatches. I even did the tree painting, using the colours first and going over with green.

Then I started the bird, did the bg underpainting with my pan pastels and kept it simple using only yellow, red, blue and grey/violet for the bird. Notice the bird looks a little plump!


My aim then was to keep loose and just stroke colour in appropriate places and a Parrot would emerge gloriously! Nope, didn't work. I played and played then started faffing so I've called it a day, at least for now. Loads of things not right about this, including the shape which got away from me again.

What Have I learnt? a. I don't have very many greens, b. I'm not organised/patient enough to calculate which colour over which colour will provide the desired effect so I use even more time going over and over 'til it looks right (ish)

Don't know if I'll ever change.

Not happy with this. C&C welcome. Can it be saved?

11x9 on pastelmet (light grey) Unisons and pastel pencils for the eye (which needs to be considerably darkened). Oh and should I get rid og the nut in his mouth? Hubby says I should.

06-01-2010, 03:16 PM
Ruthie, it can be saved. It's so close to perfect that you're just not seeing it. Trace the photo. Print out your scan of this stage and trace from the scan. Compare the outlines. I don't think you messed up the body one bit, I think you captured an odd pose this parrot's in leaning over to one side perfectly!

It's a true thing that looks odd, not a distortion. So trace to see it for yourself. That's awesome.

Leave off faffing with the bird's head entirely, also with the background, branch, chest, feet and perch. Do you see what you've done? The head is the tightest, most detailed area -- the face would be the natural focal point anyway and the bright red against all that green. The farther from the head, the looser it gets till the branch is more Impressionist and the background completely, beautifully blurred.

This is magnificent. I love it.

I have only one suggestion for a tweak.

The wings are a medium-dark blue. Right value, wrong hue. Find a yellow-green that dark to go over them, or use a gold over the blue -- test mixes over the blue, it might take a lemon yellow in order to do it, or lemon yellow over a little black to add olive. Look close at the photo reference and build up layers starting with what you have till you have the dark green of the wings true.

Everything else is true on hue and value, you gave it bluer wings than it has. So go ahead and fix that to stay true to species, because I'd lay odds a birder would recognize what parrot this is by name. When you're that close to species recognition, it's good to do the extra last detail.

This is magnificent. Don't faff with it too much, call it done. It didn't come out the way you intended.

So try again for a loose Impressionist one now that you've done this beautiful more realist one. It's like you learned from both Ponting and Charlie to do this bird. It is beautiful, so don't wash it, mangle it, destroy it or do anything but either store it properly with glassine or mat and frame. I love it and if you threaten to destroy it, well, I'll give you a good one of mine in trade.

Then it's worth something, I think you like my good ones, right?

I know I like your good ones and this parrot's awesome.

You caught it in motion doing its crazy birdy gesture that no other creature would do. It's balanced in an unbalanced, mid-gesture way like a person leaning to look at someone. That's what makes it special -- that gesture and all the wonderful detail which gives a first impression that much more of it's in super focus like a good Ponting painting. But it's not and doesn't need to be.

06-01-2010, 04:06 PM
Ruth, This is wonderful! Not sure why you're not happy with it! The greens are marvelous and the handling of the focus is superb! Gee, I'm running out of adjectives!


06-01-2010, 04:45 PM
Oh and should I get rid of the nut in his mouth? Hubby says I should.

I agree with your hubby. It's an indeterminate hot spot that just detracts from the picture. My first thought was, "What is that white thingy behind the bird's beak?"

Try covering it with your finger, or a green piece of paper, and see what happens.


Oh, yeah, my friends have an Amazon Green, and I'm waiting for the bird in the picture to start bobbing up and down! Very realistic! :thumbsup:

06-01-2010, 04:47 PM
Ruthie, he (she?) is gorgeous, what a great start to the Spotlight! I think the photo caught the bird doing a 'dance' on the branch, just as he's shifting from stepping right to start to step left, so he's not nicely symmetrically 'ovoid-shaped' as they are in when in rest, and you caught him wonderfully! What's not to be happy about? Still, you aren't, and I may have an idea, something to suggest, a wee bit more 'faffing'. Need to double check, though, and I just came home late from a day out of town, so tomorrow. Robert has a great thought. Very good you tried some of the patches, and the demo too. Hm, as I'm this months's host, I decide arbitrarily that it would be great if you post those too, if you want to, of course.

And, to you all, it is usually entirely enough to remember the general colour needed to push or pull a green, only five of them. The primaries (red, yellow, blue), and the secondaries -- the 'inbetweens' (orange, purple, and then green itself is also an 'inbetween'). If you know what those five do to green, it is then easy to fine-tune it. "This green needs yellow, but not the lemon yellow, a more roadsign yellow, but not that much of an orange yellow." And you pick the nice perfect 'crayola yellow'.

Deborah had a wonderful post a little while back on how to paint greens without green sticks. If anyone has the link, do post it. The principle is similar, biggest difference is that Deborah's challenge was a bit tougher. That thread is full of good advice!


Deborah Secor
06-01-2010, 05:04 PM
Charlie, what a great presentation of the possibilities using green. I'm adding this to my favorites, if only for the animation loop showing the combination of colors to influence green! Excellent presentation. I'll probably refer folks to your first post for the information there. Thanks!!

I hope everyone has a lot of fun playing with greens. :D


06-01-2010, 07:43 PM
am i the only person on the planet who doesn't know what faffing refers to?

06-01-2010, 08:46 PM
Ruthie I love your bird and the greens glow so much!
greens make me run screaming back to my graphite pencil - black and white for me. It's because I'm so bad at greens that I am actually grateful and a little excited by this months spotlight-light. Thanks so much Charlie for the challenge and the work you have done. going to give it a try after doing the exercises. huni

06-01-2010, 08:52 PM
Chuas, I don't know what faffing is either.

Ruthie, that bird looks like he could start bobbing from side to side. You set the bar pretty high. :thumbsup:

Charlie, thanks for all of your hard work. I had no idea that green was frowned upon in Ruben's time. I love learning all of those history tidbits.

Here's the limes -


7 1/4 x 9 1/4 on watercolor paper coated with Golden pastel ground. Rembrandts, Grumbacher, Conte, Sennelier.

C&C appreciated.


06-01-2010, 08:55 PM
chuas, lol, just saw your post after I posted. It's a really old word old germanic I think, means to fiddle and muck around. So in the context Charlie may have meant to fiddle a bit more but no serious work needed. maybe, maybe not. :) h

06-01-2010, 11:00 PM
Robin, your limes are fantastic! I'm green with envy! :D


06-02-2010, 04:44 AM
Robert, Thank you! You warm my heart. You put so much into analysis of paintings to help people out. I'm very grateful for your time and your pep talk! I would not have destroyed this. I've never destroyed a painting except the odd sketch. I will go back and tweak the wings and a few other things but I will not faff!

Don, thank you! I think my feelings about a painting are coloured very much by the experience of painting it and, as I'd only just finished it, I was still influenced by the frustration of not achieving what I wanted. I then become hyper critical. OK it's not so bad in the cold light of day!

Thanks Rich, the nut's history! Nice to know it's an Amazon Green.

Charlie, I'll await your further input before tweaking. Thanks for your comments.

Chuas, Huni has it on the nail, that's what I do when I'm not happy with a piece, fiddle and muck around!

Huni, thank you! It was me who introduced the faff word to describe what I tend to do!

Arby, Thanks! Your Limes are magnificent. You've taken two colours which, to me, clash and have harmonised them beautifully by adding hints of one into the other. Did you do an underpainting? If so have you got it to post?

06-02-2010, 06:29 AM
Deborah, thank you! And here is the link to Deborah's "Green without Green (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=612158)" thread.

Ruthie, your parrot is as near perfect as can be. It may be a photo thing, but it looks like the left 'edge' of the parror (our left) could do with some darker values, especially the leg. There is a lot of reflected light there, in the reference photo, which often fools us into thinking the form shadow is lighter than it is. That is the only thing I could find, after looking "with a magnifyer", trying to find what might have made you feel 'not happy' with it (and I may not have found what you felt). Glad you're more satisfied today, as it is a very good painting. Some really good things I think you did was when you toned down some of the brights in the bg, to let the bird shine, and the change of the bowl to a twig is wonderful! The greens are great! (Yes, I'd loose the nut/seed too.) If you do anything at all to it, whatever you do, leave the head alone, it is *great*!

Faffing... :-) Ruthie uses the word, and I think it means the same as 'noodling'. ;-D

Robin, your limes are fantastic, a great use of the principles of pushing and pulling the colours! Very good volume and roundness to them. Up close, on the screen, the different colours catch our interest, and backing up a yard or two shows the structure and 3-D of it. And a good example of how a crop can make a simple set-up much more interesting! And also shows that beauty in a still-life is in the artist's rendering of it, not in choosing pretty objects to paint. Wonderful!

Huni, I used to dread greens... and in Sweden, there is a *lot* of greens in landscapes. You'll "go green" in the blink of an eye, it *is* relatively easy!


Mary Y
06-02-2010, 06:34 AM
Thank you for the excellent article and exercises on greens. I hope to do the exercises in the next couple of days, work permitting.

Ruthie, Gorgeous bird, I think you did an excellent painting.
The colours are great and I like how you caught the birds pose.

I also enjoyed Robert's thoughts --very informative.

Robin, Beautiful limes and greens. The blue plate is lovely and I like how you painted the light on the plate and the fruit.


06-02-2010, 08:14 AM
D'oh! I knew there was something I forgot - the underpainting. It's an alcohol wash over turquoise, purple, red-brown and yellow pastel.

484423 484424

Thank you all for your comments - Don, Ruthie, Mary, and Charlie.

06-02-2010, 08:18 AM
Oops! Did it twice. Sorry!

06-02-2010, 08:40 AM
I hope to have time to participate in this month's Spotlight, because it's a very good exercise (as someone who also seems to struggle with greens) and because I really want to do the tree frog :).

In the meantime, I just had to say that Ruthie, your parrot is to die for! I know we're our own worst critics and all that, but aside from removing the seed/nut in his beak that doesn't add anything to the composition, I can't see anything that looks off to me. You've improved upon the photo by putting him on a branch and changing the background. I'd love to have this hanging on my wall as-is.

ArbySD - excellent! I'm glad you went back and posted your underpainting - the colors you used there were perfect for making the acid greens of the limes pop out and infusing them with subtle streaks of color that transformed an ordinary photo into something with nice visual appeal.

Charlie, nice choice of photos for this and thanks for putting all the time into the explanation and those nifty .gif loops!

06-02-2010, 02:27 PM
Charlie, thanks for putting the time into looking this over. I must admit I missed the shadow on the leg/foot. That's easily remidied. There is also a definite shadow on the left hand side which I have lost and will try to get back. Looking at the real thing again today I noticed that I had a darker area of feathers which looked as if it should be the centre of the breast but isn't, if you know what I mean and that threw the whole pose off for me. I'll do that too. I've already darkened the eye. What I didn't like about this was the experience of doing it where i got so dissatisfied because I wanted to do it loose and I can't! As a result I was comparing it negatively with the photo and finding it wanting. Who says a painting must be an exact copy of a photo anyway? I'll work on it again Friday but no more faffing!
Mary, Thank you!
Arby, glad you remembered the underpainting. Many of us can learn from studying this stage of a piece.
Sonya, thank you! I will also be removing the seed. Shouldn't ever have put it in really!
Now, which one shall I do next?

06-02-2010, 02:45 PM
Robin, thank you for adding the underpainting! It shows a lot of good things, and the one I want to point at is the excellent simplifying of the scene. Highlights are treated as a detail, and not included in the underpainting.


Edit: attachments don't show up when quoting a post, so please see post number 28 for the underpainting and painting.

D'oh! I knew there was something I forgot - the underpainting. It's an alcohol wash over turquoise, purple, red-brown and yellow pastel.

484423 484424

Thank you all for your comments - Don, Ruthie, Mary, and Charlie.

06-02-2010, 03:40 PM
LOVE the bird Ruthie, you are too hard on yourself (as aren't we all). Beautiful limes Robin! Just bright and glowing and everything I love about pastel. And green!!

can't wait to get home and get back to my moist green guy on a leaf. Can I do him justice? Ahhhhhh!

06-02-2010, 05:27 PM
Ruthie, see? Charlie agreed with me -- that head is perfect! The painting is wonderful.

Robin, thank you for posting your underpainting for those breathtaking limes. They are gorgeous! I love the harmony and the brilliant colors pop so well. Seeing the underpainting helped me to understand why, it's an elegant underpainting. I've got alcohol for that technique, I should probably get out some white good sanded paper and try it instead of just picking a Colourfix color.

Wow. Between you and Ruthie, the bar has been set very high for this Spotlight. I don't think I could get away with just a quick Color Conte sketch even if I wanted to, though I might do some anyway just to be able to play with all the references.

I'm looking out my window at some fantastic greens right now. All the trees have leafed out and the white garden shed being used as a dog house is a pale green reflecting the grass and trees again. In the distance, some sunlit trees across the street beyond the pizza place are very light sunny yellow-green with shadowed deeper greens in front of them from the trees at the end of the yard.

Sunlit highlights are exactly the same value of yellow-green, but the difference is one of intensity. The distant one is bluer but only faintly, what it is more than that is less intense. The nearer sunny highlights would have to shade up with pure tone lemon yellow while the far ones would shade up with a yellow-green tint matching the value and not the hue.

Just wanted to share that observation during the jolly month of greens!

So eyeballing those two clumps of trees, I did some swatches trying to match them. There's a lot more variations in both, when I'm painting I'll definitely have some orange and even russet in some of the near trees as well as violet here and there and so on. But these are the actual greens in some basic areas. Just goofing around in Gimp because my back hurts and I'm not up to getting out my pastels and sanded paper today. The light's beautiful and it's 4:45pm -- way too early for Golden Hour, sun doesn't set till 8pm. But it's afternoon light, not noon light.


06-02-2010, 05:50 PM
Ruthie: Really great on the parrot! Love the subtle softness of the feathering textures- nice!
Robin: Great on the limes great color variations and contrast.
I decided to do the tree frog first, the under painting pastels only were dark purples, blues and browns only layered to different color variations on top, on pastelmat 7" x 9".
I've done this with colored pencil, but pastels whew, a bit tougher. First time I've done an an animal with pastel. :o Done with various soft and semi-hard pastels. :o

06-02-2010, 11:05 PM
Great job on the frog Tammy! I really like the colors you ended up with, and he stands out nicely. I also took a stab at the frog, but had a hard time getting him to stand out like he does in the photo. Also he is rather bumpy, but he looks almost furry in mine :lol:
On La Carte, mostly Mt. Vision and Terry Ludwig pastels.


06-03-2010, 12:23 AM
Charlie, what a great lesson! I think I am inspired!

My palette with pastels is very limited, but I will do what I can.:)

06-03-2010, 12:25 AM
Great work from everyone! WOW!

06-03-2010, 02:01 AM
Thanks for hosting, Charlie. You did a fantastic demo and the lesson is great. All those greens don't seem as intimidating any more. I started my first painting today and should have it done in the next day or two.

Ruthie- The bird looks beautiful. It pops nicely against the blurred cool background. Well done.

Robin- Great job on the limes. I love all the colours in the shadow part of the limes. The colour of the plate came out nicely too.

Tammy- Good job on the frog. The warm greens in the frog make him stand out from the cool green leaf. Way to go.

Chuas- He doesn't look furry to me. He looks right at place sitting on the leaf. I think you did a good job on this.


06-03-2010, 03:52 AM
Robert, what interesting observations of the landscape greens. I have a major problem with making greens recede and others come forward in landscape, tho' I know the principles involved. I think I must choose my greens carefully by doing a similar analysis in future.

Tammy, great frog! You've used colour hues and tones very well. May be more difficult in pastel but it doesn't take as long as cp does it.

Chuas, great frog! I love the highlights on him and he does really pop out from the bg. Doesn't look furry to me. You are, I believe, as bad as me in the self crit stakes!

06-03-2010, 07:59 AM
Interesting observations, Robert. From left, number one and two (top) look like a yellower version (near) and a bluer (far). Makes total sense. Same with the two ones on the right, top and bottom, but isn't there a slight red/orange component in the near midtone? (On my screen.). The greatest difference in values is in the bottom two from left, that is, in the shadows.

Part of the surprise is that the shifts are so small, and in reality, when we paint we often need to exaggerate them, as a 2-D picture can't give the brain the sensation of depth by how the eyes focus like they do in 3-D space.

. But it's afternoon light, not noon light.


06-03-2010, 08:19 AM
Tammy, lovely frog! Great first pastel animal! The differences in the greens, between frog (yellower) and leaf -- and the shifts in value (frog lighter) -- they really make the frog 'pop' beautifully. I can clearly see a purple under the background deep green, that both shimmers beautifully, and tones down the green making it clearly in the background.

Chuas, beautiful frog, very good three dimensionality, partly achieved by putting most of the yellowy greens closest to us. Oh, He stands out beautifully. No fur on that handsome frog! (Fur?.... where did you get that idea....? ) Very wise choice to not try to paint all the tiny bumps on his skin, those bumps are for photographers to delight in, while artists paint the essence of Frog.

:-) I think we should have a challenge in the future to make the most imperfect horrible stinker of a painting, the worst wins, then us hard self-critics would have a *real* challenge! (Joke, just a joke! I'm too one of my worst crits.)

Maria, this should work well with a limited palette!


06-03-2010, 08:45 AM
Everyone's work is so wonderful. Great Job all!! Looking forward to seeing more works. james

06-03-2010, 12:39 PM
Thanks for a leg up on a show. I live in Greenwood, SC, and our art guild has a show called "Going Green in Greenwood." So many great ideas, and to think I was dreading the process! BTW, I love the parrot/budgie/parakeet bird in pastel. It catches the pert energy of the subject, and I think the greens are great.

06-03-2010, 01:05 PM
Interesting observations, Robert. From left, number one and two (top) look like a yellower version (near) and a bluer (far). Makes total sense. Same with the two ones on the right, top and bottom, but isn't there a slight red/orange component in the near midtone? (On my screen.). The greatest difference in values is in the bottom two from left, that is, in the shadows.

Wow, great info, this may be a good thread to archive. I may attempt the rose next, which I think may be the hardest with its odd red/green tones.

Thanks to all for the kind words about His Greenness. My first amphibian (is that what they are?). I sort of like his nubbly surface, but you're right Charlie, it would have been too much to illustrate these. :)

06-03-2010, 08:36 PM
Tammy, great job on your first critter. He's a handsome guy. Your colors are lovely.

Chuas, I like the way that you suggested the texture of the frog. Charlie is right about the detailing - it would be really hard to draw all of those bumps with pastels, and not really necessary.

I'd be glad to post one of my stinkers - but this is pastel, not oil painting. :D I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of it. Maybe I'm not patient enough.

06-04-2010, 11:34 AM
great Spotlight challenge, Charlie! Love what has been done so far! The parrot specially caught my eye...

so I tried the parrot last night. Got it done, realized I hadnt done an underpainting, per se, and since it came out awful anway, I rubbed everything off, did an alcohol wash over everything and started again this morning.
So here it is...the underapinting with alcohol washhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jun-2010/103700-scan0001.jpg_parrot_underpainting.jpg

and thr re-done one, soft pastels:


06-04-2010, 12:37 PM
Judi, beautiful greens, and a scrubbed out painting is great as an underpainting. Shows us it can be a good thing to be ruthless and start all over, and also shows we can re-use supports! The blue emphasis on the background really gives a great contrast to the bird, and he 'pops' wonderfully.


06-04-2010, 01:20 PM
Dear Judi, I love your parrot!

I have not ever done the process you mention with alcohol. Could you explained it to me with a little detail? :thumbsup: I would love to learn the process.

06-04-2010, 01:47 PM
Judi- You did a wonderful job on your parrot. The green parrot goes great with the blue background. Smart idea to turn the painting you weren't happy with into an under painting. Way to go.

I have been painting the limes for the past three days, off and on. I finally took a photo of it and called it done. I think I might try it again with a different under painting. It is on 5 x 7 UArt 400 grit paper and I used an assortment of soft pastels. I also include the under painting, which is pastel rubbed into the tooth and then fixed, and the demo.

Thanks for looking.


The Under Painting

The Demo


06-04-2010, 03:10 PM
I like your limes Doug! I also like your idea of doing just one of the subjects several different ways, maybe even with different greens to see the effect of each.

BEEOOOtiful bird Judi! The underpainting worked wonderfully. But you had a jump start on all of us with your previous bird series :)

I started the rose last night and boy is that difficult. Every green in the world is in that picture, the most prevalent being that burgundy/brown/olive green color. Spent about half an hour staring at it trying to figure out what color it actually was.

AND ended up digging out all of my pastels and rummaging through them, not coming up with the perfect color of course...argh! Anyone else painting the rose?
Chuas :(

06-04-2010, 05:01 PM
Charlie, thanks for such a great Spotlight. I really enjoyed the photos you selected and appreciate all the great information.
Ruthie, You've done such a wonderful job on the bird and I like that you changed the photo to suit your vision.
Robin, your limes are scrumptious and the colors are gorgeous! I really enjoy the underpainting you provided, too.
Tammy, You did a great job on that little tree frog!
Chaus, I didn't get the furry feeling from your frog :). I thinkg he's great!
Yes, Judi, I agree with Charlie - your blue background really makes your parrot sing.
Doug, those limes are lucious with all that texture and those beautiful colors.

I couldn't decide which photo to use so I combined two of them. I had a difficult time photographing this one; that tends to happen when using strong complimentary colors.



Close-up of the limes while they are being worked on:

I couldn't resist naming this one RGB :) . I used Richeson Pastel Paper becuase I wanted to use a red/salmon background and that's what I had on hand. Generally, I would have gone with Sennelier La Carte but I was happy to challenge myself with a surface I don't generally use. My favorite Henri Roche red pastels came in handy for the parrot and plate. They really are much more "red-red" in person.

Happy Painting everyone!
Waves from (me on) Whidbey Island :wave:

06-04-2010, 07:16 PM
Chuas, I'm going to try the rose next, and I may be swearing before I'm done!

Robert, I meant to thank you for the colors that you put up. Now when I drive home from work I try to "name that green." I rarely did landscapes before, so I never really paid attention to the subtleties of the shades of green. Now I see bottle green, green-gold, lime...


06-04-2010, 07:28 PM
Chaus; great job on the frog; you managed to get some really neat texures on him. The contrast on the greens are very good.
Judi: Really like your parrot; he has alot of personality; great variations in the greens also.
Doug: Very good on the limes; really like the mixtures of greens and other color variations.
Sandy: Great job on the parrot and limes nice color variation; has an impressionist look to both; and really like the background.
:clap: :clap: :clap:
I'm still working on my parrot; I thought the frog was tough; I had to come back on here twice to see how you all do the feathering so well. If I continue to have problems I'll post him so you all can help me out a bit. :(
Really great interpretaions so far all!!!!

06-04-2010, 08:17 PM
I love all the works. Chuas yours is beautiful! And i really enjoy the combination of the two photos Sandy!

I will post my work soon. I injured my wrist and are in a little pain, so I have to ait a while ...

06-05-2010, 05:58 AM
Doug, great you did the demo! The purpose of it was to show we can work in many different ways, and still the "pushing and pulling" of colours works. Very nice cool/warm underpainting, setting the light. Lovely shimmering greens, clearly defined, and the juicy limes stand out beautifully from the plate. Really good work on this!

Sandy, oooooo, love the combination, how clever of you! Beautifully painted, the featheriness of the parrot is wonderful! Changing the colour of the plate really pops the greens, as red is the compementary of green. Beautiful broken colour shimmering greens, great value range!

Maria, try this link for alcohol underpainting:
May your wrist get well real soon.

Tammy, if you need help, yes, do post and everybody will chime in and advice.

Robin, naming colours is a great way to differentiate them!

Chuas, the rose is difficult-- great you're taking in on! -- so if you don't have the right colour in your box, use other colours to push-pull the closest one nearer to matching the photo. The eye-dropper tool in your image handling program in your computer is also a good tool for finding approximations of colours.


06-05-2010, 10:36 AM
Chuas, the rose is difficult-- great you're taking in on! -- so if you don't have the right colour in your box, use other colours to push-pull the closest one nearer to matching the photo. The eye-dropper tool in your image handling program in your computer is also a good tool for finding approximations of colours.


Charlie, sadly the first attempt at the rose went in the trash can last night. The rose itself came out ok, as did the red/brown/olive stem next to it, but the background went all to mush.

Part of the problem is that I don't do landscape and don't know how to "reduce" a lot of foliage and/or background greenery to it's most important elements and convey it as separate plants. I tried doing blocks of color but it didn't look right. If I get brave I'll post my failed picture (which I ripped off of my easel and threw in the trash, but didn't tear up into bits):)
Sad Chuas

06-05-2010, 10:38 AM
Judi, Great greens in your parrot and I love the blue in the BG picking up the blue on his cheek.
Doug, lovely sunlit Limes! I may have to try this one.
Sandy. Stunning Parrot with limes. I love the colour of the plate picking up the colour of the parrot's head!

06-05-2010, 10:55 AM
I meant to comment on your painting Sandy, which is stunning! I love the blue edge on the limes; they really sparkle. Also the bird...that eye alone is worth the price of admission!

Ok, so could I get some help with this? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I don't know if I can rework this piece..it's on Pastelmat, which I don't find easy to "erase." I know it's bad..I'm very embarrassed. :crying:

Charlie, I did use the sampler tool in Photoshop and it was very helpful for getting the weird color leaves so thank you for suggesting that!


06-05-2010, 12:19 PM
Chuas, truly, it *is* looking good! The rose and burgundy leaves are great! One really only needs a simple background for this. The photo is very blurry in the bg, so as long as the bg isn't flat colour, it will be automatically understood by the brain as "general distant foliage". The near fg is darkish, earty-browny-olivy, and the strip of grass behind that has some dark and mid-greens, with some lighter ochres in it -- which is exactly what you have in your painting too.

For a broken colour approach, look at Sandy's limes, the third picture. See how she's put in some of the deepest darks first, and then work slightly lighter values between and overlapping the dark marks? Then some even lighter ones, carefully spacing them. This is perfect for doing general foliage and grass.

Another approach is to block in the area of grass with a solid colour of the general tonal value of the strip, work in som darks here and there, and then proceed as Sandy did.

It is messy to erase on Pastelmat, but it can be done with an ordinary eraser, the bendable white-ish common one. Usually it is sufficient to just brush off the excess dust. As you work from the main motive to the background, you'll have to adjust edges. You might find it easier to work from background to main motive, some do, and some dont.


06-05-2010, 01:00 PM
thanks,everyone, for you comments on my parrot!
Thanks, Charlie, for the post about alcohol underpaintings...I was going to look it up...
Much better than I could explain it, Maria...
Sandy...love your limes...and the plate. well done!
Doug...your limes, with the underpainting shown, came out really well, as did your demo.
chuas....what can I say? Your rose is terrific!
Sandy....Love the way your parrot turned out! beautiful!

May have time tomorrow to try another one....maybe the frog....we'll see...

06-05-2010, 01:01 PM
Thanks for all your kind comments!

Chaus, I couldn't agree with Charlie more. Your rose is looking great and getting your darks established will give you the "map" you need for putting in your background. Keep it darker than you think it needs to be - you can always lighten it up later but if you get your background too light to begin with, it will compete with your focal point.

Charlie, thanks for that tip on Pastelmat; I didn't know about using an eraser on it!

06-05-2010, 01:41 PM
Chuas, your work is beautiful!

Charlie, Thanks for the link. I will study the post!

06-05-2010, 02:05 PM
Thanks all for the encouragement. I am going to work this a bit more. I think it will be at the least a great learning experience.

06-05-2010, 02:52 PM
May your wrist get well real soon.

Thank you! Is not so bad, I could probably paint with it, I just would stain the thing they gave me that has a metal board to it on the bottom so I would not move my wrist, but my fingers are free!

06-05-2010, 05:38 PM
I wrote this post offline so that I could read through and enjoy and look at three pages worth of beautiful green paintings. I'm itching to get out my Greens Sampler and every pastel set I own, this is so cool! So, starting from where I left off...

Tammy, love your tree frog! Great variety of greens, especially the yellow-greens. Very accurate sketching and details too.

Chuas, WOW! I love the strong values you got in your frog and the accent reds that make all your gorgeous greens jump. It’s bold and powerful. I don’t think he looks furry, more like glossy.

Charlie, yes, I noticed the red-orange shift in the near midtones. It’s there in the tree. They just vanish with distance. I think it’s reddish undertones in the actual leaves, something about the type of tree. It’s not there in the grass if I were to do the same thing with the grass greens. It’s strongest in the midtones, not the shadows or highlights.

I love your idea for the Stinker Challenge! That would be fun. Hey, a lot of losers would come out with beautiful paintings and everyone would get a laugh.

Judi, your parrot underpainting is great -- you actually washed off the first version to do it? Dedicated, that’s what I see. Great finish with such gorgeous greens on the final version. Keep going! Do some more of these! Your greens rock.

Doug, excellent job on your limes. Thanks for showing the underpainting too, it’s a very effective one. I love the way the orange bangs up into a brilliant yellow-green on the highlights and the richness of that turquoise green over blue. Great textures and hue shifts in all areas, good values. Good job on the demo too.

Sandy, what a great combination of the parrot and the limes -- both tropical, completely plausible, looks posed. Beautiful choice of reddish surface and the underpainting’s very effective. Then making the plate red makes all the greens bounce out so intense even when some are muted. Beautiful proportions on the bird too. You caught the bird’s dancing around pose well too. It looks like it’s not sure if those limes will taste good! I like the detail of the limes in progress too, so cool.

Robin, thanks. Glad you found my color swatches useful. I’m doing that now when I look at anything green, trying to identify it for hue, value, intensity and other elements if any. The trees shade my yard so much that they reflect green onto everything out there, it’s like living in the Emerald City.

Chuas, it’s okay if individual plants lose definition in a landscape and look like “a mass of plants,” especially if they’re not the focal point. That was something hard for me to learn too. An entire tree can be considered a detail out in the middle or far distance, and that’s always relative to the depth of the scene too -- even when the scene is in a garden, there’s near, middle and far ground areas.

On your rose in progress, consider keeping going with it. The unworked areas are a bit distracting and I think the pink rose would pop if the greens came in behind it. I think it’s beautiful and the lack of definition in some background leaves is perfect, makes the rose and near reddish leaves look more natural and come into focus better.

Maria, sorry about your wrist. I hope you can manage to paint with it in the brace. Would it really make a difference if you stain the board inside the brace? You could always wrap a towel or open ended plastic bag around it while working.

06-05-2010, 06:18 PM
Sandy- Great idea to combine two photos. Why do I have a sudden urge to grab a bottle of Captain Morgan's rum?:) The feathers look fantastic. The colours just pop with the red paper. The limes look good too. Thanks for showing a couple of stages. I always find it interesting to see works in different stages.

Chuas- Keep at it. As you said already, it will be a good learning experience. You will get it.

Thanks to everyone for the comments on my limes. It is greatly appreciated.


06-06-2010, 01:13 PM
Hi everyone :wave:
I have been following your work here on The Spotlight and i I really want to join in. I have never used pastels before and I only have pastel sticks (Sennelier half-sticks) but no pastel pencils yet.

I chose the frog and made a small test on a small piece of pastel card that came with the pastel sticks (80 x 160 mm). I only did the head. It was really hard to do the details with so thick sticks :(.
I tried to post it earlier but it seems as if I have to make two posts on WC before I can ad any pictures.
I have, however, now ordered a box of pastel pencils as well :D. I hope to join you all in this forum very soon.

See you,

06-06-2010, 02:14 PM
Hi again,

I'll make a new try and upload my first pastel effort.


Sorry about the quality of the photo. I'm sitting in my sommer cottage and forgot to bring the camera so I had to use the mobile phone.
Feel free to comment. C&C


06-06-2010, 02:30 PM
Yvonne, this is fantastic, you did a wonderful job with His Greenness!! I'm loving all of these green pictures Charlie!

Oh, and btw, welcome to the pastel forum, we have lots of fun here! Can't wait to see more of your work! :wave:

06-06-2010, 02:32 PM
Chuas, do carry on with the Rose. Charlie and Robert have given you good advice!
Yvonne, Welcome to the Pastel Forum and the dusty world we live in! Your Frog looks wonderful, despite the quality of the photo. You look to have the dimensions spot on and the colours are great. Senneliers do come in lovely colours don't they. As a first pastel you should be proud!

06-06-2010, 02:47 PM
Yvonne- Welcome to WetCanvas and the Pastel Forum. I think you already know that pastels are very addictive. You did a great job on the frog. You should be very proud of your first painting. Enjoy your new toys.


06-06-2010, 03:44 PM
Chaus, can't wait to see what you do with the rose.
Robert, thanks so much for your nice comment; I'm glad you liked the WIP, it's something I always enjoy when other's post theirs, too.
Doug, with a comment like that, this round is on me :)
Yvonne, what a fabulous frog! I am excited for you to be at the beginning of such a grand medium and look forward to seeing more of your paintings. I am new to posting, too, so we can meet new people together!

06-07-2010, 05:02 AM
Hej Yvonne, welcome to WetCanvas and pastels! The frog is fantastic! I can't believe you've not painted with pastels before, it is great! The Senneliers are wonderful pastels, you got a really good brand there. So glad you've found your art again.

Guys, I have a crashed computer, with intermittent internet access, through the 'antique' reserve computer. No fun, but I'll try to look in here as often as possible.


06-07-2010, 06:39 AM
Thank you all for the warm welcome.
The only reason I started with pastels is really because I found this forum here in WetCanvas and The Pastel Guild of Europe. You all do such amasing things with this powdery media. I simply had to try it my self.

I think I'll try to do a larger painting and avoid details until I get my pastel pencils. Maybe the limes are the best choise for a beginner with only pastel sticks. Does everybody else use pencils or pan pastels or what do you use for details?


06-07-2010, 09:23 AM
Yvonne, you have a gorgeous frog painting there! Spot on perfect. I like the crop, love the composition, love the rich greens and eye-popping red and orange eyes. Wonderful painting! If it's your first pastel it sure isn't your first painting by a long shot. I think you found the right pastels and the right medium! Well done!

Yes, working big helps with pastel sticks rather than pastel pencils. I use pastel pencils and hard pastels when I do ACEOs in pastel, but when I'm using sticks I like to work bigger. I do sometimes get a lot of details with sticks though, if I turn it so that I've got a sharp edge or a bit of a point I can get in a very small detail. Or break the stick, but with half sticks that's less practical.

Wearing the stick down at a slant will do a lot to create the hard edge needed to get details, also using the corners before they wear down.

I love Pan Pastels, they're a lot of fun and it's possible to get good details with the corners of a wedge sponge especially. The best surface for them is PastelMat by Clairefontaine. They also work well on regular sketch paper or Canson Mi-Tientes smooth side, though not as many layers they're fun to sketch with on that.

06-07-2010, 10:38 AM
Hi Yvonne, cool we 'lured' you here! The thing with pastel pencils is that they're fairly hard, and don't go so well on top of soft pastels -- but it also depends on the surface you're painting on. I usually don't paint on papers smaller than A4. But for details, one sort of learns to aim the too-big-and-blunt stick and get the mark in the rightish place. You can sharpen a stick, especially to a chisel shape, on a piece of sandpaper. With time, the sticks get worn down, and a thin little 'nubbin' is perfect for details. Personally, I mostly use pencils for drawing the 'skeleton' drawing on the paper before painting.

The limes are a very good choice, as they are simple in design and arrangement, and with a good variety of values, and many shifts in the greens. On the other hand, if you can do that frog so beautifully, you can paint anything!


06-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Yvonne. I used to use pastel pencils a lot, eg. for fur detail when doing animals. But now I guess I don't put in as much detail so I don't use them as much. I still use them for sketching and for my initial drawing. I also use them for eyes and fiddly details, like with my Parrot one on here.
Pastel pencils are definitely handy to have but there's a certain freedom in making the sticks work for you!
Oh I don't know when I'll get another done. I'm already very busy this week but things keep cropping up to make me busier! I will try though, I really will!

06-07-2010, 12:40 PM
Yvonne, welcome and your frog is great!

06-07-2010, 12:51 PM
Yvonne, I usually do what Charlie suggested and use sandpaper to "sharpen" sticks to a chisel or point, but I still use pencils for really fine detail. You'll find some of the sticks lend themselves better to detail or line work than others.

When I first started all I had were soft soft sticks (Schmincke, Sennelier) but I tend to work in detail so I now use slightly harder soft pastels like Girault and Mt. Vision.

But boy, will you have fun finding out which ones you like best!

06-07-2010, 08:02 PM
Yvonne; Great work on your frog!

Well I totally messed up the first parrot so I started over. Not sure this one is too much better. Still have to figure out how you all do the feathering with pastels. I uploaded the underpainting done with pastels blended with alcohol. Layers then added with various soft and semi-soft pastels and some pastel pencil on 5" x 7 " velour yellow. C/C and comments most welcome.:o

06-07-2010, 08:17 PM
Yvonne, welcome! I am a newbie here, too. Ditto what everyone else said. I usually use my pastel pencils for sketching in the basic shapes. I have a lot of different pastels, but most of them are hard-ish so I don't use the pencils for very much after that.

I am aggravated with my rose right now, so I am going to try another picture instead. The window with the geraniums in it looks promising. I will finish the rose after I look at it a while longer.


06-08-2010, 12:40 AM
I worked on the frog, which seems to be everyone's favorite! :lol:

I am not all that proud of it. I seems to be going backwards in time with my efforts... but here it is!

Mary Brigid
06-08-2010, 04:44 AM
Charlie thank you for doing this Months Spotlight. I was thrilled when I saw the Challenge was "Go Green" I thought it was landscapes and in my comfort zone! But I should have know when it was you hosting Charlie that there was a twist. :)
The photos are great Charlie and thank you for all the work you have done to show us on how to manage with our greens.

Ruth: I love your parrot. Like the way you caught the movement. Can't see why you are not happy!
Robin: Your underpainting is fabulous. And in the final painting I think your shadows are excellent. Beautiful painting.
Robert: Your green swatches are just like the greens we have here in Ireland when the sun shines.
Tammy: I like your 2 frogs. You sure are busy.
Chaus: Great frog and your rose is very delicate. And I love the colours you used in the Leaves.
Judy: Great Parrot.
Doug: Love the underpaintings. And those limes really pop.
Sandy: Really clever how you combined the 2 photos and it rusult is a smashing painting. I wounder how long before he started to peck at the limes?
Yvonne: Your first Pastel? Wonderful work, your frog is super.
Maria: I like how you placed your frog clinging to the wall. You should be proud of him.... I know I would be if I did this work.

Now I have downloaded the window... so its off to work.
Mary Brigid

06-08-2010, 05:57 AM
Hi guys, the computer deigns to work for a while (work permanently, I hope). Feels really odd being cut off from the world, how did one get so dependent on the 'net, and WC?

Tammy, gorgeous greens in your parrot-painting. The background has those muted olivey green look that vibrates beautifully with the strokes of different colours, on the violet underpainting which also helps to mute the greens. The blue underpainting on the parrot is much closer to the green on the colour-wheel, and it helps make a bright green, with the yellows that are also close to green. Very good separation of those two greens, Tammy, you've met the challenge beautifully, you really got how to push/pull the greens with other colours!
The sense of feathers, I think it is done by lighter strokes on top of slighly darker ones, with careful thought on how to place each stroke.

Maria, beautiful frog, smart to vignette him, he stands out beautifully. Good varied greens, with the leaf so much darker and cooler, and his paler underside and feet really pop against the leaf! Oh, the sense of taking a step back in time has an explanation: When we focus on something else, especially on something new, a new concept, then it takes most of our attention. And we get out of the comfort zone. (This is why workshops usually feel so awkward, and why all the other people seem to do better... the truth is that all struggle.)

Mary Brigid, ah, :-) it is supposed to be a challenge. Doing these will help with landscape greens, I promise that. But it is easier to work the concept out in more solid objects -- foliage is too 'fluffy' and has these myriads of little surfaces.

Robin, smart to take a rest from the rose and tackle another one. You may find that your subconscious will have worked some things out while you were consciously occupied with something else.


06-08-2010, 10:56 AM
Yvonne, good job with both parrot pix! I like the color combinations you used in both. I can really see how your confidence picked up in the second one!

Maria, fantastic frog! I love the texture and the way his yellow underbelly fades into the green. Really makes me want to be green (although I've heard it isn't easy).

Robin...can SO sympathize with your attempt at the rose...it's a hard one. I haven't worked up the energy to "finish" mine. I'm thinking I may start over again with a different approach. Maybe post yours? I got some very good advice when I posted mine unfinished.

Yvonne, just went back and re-read your post and realized the first image is an underpainting. All the more impressive! I'm not brave enough to do that kind of bold work in an underpainting. Kudos!

06-08-2010, 10:57 AM
Tammy- Your under painting colours work very well. The blue in the parrot's body make the greens very bold while the red violet on it's head helps the red pop. The violet backgroung mutes the green and helps the parrot to stand out. Way to go.

Maria- You did a good job on the frog. The warm greens in the frog make him stand out on the cool green leaf. You managed to make him look plump with your shading while using all those greens.


06-08-2010, 12:36 PM
Doug, Chuas, and Charlie; thank you for your kind comments! I really think I could have done better. As I said, sometimes what comes out of my hand is not really what I had in mind! :confused:

Chuas, you are so funny. We should have all drew Kermmit! I love the muppets! :lol:

06-08-2010, 01:19 PM
Tammy, Great Parrot and the colours in the underpainting, as Doug said, have worked very well! You asked for C&C so I'll just say have another look at the eye. Bird's eyes are virtually round (hence their 190 degree vision) even though the lid is not. Easily changed if you choose to.

Maria. This Frog is a winner! You're too hard on yourself, just like me!

Hi Mary Brigid! You're joining us then, lured by the promise of landscape but finding a real challenge!

I have done the Rose over the door today. I took a photo of the underpainting then, and you won't believe this, I took some photos of the finished thing while it was thundering. During the process my camera went funny and the underpainting has been deleted! Said you wouldn't believe it didn't I? What's more, every photo on my camera which hasn't been protected has been deleted :crying:

Anyway, I can't even describe the UP now as I've forgotten exactly which colours I used but the door was blue and I washed the UP with water.

This is on fisher 400 and I learnt that rembrandts don't wet half as well on this as they do on pastelmat.


This was taken with flash in VERY dark conditions and I've fixed it a little but don't think it's quite true.

06-08-2010, 01:21 PM
Chuas, you are so funny. We should have all drew Kermmit! I love the muppets! :lol:

haha! I was wondering if someone was going to pick up on that. Every time I look at the frog paintings I laugh because they remind me of Kermmit.:lol:

Ruthie this is gorgeous! Your work just keeps getting better and better! Sooo jealous! :envy: Now I am green with envy!

06-08-2010, 03:18 PM
Ruthie, absolutely gorgeous! You nailed the different greens in the foliage and the door wonderfully, also the white-greens of the whatever that grows in the middle bottom edge (lambs ears?)! Excellent values. Oh, at least you didn't say about the underpainting pic that "the dog ate it"! :-D What, did the lightning disturb the camera so much? Amazing, and good to know!

Rembrand + water + Fisher, well, the Fisher sucks (literally) the water into itself, while the pastel mat lets the water flow on top (until it sinks under the surface and takes 'forever' to dry). (Americans, Fisher is like Uart.)

Ah, Kermit, that song really stuck, it was lovely. Loved the Muppets, Animal was a favourite, especially him playing drums with the guest star who sang (tried to) "Fever". OK, I'm cheating, I've painted a Kermit before, here's a link (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=476353&highlight=frog)I hope works, won't post in this thread as it is not from the right ref.

You're all doing so marvellously well! (No being hard on oneself allowed, you hear!)

I printed out the window, and got a third of a picture when the ink in the printer gave up... another cartridge, another day.


06-08-2010, 04:20 PM
Ruthie that is beautiful!!!

06-08-2010, 04:30 PM
SunFace: Great job on the frog, love your variations of green!
Ruthie; Wow, Very beautiful!!!
:clap: :clap:

Here is my version on the limes. The plate is off a bit on the left. Done on pastelmat 9" x 7" various pastels, with underpainting with alcohol and pastels. This will be the last one I can do til later next week; I'm at summer art camp; teaching pen and ink to 6- 9th graders; so I won't have any real free time to draw. I will check in at the evening to see what you all are doing. Fantastic painting so far!!!!:)

06-08-2010, 05:17 PM
Thanks Chuas!

Charlie, thank you! This morning I also took a photo of my amended finished Frog which I was going to post too. That's gone also, plus all the photos I've taken since I got back from Cyprus! Not the end of the world as the others are all on the computer, but I like to keep selected photos of my work on the camera just in case someone wants to see them!
It was quite a storm, the lights and radio were affected, so beware folks of using digi cameras in a storm.

Thank you Maria and Tammy!

Tammy, excellent Limes. I'm getting to like the lime green and blue green together now. I like the ridges you've put on the plate.

06-08-2010, 07:30 PM
Ruthie- Beautiful painting with a great sense of light. All the cool and warm greens work together. Tough luck with your camera.

Tammy- Good job on the limes. I like the reflection of the limes on the plate. Good luck with your teaching.


06-08-2010, 08:54 PM
Ruthie, you painting is gorgeous. It's a shame that we didn't get to see the underpainting. I never knew storms could do that to a camera.

Tammy, I love your limes. The plate looks like one of those fancy plates with scalloped edges. Have fun at your camp!

Here's my rose WIP:

I think that I can pull it together, but I'm just irritated enough that I am afraid of ruining it. I remember why I don't paint roses.


06-08-2010, 09:27 PM
Robin, I think your rose is looking great.

IMO roses are really hard to paint. They need a delicate balance not only in real life, but in the dream world!

06-08-2010, 10:30 PM
Robin, the roses have volume. The curves of the petals read well. Not more tweaking required other than some BG tweaks.
Tammy, nicely done on the limes
Maria, your frog is lovely. I like how you changed his angle. I think you captured his pads (feet?) very well.
Ruthie, amazing green door painting.
Yvonne, love the crop. Jealous that I didn't think of that. Nicely painted as well. Nice highlights and volume.
Doug, nice limes. I like the contrast of the warm and cool greens you used.
Sandy, nice combination of the two references. Really liked how you treated the edges of the limes.
Chaus, nice frog. Good mass to him and I really like his froggy expression which you captured.

Hopefully I didn't miss anyone in my backwards catch up with Spotlight. If I did, I apologize as I keep losing my train of thought as I encourage the kids to fall asleep.

I did my froggy as a very small art show in AB. It's about 8 x 11 on homemade sanded stonehedge with an olive green tint. Rembrandts and schminkes primarily.

06-09-2010, 12:17 PM
Robin, your rose is looking really good! You're kind of at the spot where I was when I ripped it off the easel in frustration. It IS a difficult one but you're doin' good!

Terri, GREAT frog. He looks a little happier than in mine and some of the others. Maybe he is happier because so many people are painting him. :lol:

Oh, and Tammy great job with the limes. They are all bright and summery looking! Plates, bowls, ellipses are the hardest thing in the world (IMHO).

p.s. I just sent someone an email and used the word "faffing" in it. :lol:

06-09-2010, 01:32 PM
Thanks everyone for your comments on my roses round the door painting. I'll share a secret with you....I LOVE this one! I really enjoyed doing it and think it turned out pretty well! There are, of course a few things which need attention, but, who can see that until they see it on the monitor!

Robin, the rose is beautiful! Don't mess with it too much. Just finish off the BG and it'll be a great one!

Terri, Your Kermit is fantastic. He has such a smiley face too!

Chuas, you made me laugh out loud! There's gonna be "faffing" going on all over the world!

06-09-2010, 01:44 PM
Tammy, lovely limes with beautiful greens. You really made them glow on that dark paper. Extra points for the beautiful green shimmer on the plate (upper right quadrant), you caught the bouncing light there!

Robin, the rose looks wonderful! Great colours. Looking forward to the finish, it is going to be amazing!

Terri, that's one stunning Kermit! Gorgeous varied greens all over, making the reds zing!

Ruthie, great secret, somehow, it is easier to paint what one loves, maybe because it is more attractive to completely loose onself in the process, and live and breathe (oh, sorry, *not* breathe dust :-), get immersed in the joy of it?


06-09-2010, 03:21 PM
Robin- Your rose is coming along nicely. To get over your fear of ruining it, just get it into your mind that there is more paper where that came from.:D I used to think the same, but once I figured it out I allowed myself more freedom. I don't know if this make any sense, so if you think I am rambling on, just ignore what I said.:confused:

Terri- I can see why your daughter wants this. If you had a fear of greens, I think it is over. Well done.:thumbsup:

I worked on the frog a little longer today, but I had to call it quits. I didn't get much done on it yesterday, because my daughter came home from school early. I had to put him in the closet to hide him. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

I have an English mother-in-law, so over the years I have picked up a few English sayings. One of my favorites is "Get your bike out." It is used when someone tells you something, but you want more information. You tell them to "get your bike out' and investigate this further. I hope I explained it right. Here I am rambling again.:p


06-09-2010, 03:42 PM
So stop faffing and get your bike out? Got it!

06-09-2010, 04:20 PM
hello everyone! I want to post my first ever spotlight challenge and first ever using pastel sticks and first ever doing a stilllife with pastels. I found this to be very difficult, I am not used to underpainting with odd colors and then trying to achieve a likeness. Hmmm, maybe I misunderstood the challenge. I am extremely new to pastels and this is only my 6th piece, all others were dogs. I usually use pastel pencils, I undercoat then mix with a color to achieve the result. I found that that isnt easy with turquoise color. I now officially have green, blue and brown fingers, which I am sure most of you know all about. I would appreciate any C & C. I know the shadows arent dark enough and the plate isnt the perfect shape. This has been fun :)
my underpainting...nupastels on pastel 9 x 12 paper

my finished piece

hmmmmmm.....it does kinda look like fruit on a plate. :lol:
I might try doing the bird too since I am better at animals

06-09-2010, 04:31 PM
Ann, a very warm welcome to the Spotlight! Of course it looks like fruit on a plate! And what a plate! The Limes are good but the plate is superb. Well done! Can't wait for the Parrot........

06-09-2010, 04:39 PM
Ann- Welcome to WC and the Pastel Forum. You did a fine job on the limes with a good sense of light. You even have warmer browns on the part of the table that is closest to the light source. I like all the colours in the plate. Well done.


06-09-2010, 08:22 PM
Your shadows are gorgeous! The purple helps the limes "pop out" at you.

06-09-2010, 09:05 PM
The colors that I used in my underpainting look whacked out, but the choices I made were to make the greens in the final painting better. I don't have a lot of greens, so I chose a cool color (purple) for the shadows, a warm color (gold) for the highlights. And I used the blue and turquiose so that the limes would stand out from the plate color. The colors I used are below:

Someday I'll have piles and piles of green pastels, but it was interesting (and challenging) to make the colors that I needed.

06-09-2010, 09:24 PM
Ann, a very warm welcome to the Spotlight! Of course it looks like fruit on a plate! And what a plate! The Limes are good but the plate is superb. Well done! Can't wait for the Parrot........
I'll second that comment. Well done

06-10-2010, 09:02 AM
Hi Ann, a warm welcome to Pastels, and the Spotlight! Wonderful painting, very good light! The purples in shadow do a twofold job, they make the cast shadows interesting, and they unite the fruit with the plate, so the fruit *sits* on the plate. You're a natural at this!

Oh, sorry if I was a tad unclear in what the challenge is, it is: Using any method you like to paint green things. If you don't have the 'right' green sticks, you can use the other colours to manipulate the greens to look like the desired result. This can be done either by underpainting, or by 'overpainting', or a combination of both.


06-10-2010, 10:58 AM
Hi Ann, a warm welcome to Pastels, and the Spotlight! Wonderful painting, very good light! The purples in shadow do a twofold job, they make the cast shadows interesting, and they unite the fruit with the plate, so the fruit *sits* on the plate. You're a natural at this!

Oh, sorry if I was a tad unclear in what the challenge is, it is: Using any method you like to paint green things. If you don't have the 'right' green sticks, you can use the other colours to manipulate the greens to look like the desired result. This can be done either by underpainting, or by 'overpainting', or a combination of both.


hi Charlie...thanks for the welcome. There are so many talented artists here on WC and the pastel forums, I felt that I just had to join in. The challenge seems like so much fun and subjects that I dont normally tackle.
For this months challenge, is it ok if I paint the way I normally do? I usually paint section by section at a time, so as not to smudge colors. So, I dont need to use odd colors as underpainting? It was fun using bold colors as underpainting and then manipulating other colors to try to achieve other colors. I didnt want to cheat the challenge by doing it the wrong way. I want to grow as an artist, like I am sure others here also want to do.
Thanks for posting the challenge this month, it has been fun so far. I really thought my painting looked terrible, I was surprised to find out that my finished painting actually looked like fruit on a plate!

06-10-2010, 12:19 PM
Ruthie thanks for welcome. Its nice to be included in a group of your peers. Your parrot painting is gorgeous and the entryway painting is wonderful. I love the details you put into your work. Thanks for saying that my drawing does look like a plate and fruit, when I was looking at it, I wasnt so sure. I painted in a technique I am not used to, so I am learning. I love looking at your work, its amazing to me.
Doug thanks for the welcome and for the comments about my plate still life. I wasnt sure that my choice of colors was acceptable or that I could pull it off.
Arby thanks for the comment about my painting (should I be calling it a painting or a drawing??) I was really unsure about my choice of colors, I was totally experimenting with this one. I had no idea what I was doing LOL
terri66 thanks for the vote of confidense. As I said earlier, I really wasnt sure that my color choice was working.

06-10-2010, 12:48 PM
Welcome Ann!

Your limes are great! Love the shadow!:clap:

06-10-2010, 01:12 PM
Ann, it is great if you paint the way you're used to, no worries. The way with these Spotlights is that one of the Guides start it, but then the journey of discovery is shared, and we learn from each other. There are so many different methods -- so may good ways to solve a problem or task, we inspire each others. And we all know it is Good For Us to step out of the ole comfy zone now and then, there is always a thing to learn and to incorporate into our diverse usual methods.

Oh, while one can draw with pastels, and often mix painting and drawing in a work, I'd say your limes is a Painting. It is based on masses and areas of colour, not on depicting form with help of lines and shading.


CM Neidhofer
06-10-2010, 02:19 PM
Okay, here's a WIP of froggy. Colors aren't quite right here. He's a little more subdued IRL. I've wanted to paint this frog for a long time and put it off forever. I looked at my blog the other day and realized I haven't posted any new work there in over a year now! Not that I haven't wanted to, and have references at the ready. Just haven't been motivated in quite some time to pick up the pastels. But I started this morning and I'm moving right along. Not sure if I'll get it finished today or not and I go back to work tomorrow night for three nights, so might not finish until next week. But anyway, it's a start! I've tried to keep my fingers out of the blending process, but you can see where I forgot, or just couldn't resist!! lol

06-10-2010, 04:23 PM
Christine- You are off to a great start. I am glad you picked up your sticks again. Getting motivated is hard sometimes, so I hope this froggie has you hopping to it.:wink2: I look forward to your updates.

Here is my version of the frog. I kept on faffing with it, so I figured I better just stop. I am including a photo of the framed painting too, even if it looks a little washed out. I used terra cotta coloured AS Colourfix paper, so I started using greens right away. It is 8 x 10 and I used a variety of pastels.

Thanks for looking.




06-10-2010, 04:38 PM
Christine, great start. Looking forward to seeing him all done.
Doug, sweet frog. Your daughter is going to love him. Nice warm and cool greens giving him depth.
In my infinite wisdom or lack there of, I am getting a bright purple frame for froggie. I will post the finished painting when I put the frame on it.

06-10-2010, 04:42 PM
Christine and Doug, great Frogs! looking forward to seeing yours completed Christine. Doug, what's all this about "faffing"??

Great minds think alike. I started the frog today. No underpainting to show 'cos the Dog ate it!! No really, I didn't do one. In this one I didn't even do a proper drawing just leapt in with the pastels, put in the colours I saw, then started with the faffing.

And no I am not posting a photo 'til it's finished, which may be over a week if i don't have time tomorrow as I'm going away on Saturday.

06-10-2010, 07:03 PM
Charlie, thank you for this excellent presentation! Very informative and articulate! :thumbsup: Tons of great information...I hope to do at least one of the refs. Everyone's work looks greatly enriched from using the principles you have taught here! :)

06-10-2010, 07:14 PM
Thanks, Terri and Ruthie. She says she loves it. She keeps on talking about it so I think she is telling the truth. I forgot to say what the title is. Drum roll............ "Wart's Up?" :lol: It came to me while painting him.


06-10-2010, 08:24 PM
Doug...Your frog is adorable... love the expression on its face...no wonder your daughter loves it! Nice job!
Ann...your limes turned out very well!

06-10-2010, 08:28 PM
Oh, Doug! That was awful - the pun, not the painting. My son Bobby would love it - the pun and the painting! He's a big punster.

There are so many great frogs that I'm not sure I'd have anything to say if I tried it. I can't wait to see more!


06-10-2010, 09:08 PM
Doug, your frog is cool. When I was painting mine my son, who is 20 years old, and really hates frogs, was lookig at me in horror!

06-11-2010, 09:58 AM
Christine, great start!

Doug, glorious bright little froggie! Wonderful range of greens, from deep blue-green, to bright yellow! The terracotta paper works great to modify the greens.


06-11-2010, 12:25 PM
I got mine finished this afternoon, saved wandering round the house wondering what else to pack!

He's about 8x6 on fisher 400. I didn't do a drawing for this one and as a result his legs are wrong, but I just ran out of time!


06-11-2010, 12:30 PM
Ruthie, beautiful diverse greens, the whole range with subtle shifts, great! And he's adorable!


06-11-2010, 12:32 PM
I can see that this exercise has definitely enriched the paintings posted - good job everyone! I chose the quaint cottage window with the geraniums. I took liberties with the angle of the photo & painted the window head on.

I first prepared a 100% rag illustration board coated with gesso mixed with fine pumice and magenta acrylic. In the dark areas I used black gesso + some fine pumice. I then sketched in the complementary colors (reds where green will be, etc.) and washed it very gently with a soft paint brush dipped in rubbing alcohol - gently because i did not want to ruin the texture I created with the gesso/pumice brush strokes. I did not sketch in with green where the red & pink geraniums would be since I wanted them to be very bright.


2. In progress...


3. Completed (I think) painting:

"Cottage Window Geraniums" ~ 14" x 11" Pastel on sanded illustration board


Detail of brush strokes from gesso / pumice textured under painting



Thanks for looking ~ Happy painting! :wave: Pat

06-11-2010, 02:53 PM
Pat, thanks for sharing your WIP, great learning tool. Great painting, love the texture you incorporated.

06-11-2010, 02:57 PM
Pat, the geraniums positively glow! Very good varied greens, the underpainting helps a lot in creating colour vibrations, and your greens are beautifully varied over the whole range. The warms of the natural greens really pop the cool window greens that are man-made. Beautiful!


06-11-2010, 03:49 PM
Thanks Charlie, he's cute isn't he. Think I may leave this one be even though it's not perfect.

Nice one Pat, looks great in the virtual frame!

I'm off to Cumbria for a week in the morning and will be offline. Still time to do some more when I get back though!

And by the way. I've got a website at last!! See below.

06-11-2010, 06:15 PM
Pat, Ruthie, Those are great!

06-12-2010, 11:43 AM
Lovely painting Pat, and fantastic use of underpainting colors. Everything just glows. Pastel at it's best!

LOVE the your Kermit Ruthie! He's got that nice textural quality that I couldn't get, and looks very pleased with himself (a very important element for portraiture)! Enjoy your holiday, although we'll miss your postings!

06-12-2010, 02:23 PM
Congrats on the new website, Ruthie. I took a look and it looks great-LOVE your swan paintings!!!!!

06-13-2010, 10:38 PM
Ok, I did the rose again, with better (I think) results. In fact, I'll post my half finished first one with this new one.
No. 2: on Pastelmat, Girault, Mt. Vision and Schmincke pastels
C&C's appreciated!

06-13-2010, 11:33 PM
Chuas, that is gorgeous!

06-14-2010, 05:19 AM
Chuas, it's beautiful! Works *really* well to have a looser bg, with more care for details in the main 'star of the show'! Very nice muted and varied greenish bg!


06-14-2010, 05:32 AM
Chuas, I agree, your latest version of the rose is fantastic. I thought the first one was cool but this one is perfect. Well done!

Ruthie, love that frog. The greens are so lush in him and the background and so varied, it's wonderful.

Pat, your geraniums do glow! Love the muted greens around them making the rose colors pop so brightly.

06-14-2010, 11:08 AM
Ruthie- Great job on the frog. You put all those greens to good use. You are a brave person for painting without a drawing. I hope you have a great trip. I will check out your web site.

Pat- Thanks for showing us the steps. It is a beautiful painting. Great use of complementary colours. The reds pop beside the greens.

Chuas- Well done. I agree with Charlie. The rose looks great against the muted background.


06-14-2010, 01:09 PM
Nicely done on the second rose. Loose BG, nicely defined petals and leaves, and good colour choices. Big smiles.

06-14-2010, 04:51 PM
Thanks all! Funny, I was working on something else when it suddenly occurred to me what needed to be done with this one. I think the mind works like that sometimes. You think yourself into a tizzy, then the problem resolves itself in a moment when suddenly you're not stressing about it! :lol:

06-14-2010, 08:44 PM
So many fantastic paintings this month! Sorry that I don't have time to comment on them all! So many wonderful frogs!! And Chuas that rose is great!

I'm hoping to go green soon. I just have to choose which reference....


06-15-2010, 06:43 PM
Chuas - Beautiful. I must agree with the others. You've inspired me to give mine another try.

Pat - The reds and pinks really makes everything glow. Great job.

Ruthie - Your frog is lovely!


Mary Y
06-15-2010, 10:55 PM
Hi everyone, beautiful work in this thread.
Charlie, Thank you for hosting this month's Spotlight
Hopefully I will have time later to come back and comment more.
Ruthie, Lovely frog excellent greens.

Pat, beautiful window painting I love the greens in the leaves, thank your for sharing your WIP.

Chuas, Your rose turned out so well . It is beautiful, the greens are great and the new growth well it looks like new growth..

This is my attempt at the limes.



06-16-2010, 04:52 AM
Mary, beautiful limes, well grounded, and lovely varied greens! Lovely cool light with warmer shadows. Great job!


06-16-2010, 11:04 AM
Wonderful limes Mary! I love the way the green is slightly reflected in the bowl. The wood is fantastic too!

06-16-2010, 02:08 PM
Tammy, you did a great job on your parrot. I really enjoyed seeing your color choices for your underpainting AND I loved the blue you used for your plate!
Maria, wow! your frog looks so 3D! he's wonderful.
Ruthie, Enjoy your trip. Congratulations on your new website and your Fav 15% win (we're in it together this month :))
Terri, thank you for your kind comment. You really stepped up to the "green" challenge on your frog and carried off so nicely.
Ann, what a beautiful job on that plate and limes. Welcome, indeed!
Christine, Good on you for picking up your pastels again!!
Doug, I love wart's up - the painting and the title. I may have to start faffing.
Pat, your work in progress was wonderful, as is your finished painting! The colors and texture just pop off the screen; lovely.
Chuas, that rose is magnificent! It must have just wanted to turn a new leaf (hahahaha!)
Mary, your limes and plate are really beautiful. I completely agree with Charlie on the colors.

06-16-2010, 03:51 PM
Thank you so much to all who have commented! I have tweaked this painting further after hearing from Jackie Simmonds who has given me some pointers on shadows... I so appreciate her taking the time! Here it is with some added shadows - not shown in the ref photo, of course they are contrived, but I think they enhance the depth of the painting...

C & C always welcome...
Pat :wave:


06-16-2010, 07:36 PM
Over the past few years, I have expanded my pastel collection, but for most of my artistic life, I had a relatively small number of pastels and relied upon color mixing to get the colors I needed. I thought it would be interesting to go back to my roots, so to speak, and work with a limited palette of basic colors.

Since the parrot is primarily a yellow-green, I started with a layer of yellow. In this progress shot, I have already started finalizing the head and shoulders, but I wanted to show the initial layer before I covered it up!


(You can see that I have had trouble with the feet - sketching them in 3 times in slightly different spots!)

Here's the finish:


The 10 pastels I used:


It was challenging (and fun) to mix and blend. I am using Conte pastels, which are a medium/hard pastel. Using a harder pastel allows me to hatch and cross-hatch. Approx. 9" x 7" on dark gray pastelmat.

Comments welcome.


06-17-2010, 03:34 AM
Pat, those shadows really added light to the scene, and they fit were well, as the bright yellows on the geraniums indicate sunlight, and so do the yellow-greens of the vine. Great way to change the scene!

Don, gorgeous volume on the bird! Setting the light already in the underpainting works so well for the volume. Excellent way to meet the challenge, and making it more difficult with the very limited palette! Ten sticks?!! Well chosen, and personally I just luuuv how you show that 20 000 sticks are not necessary. Using a limited number gives such beautiful colour vibrations, from hatching and scumbling.


06-17-2010, 11:16 AM
Pat, lovely job on the window. The suggested yet distinctive leaves are wonderful!

Love the bird Don. Doesn't look like you had trouble with the feet or anything for that matter!

I've had the limes up on my easel for three days, fretting (and being uber anal retentive) about the lines on the bowl. May post it for some suggestions. :(

06-17-2010, 12:44 PM
I am back; art camp was fun- I really enjoyed the 6-9th graders I had this year.
Terri:Great work on the frog; beautiful variations of green.
Ann; beautiful work on your limes- welcome to spotlite!
christine:Beautiful color choices on your frog.
Doug: Great work on the frog really like the lim/yellow color on him.
Ruthie: great job on the frog; really like the depth you created in the shadowing.
Pat:Just Beautiful!
Chaus:Just beautiful on the rose; really like how you captured the water droplets.
Mary;Limes look great; nice variations in green.
Don: beautiful parrot very soft subtle greens.
I hope I didn't miss anyone; really outstanding paintings being done.:clap: Thank you for all that commented.
I think I'm going to try one of the florals, not one of my stronger areas; but I'll give them a try. :)

06-17-2010, 11:25 PM
Here's my limes. I wasn't that excited about the image, so I played up the light on the plate and the ridges (just about made me crazy).
On Antique White La Carte Card, NuPastels, Girault, Mt. Vision pastels.
C&C welcome!


06-18-2010, 05:22 AM
Chuas, the light is wonderful! Very nice yellow-greens contrasting against the blues of the plate. Very realistig grain in the wood. As you ask for c&c, my suggestion is to deepen the form shadows of the limes, they can be considerably darker, and that will make the light shine even more.


Mary Y
06-18-2010, 10:22 AM
Pat, Your added shadows are lovely.

Don, Beautiful bird.
You achieved so many variations of green from your limited pallet in the BG as well as the bird.

Chuas, Lovely limes and very realistic wood. Your plate is a beautiful shape and colour.


06-18-2010, 11:04 AM
Mary & Charlie, thanks much! Now that I see it posted, I see that the limes are flat looking. I do have a tendency (I think it's a typical beginner's tendency) to make things lighter than they are (or not as dark as they should be). I'm putting this one back on the easel to fix!

06-18-2010, 01:06 PM
Mary- Great job on the limes. I really like the tonal values of the top lime. It gives it a very good round look.

Pat- The painting pops now. I agree that the shadows add more depth. Ain't WC a great place. People helping other people. Now THAT is what the internet is for.:)

Don- You did a very good job on the parrot, especially using a limited palette. The bird looks very round and plump. You got good mileage using ten sticks.

Chuas- Great texture on the limes. I really like your plate. You managed to get a good shine to it. I can't wait to see the painting when you add more shadow to the limes.

Thanks to everyone for you comments on Wort's Up? It is greatly appreciated.


06-18-2010, 05:04 PM
Perfection. So precise.

06-18-2010, 05:31 PM
Personally, I really like this. It's quirky, looser, and fun.
Thanks for sharing, David

06-18-2010, 05:36 PM
I like your frog, too. The looseness and texture is more appealing to me personally than precision, but each to his own. I like the pop away from the background...very well done.

06-18-2010, 06:36 PM
Thanks David, good to see you here. Hope to see some of your work soon?

06-18-2010, 07:49 PM
Chuas -- you will see, indeed. Trying to make the June 30 deadline for the tree frog ;)

No faffling allowed, LOL.

I'm an amateur...but loving it...and thrilled to participate.

06-18-2010, 09:15 PM
Wow! Lots of awesome work going on over here! Its always a treat to see each persons version of the different references.

Thanks Charlie for putting together such a fun and informative challenge!

I couldn't resist the tree frog. I picked out the brightest orangy paper I had to begin with, since orange seems to work well with green. (canson MT).
Then did a quick sketch to get proportions somewhat accurate. Finished up with some red in the foreground leaves to complement the greens- just for fun. CC welcome. size is 5 x 7 inches.





06-19-2010, 03:23 AM
Kermit seems to be *the* star of the show. :-)

Ron, beautiful frog, well met challenge with very varied greens! He pops! Excellent values! Orange works so well with greens as it functions both as toning down, being a near complementary, and also for lighting the sunlight -- orange paper (well, any colour of paper) works as an underpainting. Had you chosen a dull dark violet, it would have been a good underpainting for shadows. (Of course you know this, I'm typing it as there are a lot of people new to pastels who'll read this.) If paper is chosen for shadows, then the lights need extra work, and vice versa, if paper is chosen for light, then shadows need work, which your first photo shows, there is where you set the darks.

David, if time doesn't allow you to finish before the end of the month, post it in the Soft Pastel Studio/Gallery, our other sub-forum. But I hope you get to post it here!


06-19-2010, 08:52 AM
Charlie, thanks so much for hosting!

This is my first time posting to Spotlight. Also my first time doing an animal, and only my 4th pastel. But, I learned much from everyone else and really enjoyed their postings.

I chose a darker paper as you will see--Colourfix--because I wanted to focus on the actual frog without a bunch of background dust in the way. (I don't have an easel here in Iraq.) I am using simple Blick pastels--the 30 colors box. No complicated tools, as it's difficult to get supplies to here.

Tried not to "faffle" too much. :) Cheers, David



Underpainting detail:

First Draft:


Frog Final:


06-19-2010, 11:36 AM
Great work David! I think if we had a contest, you'd get the "coolest leaves" award. His Greenness is super too!

Charlie, this is the only spotlight I can remember where so many people did one photo. We should do a collage and put the photos together, to see all the different styles and interpretations of our Kermit (I've gotten quite fond of him)! :)

06-19-2010, 11:50 AM
Charlie- thanks, it was an enjoyable painting, good green exercise

David- great job! expecially with limited colors. Glad you were able to participate. How big is your painting? These challenges are perfect places to learn and experiment with different things. You will soon be addicted like the rest of us to our pastels!! Thanks for all you guys are doing over there.

06-19-2010, 12:10 PM
Chuas / Kris -
Thanks. I learned not to "faffle" because the more I worked on his greenness, the less vibrant he became, and duller. I liked the 1st draft best...because could still see the purples and oranges from underneath.

But, I thought those iridescent / fluorescent colors might be too severe, and started added darker values. They took away his verve. Now he looks more like a toad with a Budweiser hangover, than a tree frog.

I wasn't as pressed about the leaves, and in the end was happier with the interplay of colors on them than on the actual frog. The leaves are dominating, now.

After posting my "final" here, I did go back and add more vibrant green to bring him back to life. It helped, and took out some of those obvious marks (scuttling?).

Kris, your frog rocks...colors pure, vibrant and looks like he just hopped out of the pond...

Rugman / Ron - is my pleasure, so you are welcome. This paper is about 12 x 14, has a slightly gritty tooth (400 maybe?). Thought the purple would work well with the green, although I noticed after the background was finished, the colors in the frog changed. All about relationship, I see!

06-19-2010, 12:30 PM
David, gorgeous froggie! And leaf! Amazing what you can do with only 30 pastels! Like Don, you show us that we don't need oodles, if only we know how to use the ones we've got. The leaf still reads as basically 'green'. Froggy looks slightly warty too, good! Very well met challenge!

Chuas, a collage/gallery would be very nice, but there is so much work involved. Anyone volunteer?


06-19-2010, 02:13 PM
Ron- Thanks for sharing your stages with us. I always enjoy seeing the different stages of a painting. The greens work very well on the orange paper. Nice touch with the red in the leaves.

David- Welcome to the dusty area of WC. I think it is already too late for you. You seem to be addicted already. Welcome to the club.:D You did a very good job on the frog, with a limited palette. I love the colours in the leaves. Since you think you improved your painting, why not post another photo? Thanks for sharing your stages of the painting.


CM Neidhofer
06-19-2010, 04:56 PM
Chuas, a collage/gallery would be very nice, but there is so much work involved. Anyone volunteer?


I'll do it after the end of month if you like. I know I don't have mine finished yet. I think a collage would be awesome!

06-19-2010, 05:38 PM
Your comments were constructive, encouraging, and much appreciated. This is probably the most celebrated and closely studied tree frog in history.

Addicted? Certainly. :) The constructive nature of the forum helps.

The last changes were relatively simple. Tried to downplay some of the green/yellow highlighting and smooth it into a more vibrant Mr. Ribbit that would hold his own against strong directional and color areas in the background.

I've heard...that tree frogs like to blend into the background...in this pastel...not so much.

Mr. Ribbit needs to be the star--I get that part. I'm still trying to help him find the road to Hollywood, or Cannes, wherever.

I will try the window scene next; although I've never painted flowers. :crossfingers:


06-19-2010, 07:41 PM
Chuas, Wonderful rendition of the limes and plate! The pinkish highlights on the plate are right on!

Ron and David - Great job on the frog! Both are very nicely done!


06-19-2010, 10:27 PM
David that is some good work!

06-19-2010, 10:30 PM
I'll do it after the end of month if you like. I know I don't have mine finished yet. I think a collage would be awesome!

Christine, that would be fantastic! I'd do it, and I'll try if you don't have time, but I'm not sure my Photoshop skills are up to it1

06-20-2010, 03:56 AM
Christine, wonderful! You're officially the gallery maker of this month! Thank you so much! I love galleries, but this month I simply have no time to make them.

David, the only thing I'd do with your froggy painting is to lose the violet 'halo' around his back. It can still be violet, but if you make the strokes follow the leaf instead of the frog, I'm pretty sure the frog will, as it were, leap out. :-) Possibly, stroking a darker blue over the violet will make it recede a bit more. In a 30 set, there is usually too few really dark sticks; a way to get around that is to apply black or charcoal in the shadow/dark areas already in the underpainting, and then fix it. Have no fixative? Moisten the black pastel, pastels become like 'gouache' when wet, and dry firm and unsmudging. (The sparkle is 'killed', but that doesn't matter in an underpainting.)


CM Neidhofer
06-20-2010, 06:46 AM
What would everyone like for the gallery? Straight line listed with name, or just throw them all into my collage program and let 'em fall??!!

06-20-2010, 08:21 AM
Christine, thank you for volunteering!

Charlie, followed your advice -- the halo is gone. He looks better, but now is merely mortal. :)

Your tips on how to get darks using charcoal, then fixative helps, with this simple Blick set. Until I can get charcoal, I took the darkest brown + darkest blue and laid over the violet. It is my darkest value without resorting to black.

I appreciate your time, Charlie, and believe this Froggie would have much to talk about now that he's been painted in so many places of the world.


06-20-2010, 10:40 AM
Great job with the revisions David and with the limited palette. Although I number among the pastel "junkies" who prefer to believe you need 2,000 sticks to paint a decent picture. :rolleyes:

Charlie, I'm reworking my limes and will repost hopefully today. Freaking work is getting in the way...:(

06-20-2010, 11:08 AM
David, great update!

Christine, I prefer straight, with name. I know, much more work... We'll see what the vote says, and go with democracy.

Chuas, take your time, you have ten more days. Yes, isn't work irritating!


06-20-2010, 02:41 PM
What would everyone like for the gallery? Straight line listed with name, or just throw them all into my collage program and let 'em fall??!!

Ah, a collage program (slapping forehead)! I vote for straight line, no name.

06-20-2010, 04:23 PM
Hi :wave: I'm back safe and sound if a little shell shocked getting back to reality :eek:

Thanks everyone for your comments about my frog. There have been some great frogs on here!

Jennylynne, Thanks for your comments re my website :thumbsup: more work needed but I'll get there.

Chuas Love the Rose! It shines out from that BG beautifully.

Mary Lovely Limes! Those shadows are great and I too like the wood in the BG.

Sandy Thanks! I've looked at your website and...WOW! Gorgeous work. Can't find your fav 15% entry though (probably me, I have the attention span of a.....frog!)

Don Wow! What a great exercise with a limited palette! It worked brilliantly. Thank heavens for blue and yellow. I think I may try one of these without using green (but I may chicken out)

Chuas Excellent limes! The furrows round the plate are exceptional, as is the wood. My turn to be :envy:

Ron Love seeing the stages of yours. Amazing how a perfect Frog pops out from the sketch stage into the final painting! Very well done!

David Welcome to pastels and the spotlight. This is another great frog. Thanks for showing your stages. I love the colours you've put in the leaves while still retaining the look of leaves! Well done!

Christine Well volunteered for the gallery. I vote for straight lines with names. It'll be GREAT to see all those Kermits together!

Sorry if I've missed anyone but it's hard catching up with a week's worth of postings :(

Wonder if I'll get time to do another one...........

06-20-2010, 06:19 PM
Welcome back Ruthie! Sounds like you had a good relaxing time? Now it's time to get back to "work." you have a few more days, go girl!

06-20-2010, 06:38 PM
Ruthie, welcome back! Thanks for catching me in IM this afternoon and kicking me into action on the Spotlight. I've done preliminary sketches, but I'll post them when i've done my bird.

06-20-2010, 09:52 PM
Wow I can't believe how much has happened since my last visit to the thread. I love watching how every one has 'done' green. It is my nemesis!! Anyway here is my attempt, I would love some advise on how I went wrong. And I confess, I forgot the exercises and don't have computer access where I paint - so I will print out all the advise and take it with me next time (and do the exercises) determined to get this. huni

here goes; :o

Done with limited palette in conte on Tex

06-20-2010, 10:16 PM
:clap: that is so lovely Huni!

pastel lover
06-20-2010, 10:30 PM
Hello Everyone,

Here is my version of the green door. I am not satisfied with it but I can't nail down why. Maybe you guys cans. C&C welcome. 9x12 Wallis, assort softies.
I am including a couple of pre painting steps. Thanks for looking.




06-21-2010, 01:00 AM
Tania it's wonderful - I really like the deep purple interior and how cool and 'recessed' it is. Such a nice choice at it points up the sun and hot walls in a way I didn't. well done. huni

06-21-2010, 05:14 AM
Huni, it is lovely! Doing this with a limited palette is just great! I think that darkening the deep shadow inside will pop it, and if you do, take care that the vault darkens gradually, that is, it is lighter next to the opening. A hint of blue or pink on the door in light would cool it down a hair and make it different from the beautiful foliage greens. Very nice play with cools and warms in the foliage, it looks great!

Tanja, gorgeous! Wonderful foliage, and the depth of the darks really make the lights shine. The challenge is beautifully met, all greens separate and pushed towards their essences! Whatever it is with it that you're not happy with is in the realm of nit-picks. And, for nit picks, I'd look at the wall to the right. It is hard to see in the photo, but I think the top part of it continues straight out, and then there is a perpendicular part at the lower half. There is a zig-zag of walls there, and one way of bringing out the differences to make that clear is to think of the reflected light. The recession, 'door post', faces left, and would get warm greens reflected into it, and yours is noticeably darker, looks great, no change needed. The next part out faces forward, and looks cooler and lighter, so maybe a pale blue? Then the bit of wall faces left, but gets more sky, so, say a slightly darker green-blue would separate it from the forward facing bit. That's the only nits I could think of, and I had to search for them.

Very well done, both of you!


06-21-2010, 08:31 AM
Huni, your version of the green door looks great!

Tanja, yours is gorgeous too. The door looks a bit more blue than the reference but other than that it's beautiful.

Charlie made much more effective suggestions than I could though, both of these are spectacular.

Yesterday I did preliminary sketches for the bird and today I'm going to dare to get going on him. I'm not sure why I'm so nervous about this when I love the color green and love the references, especially when there's easy subjects like the frog and bird among them. But I got really nervous about it and kept procrastinating on starting.

06-21-2010, 08:45 AM
Hi Robert, paint it anyway. There is absolutely nothing to be nervous about, he'll be beautiful! And if he's not, (which he will be), you can post it to encourage others (seasoned artists not succeeding entirely is highly inspirational to emerging artists), or, post in the spirit of, or, don't post. Remember, you can brush it off, and reuse the paper. Enough talk, get going -- the only way to beat procrastination is to do it anyway.


06-21-2010, 11:10 AM
Robert - procrastination is the thief of time. Just do it! It'll be great!

Huni. This is lovely, you didn't go wrong! Charlie's given some good tips. I'll just say I love the texture you've achieved on the wall, especially round the doorway.

Tanja, I think you should be happy with this, it's a great painting! You have so much detail on the door and I love the graceful arching stems of the rose.

I had some advice on mine from Jackie Simmonds in the gallery so I'll be re-visiting it when I get the chance....please let it be tomorrow!

06-21-2010, 12:19 PM
Dear Robert, I do not know why you say that!

As far as I have seen your works ALWAYS turned out beautifully.

I may try one of the windows too, I just have not hhave the time ...

pastel lover
06-21-2010, 01:04 PM
Hi Guys,

Huni - thanks so much & I love the variety of greens that you captured.
Charlie - thank you for your comments & suggestions. I think you are totally right about the wall on the right. It must be what is bothering me as I re-painted it no less than 4 times.
Robert - thank you. The door is actually more green IRL. I scummbled a buttercup yellow over turquoise & the camera just picked up the turquoise. Next time I will use a brighter yellow. I am sure your bird will be lovely, as always. I too, find greens to be a little intimidating.
Ruthie - thank you & will be looking forward to your painting.


06-21-2010, 01:42 PM
Robert nervous? Must be a different Robert Sloan. The Robert I know (with the Wonder Cat and Hairballs of Mystery) fears no evil, laughs in the face of danger, slays dragons, etc. :eek:

Tanja, Huni, FABULOUS! Love them both! I'd be really happy with either of these paintings! Good job you two!

06-21-2010, 02:23 PM
Huni -- the scene is beautiful. I love the pinkish tint of the walls playing against the turquoise in the door. Very nicely done.

06-21-2010, 03:46 PM
Charlie, thank you! Well, I did -- at least as far as I have.

First, three preliminary drawings in Pitt Artist Pens on regular sketchbook paper just to get familiar with the subject. I was nervous about it, so I decided -- why not? If I draw something more than once I get better at it.


I was happy with these. I didn't have a full range of colors but I was cool with how I got it down, and so today I noodled around a lot all morning getting out my supplies one by one. I finally sketched the outline from the negative space with a green pastel pencil on Sienna PastelMat. The marked off area is 6" x 8" to give it a standard size and some space to go under the mat.


So far so good. I didn't like the back of the chair and sketched in a branch instead at an angle. I decided looking at the blurred background in the reference, that using Pan Pastels for the background might give a similar effect and let me go darker and cooler with it.


I liked that, but it scanned grayer than it actually is. So I went on to do the bird in Pan Pastels using a round ended sponge, the "cloud sponge," and a small applicator.


Using the scanner software, I tried two different crops to change the balance, since it really didn't look good to me in layout once the bird was in unless I added some second element like a flower in lower left. I didn't feel like making up a tropical flower.


I think I like this crop more than the last one.


Which of the crops do y'all like best, the original 6" width, the slightly wider cropped one or the narrowest crop?

Other question, is this done?

I was going to go in again on it with pastel pencils for details, and I still might, but I'm not sure now. Well, I do know I'll need to drill in that white highlight on the eye if nothing else, but should I elaborate on other things or just let it stay a Pans painting exactly as it is after doing that? I don't think the white highlight would work with the small applicator, it'd go on best with a white General's charcoal pencil over the black.

I'll do that now and detail his feet, which I just realized I hadn't done -- the blobby feet don't look right and aren't final even if it stays mostly Pans.

Oh and I think maybe there is one lesson for those less experienced. It doesn't matter how good you get, there are days with attacks of nerves and moments of stalling frustration and there are times when you feel like you could do anything, and there are also times you look at what you did and gasp and wonder if some genius came in and stole your studio to do it.

I don't think these moods have anything to do with how good you are. I think they might be natural growing pains that show you're still growing.

Thank you for being so supportive, you and everyone who encouraged me and pushed when I needed it. I don't know why this scared me that much, but it did.

Well, here he is with more details in Pans and some pastel pencil details. The General's white charcoal pencil worked for the eye highlight and beak highlight, plus I used a Paynes Grey one to detail the feet. Then I went back to the Pans and detailed and textured the feathers more.

I hope this worked. I went with my second crop, though that was just defined by how I cropped the scan and so if you liked the wider one more, the background's still there.

Green Parrot
4 1/2" x 8"
Pan Pastels
Sienna PastelMat
Photo reference by Scoller

06-21-2010, 04:23 PM
Beautiful painting Robert. And it would be beautiful even if it weren't "beautiful" because you punched through the anxiety about doing it, and did it....wonderfully. Be proud.

06-21-2010, 04:33 PM
Wow, thank you!

06-21-2010, 05:03 PM
Chaus:- very nice on the limes; great lights and darks; and I like your color choices on the limes!
Ron:Very nice on the the frog, whew alot of variations in green on your painting-very nice!
Greenbrier:Very nice on the frog; love the color palette you used!
huni: beautiful painting!
Tanya; I don't see anything wrong with your painting; very beautiful- alot really sharp details on the flowers!
Robert: Wow, very nice on the parrot; really love the subtle details and the color choices!
:clap: :clap: :clap:
I finally finished the geraniums and the window. I opt not to do an underpainting and did layers of colors to get the right hue. Done on 9" x 7"
sienna pastelmat with pastel pencils, semi-hard pastels and various soft pastels. :)

06-21-2010, 06:36 PM
Tammy, thank you! I like your take on the window, the geraniums and the foliage. Very cool layered greens in the foliage, that's beautiful. I like the strong values, varied hues, and the clean lines of everything.

06-21-2010, 06:53 PM
Robert - Wow! I like the sketches as much as the finished. Beautiful creature. Thank you for sharing.

Tammy - thank you. Less than 20 colors there...maybe one of these days will have one of those nice hand-made sets from England !

06-21-2010, 07:03 PM
Tammy, you brought the green home.
It reminds me of that famous lady Dorothy Draper who designed the interior for the Greenbrier Hotel. She would have used your illustration at the resort.

06-21-2010, 07:44 PM
Robert...they are all wonderful...but I think I prefer the wider crop the best.
Love seeing your process...it is such a learning experience for us viewers.
Tammy...very nice geranium pic...
Love the frogs...they all came out so well!

I had hoped to get to do the frog, myself....but now I'm not sure if it'll happen. Anyway, have loved seeing everyone's versions of the 'green'...

06-21-2010, 08:19 PM
Greenbrier, thank you!

Judi, thank you. Go ahead and try the frog. I had the nerve to do the bird, so I want to see your frog!

06-21-2010, 11:10 PM
I havent been able to paint for a while but you are all doing a wonderful job.Love all the frogs and parrots and wonderful limes all so good and so diferent! Great job all of you.

Yea Robert you did it. :clap: Just when I was worying because I had not seen you and here you are fretting over this beautiful parrot. It is gorgeous! I do understand as I have looked at that parrot and really wanted to do it and thought no I couldn't come close to Ruthies. Now I gues I will have to! I'm off to Chicago tomorrow to see my Grandkids so probably wont get much painting done for a while. Jen

06-21-2010, 11:21 PM
David- really like how you finished the frog

Huni- great job on your version of the door

Tanja- beautiful work!

Robert- so glad you gave it a go! awesome job. like your color choices, they really "zing". I have got to get me some of that pastelmat! Your sketches are cool, I like them.

Tammi- great work. simple and elegant. l like the linear aspects of your painting, like in the door area.

pastel lover
06-22-2010, 12:59 AM
Robert - you really nailed the parrot. Looks fabulous & with all pan pastels! Just enough detail to be convincing & wonderful color palette.
Tammy - lovely job on your window. Love the way your colors interact with each other.
Ron - thank you.



06-22-2010, 03:50 AM
Robert, great job with the pans on the Parrot. I couldn't come close to that with pans. I find them frustratingly uncontrollable! Love your sketches too. They are so vibrant.
Tammy, I agree, nice take on the window, simple but very effective.
Oh I hope I'll have time for another...........

06-22-2010, 05:12 AM
Robert, yay! Beautiful! Your case of nerves was just, well, nerves, this is a gorgeous birdie! Love your sketches, your drawing skills are great! Fwiw, I prefer the narrower crop, as a lot of empty space behind him doesn't really add anything to it. Space in front of would work. Anyways, the final pic looks great, paintwise and cropwise. You brought him to a better finish, the greens are luxurious and clearly different between lights and darks, and the detail work makes him alive! Very well met challenge!

Tammy, absolutely lovely window painting! We've seen a lot of underpaintings, and now you show us how to make varied greens by working other colours into them. Those pink-green leaves are sublime, very well done! Beautiful geraniums that pop against the bg and the greens!


06-22-2010, 12:37 PM
Tammy, I LOVE your window! Bright, clear, clean and cheery. Love it!

Judi, you HAVE to do the frog. We're going to collage it, and it may become famous round the world and people will be clamoring for our autographs, and you must be there!
:lol: :lol:

06-22-2010, 05:56 PM
well, when you put it THAT way, Chuas.....LOL. Guess I better get on it. (tomorrow, maybe)

06-22-2010, 07:15 PM
Huni - outstanding results. I love the stone work and the shadows behind the vine. The image is inviting and make me want to step inside.

Tanja - personally, I see perfection. Love the pinks, yellows and the magenta shadowing under the archway. The details in the vine are perfect mastery of green. The contrast of green against the room / door shadow is great!

Robert - How is the parrot coming?

Tammy, your window scene brings me home.

06-22-2010, 07:59 PM
With a few days left in June, and that I need the practice, decided to try the window scene. The meanest demon in this scene? I think -- the grape vine. But, after all, this is an exercise in green.

I started on a 9 x 12 Colourfix, reddish / burnt-sienna paper, as you see in the underpainting. I thought reds would complement the greens, while adding texture to the wall and a touch of realism to clay tiles lining the window sill.

I loosely underpainted; chose complements where possible; left wall space alone...knowing it was already pre-colored and dark enough.

At the focal point, I especially enjoyed the geraniums! And, with my simple 30-color set, had a few vibrant orange and red to add a pop to the flowers.

This was hard...for me personally...but fun! Believe the exercise in working with green helped me understand the techniques and impacts of layering color, especially when confined to a limited palette.

I have not "fixed" it yet; and welcome constructive c&c for sake of improvements. It's all about learning...and I'm ears for that.

My iPhone does NOT take good pics of this type of medium, especially when further reduced in quality for upload to internet. Not an excuse...rather just some explanation that what I see in person is not what is on this webpage.

Thanks, all. I so enjoy reading your posts and learning from your work !

David, from Iraq.


First draft:


06-22-2010, 08:28 PM
very nice, Dave...Love seeing the process.
well, Chuas, you shamed me into it....I went down and spent an hour with kermit....here he is, hubby says he's 'funny looking'...have to say, I agree.
But here he is, anyway.

I used bugra paper, which didnt work so well this time...8x10 mostly soft pastels. the spots on his back were accidental...I went outside to shake it off, and it was raining! LOL.

06-22-2010, 09:01 PM
Judi, He's cuuuuuute! Love it. He's giving that happy-hoppy feel.

Did raindrops do those little warts? (Or, are they some distortion over internet I am seeing...) They're real...

06-22-2010, 10:28 PM

I don't know what you were worried about because your parrot is gorgeous! :clap: :clap: :clap:

David I love your window. I sketch mone and never finished it! I really like the underpainting work you did.

Judi your frog stands out beautifully over the leave. I like it!

Everyone's work has been so amazing this month. I am green with envy! :lol: :lol: Charlie did put us on a wonderful road!

pastel lover
06-22-2010, 11:20 PM
David - wonderful job on your window. I can't decide what I like best, the vine or those gorgeous geraniums! Thanks for posting your steps each are wonderful on their own.
Judi - Love your frog! And love his dots. I would like to do the frog if I had time, looks like fun.


06-22-2010, 11:55 PM
Huni- There is nothing to be embarressed about. It looks lovely. Very good use of complementary colours with the green leaves against the red walls. Nice sense of depth too.

Tanja- Thanks for sharing your steps. Your sketch gives me food for thought. The green leaves pop nicely. I really like the shadow in the doorway.

Robert- Thanks for sharing all your preliminary sketches working up to your painting. I really like the Pitt pen sketch. It is a great idea to do all this to work out the painting. The painting looks fantastic. The pans really worked well on the parrot. The red feathers look great with the green ones. Nice mix of greens. Welcome back.

Tammy- Nice mix of greens and reds. They pop nicely against the wall. Way to go.

David- Another good job with a limited palette. The red underpainting works great with the greens. Good job on the window sill and flower pots too.

Judi- I am glad you 'hopped to it' :lol: and painted the frog. You used a good combination of cool and warm greens. He looks quite content sitting on the leaves. Way to go.


06-22-2010, 11:58 PM
David I love what you did with this limited pallet. Really nice job.Jen

Judibelle you from is great. Nice job. Jen

06-23-2010, 11:23 AM
Great job David! Love what you did with the various foliage. It's bright and cheery! Kudos for staying inspired in a very desolate place. :)

Love the frog in all his warty glory Judi! He is funny looking. I think that's why we all painted him!

06-23-2010, 03:18 PM
David, lovely painting of the window! The red underpainting works great to tone down greens. Very good foliage, the trickiest part of this reference. Thank you for showing the steps!

Judi, Kermit is adorable! He looks like he's quietly laughing at a prank, trying to stay undiscovered! Really good greens, from beige-ish to bright to cool blue. The raindrops are perfect to give him that texture, a lucky accident. Well done.


06-23-2010, 04:19 PM
David, great job on that window scene. I love the leaves on the vine.
Judi, Cute Kermit! And a flash of inspiration from you to take it out in the rain, lol, giving him a real froggie texture.
Well I started one today and thought I'd finish but it was not to be. Back to it on Friday.
Here's the underpainting and where I am so far. This is on Uart 600 which fills up more quickly than fisher 400 so not as much leeway for faffing!


06-23-2010, 04:32 PM
Ruthie, looking very good already!


06-24-2010, 10:04 AM
Sorry, I got lost in kid end of school chaos.
Charlie, your frog reference rocked. I think he has definitely been celebrated by all. You challenged all of us to "think green", great job on the Spotlight.
There has been some amazing work done in this spotlight. I'm too behind the eight ball to comment on them all. Great ideas abound and are going to become part of the skill set, I hope.
Thanks, Terri (Christine, great idea on the collage)

06-24-2010, 04:03 PM
Ruthie, the rose is a beautiful start. I couldn't stop looking at it...and I don't even like flowers. The water droplets look are real; and the striations and curling in the petals--as if nature painted them.

06-24-2010, 06:36 PM
Good job so far on the rose Ruthie. It's a difficult one, isn't it? I had to take samples of different leaves in Photoshop because no matter how hard I looked at it, I couldn't figure out what color the leaves were, especially the greenish reddish ones in sunlight :confused:

06-24-2010, 07:50 PM
Was '89 the best year for Pinot Noir, or was it '96?

So, I took a chance on the cellar image. Tough !
Obviously I haven't learned how to do shadowing :o . I also overworked the foliage -- it is not translucent, or transparent / airy, and parts are muddy. Plus, the climbing roses must be the LARGEST blooms in history.

One technique problem: as a male with probably way too much testosterone to do "soft" pastel, I come in with a way-too-firm touch. I need to lighten up! ("Tip-toe", instead?)

My dentist said 2 years ago: "Lighten up. You're rubbing the enamel off your teeth when you brush so hard." Well, I'm still brushing too hard...now with a "soft" pastel, as you see.

At any rate, I really enjoyed the exercise and welcome any comments. I like red climbing roses better than that white flowering vines, so...little change there. I know the foliage is...um...boring. Needs work. Even some flower pots with varied foliage would have been more attractive.

But the point of a Green challenge is well-taken -- got LOTS of practice with different types of foliage, surface, texture and color from Charlie's wonderful exercise.

Now, about that wine !!! :grouphug:



Maybe? Final:


06-24-2010, 08:02 PM
Robert - gorgeous parrot and loved the pre sketches - something I should do I guess.

Tammy - thanks and you have a well rendered window and such nice light filled wall behind it.

Ron- thanks, did you do one yet?

Dave -ta soo nice yours, love the red under painting, thats what I forgot to try.

Love the spots as well Judi, nice soft wet frog.

Doug thanks, no panic now :)

Ruthie, I learn from you every tome I see one of your lovely works and this is no exception.

Did the frog last night and enjoyed it so much I forgot to concentrate on the greens. All done on canson red, with hard contes till the end then I needed AS white and gold/yellow. Who knew - frogs have warts on their eyes, yuck!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jun-2010/216044-DSC01433.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jun-2010/216044-DSC01436.JPG
Just a quickie so decided to leave the red paper shine through, not sure about it but would have taken a few more hours otherwise. huni

06-24-2010, 08:05 PM
Dave I was posting at the same time -- lovely one - it seems you can draw and it shows - can't help on the foliage - still learning it myself but this is good. huni

06-25-2010, 02:01 AM
David, thanks for sharing three stages on your beautiful geraniums in window. I love that. You might have been using a limited palette but you did fantastic!

Judi, wow! Froggy is great! I like the way you kept all the detail to the focal point, the loose background pushes attention toward the frog and especially his eyes.

The rain spots don't hurt him at all, they look deliberate. Smile and don't tell people that when you frame it. Practice this cat quote. "I meant to do that." Along with the serene feline confidence to go with it. Froggy's great, and your troubles with the Bugra paper didn't stop you from a good painting!

Ruthie, your rose is breathtaking! I love it. That is so cool. Wonderful warm underpainting knocked back and turned into something that gives the flower a gorgeous glow. Greens as the supporting actors worked so well for you!

06-25-2010, 02:04 AM
David, your climbing roses look like the kind of big clusters many types of climbing roses get. They read natural to me. Foliage texture is dense but interesting and doesn't distract from the green door, which is splendid.

Huni, your underpainting is loose and powerful, a good sketch, the finish is refined and beautiful. Well done on your frog! Agree with you on Judi's frog, the spots are cool.

06-25-2010, 06:54 AM
Robert, thanks. I've really enjoyed getting to know your work and learning from you!

One thing I learned quickly about pastels is that it offers get-out-of-jail-free cards. And, lots of them. I went back to the painting today, after a night's rest, and realized that I can shrink the over-sized rose clusters--that pastel allows you to correct mistakes. So, I split them down the middle, did some infill, and am MUCH happier with the result. At least the clusters are more proportionate to reality now, not super-sized freaks!

I also added a few of the Silver Lace plants on the right. Believed that area needed help, too: something taller; something varied from hosta things growing there.

Here are closeups of the two fixes which hopefully show that even amateurs like me can fix mistakes easily with pastels.

Cheers, Dave


06-25-2010, 10:53 AM
David, another beauty! The 'giant' clusters did work well, and the halving them too! Changing things is easy with pastels, yes. Good varied greens. The bit of stony doorpost adjacent to the door, I'd like to point out how it glows with sunshine, because it has a yellow underpainting. Love the added flowers.

Huni, wow, gorgeous Kermit! Is that your underpainting, to the left? Have to tell you, it can stand on it's own as a painting, the reds showing through are beautiful. The finished version is perfect! Great greens, not focusing on them worked really well for you!


06-25-2010, 11:37 AM
David, I think you did a really good job with this. I've also been chastised for scrubbing the enamel off of my teeth, so can relate to heavy-handedness (testosterone induced or not). I think you said you work on Colourfix paper? Wait until you get your hands on some Wallis or UArt. The "edit, undo" on those is spectacular!

Huni, fantastic Kermits! Great job on his toes and warty (?) eyes. All nice and moist/froggy looking too. Gotta love that guy!

06-25-2010, 12:59 PM
David, I really like your take on the doorway one, both the original and amended one. Changing the roses to red really alters the dynamic of the scene. I think I like the "split" clusters better. Pastels are great aren't they. I think that's why I love them so much, they are very forgiving of mistakes/changes of mind!
Huni, Your Frog is stunning! I wish you'd posted it a little bigger....maybe you could?

Thanks everyone for the comments on my rose which I managed to finish today. Don't like the Uart 600 for my style (heavy handed just like you David) but I accidentally found that if you use a tortillon/stump to try and make an edge it takes off a layer of pastel. So I finished this one by squiggling around with a stump exposing some of the red. I'd be interested in what you think of the effect.


06-25-2010, 05:33 PM
Ruthie, it's GORGEOUS!! I really love what you did with this. ooooohhhhhh!

06-25-2010, 09:32 PM
Ruthie, your rose is GORGEOUS!

Dave, I was so inspired with your door, that I tried one. I have been telling myself I needed to, but was really lazy. :o

As usual, I probably could have done better. I seem to rush a lot when working with pastels. I do not know why...

06-26-2010, 05:52 AM
Ruthie, it's gorgeous! Cool light and warmer shadows are consistent, the really tricky "burgundy greens" just great, and catching sky-reflections. Dewdrop, like a gem. The varied an general "green stuff" background is entirely sufficient to read as "green stuff in the distance". The reds there work great in two ways: making the greens shimmer, muting them, and making the whole painting into a red/green colour scheme. (Yes, that was three ways. :-)

Heavy handedness: not only a male phenomenon. Me too. What are your tricks to be more lighthanded? Mine is to not grip the stick for dear life, and thinking of Richard McKinley, how he lets a stick barely touch the paper and then doing it again if he needs more colour. Another trick is similar to Ruthies; to take a brush and flick off excesses of dust.

Maria, good greens! They range from cooler and deeper blue-greens to really warm greens. Very nice dark depth inside. Lovely cream/green scheme. It is lovely, and if *you* feel you could do better, then I believe you. Pastels are a quick medium (no drying time), so maybe they lure you to greater speed in applying them? If you really *want* to, you can slow down and work up a more finished painting. But this one has a lovely immediacy, and if that is your style, what you really want to do, then go for it.


06-26-2010, 08:21 AM
Ruthie, Perfection, as always. Would love have hanging on my wall. The water droplets and blue reflections on the top / right rose leaves...so cool, balancing the heat of this perfect peach rose.

Maria, Pretty take on the door. I could take a lesson from you, because I spent too much time overworking it and turning into muddy piles of pastel. Love your looser approach to foliage because it ends up airy, the way a real vine would look, not dense and overworked. What size is the paper? Are you using Wallis? What kind of pastels?
Very nice!

Charlie, I have no tricks yet for heavy handedness. But, I can draw a wicked mean heavy line !
I will need to lighten up soon, though. Returning to the States in August to an expensive set of English handmade soft pastels that I could not get shipped to here. Those softies won't tolerate the abuse I've been putting on 30-color Blick. Nonetheless, happy to learn basics with Neanderthal tools; will appreciate the finer goods later on.

This has been a great challenge and am looking forward to July. :thumbsup:

06-26-2010, 09:27 AM
Ruthie, that rose is to die for!

Dave, I love the door and stone door frame. You can feel the warmth of the sunshine.

06-26-2010, 11:05 AM
Maria, great job on the door, I think this is beautiful. I love the linework.

David, I gotta admit your foliage is a little tortured, but I like it too! Will be anxious to see how your style evolves when you come home to your new supplies!

Charlie, this has been a really productive month, and proof that there are NO "right and wrong" ways, just different and wonderful ones! Yay for us!

06-26-2010, 12:34 PM
David- Good job on the doorway. The dark shadow gives the painting good depth. I like your changes too. Pastel can be very forgiving.:)

Huni- Another adorable frog for the collection. The red paper makes the greens pop. I like how the red shows though in places. Well done.

Ruthie- A beautiful rose. I LOVE the leaves, and the dew drop just adds to the look. I like how the reds show through the background. A happy accident?:)

Maria- Very good job on the doorway. Nice range of greens. I like the loose style on the leaves. Good shadow in the doorway.


06-26-2010, 03:15 PM
I swear there was some moaning about the challenge of greens in early June, with all the work everyone has done -- sure looks like everyone enjoyed it. I'm always so late getting here halfway thru the month - I study each work to learn everything I can. Thanks so much for posting, all of you!! I won't comment on each one but hopefully one from each of you.

Ruthie - wow -- but really love the doorway - I am in awe of your work
Robin - the limes - wonderful shapes, lines on plates and light
Tammy - also the limes -- well set on the plate, colors
Chaus - your first rose was really cool (imo) but the second -- beautiful
Doug thanks for sharing all the steps lovely shading
Sandy - very clever combining two love the feathers
Yvonne - great colors and close up look
Judi -- your frog is soo cute - great colors
Maria - love the door
Terri -- wonderful - love the bg
Ann - great job on the plate and shadows
Christine -- good start - hope to see your finish
Pat - gorgeous colors, thanks for steps
Mary - love your textures
Don wonderful detail on your parrot and stroke work
Ron like this loose style and shading
David - love the window scene and like the delicate job on the geraniums.
Huni - love the door way, excellent textures
Tanja - very cool!
Robert - great eyes on this guy, also the feathers

(sorry if I missed anyone) Charlie-- thanks for a great challenge.


06-26-2010, 03:23 PM
The parrot seemed challenging to me but I really like all the photos, so I will have to go back to others later. I did a few color studies and the tree demo but forgot to upload the photos.

C&C welcome and appreciate

2 works (was intimidated by the whole bird, so much fun on first, tried again)
both of these on black colorfix



and u/p

06-26-2010, 04:01 PM
Nansketch, wow! The close portrait of the bird is fantastic! I swear he'll bite my finger if I try to touch him! Very nice greens in the full figure bird, the higher contrast between light and darks are great for shaping volme. I admire you guys who work on black paper, I find that hard to do. It is easier if one punches up the lights with an underpainting, though (at least, for me). Great job! Can't wait to see your next ones!

Chuas, thank you, I'm so glad you say "there are NO "right and wrong" ways, just different and wonderful ones!". I like to say that there are ways that work, and ways that don't work. So, it might be 'wrong', but if it works, then it is suddenly 'right'. I'd love it if we all would strike 'right/wrong' from our painterly vocabulaires, in our own heads, and put in "lets try this and see if it works", and "wonder what happens if I do xyz". :-) Creativity is, after all, ingenuity, testing things, doing what others have not done, treading where others fear to go. (And many more things, but for this context, it is sufficient.)


06-26-2010, 08:46 PM
Nancy- Both of your parrots look great. Your strokes work well for feathers. The warm greens and yellows pop on the black paper. I also really like your background. I think I have a couple of pieces of black Colourfix. I might dig them out for the next still life. Thanks for sharing your paintings.

Chuas and Charlie- It took me a long time to get it through my head that there are as many ways to paint as there are painters. I don't put as much pressure on myself now, because I know that not every painting is going to work out. But, even though the painting didn't work out, I still learned something. I think it is very hard for some people to get it out of their head that everything HAS to be a masterpiece. I now know I have more paper or I can always brush the painting off and start over. I also know that if twenty painters paint from the same photo, you will have 20 different paintings. Anyway, my two Canadian cents worth.;)


06-27-2010, 03:08 PM
Doug, if there were not 20 *different* paintings by 20 different artists, then something would be really wrong! We'd be clones. I took a class once, where I did indeed learn some good things, but I quit it when after a few months 15 individual people started to paint like the teacher, because the teacher was very opinionated about what was 'right' and 'wrong'. Greys were right, beige was right, black was right, anything else was wrong. So I took all my primaires, secondaries, and applied them unmixed, straight out of the tube, to the canvas, as a 'farewell fanfare'. When she nearly fainted and got very upset, I quit. Took my stuff and went home.

Anyways, not every painting *can* be a masterpiece. Even the great masters produced a lot of ... blah paintings. They just painted so many of them that some really glimmer with that something 'extra'. Take Leonardo. Some of his portraits are really 'blah', while other paintings are truly breathtaking.

I suspect that most paintings an artist (of old, or of today, even us) produces are sketches, experiments, and then a whole bunch of paintings that are really well painted, competent, good craftsmanship. To get even there, there has to be more failures than successes. Attaining mastery is so very often 'just' perseverance, of doing one experiment after the other, one 'stinker' after the other. It is surviving the fact that one's skills are not up to one's vision, and keep on. Talent is merely a 'head start'. It is the 'mileage' that makes the master. Every 'stinker' and 'blooper' is one step closer to mastery, and to be celebrated!


06-27-2010, 03:34 PM
Maria. That is a very good effort at the doorway. OK maybe it's more of a sketch than a detailed painting but, so what? I have to say it has the required atmosphere and I love the trail of foliage in front of the door. I think I know where you're coming from when you say about rushing. I have done very detailed work in pastels, but, give me a landscape and for some reason I think it must be made of bold random strokes and done quickly! That's why my landscapes still fall a bit short, tho' I'm working on that...........

Nancy, I love your parrot in both his manifestations! The Bg is great in both and, well, I find it hard to choose between them!

Thanks all for your comments about my Rose!

Charlie. Your last post had me nodding my head in agreement. I have been doing a portrait course since December, once a week. It's not pastel based but the tutor is mainly a pastel artist (and a brilliant one, really). She has given me some wonderful tips and advice and I am very glad I took the course. But now I have decided to call it a day because I am getting the feeling that she wants me, and the others in the class, to paint in the exact same way she does. I want to develop my own skills and style, my way. Tips and advice on technique etc are VERY welcome but at the end of the day it's me doing the painting, not someone else. My only regret is I will miss the last day (tomorrow) as Mum is ill and I must get her to the Doctor.
Your last paragraph is so well put and I agree. When I started this journey I didn't have any failures (or at least I ddn't see any:o ) but now I am better, know more and am beginning to realise what a mountain I still have to climb. That's good because I don't get put off. One day my skills will be up to my vision and I'll keep striving for that!

06-27-2010, 06:31 PM
Charlie, your last post on perseverance is so insightful and nascent, I saved the quote. If I learned one thing this month by venturing into this forum, it is that there will be mistakes. (Lots of them, certainly mostly mine.)

Many artists judge swiftly, rarely stopping to think why something was painted, instead of how.

Life is short. I want to contribute what I can, while I can. It may not be valued today by gallery / museum standards. But, who knows how future generations might feel.

For me personally, it feels pretty sweet. :music: That satisfaction, maybe, is what should matter.

06-27-2010, 08:53 PM
Doug, Charlie and Ruthie -- thanks to all of you for your comments -- funny about the black paper -- I bought two colourfix samplers -- like 8 different colors -- well the black was the last one I used of the first pack -- then I couldn't wait to try it again -- so did the next parrot on black again.

I've loved reading your comments -- all of this is experimenting to me - I know so little and just recently been jumping into color. MOSTLY, thanks to the encouragement of others, seeing so many styles of work -- and learning from all of you. IMHO - the many (of mine) that don't work -- they are just another learning step.

That said, I've just loved all the frogs that everyone has done this month and decided to try. I was very uncomfortable with this guy -- did a few charcoal sketches, two really, really bad color sketches -- so I decided I needed to loosen up -- and so here he is -- now I warn you, this guy is on steriods -- he is big about 13x13 in, with rembrandts, blicks and unisons -- on newsprint (I'll explain the paper choice if your interested but won't bore you)

C&C welcome and appreciated - Thanks for looking