View Full Version : The monthly SKETCH thread - January 2012

01-01-2012, 04:29 PM
Hello Artists!

Welcome to the Monthly Pastel Sketch Thread!!

The monthly pastel sketch thread is for pastelists of all experience levels who use soft pastels, hard pastels or pastel pencils.
The idea is to fit some sketching time into your week by completing a sketch in one hour or less.
You can sketch anything, whether it be from life or photos.
It's a good idea to time your sketch, keeping it within 60 minutes. You know how time flies when you are creating. So get your pastels out, set your timer and when your time is up, please post your sketches here and share your efforts with us.
For inspiration, please visit our Image Library here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/).

Have fun!

01-02-2012, 04:11 PM
Hi all, just felt like doing lots of color, so there 'tis! About 9 1/2 x 13", PastelMat in pale grey, mostly Girault and Schmincke pastels.


01-02-2012, 04:22 PM
WOW that's GORgeous, Kris! good pick-me-up from the bleak winter days we're experiencing here...

01-02-2012, 04:51 PM
Kris, nice and cheerful on this wet and miserable day, great. Love the colours you used. Well done!!!

01-02-2012, 05:09 PM
wow , Kris , slap me !
it's dancing !

Ed :}

01-02-2012, 06:05 PM
Judi and Marina, glad I could provide a little pick me up. It's pretty grey and drippy here too. Ed, you crack me up :lol:

01-03-2012, 03:43 PM
Kris , it's all good :)

my ' orange ' has dropped the leaf
but is happily keeping the stems
as it sits on my drafty windowsill .

a 5 min map with charcoal , thinking that
clementines w/o stems ( so cleanly packaged )
are gathering around to look and gossip .

> i'm already wondering about a simpler way to
elevate the orange above the rest ...
> more tribal/community than status ...


4 1/2 x 6 " w on strathmore 50# paper

Ed :}

01-03-2012, 06:08 PM
Ed, nice layout sketch! I'm looking forward to all your stages, this one's going to be awesome.

Chuas, WOW! Color sparkling to make me smile today! It's so delightful, all the dancing abstract shapes and forms, flowers with a buoyant sense of energy and fun. The stems are very graceful too. Beautiful sketch. I love it. So clear you got color-crazy maybe because winter's all too gray. Thanks for a reminder of Spring!

01-03-2012, 06:17 PM
Good starting point Ed, looking forward to the next stage. Are you going to make the background blue this time or are you staying with your usual colour scheme?

01-07-2012, 01:28 PM
- saw your figure sketches before the site ' updated '
> good stuff .

i decided on the assembly ,
and will use a blue/gray for the b/g to start .
> might adapt that to the modeling of the fruits ...


Ed :}

01-07-2012, 02:24 PM
A good next stage Ed. Fast forward to some colour :)

01-08-2012, 04:02 PM
I had wondered what happened to my post!

Here's another one from this week-20m

01-08-2012, 04:13 PM
Due to maintenance some posts got lost. The administrators expect they will be back in a few days. Will keep an eye on it. Another good one Soulbro. 500 life sketches seems a lot in a year. Do you do them in a group session?

01-08-2012, 05:27 PM
group for the most part Marina. I also hire models for my own work, to diversify the type of model I draw, and I have a quick sketch component to those sessions. I got 340 done last year, and that was with me sometimes going a long time between sessions.

I've never have had that sort of goal, but I've also never seen the sort of progress I've made, more than enough for me to give it another shot.

01-08-2012, 06:43 PM
Looking good, SoulBro! Gorgeous!

Ed, if you posted progress beyond that I'm sorry it got lost. Hope they restore the missing posts and messages soon. Glad to know they're going to restore them though.

01-10-2012, 08:14 AM
Marina , Rob , thx .

looks like it's safe to wade back on here , so ,
first layer of colour .


the b/g is a blue-gray .

Ed :}

ps. already thinking of another composition/piece .

01-10-2012, 01:51 PM
Looks good, Ed. I like the way you positioned the oranges. Bit more blue in the background? It looks very grey on my monitor.

01-10-2012, 03:28 PM
Marina - thx .
> the ' table '/slab is Nup 276 ' ivory '
which i thought would punch up the Rembie blue/gray .

no cloth/drapery here .

colour and mass in this idea sketch .
> 30 min to go .

Ed :}

01-10-2012, 04:13 PM
I did a quick sketch this morning to get the juices flowing. I spent about 40 minutes, and I quite enjoyed just painting for the sake of painting, no other reason. Sometimes commissions can get the better of me, and I need to do this type of thing to spark my enthusiasm.

This is painted on dark gray Canson MT, smooth side. I so love Canson for quick sketches, and I really miss doing this. I used Rembrandts, Giraults, Senneliers, and Art Spectrum. Size is 6"x8".


01-11-2012, 03:52 AM
Marina Rob - thx ( again )
let's try this again .


yes , the b/g is blue-gray , not gray ...

Ed :}

01-11-2012, 10:10 AM
I posted this yesterday, but it got zapped by the gremlins in WetCanvasland. I'll try again, hopefully it will stick this time.

I took some time yesterday to do some sketching. I especially need to do this when I'm painting commissions, it keeps me sane. I really enjoy painting just for the sake of painting, which is what this is. I had intended to do something else but forgot to bring my reference to my friend's studio (where I paint/play very often), so I just painted the next best thing, apples! I spent about an hour, of which some time was spent switching the right apple to face differently. After I painted it in the first time it was not looking right, so I quickly turned it. Good exercise in being flexible. Total time was about an hour.

Painted on Canson paper using Rembrandts, Giraults, Nupastels, and Senneliers.


01-11-2012, 10:12 AM
I love your flowers Kris, they look like they're dancing!

Nice sketch Soulbro, quite a lot for 20 minutes - excellent.

Love your wip Ed, it's coming along very well. I like the height difference, gives a nice design.

01-11-2012, 10:20 AM
Okay, one more for yesterday. I go to a bi-monthly portrait workshop, which I thoroughly enjoy. Last night we had a great model, and my intention was to put in a value sketch, then go in with all the pretty colors and punch it up. After I finished the sketch I rather liked it, so instead of continuing I listened to the "artist within" and called it finished. I've had this happen before, but I don't always listen to that "artist within", and I'm not always happy with the result. I prefer to do color, and even if the results aren't the best, the learning experience is usually worth it. This time, however, I just liked the sketch a bit more than I expected so I yielded to that inner voice, and I think I'm glad I did. I finished this quite early, less than an hour's time sketching, quick for me. I know that the value sketches are just as important as the color ones, and I just may do more of these so I can work on proportions. I think her nose is off a bit, and to get a better likeness I think I should have her mouth a bit higher, which would then bring her chin up too. What I should have done was bring my camera and take a photo so I could try a color version at home, but still keep my value sketch as a separate, 'finished' piece to show my first impression. Next time........

Done on Canson paper, color tobacco. I sprayed this with Spectra Fix, and the paper slightly buckled, which is why there is a soft gradation in the background. Looks neat in the photo, but it's not there IRL. The buckle isn't a big deal, if I ever wanted to frame this it wouldn't show after it was put into a mat.


01-11-2012, 11:58 AM
Hi Ed, I will try to respond again. I love what you have done. The position of the oranges is very good. The background looks very grey on my computer, maybe a bit more blue in the background?

01-11-2012, 12:01 PM
Chris, juicy looking apples. Love the colours and the shapes, good form to them. I love painting apples. The blue of the right hand apple seems a bit light to me, but of course it could be my computer again.

01-11-2012, 12:08 PM
Great portrait, Chris. Indeed I would leave it in greyscale. Love portraits in greyscale, I have done several, but then with greyish pastels, I expect you used charcoal for this? The hat is absolutely gorgeous. I suspect what you see as a bit off in her face isn't actually her nose, but her mouth which is pulled up a bit on the viewers left, but who minds, it is just a lovely portrait. Well done!

01-11-2012, 12:50 PM
Hi Marina,

Yes, the blue is a bit light, it was just quick sketch, by no means finished. Just playing around.

On the portrait, you are right this is charcoal. Both the nose and the mouth are a bit off actually. She had a bit of a smile, and I think I got caught up in trying to capture that. Her nose might be a bit crooked too, just a tad, but I liked what I captured so I just left those two spots and chalked it up to a quick sketch experience. Sometimes that's okay and it actually feels good to not get so persnickity (as I often do get that way.....:D ). Thanks so much!

01-11-2012, 02:11 PM
i'm getting a '?' vis-a-vis my old server now , but
you guys apparently see it , so
that's good :)
thx !

Chris - where do you get that marvelous red ?
oh , and since you're working charcoal a bit ,
try W&N or Grumby charcoal on
Strathmore 400 Recycled paper ( white )
> it's almost better than *** !
>> med/soft drags off wonderful half tones/values/texture ,
lifts easily with a putty ,
more flexibility to start , correct , and mass from line ,
and if the feel is like softies that you have ,
well , that's a no-brainer :)

( i ' cut my teeth ' on charcoal
and have stayed away from softies because
bills would not get paid
while i buy [ and buy :evil: ] ,
but since you have them ... :D )

Ed :}

ps. the download just showed just after this post . ( ?! )

01-11-2012, 03:50 PM
Thanks Ed, I think the next time I put in a supplies order I'll give that paper and charcoal a try :D .

The reds were mostly Schminke, with a couple of Rembrandts. I think I said Senellier in my post, my-bad, I think they're Schminke's, with an old Daler Rowney red that just sings......

01-12-2012, 11:07 AM
Schmincke has some gorgeous reds.

01-12-2012, 07:38 PM
Cool portrait, Chris. Well done, lots of character, very lively. What really grabs me are those colorful apples! That's such a beauty. I'd love to paint a small study with that kind of power sometime. Agree with you about needing something like that between commissions. I'm late on mine though so I need to finish up as soon as I feel up to painting - but I'm promising myself something like that or a Spotlight as soon as I'm caught up and before taking on more.

Ed, great progress! Like the blue green background. Looking good!

For those who can't see posts, you see the newest ones if you click "Advanced Reply" instead of Quick Reply. Tricky because a lot of newest posts are invisible except by that runaround. I hope this is one of the Visible Ones.

01-19-2012, 12:27 PM
Here are a couple of sketches that I did right before the whole posts-going-missing thing started, I've been waiting to post them.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2012/312731-rose-sketch-small.JPG

This rose was done from life, and I would have developed it a bit more, but I realized that I'd absentmindedly used the bumpy side of the Mi-Tientes paper again, and I wanted to try the smooth side that day.

So I did my first attempt at portraying copper (in any medium, actually): http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2012/312731-copper-sketch.JPG

This is also from life, but it's simplified because I didn't have the courage to tackle all the little holes in this little tea-light shade. Both are Faber-Castell pastel pencils on Mi-Tientes.

01-19-2012, 12:50 PM
Mercy, your copper tea-light shade looks spot on. You captured the hue and the soft metallic shine perfectly. Well done. Good form and structure on the rose too, that's lovely. I can see why it was frustrating to work on the rough side of the paper but I'd love to see you sketch a rose from life again on the smooth side. Both are great!

01-19-2012, 01:30 PM
Mercy, 2 good sketches. The rose has good form and the copper looks very believable. Maybe get the courage to get the little holes in. That is so nice on a sketch, that you can experiment and see what works, but miust say I love detail and work out how to get certain effects. Well done!!

01-19-2012, 02:19 PM
Mercy, if you want to try tackling the little holes on that in a later version, try to get the basic colors and shapes in first while keeping some tooth on the paper. Then put them in as light or dark accents either the light cream color of light coming through or shadowed darkness where the interior shines through. They're not that hard but it can be tedious, usually little holes in something like that are one tiny stroke of a lighter or darker hue.

01-19-2012, 02:29 PM
I know how they should be done (dark points with a partial halo of lightness around them, mostly), but trying to get them all in in the right pattern intimidates the heck out of me.

01-19-2012, 03:30 PM
You could always simplify the pattern and put just a few in to give the feel of it, there's that possibility.

01-23-2012, 05:49 PM
Yay, Charlie (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=527268).

Tonight, I will dream in color. Tomorrow, I will start Painting 2 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7309544&postcount=147).



01-24-2012, 05:12 PM
And tomorrow, on to Lesson 3 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7332093&postcount=282) !

Charlie (http://charlotteherczfeld.com/)'s such an inspiration.


01-24-2012, 06:42 PM
Not sure, what is happening here. I replied on your post Dave, but it disappeared. so will try again.

Two great colourful sketches Dave, looks as if you studied Charlie's lessons very well. Looking forward to the the 3rd sketch.

01-24-2012, 06:44 PM
Thanks Marina ! :)

Charlie's lesson posted...well...years ago, still is very instrumental in helping artists grow and learn. It's a unique style--this "colorist"--and I love it.

01-26-2012, 04:18 PM
If you can guess what any one of the three below items are in real life, I'll buy you free groceries for a month!

LOL. Just kidding. But I would like to know if anybody can tell what they are.
Abstract, but, I had fun painting! :D


01-26-2012, 05:42 PM
So, I cooled the table... the original warm colors were incongruous with the overall painting and working against the focal points. I blued it... not to play like Picasso in his Blue Period...but just because it somehow felt better.


01-26-2012, 07:53 PM
Great colourful sketch again David. I like it with the blue table, makes the vegetables vibrant. I will guess, I think it is a garlic and 2 onions. Right? Anyway it is not important, the effect is very good.

01-27-2012, 03:19 AM
Bold, excellent block studies, Dave! You've been studying the thread close - very strong clean color and good gradation. You're following the principles well. I love your garlic and onions still life. That's gorgeous. The little roots on the onions are a dead giveaway, so are the protrusions on the garlic.

Your third exercise is the best one for how you managed the horizontal plane and vertical backdrop plane. It is spectacular. You made a conceptual leap in there, internalized it or something, because that's where you laid the horizontal flat and made the vertical rise vertical with the color shifts. The colors on the vegetables are exaggerated, it's definitely prismatic color more than literal color - but layer more and you could develop that to realism with the local color modified by those hues (by layering closer to it and leaving this glorious eye-feast as a subtle shimmer under it.)

I like it with the mad spectrum hues myself. That is just gorgeous as it is. I would frame that third one, you got it perfect.

Why the blue table set off the vegetables better. Cool colors recede. Warms jump forward. Warm colors grab attention. The background is background, peripheral, by going lighter than the full intensity colors in the cool shadows you made it more muted and so it's less intense the farther away from the focal area it gets. Everything gets more contrast and more saturation on the focal objects.

There's a natural eye path from the lemon yellow highlight on the garlic to the blue-and-orange shadow of the garlic, the orange highlight on the middle onion and the bold orange highlight on the farthest onion. The garlic grabs my attention again and there I go staring at each of them in turn. At the same time, the table lays flat and the wall stands up vertical, the space within the painting makes sense so I'm not distracted by bad perspective or any sense anything is floating.

Wonderful painting. I'd frame it. I had my "Bullies" painting of the pomegranate menaced by pears framed in my room back in Arkansas, just need to get a frame for it again.

01-27-2012, 08:38 AM
Marina, Rob, appreciate the comments!

Now, Rob, I need you to be a little harsher in the critique. I appreciate your comments about what went "right". If you can spare some time about what can be improved, I'd be most grateful. I have thick skin and will benefit from any suggestions.

Charlie's lessons are straightforward, but they do require practice of course. Reading through those posts without applying them in dust doesn't help much, except provide entertaining reading.

I am still trying to internalize some of the discussion about planes. All those bands...and such. I do now understand why the first painting--with the warm table top--did not work as well as the second with a cooler, muted surface. I also get that the focal points should be most intense hues now, not the table. I realized the mistake after I posted the first photo and had a chance to review it.

It takes courage to go over such a large area of hot pink color with something completely different--the cold blue--on a painting you think is done. But after the 3rd glass of wine, I was like, what the hell, I don't like it anyway.

Now, I do.

There is also some lingering fogginess about how to "turn" the spheres. I know the farther edge should be cooler, grayer, more muted, etc. And that there is a very small band of true local color that is most intense--between the light and shaded areas. I don't think it's well executed here even though I mentally grasp the concept. There are other weak areas in the spheres that have not visually "clicked" in my head yet.

I would like to try to use more local color on the onions and bring them closer to real life. But I've used all my get-out-of-jail-free tickets already (the tooth is full). I will keep sketching a-la-Charlie over the weekend to see if I can improve on the techniques.

I guess I owe you both some groceries now. :D Good guesses!

01-28-2012, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the PM critique of last post. I see all your points and will work to incorporate the advice.

Today I sketched probably the most vexing vegetable growing on Earth. Eggplants are dark; yet, they are reflective, like mirrors. Almost black, but purple, no -- blue, no wait--that's really white, at least right there! Oh....a reflective hallucination.

Working from an underpainting to Stage 3 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7332093&postcount=282) of Charlie's lessons.

Have a nice weekend everyone, Dave




01-28-2012, 10:30 PM
Looks like a good Stage Three. The hue on the eggplant is going to be muted as you start building on the values, if you come closer to the true values you'll get the color. If you have the Terry Ludwig V100 pastel, that might be a good one to use in the darkest areas of the final layers.

Glad I could help with the PM critique. Now that I know you want serious critique on these I'll give you negatives along with the positives. I went into depth because the positives on your last one were so strong, you need to know it was working! Please do not overwork it. I think if you do another one you can layer it more toward natural local color in the final stage, but that's something else and may take some practice layering on scrap paper to get to where it's close to realism in final local color. All the bright layers under it will still give it shimmer and pizazz.

On the new eggplant painting - work on knocking the table top flat. Cool and muted toward the back, warm and less muted toward the front. Lower left (light side) the warmest and closest to the light, upper right area coolest and most muted.

I like the value gradient on the table, that's very nice. The hints of pink in the middle foreground on the table, I'd add more of them toward the lower left corner so they're there shimmering in the sun, or some orange tints there.

On the fourth stage, if you want to bring it to a subtler "variations on local color" effect, choose colors that are variations on the local color. Cool purplish reds over the shadow side of the tomatoes, more yellows and oranges on the light side of the tomatoes that will only liven up the orangy-red. The hue shifts don't have to be dramatic. They need to be placed well and go in the right direction. I would slightly mute the shadow side a little too so that the light side of the tomatoes has a higher intensity and the shadow side less intensity.

Mute the eggplant with complements and bring the deepest darks down closer to the reference, just using darker hues will bring it down. Deep dark reds and browns and blues along with dark violets will help create that effect. Look at the subtle color variations in the real one. Then shift to a muted cool blue for those highlights.

Notice that the green of the eggplant stem is a more "olive with yellow ochre" green. You'll get that with a little orange over the bright greens. The tomatoes have closer to an emerald green, but the warmer highlights can have a little orange in them too to mute and warm them. Violet in the deep shadows of both greens will help a lot to keep them looking natural and not like green plastic.

I hope this helps. Those are the suggestions I have if you want to bring the final stage closer to the local color of the objects. Use the blazing previous stages as a way to build to them.

Next time as you get to stage three, think of stage two as "get the color right" and start moving in that direction. If I have a blue shadow in Stage One on a red-orange tomato, my Stage Two is going to be violet over that blue, then I'll use cool reds in Stage Three and last some dark orange-reds along with reds and red-violets to develop it - especially on the focal vegetable.

Choose which of them is the focal vegetable, give it the most detail. Or a focal area like where the two leftmost tomatoes come together.

It's looking good, keep going!

Curved planes like the surface of the eggplant will shift in both directions but they're still planes and a gradient will still give them better volume. You might want to do a pencil sketch of the eggplant or a charcoal one just to understand the values thoroughly before doing Stage Four on it, to keep the whole thing from flattening out and getting too dark. More violets than V100 would help.

I love the tomatoes creating reflected color on the eggplant, that's a beautiful fine point. Keep going!

01-29-2012, 05:02 AM
Thanks man. I appreciate the negatives...although they're not actually negatives, as I'm not here for affirmation I get affirmation from family members who think stick-people make good portraits ! LOL

All of your points are excellent. Several of them I sensed--such as the stem on the eggplant, the stage 2 colors on the tomatoes, the lack of a clearly defined focal point, a needed warmth front/left on table, etc. But, of those, I haven't worked out a technical approach to fix/improve those areas, yet. Your color comments help, such as putting an orange over those electric greens to turn them into a real plant instead of Dollar Store artificial fruit. I also know how to make the table lay down but the tooth is rather full. May not be able to add the oranges without adding mud. Will see....

This is still very loose, and mostly Stage 2. But it's my 2nd time painting Charlie's (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7332093&postcount=282) approach. I'll stick with this technique until I can derive my own approach from it. She's been a great influence on so many artists.

Thanks again--all great comments.

01-29-2012, 11:18 AM
Hi Dave,

I like what you are doing with the egg plant sketch. I don't think I will add any more suggestions as Robert is doing an excellent job. I could not really help you anyway as I am more a tonalist and do most things by intuition. Looking forward to the next stage.

01-29-2012, 01:18 PM
Selbst bild...


01-29-2012, 03:30 PM
You captured your posture well!!

01-30-2012, 12:28 AM
Wow! David, that one's wild. Looks like a poster for a concert. Beautiful and strange, almost surreal and simultaneously very much like stage lighting.

T Porter
01-30-2012, 12:52 AM

Very nice work

The tomatoes look fantastic! I really like the boldness of the colors in them and their reflection on the eggplant is a great addition.

01-30-2012, 07:54 AM
TPorter, thanks! Sometimes I let loose...forget the rules...and do something wild. I just feel like painting doesn't always have to be structure. Knowing how to paint well, though, comes from structured settings. So, I do those sessions and then go off on a wild side with sketches like that one above.

If club lighting counts as stage lighting, then you are correct. It's a self-portrait from my recent fling to the Travolta Lounge here in Frankfurt. The lighting in such places is so bizarre...it twists the human form and our perception of color.

01-30-2012, 09:10 PM
Dave, yeah, same thing. Club lighting, party lighting, stage lighting - it's bright colored light, very directional, vivid, makes everyone look like a poster. Very cool that it's club lighting! I've just seen it in a lot of movies as well, not always in club settings. They used it on some BBC science fiction shows for very emotional moments too.

One show, I could always tell the start of a Betrayal scene because the fill light was green. It was like a color cue to the content. Blue fill light meant more straightforward menace or adventure.