View Full Version : Woodland Walk.. Oil pastels

03-30-2003, 11:47 AM
Went to the park this morning, a beautiful Spring day...took loads of pics... just had to try my hand at this one this afternoon.
A couple of hours work, still learning about these oil pastels...and landscapes :)

Comments welcome especially from the landscape experts. :)



03-30-2003, 04:48 PM
Lovely use of colour. I like the way you used light against dark to show the branches against the trunks.

Why is it that the tree foliage on the left reminds me of van Gough's trees? again, using warm colours in shadow is very much in line with his paintings. Using cold colours in the forground is not normally done (for the purists that is), but in this picture it does seem to work, and work very well.

The path is virtually abstract, and is full of energy, and where ihe path bends out of vision is just off centre and is highlighted by the red on the trunk above it makes this the focal point without any effort on my vision.

Maybe all that is missing is some life? But perhaps that would spoil the solitude and peace of the scene.......who knows?

Yes, I like it!:clap:

03-30-2003, 05:18 PM
Nice scene and a good job, Mo.
I think that some of the red in the foreground maybe a little more subdued would go very nicely on, between and behind the trees.


03-30-2003, 05:43 PM
Hi JohnnyRed: I'm so uplifted by your comments, I'm not a landscape artist, but like to dabble and try out different things.....it's all in the learning process.

CanI pick your brains a little? You say that using gold in the foreground is not normally done..can you please enlighten me on this one? Also warm colours in the shadows is not done ? What I saw on the ground was warm earth tones and dried leaves and pine needles....brown and orange and cool shadows and bits of twigs which were grey and blue, so tried to put all these colours in... Wrong? I thought perhaps the pic would be better for a crop . i.e. cropping the front part of the path as the colours there look a bit jazzy :) ...What do you think?

Thanks for taking the time and commenting.


03-30-2003, 05:46 PM
Hi Dick: I think the colours in the foreground are a bit overdone too. :)
I think cropping the pic would help? Thanks for the comments, appreciated very much.:)


03-30-2003, 06:01 PM
Johnny ...Dima....Here's the crop...do you think this is better?

Here's the crop...do you think this is better?



03-30-2003, 07:22 PM
Nice job Mo. The foliage on the left is really nice. I think I like the cropped one better...not positive though!


03-30-2003, 09:27 PM
Really like your landscape. Especially the bare branches on the right. I vote for the cropped version. I can't wait until I start with the oil pastels. You have made it look so easy.

03-31-2003, 06:40 AM
Normally, use of warm colours in the foreground and cold colours in the background help to give a landscape depth. It throws the background further back into the distance.

In this picture you have them mixed, AND IT WORKS!

I'm not complaining, but your combination does work! I really do like the effect. Maybe I'm a tad purist, don't worry about it. If a picture works, whichever way you paint it then that's all that matters. After all, it's your painting and your style - don't lose it!

The crop really works better. I find I'm drawn into the picture even more.

I really do like it!

04-01-2003, 07:56 AM
Thanks Sandy and Roni for looking and for your comments. :)

Johnny... thanks for explaining, I misread what you typed. :) Read cold as gold. :) Understand now. I think the crop is better too.


04-01-2003, 06:32 PM
Mo, I really like this. I love the sunlight behind the trees and along the sides of the trail. Very nice.


04-01-2003, 07:04 PM
I really like this too. I feel like I could step in and go for a quiet walk alone.

04-01-2003, 07:39 PM
Heh Mo...!!! glad to be viewing your beautiful works as always...

The only comment I have is on the verizon line of the left side of the trees..seems as if they are too straight and need a varition of color or value to push them back along the path...or even just the perspective...

Don't know where your light is coming from..yet...although I know it is a WIP..so bar be it from me to question..if the light is coming from the upper right hand corner..the shadows would be stronger in the bottom left of the the forest....hence a more pleasing passgage to the above mention of verizon line???

Questioning you? cause WIP...enlighten me..hee hee...love what you have going so far


04-02-2003, 07:02 AM
Sue and Newcreation, thanks very much for your comments :)

Sunny, :) Thanks for stopping by and looking, this was just a practice piece with oil pastels ...learning to handle them :)

I'm posting the ref pic here for you to see...does this help? I wasn't intending to work more on it, but now you've made me look again.... the light is coming from the right as you say over my shoulder as I took the pic... painting landscapes is a new area for me and I'd like to learn more.....thanks for the input...it's much valued.



04-02-2003, 12:29 PM
Nice one Mo. I'm learning a lot from this thread as I am too a novice in the landscape realm. I'm thinking it's a difficult piece to paint judging from the photo - but perhaps it's another avoidance method.

As I squint down, I see a bit more darker colors - how about you?

Keep them coming. You are taking to this oil pastels quite well.


04-04-2003, 06:27 PM
Thanks Barb for your input, I've not progressed on this any more, was hoping to get more feedback and help from the landscape experts.. so guess this one will gather dust like loads of others. :D


04-05-2003, 02:36 AM
Mo, don't let this gather dust. I really think you have a good start going on here, it just needs a bit more careful observation of what is happening to the trees in terms of the way the light hits them, and a bit more work will have it sorted. It is a difficult photo to analyse, try using a magnifying glass, particularly for the trees in the distance and how they relate tothe ground, and that will help a lot.

Here are a few of my other observations. You need to look at the photo at the same time as reading my comments:

1. The tone of the path in the distance could be made lighter still. This will enhance the feeling of distance.

2. the tree trunks are picking up light on their right-hand sides. You have one in the distance which is doing just the reverse, which is confusing. You have to be consistent. Yuo can even add more sunlit areas on the bark, provided you are consistent.

3. To get a sense of recession, it would help to make the distant trunks slimmer, particularly No. 3 from the left, which is, in fact, quite fat, but would benefit from a diet to help that part of your painting recede more!

4. No problem at all with blues in the foreground. It can work, as I will prove in a moment. Cools and warms cannot be taken out of context - so much depends on what surrounds them, and the scale of your marks. A tiny, very warm mark, CAN recede, and a cool can come forward.

If there is warm light, there is often cool shadow. In fact, cools in the foreground often HAVE to be stated - for instance, that little bush bottom right. Its topmost leaves are picking up light from the sky, and are very cool blue-green. The important thing to note is how PALE those leaves are, IN CONTRAST with their surroundings. The conttrast between the light leaves,and the darker tones around them, will pull that area forward, no matter how cool the colour. Strong contrasts will always pull the eye, and pull forward.

In the distance, if you use pale tones consistently, WITHOUT CONTRASTING DARKS AROUND THEM, even if those tones are warm, they will still recede.

All rules are made to be broken. Have a look at this wonderful woodland scene below. See how the artist (a master in my opinion - used to be a President of the RA) has used THE SAME COLOURS - AND EVEN TONES - THROUGHOUT, cools and warms, and yet there is still recession!! This fascinated me when I first discovered it, because it breaks all the rules about warms coming forwards, and cools and pales receding. In fact, it works simply because of the CHANGE OF SCALE in the marks. AND a very, very subtle change of tone towards the very distance. It is, in fact, a very abstract pic, and I only offer it to prove the point that rules are dangerous if you stick too closely to them! They are just pointers.


Now look at this one, not by a master. (And take account of the fact that the daylight has bleached the top of the pic, so the tones are too pale there, they aren't so pale in reality.)
The distant trees are thin, and very pale in tone when compared with the foreground ones. The light is consistently from the left too, hitting all trunks from the same direction.

The greatest contrasts are in the foreground trees, the two main ones on the left. This is what pulls them forward in the picture, as well as their size. The sense of recession is achieved with smaller and smaller marks as you go away in space, and somewhat paler, less contrasty tones.

I do hope this horribly long post will be helpful, and that you won't give up on your woodland scene, it is coming along just fine. Get out that magnifying glass - not to count the leaves, but to sort out exactly what is happening in the distance!

04-05-2003, 05:26 PM
Jackie, this is great information thankyou for spending the time on this, I've copied your post and the pics to file so I can study them off line alongside my painting, I sort of knew something was wrong with my painting but could not sort it out in my mind. I was just hoping that some kind soul would come along and put me right. :)

I initially thought and still do think, that as it was done in oil pastels that the colours were too bright and need toning down some.

Just a question here....you said 4. No problem at all with blues in the foreground. It can work, as I will prove in a moment. Cools and warms cannot be taken out of context -so much depends on what surrounds them, and the scale of your marks. A tiny, very warm mark, CAN recede, and a cool can come forward. .....

I'm pretty certain you've made typing eror , but just in case ... can you clarify this a little more?

That first painting with the yellows and blues is wonderful, is it a watercolour?

Thanks for this Jackie, I will now look at it with renewed interest.



04-06-2003, 03:21 AM

I'm pretty certain you've made typing eror , but just in case ... can you clarify this a little more?

That first painting with the yellows and blues is wonderful, is it a watercolour?

[ [/B]

No, I didn't make a typing error, I wonder what you thought I meant?

Any cool colours, or warm colours that you use, depend very much on what it AROUND them. So, a "warm" pale pink, the same tone and next to a "cool" pale blue, may well BOTH sit back in the distance in a picture because they are the same tone.

A cool light blue, next to a much darker blue, will pull forward in a picture because of the contrast. Light against dark will always attract the eye. So even tho these colours are both from a family of so-called cool colours, used in this way they would come forward in a picture.

Why did I say "so-called"? Just to confuse matters further.........!........It is also quite dangerous to be too general and classify colour families as "warms" or "cools". There are warmer, and cooler blues. There are warmer and cooler reds. If you aren't sure what I mean by this, let me know and I will explain it separately, or this could turn into a very very long post.

That first picture is an oil painting. It is gorgeous, isn't it. Brave of me post mine alongside it, boy does it pale into insignificance. It is easy to get discouraged when you put your own work up alongside something REALLY excellent. I suggest you do not do this, it is a horrible feeling!


04-07-2003, 12:10 AM
I loved the brilliant colors on the path in the first posting....love the path and the top half of pic....but the center did need something....after seeing your ref pic.......I see blues and greens!! You need some mossy greens clinging to tree..hehe some more of your edgy bright colors you have thru the rest of the pic!
All in all Id say you did a wonderfullllllllll job kiddo;)
Love it!

04-07-2003, 03:43 AM
...am not a landscape expert, but I am enjoying your painting and all the help you're getting. Can't wait to see more of it!
Well done

04-07-2003, 06:34 PM
Okay.... I've tried re-working the painting, but the pastels became gritty and really hard to work with...so I started again...never say die hey? After taking in Jackie's advice, this is
Woodland Walk version 2, Still using oil pastels..
I'm much happier with this one... Redsy...you were right there are blues /greens there, such a busy ref pic ...but hope you all think this is an improvement, also can it be improved further?



04-07-2003, 07:21 PM
Ohhhhhh lookie at you go GIRL!!!!!!! WOOZERS!! You even echoed the color from the path into the sky:D:D:D you are sooooooooooooooooooo kickin arse on this;)
Excellent job!!:D

04-07-2003, 09:45 PM
from the reference photo this looks like a tough one to paint,landscapes have always given me problem's and i think you have done a fine job,sorry i can't give you any helpful advice(just keep painting).besides i think jackie is a gift from god to all of us.

04-08-2003, 02:49 AM
You have done a great job, continuing with this! It is looking very professional, and your perseverance paid off.

Just two small things, sorry to be picky.............that area in the distance which is a kind of warm brown space between two slim trees - could you put a bit of light into that? I think it might draw your eye back to that area if you did. Not a large area of light - just a few light lines, to suggest sunlight on slim, receding trees? And perhaps some pale green towards the ground?

And lastly...........could you lighten the sky a tad? With that much sunshine, the sky would be brighter. And it would be nice to link some of the sky shapes, with the light on the foliage in the trees, in terms of tone.

Then, you can go have a nice glass of champagne, and a pat on the back.

04-08-2003, 03:00 AM
Wow what a wonderful job!
I love it.
So much that you have inspired me to buy some neopastels......have just ordered 30 from cassarts!........lol
OMG! My hubby is sooooo gona kill me!

04-08-2003, 03:17 AM
Mo, this is amazing! What a different picture - I love it. Really, great. Adore the right foreground bushes (the light on those leaves), the lush trees on the right and the light on the trees in the background. Stunning!


(and all that with oil pastels? Gosh, it looks so tempting)

04-08-2003, 08:12 AM

Good for you..... not giving up. The restart really paid off and I think we all learned a lot from this one. The end result is a very inviting painting.


04-08-2003, 08:27 AM
Woodland walk version 2 revisted hee hee....... so glad you persevered with this Mo, turned out lovely

04-08-2003, 08:32 AM
Wow, Mo, I'm so glad you stuck with it, Woodland Walk 2 is beautiful!:)

04-08-2003, 03:42 PM
I liked your first version just fine, but the second version is just plain magical!

04-08-2003, 05:06 PM
Wow! Thanks everyonefor all the lovely comments.

Thankyou Jackie for the help you gave me, I can see what you mean by the dark brown shape at the back of the painting, it bothered me too... it's supposed to be another tree trunk. :)... , a little bit of artistic license would be good there and yes the sky does need to be lighter, actually it is lighter right at the top of the painting, but I decided to crop it as I didn't like the topmost branch of the tree, so I pruned it out, then forgot about the difference in sky colour, but no problem to alter those..... Guess I'll have to make do with a glass of wine tonight, no champers. :)

Thanks Redsy. :D Love your terminology :D...Thanks also to Stealth ... and... Angeline...{I will not be held responsible for any domestic violence :D ..hope you enjoy using them :)}

Thanks Soap.... Sue....and Dawn:).......thanks too Doe.. and Sundiver:)... for the great comments. I'm really glad I stuck this one out, learnt a lot in the process too. Thanks again everyone.


04-09-2003, 12:23 PM

Boy you really did change the feel of this piece. I really like the new one and applaud you, as others have, for sticking to it.

Outstanding!!! much richer in color and mood.
Barb - enjoy the wine.

04-09-2003, 12:28 PM
Gasp! Your second painting is amazing! You clearly learned something from this thread....what a spectacular job you have done. It is a beautiful picture!


04-09-2003, 06:22 PM
Thanks Barb and thanks Sandy, yes it was a good learning experience for me, but very enjoyable.:)


04-10-2003, 04:15 PM
It was certainly wothwhile to stick with it, Mo.
You did end up with a beauty.