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Old 01-01-2009, 04:40 PM
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January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

January 2009 Oil Pastel Challenge
HAPPY NEW YEAR! WELCOME TO THE FIRST MONTHLY CHALLENGE FOR 2009!

Everyone is welcome, in fact encouraged, to take one or both of the reference images below and paint your interpretation of it (them). You can crop, manipulate, alter the format etc., just use the references as inspiration for a painting and then post the results here for viewing.

Please include the kind of support (type, brand, weight) used, brand or brands of OP used, and the size of the painting and any other informtion about special techniques you might have used. Any other comments welcome.

I hope lots of you will give this a try and get the challenges off to a good start for the New Year! The reference images are:

A small Russian girl along the Volga River.




Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Complex, Door County, WI



Have fun!
BILL
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:14 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Thanks, Bill. I just stickied it....

Pat
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:19 AM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

well gee, which one hmm, you know I am gonna do the lighthouse right?
figure drawings of little russian girls.. ouch.... not sure about that one..
oh and yeah, I am removing the figure in the lighthouse one just so you know :P

RG
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:06 AM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by truck driver
well gee, which one hmm, you know I am gonna do the lighthouse right?
figure drawings of little russian girls.. ouch.... not sure about that one..
oh and yeah, I am removing the figure in the lighthouse one just so you know :P

RG

As I said, you have artistic license to omit or put in whatever empowers your artistic vision. That's the great thing about art vs. photography. Just because it is there doesn't mean it has to be in the picture! Likewise, just because it wasn't there doesn't mean it can't be in the picture.

That's why we are artists and not cameras!

Looking forward to whatever you do, RG.

BILL
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:49 AM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Nice references, Bill.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:23 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Thanks, Shirl. I decided to get started early this month. I have done a rather simple and sketchy blockin of the girl by the river using NeoColor II by Caran d'ACHE. The image size is 11 x 17 on Wallis sanded professional paper, Belgian Mist color. Left the Neocolor dry ( din't brush them out with water) as I didn't want to risk muddying the underpainting. Will now overlay detail with OP. Any comments of suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks.


Bill
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:31 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Wow, thanks for some gorgeous references for this month's challenge! Both of them have great possibilities. I'm not interested in drawing the little Russian girl because she lacks one essential thing -- she's not Sascha. However, the reflections on the Volga River and the foreground logs and things are fascinating and I may want to combine it with another reference, maybe a Siberian tiger from the RIL or my Artist Photo Reference: Wildlife book.

Is it all right to combine challenge photos with other photo references, if you can clearly see what in the challenge photo inspired it?

I'm also considering replacing the figure in the lighthouse scene with another figure, not sure what or who but having a person for scale there is intriguing in it. I might settle for just doing her as she is, pretty much a pink carrot at the scale of a painting. That one is so rich in color and detail that it tempts me to dare to do it large and try for some of the feel of Wendell's landscape paintings -- it's a gorgeous reference for that approach. The strong green trees and crisp red roofs are inspiring.

I should probably start with just a sketch though!

Bill, I went back and took a long look at your first post. Good start. I can see why you'd want to work dry. You can see what needs to be done, especially on the girl. Her skin tone needs to be built up in layers, shadow hue and sunlit hues accurate and shadow shapes accurate. So far you've got her general outlines accurate and her details placed well, but until there's more layering on her skin tones they look transparent over gray and thus she looks ghostly and muted.

The water is looking very good. Nice distinct marks alternating those dramatic color shifts. When working it over you could go in and go slower, paying attention to the shape of the long streaks of color, that's the only suggestion I have beyond -- go go go! It's a great beginning!
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Last edited by robertsloan2 : 01-02-2009 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:38 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

A third look showed me an exciting possibility. Look close at how you have her lower legs. You sketched them in where they don't actually show on the reference because the flowers and foliage are in the way, presumably to work flowers and foliage over them. However, they are a bit distorted -- shifted slightly to the side and shorter than they should be if she's standing up.

This is not a bad thing because you created the effect of her wading knee deep in rippling water by using those loose white marks where the flowers go. I don't know if you did this deliberately to create a wading girl painting or if it's pure serendipity, but the shape of her legs as sketched and the lines of white which would be a water effect of light focused by the ripples in the water give an impression her legs below the knee and the logs are both underwater -- like she's wading happily in the shallows.

If you leave out the flowers and follow through on turning this into "wading in the shallows" and keep the value and hues of the bottom neutral like mud or sand... then you'll have created something spectacular there.

It's your call which way to take it -- whether to follow the photo and just work over her legs (which will make them accurate because what's there is only what'd show behind working foliage and flowers over her legs) or keep that ripply distorted effect and those white highlights as they are for a wading girl. Either would be a good painting. The possibility is very dramatic. If you intended it and I only belatedly got it -- well then, you achieved it even in the sketch!
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:40 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

These are wonderful images Bill and I hope I will be able to find time to do one of these this month. It looks like either will prove to be quite a challenge though.

I'm interested in your start with the neopastels ll on darkish paper. I bought the tin of 30 for my grandson (age 5) for Christmas. He's very proud to have them. I'm thinking we might do some pastelling together. He might like to have a go at the water with all those lovely colours.

I wish I could give some input on what you've done so far, but don't feel equipped to offer anything of use. I do like those strokes of colours in the water and the composition is working well.

Perhaps you could advise me how to go about working from a ref image. Do you print it out, or work from the monitor?

Xina
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:50 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

I think this is a great start, Bill. You have the gesture of the girl just fine.

Pat
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:39 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Robert,

Thanks for the excellent critique and great detail with options. Everything was left ghostly because I wanted to make sure I did not overwork it and wanted to get the composition worked out since I've never really done one with a figure in it. I chose this because it has a strong figure study, BUT DOES NOT have what tends to intimidate both myself and others, well defined facial features. The face is turned and mostly obscured by shadow or visual angle so that it will not turn into a portrait, but truly a figure study in the landcape context.

I worked the strokes on the water very loosely to build up a pattern that I could take time with the softer OP's and keep the rhythmic change in distance between crests from top to bottom matched with graded color becoming deeper dark blue/violet to contrast with the bold sunlit yellow of the girl's suit.

I didn't even worry too much about establishing strong values at this point. That is a problem I have to consciously battle of getting overly eager and I intentionally kept this minimalist to establish composition because, though not incredibly difficult or busy with detail, the details that are there (girl in suit, ripples in water and color modulated by ripples from reflection of a Russion Oinion domed church not visible except by reflection) are essentially to keep clean an not muddied.

As for her legs, they were roughed in (somewhat like your lady on the beach) from imagination since the photoi does not allow you to precisely pinpoint their position well. She is somewhat in the start of a dash so it is hard to say what I will do with them. I had intended to do grass and flowers but will give your suggestions some thought.

Xina, the NeoColor II's are great for underdrawing and underpainting. There are many ways you can work from the reference. Some artists do, indeed, have a computer display near their easel these days; I generally print out a series of manipulated images and try to simplify the color and print some grayscale images for values. I have a larger format printer (up to 13 x 19 and typically print out images in 11 x 17 format which works well with the size of Wallis paper I have. You can then either draw a light grid pattern on both printout and support and use the grid to guide you in sketching. Sometimes I may simply trace critical lines or areas or points directly from the printed picture (if same size) using graphite transfer paper or graphite rubbed over the back of the picture. Pretty much what works for you.

Thanks everyone for you comments. Also have the lighthouse 1/2 blocked in with NeoPastels instead of NeoColor and on elephand gray colourfix board. Should be able to post a starter on that tomorrow.

So thanks, again Pat, Xina and Robert.

BTW Robert, its your painting. You can paint Tantalus up to his neck in water if you want; just don't let him drink any before it runs away!



Bill
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:47 AM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Thank you for the information Bill, I don't have any photoshop type of program, I use the simple Picasa, but as I'm getting into art much more now I think it might be useful to learn a basic photoshop for manipulation. That will be for the futire though, for now I just want to concentrate on putting those pastels onto something and working them. The idea of greyscaling is a good one, I think I'll try that when I get to doing this OP challenge.

Xina
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:07 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

Well, to be a good role model as a host for the challenge, I have yesterday and today I worked on the lighthouse ref img. It is on Colourfix Elephant Gray Heavy Board, painting is 11 x 17 inches, work so far has been most NeoPastel (CD) and some Craypas Specialist. Sky near completion, trees blocked in but need some scraping back and tuning of highlight and shadows, Keeper's house and two outbuildings are lightly blocked in and will be refined later. Leaving tower of lighthouse for last. Only sketched in lightly so far at this stage.

"Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, WI"



C&C welcome.
Thanks for looking.

Bill
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Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. Van Gogh
DREAM! LAUGH! LOVE! LIVE! (Various)
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

I have it on good authority Gosh could be working on the lighthouse..

RG
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:50 PM
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Re: January 2009 Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge

This is lovely even before being finished. The swooshing blue of the sky is so gorgeous and you have great dancing strokes in the trees, and some beautiful colours in the grass and on the walls. I paticularly like that very light yellow next to that little shrub. Something Van Gogh ish about the colours. I actually like the lighthouse tower dark and mysterious against the deep blue sky, but I know this will have to change.

Xina
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