One of our members Amber sent us her two pictures of our White Horse and Scotney Castle Projects. When a student joins our membership they get access to our library of lessons and also feedback on their work if they wish. Amber writes:
Hello Colin and Steve,
Thank you for the feedback on my Boxer and my commission. I agree, that the line stood out on my commission piece. I messed with that area for quite sometime. I think what made it a little difficult was knowing the dog had his front paws on a cushion, so I was still trying to imply that. You are correct that the line is too harsh. Those pesky lines are things that I am trying to be more aware of as I complete more pieces. I ordered some additional colours that I use quite often. I had already purchased an additional full set, but knowing that I use those colours quite frequently I felt it was a necessity. I also ordered your grids. I had made my own, but I like that yours are clear and I can overlay it on the reference picture I am drawing. I also have purchased some 1/2 stick pastels in the Sennelier and Unison bands to see how I like them, so I am excited to try them out!
The attached pieces are the white horse and Scotney Castle. The white horse was a compete experiment. I used velour paper as a trial. To be honest, I hated it at first. I had to walk away from it and come back the next day. After I played with the paper and pastels, I found that I liked how it went. The horse was only done on 9×6 inches (half of a velour sheet). It was challenging to put the details at that small size. I also mainly used my pastel sticks (Rembrant) and only a small amount of pastel pencils. Scotney Castle was a challenge. You make it look so easy! I found that I ran out of tooth on my paper in a few places, especially the water. There were several places I would have liked there to be a bit more contrast. I didn’t think that I was putting it on that heavy, but I obviously did. Overall I am happy with the result.
Thank you so much!
Here’s Ambers pictures:
Listen or Read Colin’s Advice below:
Hi Amber Steve send me your two pictures of the horse and Scotney and asked me if I can give you a bit of feedback. I totally agree with you on the velour I tried it myself and I didn’t like it. It’s too soft it doesn’t really work that well with either the pastel pencils or the soft pastel and I think you could have made a better job of that if you’d used the pastelmat which I like and the pencils – probably would have come out a little sharper than it’s done there. If you look at the ear on the left hand side at the top you’re a bit smudgy and I think you could have done with just a little bit more sharpness with that and the other thing about it is the background.
Now I think velour doesn’t lend itself very well to this kind of thing, if you go to pastelmat you’d find that you would have got a better or even the ingres you’d have got a better smoothness of the background colours. But it’s only a small thing and I think generally speaking it’s very good and I don’t think I would actually touch that now I’d leave it as it is but learn from you know perhaps something you can change in the future.
Scotney Castle is an altogether different kettle of fish. Strangely enough when we move from animals or when our members move from animals to landscape they do suffer a little bit there. It’s much more difficult to get hold of landscape techniques once you’ve been working with animals but I think generally speaking you’ve done quite a good job with the sky. I’m happy with that. The water as you say you probably lost something because with water you’ve got to be careful as you now know that if you use the pencils too rashly you can start to fill the paper and it can go shiny. But I think it’s something that you should carry on with to be honest. We usually recommend people if they’re doing animals to actually go into other things like landscapes, still life or portrait work because you get a whole bunch of new techniques that you can reapply on your other work.
I think you’ve got a potential there and I certainly would like to see more landscape work from you. And you said you’re quite happy with it. Well I think you’re right to be that way. And that’s so on Ingres so it’s a completely different kettle of fish and you can see the sharpness of that as opposed to the sort rather smudgy look of the velour. Anyway I hope this helps. I think as I said I would like to see more of the landscape work. We’ve got a lot on our site – plenty of videos to watch. Have a look to at the trees because it’s one of the other problems we have with the landscapes is trees are a nightmare when you’re starting out to get them right.
You’ve done the trees on the left hand side aren’t bad at all but the trees on the right hand side that bunch of trees where you’ve got rather the dark areas that stands out a little bit too much. It’s not so obvious on the left hand side you’ve got away with it more. So those are the sort of things you can watch and watch my videos and see how I’ve done them. And you get an idea of how it can be done.
But I think you’ve got the potential there of being really good at it. I hope that helps you.