Rekindling my passion for art in retirement

Hi everyone,
My name is Debbie. I have always loved to draw, but until I discovered Matt’s online lessons, never really appreciated all the various mediums available to artists. As a “youngster”, I would draw the pictures in coloring books for my nephews and nieces to color. That was when I learned I had “some” talent :wink: As a teenager, my father made the mistake of “indulging” his teenage daughter with art lessons from the Minnesota art institute. As most of us can attest, teenagers change with the weather, so after a few lessons with graphite, pen and ink and opaque wash, I became “bored” and shelved the lessons. Unfortunately, my dad had to continue to pay for the remainder of the contract :frowning: Now, finding myself retired and needing to fill my days, I am rediscovering that passion I had in my youth. I have been following Matt for a couple years and cannot believe how much I have learned. He has definitely opened up the world of art for me once again. My father passed away many years ago, but each time I complete a lesson, I am confident he is smiling at the beautiful artwork I am creating.
Here is one of the many pictures I have completed from Matt’s live lessons.
Please feel free to critique as like everyone on this forum, I will only improve with the constructive comments and criticisms of my fellow artists.


Maybe the blue could be darker.and the black. I think it is a great start.

Thank you for the comment. Pushing my values is something I do struggle with doing. Always hear the reminder you can always go darker, but not the reverse. I also have overworked the paper when applying colored pencil and ruined the tooth :slightly_frowning_face:

I have the same problem - too heavy with my colored pencil strokes. I agree with Denise concerning the blues and black. I, too, think it is a great start.

Nice to know I am not alone :wink: Thank you as well for taking the time to view and comment. I am now working on the Ostrich that Matt is doing live. There is much opportunity to push values using charcoal. What fun!

Hi Debbie, nice to
meet you :slightly_smiling_face:. I think you have made a great start, I like the detail of the feathers, I’m wanting to do some birds because been to busy doing dog portrait’s just gifts for my friends, I on taking a bunch of photos of our cat, our baby as I want to draw him as well, he is an old man now but doing well for his age.
I’ve been kind of stuck on graphite I did Matt’s turtle coloured pencil lesson in secrets to drawing course and I did his apple for charcoal.
I’m on doing his pen & ink course plus I’m doing Inktober this year as only managed 2 drawings for that last year.
I do think the blue could be a bit darker, I’ve had that issue, not sure how dark to go and a worry you will over do it and ruin it.
Start light go dark, I’m getting there lol :wink:
Great drawing though :+1::ok_hand::+1:
I like the background you did and once your bird is a little darker it will ‘pop’ more against the light background :grin:

Nice to meet you as well!
Thank you for the feedback on my colored pencil blue jay. The background is done using pan pastels. I am getting to be a fan of that medium as I do have COPD and pan pastels have less powder :wink: I have done several of Matt’s lessons in most all of the mediums and find that following his videos has resulted in some very “frame worthy” art. My house and the homes of my family and friends can attest to that :slight_smile: He is a wonderful instructor and I have learned so much from him already (but still have “miles” to go). I have also learned that matting and framing my art makes it look more “polished” and gift worthy.
I will look forward to seeing some of your creations from Matt’s lessons and hearing your thoughts on the various mediums you attempt.
Personally, I need to branch out into my own creations as you appear to be doing. I envy you and others who have that ability :wink:

Hi Debbie,
I was immediately very impressed with your bird picture. But it looks like a blue jay, so thats why I agree with Denise that adding some more blue probably would improve it. I also like the bokeh background a lot. The yellow and green really becomes the bird. Thanks for sharing your work, and have a great day! :sun_with_face::blush:

Best regards,
Anna Maria

Hi AnnaMaria,
Thank you for taking the time to view and comment on my picture. You are correct, it is a blue jay. The background is done using pan pastels. Not sure if you have used that medium yet, but I do love the way it lays on the paper. I am in agreement with you and our other fellow artists regarding the need to push the blue and black values :wink:

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Hi Debbie
Thanks for replying so promptly and for your tip! :blush: No, I haven’t tried out pan pastels yet, but people who have worked with them usually recommend them including you, so now I have decided that a set of pan pastels will be my next art supply investment. I really look forward to experiment with them, so if you have some tips on which colors that are best to start out with, I am all ears and eyes!

Best regards from
Anna Maria

Hi Anna Maria,

  I just saw your message regarding pan pastels.  Firstly

(disclaimer here ;), I am still new to this medium, so definitely
not an expert. Mat has videos regarding this medium and that is
where I first encountered it. Like yourself, I need to watch my
budget, so did the Amazon search and found a set of 10 pan pastels
for less than $40. Not cheap, but in comparison to the other
offerings, I was able to manage the purchase. The 10 colors I got
in this package have enough colors (in my opinion) for me to
experiment with the medium. I mix different ones to obtain some
interesting colors as these do blend easily :wink:

The product I purchased from Amazon is : Panpastel
PPSTL10-30101 Ultra Soft Artist Pastel Painting Set, 10-Pack

  You will also need something to apply these with and they do sell

a package of “soffit” sponges, which I purchased as well.
However, there are other options, such as your fingers, paper
towels or even make up sponges, so experiment and “have fun”!

I hope this was helpful.

Have a wonderful, creative day!


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These tips are indeed very helpful, thank you very much, Debbie, and have a great day. :sun_with_face:

Best regards,
Anna Maria

i feel exactly the same when we are in our 70’s having a hobby is great…i have been on art tutor for few years and whilst that is very good i think Matt is very professional and have since joined virtual…cheers to all

I thought maybe the light areas were a glare from the photo and not necessarily a values issue, I think you did a fantastic job. When I drew this pic I didn’t put in the pastel background, and although this adds so much interest to your painting, I’m also happy with just a white background. Also like the choice of frame you chose. Reminds me of the twig he is sitting on.

Thank you, I enjoyed working on this lesson. I never thought about the photo itself having an impact on my finished result. I am guilty of not going too dark on my values as I am afraid of over doing and not being able to recover. It is something I continue to work on as I move forward on this journey. I hesitated putting in the background colors as I feared it would take away from the bird, but am glad I did. I think it did “mute” the bird’s presence a bit. I bet leaving the background white helped the bird to “pop” from the picture :wink: As for the frame, I am one who loves “finishing” my work with mats and frames. I tell my friends the right frame and mat can make any of my work look good :wink: