Red Candle, oil pastel – three versions

Today while waiting for a clear gesso application to dry on a hardboard surface being prepared for a winter painting, I started to play around painting a Red Candle still life (oil pastel 7×5) and have a question for you.

I’m not entirely sure that I like the painting well enough to send it out as a Christmas card, I’ll probably end up with about 10 (winter landscape) paintings to choose from, but I’m giving serious consideration to this painting – a nice surprise for a spur-of-the-moment painting.

I’m torn between which version of the painting, Red Candle, I like best and wanted your opinion.  I took three cropped photographs of the painting – if you wouldn’t mind telling me which one you think would make the better 7×5 holiday card.  I would really appreciate it.  I’m getting close to choosing one of these three versions, but I’d like to hear your thoughts, even if you think I shouldn’t consider any version of this still life and stick to using one of my winter landscapes – you won’t hurt my feelings.

Thank you in advance ~ you can click on the image to see a larger version of it.

Red Candle, version #1

Red Candle, version #1

Red Candle, version #2

Red Candle, version #2

Red Candle, version #3

Red Candle, version #3


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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49 Responses to Red Candle, oil pastel – three versions

  1. violetski says:

    All are great but I think I love no 1 dear Mary! I don’t why but feeling candle light brightly there! But all are really lovely❤️❤️❤️

  2. tomsimard says:

    I like number one the best.

  3. For me no:1 definitively does it, has a good balance but the reason I really love it is the reflection of the candlelight on the back wall which sends the message out. I would probably darken the upper corners slightly to frame in and bring out even more the warm glow, but that’s only a thought. Looking forward to see what you will decide! Love your challenges where you bring us all in!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, thank you for your suggestion of darkening the upper corners and thoughts on this still life. I’m still undecided on the painting, as you’ll see.

  4. A.PROMPTreply says:

    For some reason, the flame in No. 3 looks more “real” to me….warmer somehow, maybe because it’s closer (larger) in the picture. Like very much the colours though as opposed to just a winter landscape…..

    • Mary says:

      Thank you A!, we’ll see what happens in the final version. I like the close-up as well but am probably leaning toward #2. Thanks again, I appreciate your thoughts.

  5. Jet Eliot says:

    I like version #1 the best because with the distance the message is more mellow. It’s a very beautiful painting, Mary. 😀

  6. Amy says:

    I really appreciate your painting. I like both 2 and 3. 🙂

  7. iarxiv says:

    I’d go with number 1 🙂 (Second choice would be number 2)
    The more I dabble in pastels, the more I appreciate your work! 🙂

  8. Karah Serine says:

    I also like the 2nd one the best. The effect is a bit different and I love it. What a great card to receive.

  9. I’d pick no1 for a card, it’s more balanced as a frame. However, because as you know I love details[!], I’d use a blown up detail in a small circle somewhere – either on the back or inside the card. Either way, this will make a lovely Xmas card! :-0

    • Mary says:

      Love your creative thoughts Marina and idea, gives me more options. I have some changes and then will reveal. Thanks so much – hope you didn’t experience any damage with the earthquake. Take care ~

      • Thank you, Mary – no damage thankfully [how did you know?]. Athens wasn’t hit too much. However having experienced 2 big ones, even a small one can bring back dark memories.

        • Mary says:

          I saw it in the news – when I lived in San Francisco I experienced several and left several months before the last big one hit. They are scary as all heck, at least with tornado’s you have an idea where it is and if you’ll get hit. Earthquakes are a whole different matter – so happy to hear you are okay. w/no damage. Have a great evening.

  10. ladyfi says:

    I like the first one best – but all are just lovely.

  11. You’ll get a wide variety of responses, mine is that I like version 1 best, I like the relationship between the candle and the background, and also the colour in the background in this version; also that you can see the handle of the candlestick more and it is an interesting shape.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cara, thank you so much for your thoughts – I like the elements you considered. I’ll be make a few small adjustments and then the final revealed post. Thanks again.

  12. poppytump says:

    I think I like No 1 Mary … maybe just because the dark blues reach out a little more to me … but then the flame in No 2 seems a little more glowy … and then in No 3 the composition being closer seems to have more impact … ooh it’s a tough call 😉

    • Mary says:

      Poppy, you are so great – thank you for your perfectly appropriate assessment!! Wonder what will happen on the canvas today, stay tuned – you’ll soon see.

  13. M-R says:

    For what an ignoramus’ choice is worth, I prefer no. 3.
    I like the slightly darker wall: it makes me think that the candle is often lit, right there, and that there may even be a faint trace of smoke on the wall … which would be rather suitable for a greeting candle, don’t you think, Mary ?

  14. niasunset says:

    Dear Mary, I can’t decide between no.1 and no.3… But they are all so beautiful. I loved them all. Thanks and Love, nia

  15. I like #3 best……..up close and warm…but then I’m nearsighted! I also prefer more object, and less empty background..

  16. Jess says:

    Love the contrast of the blue and red!

  17. I love version 1 the best Mary for a card. But then I like everything you paint!

  18. aFrankAngle says:

    I don’t know why, but I get a more positive reaction with the first one.

  19. Doris says:

    I like number 1 and I like it, it sends the message of light.

    • Doris says:

      Mary notices that you click on the photo and it goes big, I think that what they are doing the people stealing your images, in the world press when you add media where it says ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS you click none and it will not go big it will stay the size you have. Maybe you should do this to your images so they will not steal them.

      • Mary says:

        Doris this is great information and I didn’t know – I’ll be going in December to make some adjustments to my blog, this being one of them. Really appreciate it! Thanks so much ~

        • Doris says:

          I kept thinking how to help you, Lisa from Ecuador went through the same thing, and yesterday it hit me. Glad it will help you.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for your thoughts on this piece.

  20. dorannrule says:

    I think Red Candle would make a beautiful card! I like the second one the best. It’s very much like the third one but there is some subtle difference I can’t define.

  21. Susan Feniak says:

    Hello Mary, I do like #2 the best of the three. It seems warmer to me, the flame is different. Can’t help but wonder if a sprig of holly would make your lovely red candle seem more festive. That being said I do like your winter landscapes too. Have fun with your decision making process! Cheers, Susan

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Susan, I’m leaning toward #2 as well – a surprise ending is coming. Stayed tuned (I have a feeling that my husband will prefer a landscape, but you never know).

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