Archive for October, 2010

“Summer Sunset 2″ was selected for First Place in the Pastel, Pen & Pencil category at the 27th Annual North American Miniature Art Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Fells Point in Baltimore. This is a 2 x 4” colored pencil piece showing a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from the county park observation tower near my home. The show runs to October 30, 2010.

I recently undertook a special project to help out Grafix, the makers of Dura-Lar and other drawing films, who wanted art for an instructional video. (I will post the link when it’s online.) The artwork was left unfinished so that in the video, the use of both sides of the drawing film is more evident. When it’s returned, I’ll finish it up completely, but it’s pretty cool as it stands now.

Front side, in progress

The peppers are done on Dura-Lar from my own photo with Prismacolor pencils.  Prismacolor Verithin pencils were also used for sketching outlines and some coloring.

Initial colors were worked on a heated work surface so they would soften and blend easily. As the work progressed, I worked mainly on a regular table, but I did take the piece back to the heated surface a few more times when I felt softening the color would give smoother blending and better coverage.

The film was flipped over frequently so additional colors could be applied to the back. In most cases, complementary colors were applied to the back so they would make richer shadows for the darker local color applied to the front.


Reverse side, in progress

This is still evident in the unfinished green peppers across the bottom. Tuscan Red, which is the darkest red, was applied behind the shadow areas of the green peppers, which I have started to fill in on the front with Dark Green and Grass Green. Note also some greens behind the unfinished yellow, orange and red peppers at the top, and Tuscan Red behind the vertical shelf support at the top left.

Also applied on the back is Dark Umber, which was used to darken the deep space between the green peppers. This space is mostly Indigo Blue on the front, with Dark Green and some reds and the Umber added.

I left the strokes obvious in the unfinished areas. This is how the color was initially applied in most parts of the drawing. But as you can see, the strokes do not show in the finished parts, where colors were blended in three ways. A soft eraser in pencil form was used to smooth out strokes, both over heat and on the table. A colorless blender pencil also was used, and this worked especially well on the heated surface. Colors were also blended simply by using extra pressure with the dominant color on top. In some places, colors were worked with pressure from the harder Verithin pencils.

I used the “pencil” eraser mentioned above and a kneaded eraser to make corrections and to bring back “white” (transparency so the backing board can show through) although most highlights are done with white colored pencil. In a few places, thin white lines were done by scratching carefully with the tip of an X-Acto knife.

I will finish this piece by adding more color on both sides and blending it out as described. The green peppers will look as smooth and realistic as the ones across the middle. Going back to the heated work surface will probably be important for unifying the finished effect.

Reverse side, unfinished

Reverse side, in progress

My newest piece was selected as Best of Show winner in the annual Members Show of the Professional Association of Visual Artists. The show at the Clearwater (FL) Main Library runs through November 29.

Normally, I work with multiple brands of colored pencils in a large range of colors, but for this piece, I chose to limit myself to a basic 24-color set of the most commonly recognized brand. The paper is white Stonehenge, a terrific 100% cotton heavyweight paper that seems to love colored pencil. I generally use colored papers like Stonehenge’s cream and light gray, but the white was well-suited for the reflective highlights of the plastic containers and their labels, and it maintained the purity of the crayon-like colors of the frosting. Limiting my palette (I did not even use all 24 colors in the set), I was able to maintain color harmony in the piece, but using complimentary colors allowed me to develop a lively and broad range of colors and values. Using one slightly harder pencil from a related product line, I was even able to make most of the ingredient lists readable – try that with any other medium! It was especially gratifying that this modestly-sized piece (9 x 8″) was selected as Best of Show in PAVA’s annual Members Show where it competed with work that was much larger and in all media. I believe it was the ability of colored pencil to mimic the slickness of the plastic and the lusciousness of the frosting that won over the two judges.

If you are interested in taking one of my workshops or classes in October or November, there several opportunities around Florida:

Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin FL, 727-298-3322
6-week “Colored Pencil for Everyone” classes, Tuesdays, 12:30 – 3:30, starting Sept. 14 & Nov. 9
$98 DFAC members/$128 non-members – For all levels, group instruction and independent study
6-week Drawing and painting classes also scheduled, including a night class
1-Day Colored Pencil Plein Air workshop, $75 members/$105 non-members – Colored pencil is a great medium for travel journaling or studies on location.
2-Day “Better Painting by Design” workshop, $140 members/$170 non-members – Learn the principles of design to take your artwork from ordinary to extraordinary.
2-Day Discover Watercolor Pencil Workshop, $140 members/$170 non-members – All pencils and paper provided! A fast-paced and fun introduction to this very versatile medium which combines the precision of drawing with the expressiveness of paint.

Beach Art Center, Indian Rocks Beach FL
Ongoing Colored Pencil class, Monday mornings. Call for details.
4 classes: $70 members/$90 non-members; 6 classes: $105 members/ $125, non-members, 727-596-4331

North Port Art Center, North Port FL, 941-423-6460
2-Day Discover Watercolor Pencil workshop, Oct. 13 – 14, $120
All pencils and paper provided! A fast-paced and fun introduction to this very versatile medium which combines the precision of drawing with the expressiveness of paint.

SouthShore Regional Library, Ruskin FL, 813-273-3652
Introduction to Colored Pencils (1½ hour evening class), Oct. 20, FREE, limited seating, RSVP required. All materials provided.

Visual Arts Center, Punta Gorda FL, 941-639-8810
2-Day Discover Watercolor Pencil workshop, Oct. 25 – 26, $140 members/$165 non-members
All pencils and paper provided! A fast-paced and fun introduction to this very versatile medium which combines the precision of drawing with the expressiveness of paint.

Gainesville Fine Art Association, Gainesville FL, 352-505-6968
2-Day Colored Pencil Workshop, Oct. 28 – 29, $100 members/$135 non-members
Learn “The Secret Weapons of Colored Pencil” — Whether you are new to colored pencil or more experienced, you will learn techniques that make it fast and easy to get the right effect. You too can produce work that makes others say, “I can’t believe that’s colored pencil.” Every workshop participant will receive a custom kit with handouts, special tools, paper samples and/or other useful products.

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