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Betzi Stein

Meet Betzi Stein, Los Angeles-based colored pencil artist who came to my studio for a visit after becoming a devoted user of the Icarus Drawing Board. In addition to colored pencil, she also paints and does collage.  A professional massage therapist and portrait artist, she is an avid violinist, a long-term meditator and has a background in jewelry design and sculpture.  She has always been drawn to portraying the human figure in all her artistic endeavors.

Betzi SteinMassage Series 1

 

http://www.betzistein.com/
http://www.betzisteinmassage.com/

 

A Shortcut for Details

I'm working on a very detailed pebble piece. I'm combining Prismacolor colored pencil, Neopastel oil pastels & Neocolor artist crayons on Colourfix paper. I'm eager to show you a small (2"x2"), abstract close-up of my painting (18"x18") and explain the shortcuts I've taken to get around all the details.

1. Photo Cropping2. Line Drawing

 

1. This is a cropping of  the original photo. Even though it's very blurry you can still see all the intricate details.

2. On my line drawing I focus on the essential lines and not the confusing details.

3. Blocking-in Colors4. Melting

 

3. On the cool zone I block-in the colors with a combination of oil pastels and artist crayons.

4. I move my artwork to the warm zone of the Icarus board (high temperature) and melt all the colors with a color shaper. The waxy pigments settle into the hills and valleys of the paper, leaving plenty of texture for further layering.

5. Preparing Eraser6. Lifting Color

 

5. I'm preparing my Sakura battery-operated eraser by cleaning and flattening the tip on sand paper.

6. Here you can see how easily the pigment is lifted from the surface. By using the flat edge of the eraser point, I can achieve a very fine line.

7. Lifting Color8. Finishing

 

7. I lift all the waxy pigments until the white of the paper shows through.

8. I can now develop the colors and values and finish the details with colored pencils. During this phase I lower the Icarus Board temperature to a medium setting.

This shortcut allowed me to work from "large" to "small" without getting bogged down in details too early in the process.

 

Time Saving Tip on Blending

Blending artist crayon or oil pastel with colored pencil can be broken down into four steps.

  • Step 1 - Layering artist crayon on the cool zone
  • Step 2 - Melting artist crayon on the warm zone with a color shaper
  • Step 3 - Layering colored pencil on the cool zone using side of pencil
  • Step 4 - Blending artist crayon and colored pencil with a paper stump

1. Layering AC 2. Melting AC

 

3. Layering CP 4. Blending AC and CP

 

In the two examples below, you can see that this process can be reduced to two simple steps. While the colored pencil is blending with the crayon, it is also functioning as a melting tool.

This is a nice shortcut that works well for small areas. When blending large areas, I prefer to first melt the crayon and then layer and blend the colored pencil.

1. Layering AC 2. Melting and Blending

 

 

Back in the Swing of Things

It took two weeks after the CPSA convention to get back to a daily routine and, as you can see from the pictures below, I'm definitely back to "normal". Here are some things to look forward in the near future:

  • New artwork
  • An Icarus Art Newsletter
  • A new video page for the Icarus Art website and a YouTube account
  • A free selection of video clips from my CPSA workshop

 

 

Silent Auction and Awards Banquet

The Colored Pencil Society Silent Auction is a very popular convention event. This year it began on Wednesday, July 28,  in the hospitality suite and ended on Thursday evening during the membership meeting. The piece that I donated, True Colors, came in as the third contender for the highest bids in the auction. Elizabeth Patterson and Cecile Baird took first and second place respectively.

The awards banquet was particularly meaningful since the Colored Pencil Society was celebrating its Twenty Year Anniversary. Vera Curnow, CPSA founder, gave a memorable talk and introduced a slide show of the history of the Colored Pencil Society. Kay Schmidt, CPSA president, and Paula Parks, CPSA exhibition director, presided over the awards ceremony. My artwork "The Lightness of Being" received one of the top awards, the $1,000 Sanford Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit. Best of Show went to "Grapes in a Basket" by Shinji Harada.

Signature status is given to active members who have been accepted into the International show 3 times within 10 years. This was my third time in four years and therefore I gladly received my signature which entitles me to use the initials "CPSA" after my name.

Following is my last set of pictures from the CPSA convention in Santa Clara.

 

My Workshop at the CPSA Convention

Here are the pictures from my workshop "Wax and Heat, A Match Made in Heaven". I had 67 attendees split in two days, July 29 and July 30. This was an introduction to the Icarus technique and my first time as an instructor at a Colored Pencil Society Convention. It was a great experience from every point of view.

 

The Los Gatos Museum Exhibition

This year the Colored Pencil Society of America held its 18th Annual International Exhibition at the Art Museum of Los Gatos near San Francisco. Janet Bishop, the curator of painting and sculpture of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, selected 122 pieces to appear in the museum exhibit which will run until August 20th.

 

CPSA Convention a Smashing Success

The 2010 CPSA Convention was an unforgettable experience. Here are the highlights:

  • My workshop "Wax and Heat, A Match Made in Heaven" went very well
  • The 67 workshop attendees were an incredible group - attentive, responsive, enthusiastic, and now my friends
  • All the Icarus Drawing Boards sold out and more
  • The exhibition at The Art Museum of Los Gatos was outstanding
  • The CPSA sponsors and corporate members were incredibly generous with all of us - nobody went home empty handed
  • The Award Banquet was truly memorable especially for the slide show that chronicled the twenty year history of the Colored Pencil Society
  • I received my Signature pin - yay!
  • My artwork "The Lightness of Being" was honored with the Sanford Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit
  • Last but certainly not least was the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones

I have so many great pictures and memories to share but I'm staring at a mountain of boxes blocking the light of my studio window. They are waiting for me to unpack them; all my art supplies and tools have to go back into their proper place as soon as possible or I will not get any sleep tonight. I'll post again soon.

July 29, 2010 - Ester's Workshop at the CPSA Convention