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Blog Category: Artwork

“River Pebbles, No. 12” Mounted and Ready

After spraying the canvas with Golden MSA Spray Varnish, gloss, I mounted it on a 6" x 6" x 2" Claybord using this method: http://esterroi.com/blog/post/2011/10/canvas-and-the-icarus-board-final-post

Then I painted the Claybord's sides with acrylic. It's now ready for the final varnish, Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS, gloss. I will varnish it tomorrow because I want the acrylic to be completely dry.

This artwork is now for sale on my website: http://esterroi.com/artwork/view/rocks-water/river-pebbles-no.-12

 

“River Pebbles, No. 12”

Title: River Pebbles, No. 12

  • Size: 6" x 6"
  • Medium: Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (Verithin and Softcore), Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils
  • Tools: Tortillions, Paper Stumps
  • Surface: Extra Fine Texture Canvas primed with several coats of clear Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer
  • Technique: Icarus Drawing Board
  • Mounted on a 6" x 6" x 2" Ampersand Claybord and varnished
  • To see how I mount and varnish my artwork, please refer to my post on Glassless Framing.

The outline was accomplished with Prismacolor Verithin on the cool zone of the Icarus board.

In this step I blocked-in the main colors on the warm zone with very low heat, just enough to soften the waxy pigments.

After setting the temperature control at medium, I began adding pigment until the canvas was completely covered. I then blended the colors with a tortillon or a paper stump.

I really enjoyed this piece. However, now that it's finished, I wish I made it larger. The swirls of colors would have looked even better on a 12" x 12". It probably would have taken me the same amount of time had I incorporated wax pastels (Neocolors).

I just mounted the canvas on a 6" x 6" x 2" Claybord. Soon I can varnish it, photograph it, and put it for sale on my website.

 

“Beneath the Blue”

Title: Beneath the Blue
Size: 15" x 20" - after framing 26" x 31"
Medium: Prismacolor Premier, Caran d'Ache Luminance, Derwent Coloursoft, Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils
Tools: tortillions and paper stumps
Surface: Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth board
Technique: Icarus Drawing Board
Presentation: mounted on a 3/4" Ampersand Claybord, varnished and framed

Getting back to flowers after a long hiatus was exhilarating. As you can see, Beneath the Blue, as all my flower paintingsis depicting a daisy below the water surface.

Here's an excerpt from my artist statement that gives you some insight on my vision: "Water transforms everything it touches: hard lines become soft, warm colors cool, solid shapes break down into parts. Realism evolves into abstraction and the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The interplay between these realms is an endless source of inspiration for me."

For original and giclee information please click here.

 

“Unveiled” Sold

I'm so thrilled my largest artwork to date, Unveiled, sold this morning and is going to a good home in Florida.

2014 has been good to me so far. I'm very grateful!

 

From Big to Small, From Rocks to Flowers

After finishing my largest artwork to date, Unveiled, a rock piece measuring 24" x 48", I've now resumed working smaller and have chosen to do flowers again. 

Below you can see a sneak peek of the artwork I'm about to finish, a daisy underwater, measuring 15" x 20".

Soon I will be working even smaller. I've decided to create more 6" x 6" pieces mounted on 2" Claybords (see picture below). This series was very succesfull and will provide me with a sense of accomplishment as I'm starting another large canvas, a 24" x 48", this time a commission.

 

“Unveiled”

Title: "Unveiled"
Size: 24" x 48"
Medium: Prismacolor Premier, Caran d'Ache Luminance, Derwent Coloursoft, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran d'Ache Neocolor I and II, Holbein Oil Pastel
Tools: Tortillions, Paper Stumps and Colour Shapers
Surface: Extra Fine Texture Canvas primed with several coats of clear Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth Primer
Technique: Icarus Drawing Board
Presentation: Mounted on a 3/4" Ampersand Claybord, varnished and framed

I'm very proud to have completed this piece, if nothing else for its size alone. It has accompanied me through the trials and triumphs of this past year. It's been a faithful companion even though I neglected it for long spells, at times in favor of other artworks, and later during the long months of my youngest son's illness, surgery and recovery.

It was born out of necessity. I sold its twin brother "In Between", before I had a chance to have it professionally scanned. I had many requests for giclees so I decided to redo it four times its size. Since I was familiar with the subject and technique, I thought I could concentrate on the challenge of working on a much larger scale.
 

Above is the enlarged drawing I used to trace the outline on the canvas with Verithin colored pencils. I like to use local colors to avoid erasing graphite. On this blog post you can see how I traced it.
 

Of course I made some changes along the way. This progress photo shows a large stone on the bottom left corner that I eventually replaced with smaller pebbles. I used an electric eraser to lift most of the pigment and then drew new pebbles on top. 
 

Here I mapped the area with Neocolors and oil pastels. Neocolors are very useful, especially around the edges, because they can be sharpened. Oil pastels come in such a wide selection of colors, I would be limiting my palette if I weren't using them. At this stage I set the temperature of the Icarus board to low. 

 

The photo above shows the results of melting the Neocolors and oil pastels. I normally melt at the highest temperature using a colour shaper. Then I blend further and pick up any extra pigment left on the surface with a paper stump. At this point the Colourfix primer's texture has resurfaced again, making the canvas receptive to colored pencils.
 

Here you can see how I further developed the colors, values and details using colored pencils, with the board set at medium-low temperature. The perfect tools for blending colored pencils are tortillions and paper stumps.
 

When blocking-in, it's not important to include all color nuances and details. These can be developed later with colored pencils. 
 

Melting the pigment is probably the most exciting application of this technique. Again, it's not necessary to create perfectly smooth blending at this stage; that's what colored pencils are for.
 

Above is another example of how I developed the colors, values and details using colored pencils.
 

In this third series of close-ups I’d like to talk about how to speed up the process. Mapping with Neocolors and oil pastels is much quicker than mapping with colored pencil. Some of these rocks can measure up to 12 square inches or more!
 

Melting the waxy pigments is a very effective technique for fast coverage of the canvas surface. It compares to dissolving water-soluble Neocolors with a brush, except there’s no color or value change with heat.
 

Another valuable time-saving technique is adding all the details at the end. Highlights are time consuming if you need to account for them from the beginning. I created all the thin highlights by subtracting the pigment with a Verithin white pencil and by going over with a softer pencil or with a sharp, white Neocolor.
 

In the photo above I’m showing how I devised an easier way to work with a large canvas. I placed a 20” x 20” claybord, 2” thick, along the side of the Icarus board, thus creating a larger surface for the canvas to rest on. 
 

What’s appealing to me about working on canvas versus paper is that I don’t have to worry about creasing or bending it. Canvas is very flexible and can take a lot of abuse.

 

I like to roll up my canvas so that it doesn’t hang over my knees. I use two binder clips to keep the canvas from unrolling.
 

Here is a close-up of the canvas fastened with binder clips.
 

The finished canvas is now taped to a cardboard and ready for spraying.
 

After mounting the canvas on a cradled board, I will then varnish it and frame it.

 

Amazing Chalk Replica of “Impasse”

In my artist life I've been blessed with many special moments but this one I will treasure forever.

Sandra Rivas-Cole is an art teacher from Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Florida. She found my artwork on Colossal and introduced it to her students. A few of them insisted on using one of my images for an upcoming chalk art festival and together decided to use my piece "Impasse". 

The chalk art festival was at downtown Disney in Orlando, in conjunction with the Festival of the Masters Art Show. Four of Ms. Rivas-Cole's students worked very hard and skillfully to make an accurate replica of "Impasse". They received numerous compliments from visitors and seasoned festival artists as well.

I think these four amazing young students, Haver C., Riana S., Jamilette D., and Meghan S., did a magnificent job. I'm very moved, honored and delighted by their stunning rendition.

Knowing that my art inspires young, talented people, makes it all worthwhile. 

A special thank you to Ms. Rivas-Cole for introducing my art to her students and supporting them in their effort.

 

 

Inching Toward the Finish Line

I'm inching toward the finish line and soon I will be done with my largest piece ever. Below is a picture of what I've accomplished so far.

I'm not surprised to have discovered that I enjoy working big. When I used to paint in oil (back in the nineties) my smallest canvas was 30" x 30". It never occurred to me to paint any smaller. That feeling stayed with me even after I transitioned to colored pencil.

The Icarus technique has allowed me to tackle larger work, especially by combining colored pencils with wax crayons (artist crayons) and oil pastels. I'm also realizing that time is not necessarily proportionate to size. 

On my final post I will tell you how I'm able to speed up the process, how I feel about working on canvas, and I will show you some close-ups of the progress. Stay tuned!

 

Go Big or Go Home!

"Go Big or Go home" is an expression that resonates in my mind while working on my largest piece so far. After a very busy summer it's really nice to be back in my studio doing what I love to do.

I had decided to redo "In Between" four times as big on canvas. Below is a picture of the two artworks, at about the same stage of completion. You can use my pencil trays as a visual reference to get an idea of the actual size of my latest piece (24" x 48"). 

I will follow up soon with more progress photos and, at the end, I will review my technique of working with canvas and the Icarus board. Stay tuned! 

On a very positive note, sales of my artworks were very strong this summer. I shipped giclees and originals to many US States and to Australia, South Africa, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. Thank you to all my collectors!