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Blog archives: May 2012

“Poppy, No. 3”

Poppy, No. 3

Title: Poppy, No. 3

Outline - Cool Zone

The outline is accomplished with Prismacolor Verithin on the cool zone of the Icarus board. I don't like to add too many details at this point, only the principal lines.

Color Mapping - Warm Zone - Low Temperature

I'm blocking-in the main colors of the poppy on the warm zone with very low heat, just enough to soften the waxy pigments without melting them or blending them.

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

After setting the temperature control at medium, I add additional color until there's enough pigment to obliterate the paper. Then I begin blending using the point of a  tortillon with a very light touch.

Sometimes I smooth out the color gradations with the side of a paper stump if the area in question is large enough. The very small veins are created with a white Verithin which lifts and lightens the original color underneath.

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Refining and Polishing - Warm and Cool Zones

The last step includes refining the edges (cool zone), polishing the color gradations (warm zone), adding the fuzz on the stem (warm zone), filling in the white speckles of paper that are still showing (warm zone), and the signature.

I like to sign my name with a Verithin pencil on the warm zone. I use a lighter color than the background and press enough to create an indentation which is visible even after varnishing.


Festival of Arts PREVIEW 2012 EXHIBITION

Yesterday I attended the Festival of Arts Preview 2012 Exhibition. It is designed to give the public a sampling of some of the new artists whose artwork will be on display on a larger scale this summer at the festival.

If you're in Laguna Beach, California, make sure to stop by the Wells Fargo Bank downtown to view the exhibition that will be on display until June 10.

For hours and directions please refer to the invitation in this post.


“Poppy, No. 2”

Poppy, No. 2

Title: Poppy, No. 2


“River Pebbles, No. 5”

River Pebbles, No. 5

Title: River Pebbles, No. 5


“Poppy, No. 1” - Learning from my Mistakes

Poppy, No. 1

Title: Poppy, No. 1

I need to produce lots of small artworks for the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts (by the way, I'm finally on their website) so I started a new series on poppies. With each piece I will post something interesting about how I made it.

I had never painted a small poppy before, only medium or large ones, and decided to make this a 5" x 5" project. After priming the paper with a thin coat of regular Colourfix Primer, I began to draw. It didn't take me very long to realize that this was not going to work.

A sanded pastel surface like Colourfix is perfect for pebbles and rocks and it helps to emphasize their natural texture. However it's not the best choice for smooth, flowing, transparent flowers. Stonehenge is much more suitable especially for fine details and sleek color gradations.

I resized my project to a 6" x 6" Stonehenge paper, still small but big enough for the intricate poppy. I  worked on the Icarus board at medium-low temperature and burnished all the way through the end. This time I didn't use any tools, just the pencils themselves. I blended no more than two layers and selected only colorfast colored pencils, hence the use of Polychromos when certain colors weren't available in the other brands. Oil based colored pencils like Polychromos are affected by heat if layered on top of wax-based colored pencils.

Well, this was definitely a learning experience!


“River Pebbles, No. 4” - Stumps & Tortillions

River Pebbles, No. 4

Title: River Pebbles, No. 4

Color Mapping with Artist Crayons - Cool Zone

After drawing the outline with Verithin colored pencils on the cool zone of the Icarus Drawing Board, I proceeded to map the main colors of the project with Neocolor artist crayons on the cool zone.

For more on color mapping with artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Artist Crayons Melted - High Temperature

With temperature setting at maximum, I melted the artist crayons using a clay shaper (color shaper).

For more on melting artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Orange Pebble Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

With the temperature set at medium I developed the colors, values and details of the orange pebble by layering colored pencils and blending them with a tortillion.

Blue Pebbles Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

The blue pebbles were accomplished in the same manner as the orange pebble.

Red Pebble Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

I finished the drawing by completing the red pebble in the same manner as the other pebbles.

Clean-up, Highlights and Signature

Finally I cleaned up the drawing and emphasized the highlights with a white artist crayon. I like my signature to blend in and I can achieve that by using a sharp, white Verithin on the warm zone. It lightens the colors underneath just enough to make the letters visible without detracting from the art.

Paper Stump and Tortillion

When I first started experimenting with heat I was always on the lookout for different tools that would work with my technique. I remember trying tortillions and disliking them. I found that I couldn't really use them by the long side of the point because they would leave indentations/ridges on the waxy pigments.

The paper stumps that I normally use for large artwork were too thick and soft for this small project. At the same time I was getting very frustrated with how inconsistent the various colorless blenders have been lately. Finally I decided to give the tortillion another try and, guess what? It works great! The point is very thin and sturdy, not as soft as the paper stump's, perfect for blending colored pencils. It's easy to clean with sandpaper and very inexpensive. If you're using it already, you're way ahead of me. If you're not, try one and you'll be pleased!