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Blog Category: Icarus Technique

“River Pebbles, No. 13”

Title: "River Pebbles, No. 13"
Size: 8" x 8"
Medium: Prismacolor colored pencils, Luminance colored pencils, Neocolors artist crayons
Tools: tortillions, paper stumps, and color shapers
Surface: Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth board
Icarus Technique

I created a graphite sketch from five different photo references I took during my trip to Montana. I always make sure to have many photos of the same subject, especially when dealing with moving water, so that I can combine the best parts into a drawing.

I then transferred the original sketch using Verithin colored pencils to avoid having to erase the graphite pencil.

After drawing the outline, I proceeded to map the main colors with Neocolor artist crayons on the warm zone of the Icarus board at low temperature. During this step it's not important to include all nuances and details as these can be developed later with colored pencils.

For more on color mapping with artist crayons you can view the following video: Mussel Shell - Blocking in Colors with Artist Crayons

With temperature set at maximum, I melted and blended the artist crayons with a clay shaper (also known as color shaper). 

For more on melting artist crayons you can view the following video: Mussel Shell - Melting Artist Crayons

With the Icarus board set at medium temperature I developed the colors, values and details by layering and blending colored pencils with a variety of tools (tortillions, paper stumps, Caran d'Ache blender). During this step I made quite a few changes from the original outline; I removed a bubble and several small pebbles, aiming to simplify an already complex drawing.

Here are close-ups of the main steps: outline, mapping, melting, and developing.

I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step.

 

“Cambria”

Title: "Cambria"
Size: 6.5" x 11.5"
Medium: Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils
Tools: Tortillions, Paper Stumps, Full Blender Bright
Surface: Extra Fine Texture Canvas primed with two coats of clear Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer
Technique: Icarus Drawing Board

Above is the outline of this project. It's a combo piece of two small artworks I did in the past. After I developed the drawing in graphite, I transferred it onto the canvas using local colors.

Here I've blocked-in the main colors using a low temperature setting, just enough heat to make the layering a little faster and more even. Now I have a clear map of the basic colors.

After turning up the temperature dial to a medium setting I began burnishing. This is the process of saturating the canvas with pigment. I'm developing the values while blending colors and adding details. The only tools I use, besides the Icarus board, are tortillions, paper stumps, and a colorless blender.

More burnishing and blending in progress.

More burnishing and blending in progress

And finally the finished artwork. The title is after the location on the California Central Coast where I collected these pebbles.   

 

“River Dance”

Title: "River Dance"
Size: 12" x 24"
Medium: Prismacolor Premier, Caran d'Ache Luminance, Derwent Coloursoft, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran d'Ache Neocolor I and II
Tools: Tortillions, Paper Stumps, and Colour Shapers
Surface: Extra Fine Texture Canvas primed with two coats of clear Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer
Technique: Icarus Drawing Board
Presentation: Mounted on a 3/4" Ampersand Claybord, varnished and framed without glass

This riverbed is more abstract than my previous ones. I felt I was looking at a dance of shapes and colors.

http://esterroi.com/artwork/view/rocks-water/river-dance

 

Open Studio Announcement

 

My next open studio will be Saturday, June 21st, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

This is an opportunity to meet and share your artwork in progress, ask questions, watch me demonstrate the Icarus technique and try the Icarus board.

I will have boards set-up for all attendees, plus supplies and refreshments.

To sign up please email me at: [email protected]

This event is on a first-come, first-served basis; if you don't make this one there will be more announced regularly on this blog and on Facebook.

Please bring:

your questions​
your curiosity
your artwork in progress (optional)

I'm looking forward to seeing you on June 21st!

 

Open Studio Report

Yesterday I hosted my third open studio which was attended by four wonderful artists. We had a great time playing with the Icarus board, experimenting with various surfaces and mediums, and talking about different subjects, from priming canvas to editing photos. 

​Time always flies during these casual gatherings. A workshop would definitely be an opportunity to dwell deeply into the Icarus technique. Unfortunately my spring workshop had to be postponed due to other commitments. But a fall one is in the works and it will be here before we know it.

Stay tuned for my next open studio announcement.

Happy spring!

 

“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.

 

Open Studio Announcement

My next open studio will be Saturday, March 22nd, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, four spaces available.

This is an opportunity to meet and share your artwork in progress, ask questions, watch me demonstrate the Icarus technique and try the Icarus board.

I will have boards set-up for all attendees, plus some basic supplies and refreshments. To sign up please email me at: [email protected]

This event is on a first-come, first-served basis, and if you don't make this one there will be more announced regularly on this blog and on Facebook.

Please bring:

your artwork, finished or in progress
your questions​
your curiosity

I'm looking forward to seeing you on March 22nd!

 

“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.

 

Open Studio Announcement

On Saturday, January 25th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, I will host my first free "Open Studio" for a maximum of four artists. This is an opportunity to meet and share your artwork in progress, ask questions, watch me demonstrate the Icarus technique and try the Icarus board.

I will have boards set-up for all attendees, plus some basic supplies and refreshments. To sign up please email me at [email protected] com.

This event is on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you don't make this one there will be more announced regularly on my blog and Facebook.

Bring:

  • your artwork, finished or in progress
  • your colored pencils in use
  • your questions​
  • your curiosity

I'm looking forward to seeing you on January 25th!

 

“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.