Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First Place in the Pastel Society of Southern California Member Show!

I was very thrilled and honored to win first place in the professional category of the PSSC Member's show. I think it was even more exciting because the competition judge was Richard Mckinley! If this is not validation that I'm on the right track, I don't know what is :-)




I started this portrait last year in June. I thought it was time to try my freehand drawing skills to start off a pastel portrait. After all that's why I've been practicing my draftsmanship.

I found a quirkly self portrait that Marty had taken when he was goofing around with his photographic equipment. When I first saw it I was amused since the expression was so uncharacteristic of him. To me it said, "Hey, what you looking at!", "You talking to me?" It exuded a defiant and cocky attitude and I wondered if I could ever manage to capture this in a portrait. It would certainly be an interesting challenge.

The paper was a 19 x 25 sheet of La Carte pastel paper in Sienna Brown. I took care with my initial drawing. I drew lines dividing my paper into quarters as well as on my reference with the same aspect ratio. These guided me in placing the off center figure accurately on the paper. These also help me place landmarks for the top of his head and rest of this body so as not to end up with a drawing that wandered out of bounds.

Once the sketch was done to my satisfaction I started applying the pastel.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gemma Gylling Workshop

Our local CPSA chapter, Los Angeles DC 214 is hosting a Gemma Gylling workshop in March.


PAINTING CATS WITH CONFIDENCE
GEMMA GYLLING, CPSA: INSTRUCTOR
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
City of Cypress Community Center
5700 Orange Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630

Gemma is a well-known wildlife artist and teacher. She is a Signature Member of Colored Pencil Society and Animals for Conservation. Her works have been shown in shows across the country and are in many private collections. She was a workshop instructor at the 2014 CPSA International Exhibition in Daytona Beach, Fla. Having grown up on a small ranch in Southern California, Gemma developed an early love for animals in nature. She has traveled the world taking photos of animal in their natural habitat. She began painting in oils, but soon switched to colored pencils for her animal portraits because of the versatility of this medium and the ability to capture fine details with it.

In this workshop you will learn to create richly colored, painterly cat portraits on suede mat board. Gemma will focus on the anatomy of the eyes, ears, nose and fur while guiding you through each step. She will provide each student with the suede mat board with an outline of the subject, a booklet with detailed instructions on finishing the project, and a materials list.

For contact information and entry form, download the Workshop flyer.

Download the materials list.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Colored Pencil Landscape

Here is something different, a landscape! I probably finished this about a year ago and then tucked it away, out of sight. I came across it again recently and decided it wasn't as bad as I originally thought, just different. I've learned that sometimes you just need a little space and time away from your work to be able to really see it again.


I'm not sure I remember why I wanted to do a landscape. But I do remember that with that idea in mind we took a little road trip to Solvang and took pictures all the way there and back. I picked the following reference shot as a likely composition. I played around with some ideas and some Photoshop magic to come up with the desaturated version on the right. I think that I augmented the bushes on the right side of the image too.


The combination of the desaturated colors and the underlying buttery yellow tone of the paper, gave the finished piece a stange old-timey look. The paper was another sheet from my little 7 x 9.5 Pastelmat pad. I think that I definitely prefer using Pastelmat with pastels instead of colored pencil. It can take 3 or 4 layers of colored pencil well, but there is no hiding the texture of the paper and the color of the paper is a factor in the look of your finished piece. You can get a lot more coverage with pastels. I guess that's why it's called Pastelmat.

I took a couple of progress shots a the beginning. Here I was still deciding if I wanted a figure in the image.


I decided I liked it better without anyone strolling down the path. I took a few more artistic liberties with the lighting. I made the light more contrasting, as if there was an foggy morning sun lighting the path from the right.

It was fun experimenting with a limited palette and the brightly toned paper, though it did make for a funny looking landsscape. It looks better from far away, like an old fashioned watercolor. :-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Small Pastel

I've been working on a small pastel piece. The paper is Pastelmat, 7 x 9.5 inches. I wanted to do a portrait using mostly pastel pencils, something to help me keep improving my freehand drawing skills.

I did the pencil drawing on a separate sheet of paper, then scanned it and then printed it out to get good contrasting lines. I then used my light box to transfer it to the Pastelmat. It was kind of tough to see the guide lines through the Pastelmat, since it's rather thick paper, but I was able to pick out enough to guide me.


A portrait tutorial DVD I recently bought served as an excellent refresher for me on capturing likenesses. The DVD is "Steps to a Likeness - Pastels" by Perri Sparks.

Using pencils is very different than using pastel sticks. For one thing I certainly feel more comfortable working at this small scale with pencils. Of course you lose a lot of the fluidity and painter-like quality that makes working with large pastels such a joy. It's a trade off I suppose.

I did go with a regular soft pastel stick to stroke in the background which gives it a nice airy touch. I'm not done with this one yet. I need to do some redrawing of the arms still and then draw in some color on the dress.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CPSA DC214 Member Show


I was honored to have won an award for excellence at our local CPSA Member show last month. As always it was a beautiful show with pieces from lots of our members and also local artists from the city of Cypress and surrounding towns.

I also entered my portrait of my sister, Esperanza, which was done using the Icarus board. I had a last minute rush to get it framed and though the do-it-yourself frame I choose was not ideal, it turned out looking alright. I really like this portrait because it has the look of a painting done with a fluid medium. But it's all colored pencil and wax crayon melted down with the help of the Icarus board.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Drawing on Toned Paper

A while ago I discovered that Dick Blick is associated with a Utrecht art store not too far away from me. I visited and bought a few things as pictured.



I was most eager to try the toned paper. I need to practice my drafting skills, namely free hand drawings using the old fashioned methods of observation, plumb lines, clock angles, comparing proportions, etc. I started going through my family photos for good subjects. This is what I've done so far. I started with graphite and then switched to black and white charcoal pencils for the first drawing.



Marty is going to be a recurring subject since I have lots of photos of him. I did the initial drawing carefully but it felt off. I finally scanned it and overlaid it on the photo reference to check my proportions. I was pleased to see that most of it was very accurate. The eyes, nose, head size and shape were almost spot on. The only thing that was wrong was the jawline. It was too long and that threw off the neck line too. Once I corrected that the resemblance really came through. Not bad for a first try.

I did the next drawing with pastel pencils, sanguine red and white. I had more trouble with this one.



My initial line drawing had more stuff wrong. I did a comparison again and found that the eyes were too close together, the nose was too short and the chin also too short. Worse, her whole head circumference was too small compared to the size of her features. Again I was able to correct the shortcomings once I knew exactly what they were. Click to see larger.


Hopefully at some point, the errors will become less and less. So I'll continue to practice, practice and practice some more.

The whole idea is to get better at drawing accurate sketches as the basis for pastel portraits. I'll never get a good likeness if I don't have a accurate drawing.

Monday, August 5, 2013

CPSA 21st International Exhibition

From CPSA 2013 International Exhibition

I was very excited to be accepted into the CPSA 21st Annual International Exhibition this year which took place in Brea, CA. Knowing that it was going to be local to me this year really spurred me on to finish my Marty portrait. I've been working sporadically on this thing for over three years but I finally knuckled down in time to make the March 31st deadline.

What a thrill it was to see it hanging in the lovely Brea Art Gallery in the company of some of the most amazing colored pencil art I've ever seen.

From CPSA 2013 International Exhibition

And most amazing of all, I got an Award for Outstanding Achievement!




I called it "A Good Day". To see the posts that track some of progress on this piece, click on the "Good Day" tag at the bottom of this post.

Gosh, what a week!