Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

I had a nice long break, but I'm back at it. My main excuse for not spending time on the artwork lately was the garage remodel. But the garage is looking good now, at least on the outside, and I can concentrate on drawing again.

There were some other issues that had me dragging my feet with this piece. I didn't like how the red shade of the sweater was looking. I mean, it matched my reference, but on the art paper it looked dull. I had plenty of time to stew on this and a few other things during my little hiatus, but with a few ideas and a little inspiration I'm hitting the drawing board again.

Here I started working with a brighter red over my previous applications of Raspberry and Crimson Red, Scarlet Lake, to be exact. I also started adding shadows using Black Raspberry.

Because of uneven lighting from one progress shot to another, the colors look more different than they really were. Still they give an idea of the changes as I struggled to find shades of reds that I liked. I added Soft Pink (CS) for highlights on the shoulder area which toned down the bright red again. Unfortunately I didn't like it.

After a few more trials and errors I think I finally found a combination of reds that worked for me, from darkest to light; Black Cherry (P), Deep Red (CS), Scarlet Lake(P), Pale Vermilion (P), and Deco Orange (P). I never would have guessed that the orangey reds of Pale Vermilion and Deco Orange would work for highlights, but they seemed to do the trick.

Also, I liked the Black Cherry much better for the shadows, instead of the Black Raspberry. The Black Raspberry seemed to muddy the red color as it darkened, Tuscan Red, even worse. Finally I tried Black Cherry which worked much better. The difference seems to be that the other reds have a dark brown base in the color while the Black Cherry is more of a dark purple.

I had to remind myself to use my Prismacolor Palette Guide to choose the colors more carefully before even trying them on the paper. I acquired my palette guide in a Linda Lucas Hardy workshop a few years ago but had never really used it. I realize now that it is a wonderful resource to be able to carefully study the subtle color variations in similarly colored pencils by perusing little color swatches placed right next to each other. It's also great for refreshing your memory on the whole Prismacolor palette when choosing a color in general.

Fortunately I invested the time to fill out the guide when I first got it. :-)

This is very similar to the CPSA Lightfastness Test Result Workbook which actually includes colors from a large variety of popular colored pencil brands. I also have this workbook, but have only filled out a few color swatches here and there. It will be a great resource if I ever get around to filling out all the color cards.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I had the opportunity to attend the 20th Anniversary CPSA National Convention at Santa Clara, CA. with my husband last month. It was a quick trip. We drove up on Thursday and got there just in time to attend the membership meeting.

It was a treat to see some of the people who have helped to propel colored pencil medium into the limelight.

We were tired from the road trip but enjoyed the festive atmosphere and enthusiasm of the other attendees in the room. There were colorful balloons and lots of chatter, and along the back of the room, tables exhibiting all the beautiful artwork to be auctioned off that evening.

We also had door prizes and amazingly it seemed that every person in the room received something. I won a 2 color PanPastels sample kit with assorted sponge applicators. I guess if that isn't a nudge to try pastel painting again, nothing is :-)

We had previously made a quick stop at the hospitality room where I picked up my badge and goody bag. I wish that I had visited this room more than once or twice, if only to see and enjoy all the chapter projects on display. Unfortunately, I never did get a chance to explore it properly.

The silent auction was exciting. We put in a bid for one piece but were not quick enough to prevent someone else swooping in the last second to win it. Oh well.

The next day I spent in the Allan Servoss workshop while hubby explored Santa Clara a bit.

Later there was only a while before we had to get ready for the award dinner.

It was a thrill to hear Vera Curnow reminisce about the early days of the CPSA and some of challenges they faced. Later there was a parade of members being honored for signature status and assorted distinctions and of course the disclosure of all the art awards. It was a lovely and entertaining evening.

Saturday we headed home with the intention of stopping by the gallery at Los Gatos to see the artwork exhibition. To my everlasting disappointment we were much too early for the opening time at 12 noon. We couldn't afford to delay the start of the trip home, so reluctantly we left without seeing the any of the artwork.

Well, I got to see the outside of the gallery, nice adobe style architecture!

Still, I'm so glad that we attended this year. I seem to have been re-inspired with my own artwork and have been drawing again! More progress posts to come soon.