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.