This is a colored pencil portrait that I completed from a drawing I had done of Tom at life drawing sessions. I wanted to see if I could finish a portrait, in color, from the knowledge I have gained from spending time studying people. This was the end result. I know it is always better to work from a subject, but sometimes they are not available for the amount of time it takes to finish something like this. I don’t think I could have done this with just any model. I have drawn and painted Tom more than any other model and I think that practice helped me with this.
After June’s comment this morning about leaving the background on the Tom in colored pencil, I decided to post this Tom as the devil where I darkened and sharpened the background. I had posted him on my blog earlier. I do think it is part of what attracts me to art; this activity where I can manipulate what I see!
This was a landscape I challenged myself to do from a photo my son took after a Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packer game 2 years ago. At first it was great fun trying to lay everything in. But, oh my, the layers I had to add to get any depth at all. I tried to capture what the camera picked up in movement in the foreground. Rendering all the people piling off the ramp was another challenge. This is done in prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore vellum bristol board. I did not know about the Stonehenge paper that I use, now, for colored pencil work. The other thing I noticed, today, were all the little people compositions within this, so I cropped them to share with you.
blind continuous line
In a recent post, I stated that I had drawn an image using continuous line. I often study objects from life using a continuous line and, many times, draw the object blind, first. The above drawing was done from life in my figure drawing class a year ago spring. It took 4 minutes tops to draw. What the artist does is places his pencil or pen at a starting point on the paper and imagines that he is touching the contours of the object he is rendering. He is like a blind person feeling the contours of an object with his hands. This includes the contours along the outside edges and the cross contours that run across the object. In this case, the object is a figure. I began this drawing at the point on the head where you see a line ending in space and finished it where you see another line ending halfway up the right side of the paper. You can see hands, arms, hair, feet, folds in the clothing and the general pose of the model. Blind line is almost always distorted, but rich with information that our left brain wants to convince us we don’t need to include. If our analytical brain had it’s way, a head would always be an oval and our arms and legs would look like everybody else’s arms and legs and on and on. I tell my students that this type of drawing is invaluable as a warm-up exercise before setting to work on a drawing. It is also an excellent lead-up skill to gesturing an object because it teaches the artist to keep his pencil on the paper and flow with the form. It is surprising, if practiced daily, how quickly students improve in their drawing skills. It’s similar to pianists learning to feel their way around the keys of a piano. Many times, my students are disturbed by the distortion in their images and don’t look for the actual bend and flow of the object they have created. Blind line is not meant to be a perfectly proportioned drawing, but as the artist begins to look at the paper as he makes a study in continuous line, the drawing begins to gain in proportion. I find that my drawing enlarges in those areas where I slow down on difficult areas. In this drawing, it is evident in the hands. If you look carefully at some classic artists’ works, you may be able to identify with this type of distortion. Perhaps, they too, worked blind from time to time.
I took this drawing one step furthur for my students and traced this blind drawing off on to a piece of bristol vellum and colored penciled a finished composition out of it. I wanted them to understand that art can be created in many ways and that our creations are but steps on a journey to seeing. The resulting composition is below.
This post has generated some interest of fellow bloggers wanting to try some line drawings. If you would like to view more drawings that have this feel rendered by other artists, two that I follow are drawing diary and antsketch.
The last night of colored pencil class, the instructor gave us each a piece of U-Art 800 paper. It is a very fine grained sheet of sanded paper. They also carry 400 U-Art paper for pastelists. This is the portrait I completed on my U-Art. I will definitely use this paper again. I loved how it felt to draw on. It did not eat my pencils up as quickly as other sand papers and clayboard have. I also like the fact that the background is a light tan color.That enables me to choose a wide range of colors to work with. There is a slight grain to the paper, so you start by working against the grain in your first layer and then at diagonals to the grain in subsequent layers. The finished product has a soft look to it. I have 4 layers on the background in this piece. It could have taken more.
This is my assignment for colored pencil class. We were to render a glass object on black paper. This is for all of you who are enduring record temperature highs around the globe!
This week in colored pencil we worked on still life glass objects on black paper. The paper is Strathmore Artagain black. I liked this surface. We were to pay attention to the darkest darks and allow those shapes to be the black of the paper.
This week in colored pencil class we worked from groupings of plastic flowers. I drew my sunflowers on sanded pastel paper with a colored background. As soon as I learned that I had to choose very light or very vibrant colors, it was fun. Due to the fact that I could not trudge home with the flowers, I improvised to finish this piece. The paper eats up the pencils faster than regular paper, but I liked the effect enough that I’ll use it again.
This is my colored pencil assignment for this week. We were to paint a still life with the vegetable or fruit she gave us. I had to pay close attention to reflected color, the shadows the onions cast, and the local color of each onion. This was very challenging and something I want to try again in watercolor and different objects. My specific challenge was developing the colors for the background because the one was so dark and the other so light. Colored pencil is just plain fun after the midpoint and you begin to see how the colors are blending. Sometimes, the color takes me a whole different direction than I planned.
This week in colored pencil class we took photos with contrast between dark and light and tried to develop our darks and lights by layering colors. The results are quite dramatic and more beautiful than trying to achieve contrast with one color for darks and one color for lights. This was my attempt. I used reds and greens for my darks, pink, light blue and lilac for petals and green, indigo, dark green, 2 yellows, and orange for the center.
I am taking another class in colored pencil. It’s fun to learn something new and colored pencil is my fun time! This was my first experience this class. The instructor had us make abstract shapes, experimenting with a colored pencil stick. From that design we were to create a finished piece. I don’t know if this would be considered finished, BUT it’s where I stopped. It was fun and primarily mindless and I will do this again. I enjoyed watching something develop. I have posted my last year’s attempts at colored pencil on another page. Click colored pencil tab at top of page to view.
Kristen Krimmel discusses her use of a graphite stick and the endless mark making one can explore with it. This is essentially what we did, covering our paper with a design. We, then composed a finished piece from that mark making. The difference was that we used a colored pencil stick.