Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Virtual Sketch Date

"Winter Valley"
5 x 7"
colored pencil on pastel board

This month's VSD is a little early due to the holidays but I was able to eke out a little time to do this one and I'm glad I did.
I don't usually do many landscapes and when I saw the reference photo, I balked a bit. But I decided to plunge in and, as I usually do for the VSD, I decided to try to vary my style a bit. This one, I thought, should be rather pastel-like and loosely drawn.
My main inspiration for this style of colored pencil drawing I can directly attribute to a friend and a wonderful artist, Linda Wesner. I had the privilege of pariticipating in a small class and demo Linda gave at one of our local colored pencil guild meetings where she generously demonstrated her style and technique. Take some time and check her work here. She has won many awards and her work has consistently been selected for the CPSA International Exhibitions.
Linda's current body of work is inspired by "vanishing landscapes", rapidly disappearing rural areas due to suburban development. Intriguing, beautiful and contemplative.
Linda has also been a bit of a mentor and always treated me as an equal (as if) and encouraged my work. Thank you, Linda.
Boy, it's great to have artist friends.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Colored Pencil Color Mixing

In putting together a recent colored pencil class, I wanted to teach a bit of color theory and color mixing to my students. It's important, especially with a translucent medium like colored pencil, to work with not only the colors you have in front of you, but to learn to mix them. Unlike painters, we CP artists are rather spoiled in that we have such a wealth of premixed colors to choose from in our collections. However, there are always those instances where we do not have the exact color we need and have to mix (or layer) to achieve what we need.

Not only is it important to learn mixing but to learn a bit about color theory and how colors can work in a drawing. My absolute favorite writer/artist is Bet Borgeson whose books not only teach you about the basics of colored pencil but she also teaches the reader about some basic art concepts: form, volume, space, color theory, and composition. I highly recommend investing in at least one of these three books by Ms. Borgeson: "Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner" (my favorite), "Basic Colored Pencil Technique", and "The Colored Pencil - Key Concepts for Handling the Medium". Ms. Borgeson also has a website which gives you a quick overview on color theory which is both very clear and easy to incorporate into your work.

But to get you started, I will share my color wheel and mixing chart with you. You have freedom to use this for your own personal use; however, please do not use these in a class without my permission (you're an artist, you know the drill.) Because copy paper is not much fun for CP artists, you might want to print the charts out on a piece of 8.5 x 11" drawing paper (cut your own!) Have fun and leave me some feedback if you have questions or suggestions of your own.

My finished CP color wheel. The pencils I used are listed; feel free to use your own colors! Now, color your own wheel!

My CP colored pencil mixing chart; again, use your own colors if you want.

Now here's your own chart. Notice how the intensity of a pure color increases by layering. Learn and have fun!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WIP - Final Portrait Series

12 x 14"
colored pencil on Bristol vellum
Finally finished with this one. I never keep track of the hours I've invested in a drawing (tried but am terribly poor at keeping count), but I know this one has taken a long time. I've enjoyed every minute of it, though.
I have another commission on my table right now (actually a series of 3) which I hope to show you soon but can't until delivery as they're a gift.
If you are a colored pencil artist, you should know that the CPSA has released the prospectus and exhibition information for the 17th annual Internationl Exhibition in Atlanta next year. The deadline is March 31, 2009. Check out their website here. Remember, you have nothing to lose if you submit an entry into the show, but won't win anything if you don't.