I finished working on this piece over two weeks ago, and have been keeping it on the back burner, so to speak. I would just glance at it from time to time, and I’m finally getting the sense that it’s done. It took so long to achieve the feeling I was looking for by combining several photographs for the setting, as well as achieving the “snow” essence. I thought I might never finish the snowy areas! I could have worked on them for much longer, but I don’t think that would necessarily have made the drawing any better. I think that knowing when to stop working on a piece is an art in itself.
I’ve started work on a new stones drawing on Canson Mi-tientes paper. I generally like to leave the color of the paper showing through for the background, and this piece is no exception. I am letting myself use only Faber-Castell Polychromos for this new piece, and am enjoying using them. They are much harder than Prismacolors and blend very nicely. I only have about 35 or 40 Polychromos pencils (if that!) so it’s been interesting to spend more time combining colors vs. being able to reach, instinctively, for the color or colors I want when I work with Prismacolors.
I’ll post a series of this new drawing in stages next week. Thanks for reading!
I have been working so hard on this drawing and it feels like it’s taking forever. I am working uninterrupted now that my spring travels are behind me, but it still feels like such slow going! This drawing is about 22″ x 26″ and there is so much snow and delicate detail to accomplish. I think I’m going to basically execute the entire background and then go back and insert the fine details, such as little bits of debris on the snow, etc. Maybe a touch more blood? There is more blood in my original photograph, but I’m still deciding how much to put in. Meanwhile, it’s a gorgeous spring here with everything in full bloom, the birds are singing, mating, worm hunting. It’s an odd juxtaposition to find myself working on this winter scene.
I was recently interviewed by Paula DeMarco, the host of “Art Beat”, for a local cable station. I’m attaching a link to the interview, which is available on line throughout the month of May. You can access it here: Art Beat interview.
As always, thanks for reading!
The hawk has it’s squirrel in it’s talons. I am enjoying the challenges of this drawing -specificially the creation of all of the blurry masses. And the contrast between the softness and structure of the hawk and it’s feathers versus the soft form of the squirrel’s fur. I have moved onto the woodpile and adjacent snow, which is posing it’s own set of demands. Stay tuned for an update.
“Rock/Candy”, my two-person show with colleague Kendra Bidwell-Ferreira, came down on March 31st. It was a very colorful and fun exhibit, and I’m a little wistful to have it in the past. But I have been working hard all along on this new drawing, pictured above in a very initial stage. This is quite a large drawing compared to the sizes I have been working on in the past couple of years (it’s about 22″ x 28″) and I thought it would help me to start out with the hawk’s head staring out at me, inviting (or taunting ?) me to keep working on it.
This initial photo shows the head, as well as some tree trunks in the distance that I quickly sketched in with Caran D’Ache Watercolor Pencils. I did this to help me to define the parameters of the composition. The hawk has a squirrel in it’s talons, and I’ve placed it atop a snow-covered wood pile, with some tree trunks and foliage in the background. I’m working from photographs taken in my yard, and some of you may recognize the hawk and squirrel photograph from my blog pages “Scenes from my birdfeeder #2″. However, I wanted a more interesting setting and chose to place the hawk on snow-covered wood, similar to the setting of “Winter Throne”.
The photos below depict the development of the hawk’s tail. In some parts of drawings I first execute layers of Caran D’Ache Watercolor pencils to help establish background layering and depth of color (usually in the darker areas). (Please excuse the re-appearance of the hawk head photo. I can’t seem to delete it without deleting it from above as well!)
The photo on the far left shows the tail with the initial layering of dry Caran D’Ache Watercolor pencils. The photo in the middle shows the same area now blended with a wet brush. This step aids in the build-up of color and provides me with a “road map”, so to speak, of how I want to develop the area. The third photo shows the tail nearing completion. I’ve also started to develop the squirrel’s body, and have been working the three areas (hawk, squirrel and surrounding snow) simultaneously, as there are so many blurred borders between them. It was a challenge to take on, but I’m nearing completion of this area and will be posting an update next week. Then it’s on to the wood pile. . .
Thanks for reading, and happy spring! ~Debbi
Wow! How did I find myself with some extra time on Christmas Eve day (I’m hosting 15 people tonight. . .) and ready to update my blog? Here is the first leaf litter drawing, almost finished. As usual, I still have areas to tweak, mainly the rain drops, as I got very tired of doing them, and since they are so tiny I didn’t want to “overdo” them. I am curious to know if anyone has suggestions about how to classify these drawings? Are they landscapes? Still-lives? Any input or thoughts are most welcome.
I’m planning on doing a series of three of these drawings. Here is the second one, very far along, and displaying some different aspects from the drawing above. There is much more movement in this drawing, and I eliminated the rain drops. . . was I really that tired of drawing them? No, I just this drawing to be more about the gorgeous and tattered green leaf that was lying over everything. The second drawing is slightly larger than the first one, but both are in the 8 x 11 1/2 to 9 x 12 range.
A very warm and merry Christmas and New Years to all! Thanks for visiting my blog in the past year – I appreciate it!
So how does the drawing look with the dark-eyed junco popped in? Not only is the bird in place, but I tweaked several areas of the snow, adding some bits of debris or grass here and there, darkening shadows, etc. It’s been over a year since I’ve drawn a bird, and while most of my work probably looks detail “spot-on”, it’s not, and birds really have to be spot-on. I forgot how mildly tedious they can be to draw.
This is a common scene around New England in the winter, so much so that I take these little snow birds for granted. They start returning from their breeding grounds up north in late October/early November. I have yet to see one this fall.
It’s on to something new, but I really have so idea what just yet. I’m playing around with some ideas and photos I took last year. It’s too noisy in my studio right now to work up there – we’re having our roof replaced, and since my studio is on the top floor, well you can figure out the rest. And every window seems to have a roofer outside it, looking in. What’s that about?!?!!?
I wanted to post a photo of this stage of my current drawing – I’m almost finished with the tree stump and snow, and about ready to start on the dark-eyed junco. This piece is about 19 x 13 inches in size, and I’m pleased with how quickly the detailed stump has gone. I know I’ll have to go back and forth with the snow contours once the bird is in place, and tweak some of the bark areas and shadows. It’s been interesting to draw the detailed snow and stump areas of the foreground and the less focused snow and stump areas of the background.
This is the first post of my current drawing, a dark-eyed junco perched atop a snow-covered tree stump. I’m approaching this drawing in an entirely different manner than usual. First of all, I’m not using any watercolor based colored pencils to build up areas before moving onto dry pencil. Secondly, I usually work top to bottom, left to right when doing a bird drawing, but this time I’ve filled the huge area of the stump, and am working more from bottom to top, right to left. I have no idea why I began working this way on this drawing, but I’m enjoying the process and the change. It’s pretty evident where the detailed areas and flat areas meet.
I built up basic flat areas of lighter and darker wood tones, and am subsequently going back into them with tape and a pencil and removing highlights and texture. Then I’m following up with more detail with darker pencils, and in some cases varying wood tones where I might have removed too much base color with the tape. It’s looking very detailed, but in reality it’s just a different way of creating detail, and I like the quickness and freedom of this method. The snow is also done in a much looser and quicker manner, loosely layering various colors (French Gray 10%, Grayed Lavander, Slate Gray, Cool Gray %70, and then surrounding wood colors) over a white base of colored pencil.
The bird will be the last part to draw, and it’s difficult to see where it’s going to sit at present. I think one can just make out faint delineations of the wings in the upper right area.
I spent more time last night and this morning tweaking the Sunflower drawing yet again! Artist Lynda Schumacher gave me some very helpful feedback regarding placing white in the corners of a drawing. At first I didn’t think it really applied to my drawing, but I decided to eliminate the whites in the upper corners and see what it did for the drawing. Posted below are the results. Any comments are particularly welcome!
I worked all day on the blue in the sky, correcting the color. I think the piece is now much improved. However, the photograph is not. My apologies for the slanted angle to the photo. I will try to get a better one another time.
That was a very long week of work filling in the blue sky of this drawing. I worked almost the entire Columbus Day weekend, as well as every day and many nights of the past week to complete this. I am happy with the drawing – okay, very happy! However, it’s always a little anti-climatic to finish a piece that I’ve worked on for over a month (seven weeks in this case), and I’m ready to move on to something new. (I also want to note that the sky is actually not this aqua in color in the original – that must be my camera and the lighting in my studio).
It was a slow week for work, having a head cold so early in the season, but I have finished the bird in my new drawing – a Tufted Titmouse. They are one of my favorite birds to see outside, they have so much personality. If I garden too close to somewhere they want to be they always scold and “harass” in their special and very cute way.
I really like the shades of gray this had added to the colors, and am really looking forward to getting the blues of the sky in place now. I’m on to the home stretch!
Here is my drawing after another week of work. This week my goal was to get all of the leaves done, which I was able to accomplish. I’m working on this drawing by doing the darker areas first and then the lighter ones. Following this plan, the next part to work on will be the bird, and then last, the sky. I have been using Prismacolor pencils and burnishing the completed areas as I go along. This generates a lot of pencil dust which I then need to clean repeatedly with some tacky wall tape.
Here is the third installment, and possibly the completion of the third sunflower, of my new drawing. (Please excuse the slightly angled aspect of the photograph. I have a new tripod which I am learning to use). This flower took much longer to draw since it is so much larger than the other two. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made – the drawing is starting to have a sense of the “back” lighting source, and the greens are complimenting the reds nicely. I’m eager to make more progress and excited to be moving on to the leaves this upcoming week.
I have finally getting back into a productive work schedule, and here is another stage of development of my new drawing. Two of the three sunflowers are almost complete. I added the leaves on the left for the color contrast. At this point, even with them, the drawing is very red and seems almost garish to me. I’m hoping for the effect of a gorgeous summers day when all the green leaves, the bird and the blue sky are finished.
I’m posting the first photograph of my new drawing, inspired by my community garden. There are so many sunflower stalks swaying in the breeze, bees and birds constant visitors. In this drawing there will be three red sunflowers, many leaves and one bird perching among the flowers. I often like to leave a lot of the white paper showing in my work, but in this drawing the only white paper will be where the clouds are. Please check back for more progress.