Finally I feel like there’s time to write a blog post and share some images I created last winter and spring. I did several drawings combining leaves and stones, working on a smaller scale and exploring ideas of color and the interplay between the colors of the leaves and the shadow they cast. One drawing was conceived as a triptych, but may be re-cropped to display as diptych, with the stone/leaf on the far right being it’s own drawing. I’d love to get some feedback on this idea from readers. It’s shown below cropped into two drawings, as well as as a triptych.
Then there are two little drawings that stand on their own…. I loved working on the shadows of the leaves, which really did reflect all of these colors!
I’m going back to the leaf drawings I enjoyed doing so much, but combining them with stones. I’ve been working on this drawing, Prismacolors over Caran D’Ache Supracolor washes, done on Bristol Board Vellum. I have a couple of new ideas to explore, including a triptych. While this drawing is not complete yet, there is enough here to share. The stone needs more development, as well as many areas of the leaves and shadows.
I am excited to be heading off to Strasbourg and Paris in a few hours. We will be visiting friends in both cities, and I am very eager to see friend and colleague Elizabeth Patterson’s current exhibition of Colored Pencil drawings in Paris at the Galerie Louis Carre. It will also be a great opportunity for my son, who has been studying french for four years, to hear and practice the language. And, to eat!!! Oh, and I suppose to take in some art…..Thanks for reading, and a bientot!
This is the third in my new trio of leaf drawings. It measures 9″ x 15″, done in colored pencil on Strathmore Bristol Board. I am really enjoying working on this series, if I can call it a series. I’m planning on doing a very different drawing next of a hawk on a snow-covered woodpile. But I’m sure I’ll return to this subject matter at some point in the future. I have an incredible trove of photographs I’ve been working from, taken a couple of years ago on a clear fall day after a very violent night storm. It knocked down leaves that hadn’t lost their vibrancy yet, and knocked down all at once leaves that usually fall at very different times. I’ll have to keep an eye out for a storm like that next autumn. For now, us New Englanders are just trying to survive this winter – it has been crazy with record snowfalls, ice storms, rain, and cold. Spring and Summer are looking really good right now!
Here is the finished version of Leaf Litter number two, obviously wanting for a better title. I am pretty satisfied with the final drawing, but have moved on to a new drawing in this series, so that’s where my heart lies at present. I ended up changing several aspects of this drawing from the original working photograph, which was both a challenge and fun. I wouldn’t like to be just copying photographs for my work.
As an aside, can people find the image of Cape Cod and Massachusetts in this photo?
Here is a photograph of the latest drawing I’ve been working on – an array of stones. I really did get them to balance like that! My friend, the photographer Jan Reiss, dubbed me “Andrea Goldsworthy”. I love environmental art – organic matter arranged in nature and then photographed, or visited before it vanishes. The colors of the stones have been accentuated, but they only take on a more pronounced hue of the color they really are.
I’ve started another drawing on Canson Mi-Tientes, and am off to buy more art supplies tomorrow to start a new oil painting. I spent several days this past week attempting to stage and photograph ideas I have in my head. Does anyone else find that they get these glimpses in their imagination of what they want to create, only to find it so difficult to try and create the vision in real life? It’s almost like operating in a dream state, and it’s very frustrating. Maybe I’ll get better at it, but I did manage to accomplish some semblance of my ideas. . . .we’ll see where it takes me. Any tips or advice from anyone?
Several posts ago I mentioned that I had started a large stone drawing, only to find that it was going to take forever to complete if I continued on the Canson Mi-tientes I had started on. I bought some Rtistx board and started over, ran out of needed colors of Derwent Inktense pencils for the color wash background, and started a small graphite piece while waiting for the shipment of pencils. Here’s a photo of this piece that I finished last week. It’s done with graphite pencils and light layers of Derwent Graphitints in some of the stones. I wanted it to have a bit of the feel of a hand-colored photograph. I’m well underway with the larger piece and an really having fun pulling it together. More on that one later!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a little graphite drawing, and here it is. It’s a very simple and zen-like composition. A black stone used in hot stone therapy that was given to me by a masseuse, a small peacock feather, placed upside down atop the stone and some shadows are all that composes the drawing. It’s small – maybe about 7″ x 7″.
I’m eager to move onto the next drawing in my rock series, and plan to try and incorporate water in the drawing. Coincidentally, I’m just back from the 17th Annual Exhibition and Convention of the Colored Pencil Society of America, where I took a workshop with CPSA Artist Pat Averill on the power of water. . . entitled “Unleash the power of water in your drawings”. Below are two photographs from the workshop: one of friends Dee Overly (left) and Mari Kaye Moehl (right) working on one of the four projects we tackled that day, and the other of workshop instructor Pat Averill. I’m not sure that the workshop concepts will transfer to my drawing, but you never know! We worked on the distortion of images in reflected water, drawing moving water (ie – surf), drawing water moving over rocks, and looking at wet sand to dry sand within the context of a seascape.
Here is the finished version of “Balancing Act”. I have actually grown to like the green paper and the way colors of the rocks look on it. It was, however, very difficult to achieve certain colors with the green as a background – and difficult to create as many subtle gradations as is possible on the tan or blue backgrounds. Any comments about this, or anything regarding the drawing, are most welcome!
Most of these drawings are approximately 9 x 12 (or 12 x 9) inches in size. I’m going to start a smaller drawing in graphite on white paper of a stone with another object, and then return to working on the colored papers.
Another week and a new rock drawing underway. Isn’t that green paper wild? It feels so to me. I’m not sure I entirely like it, and it’s difficult to control the colors I want for the rocks with the green base. But it’s fun to experiment with these things, and overall I’m enjoying and liking the drawing.
We’re going to Little Compton, Rhode Island for the weekend, and the beaches are covered with these rocks. That’s where I collect most of my rocks, and I plan to do some more collecting this weekend. I’m always looking for interesting shapes, colors and rocks with lines on them, rocks that are very flat, rocks with interesting flaws, rocks that are almost round. . .. .. pretty soon I’m going to have the whole beach in my studio!
I’ve almost finished this drawing of rocks which I have entitled “Fault Line”. As is usually the case with my posts, there are areas that aren’t complete and need more development and tweaking – the two red rocks, the white rock and the broken granite rock.
I’ve already developed my next idea for this rock series and am eager to move along, so I hope to finish this drawing tomorrow.
I’m finally getting back to work in my studio. My younger son is off to camp for three weeks, and I’m recuperating from a minor surgical procedure yesterday on my right leg. My mind finally feels freed up again. I don’t think I realized how preoccupied I was with the surgery as it loomed in front of me – I’m so happy to have it behind me. And since I can’t ice skate or exercise for at least one week, I have plenty of time to catch up on all sorts of things in my studio! I’ve already organized many details that I had let slide – completing a list of unframed and framed drawing sizes; deciding which competitions to enter for the remainder of 2009, those types of things.
Now I am playing with stones in my studio, and toying with the idea of doing a series of 10 drawings and trying to complete them this summer. Working on the Canson Mi-tientes goes a little faster than the Strathmore Paper I usually use, so maybe this is possible? I have all sorts of ideas about combining stones with other simple elements, much like the drawing I just completed – “Rocks and Egg in Vase”. It’s an entirely different thing to see if it works. But I like the idea and am going to try and run with it!
Happy Summer, and if you live in the Northeast, let’s hope the sun comes out soon.
Wow that was a long break, and believe me, I did not spend all of that time working on this drawing. In fact, I have had very little work time lately, and none at all this past week. This drawing is basically finished; and as always, I will probably go back and tweak some areas for a day or so. I like the way it came out, especially the light filtering through the glass vase, and the colors. It was also a lot of fun to switch back and forth between colored pencils and Derwent Graphitint pencils. I may try doing a drawing with the Graphitints exclusively at some point in the future.
I have another idea for a drawing of rocks that I will have to play around with and see if I can make it work. I saw such amazing rock cliffs and formations on my recent tour of the Desert Southwest, and I have a vision in my mind that may or may not work!
It has been interesting to use the Derwent Graphitint pencils in combination with regular colored pencils to draw these rocks. The soft tones of the Graphitints lend themselves very nicely to shading stones. At this point, I’m jumping all over the drawing to get an idea of what it will be like, and balancing out the values and space. Nothing is finished yet – the glass vase, stones and bird’s egg, and foreground all need a lot more work.
I’ve started a new drawing experimenting with Derwent Graphitint pencils. I was intrigued by them last winter when I received the Derwent commission to work with their Graphite Collection, thinking they would be interesting to use for a rock drawing. Stones have so many subtle colors in them and lots of grays, and these pencils are graphite with just a tint of color. You can also use them with water to intensify the color. However, since I’m working on Canson Mi-tientes paper I’m forgoing the water, as this paper is not really intended for wet applications. I decided to put the stones in a vase to “contain” them, and added one different element (a bird’s egg) for variety of interest. I like the juxtaposition of the transparent glass with the solid heaviness of the stones. I’m posting a photograph of the set-up, as this time I’m working strictly from life. Often I will set up a still-life right on my drafting table and draw what I see right in front of me.
Other times I will use several source photos and combine them, using certain elements and eliminating others. This was the case in the drawing of the Wellesley Public Library’s fish tank. Below are two of the photographs I resourced from, as well as the finished drawing. You can see that I eliminated most of the fish, and worked to create the composition I wanted – adding in more empty space and using the placement of fish and plants to lead your eye around.
I am posting a photograph of the finished fish tank drawing “Shhhh”. I may end up tweaking it a little, but basically it’s done. It’s an unusual drawing for me, and it took longer than I had anticipated it taking. I am eager to move on to something new!
I also have news to share, which is that my drawing, “Garden, Late Summer” was juried into the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 17th Annual International Exhibition, which will be taking place from July 9 – August 29, 2009 at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, Georgia. The show was juried by Graham C. Boettcher, who is the William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. Approximately 125 works were selected for inclusion in the show. In addition, I will be receiving my “Signature Status” by having had my work juried into three shows within ten years. Also receiving her signature status will be fellow artist, Lynda Schumacher from Michigan. More information about the show can be found by going to the CPSA web site, www.cpsa.org.
Here is my drawing after another week and a half of work. It looks like I’ve gotten a lot done since my post a week ago, but in reality this is almost two weeks of work. I’m excited that the background is almost done. The plant and rocks on the far right are not complete, and the water needs a bit more work to add in the fuzzy aquarium algae on the inside of the glass. You can see in some places that I’ve added it in. I’m excited to be starting the fish soon, as well as the message tape.
Fish Tank – Stage 1
Fish Tank – stage 2
FIsh Tank – stage 3
Fish Tank – stage 4
I’m trying out a new idea for this post. Above are four photographs of stages of the next part of this drawing. Each photo represents a different phase in the layering in of base colors and/or water to mix the water colored pencils. The first stage shows the area I’m working on covered completely with yellow ochre, and part of the layering of a pale green over that (on the left side).
The second stage shows the entire area covered with both colors.
The third stage shows the effect of mixing the pencils with water and a brush.
The fourth stage shows the next plant drawn in and mixed with water.
These layers become the base for the dry colored pencil that goes on top. It helps me to complete this type of filling in of a flat color in a large area, cutting down on time spent building up layers of color. The watercolor/pencil wash fills in the grain of the paper and makes working on top of it easier. I’ve finished this area, and will post an update tomorrow of that progress tomorrow.
I’ve started a new colored pencil piece, and I had hoped to have more work done before an initial post, but I’m off on a spur-of-the-moment vacation tomorrow, and didn’t want to go another week or so without any news. This piece is coming from source photographs I took for potential pieces on Wellesley. As you may recall, my last piece was a Wellesley-themed drawing for the Wellesley Society of Artists 75th Anniversary show this spring. This was a close contender for that show, and I decided I liked the humor and whimsy of it enough to do the piece. It’s a view of the fish tank outside the Children’s section of the Wellesley Public Library, and they have this funny sticker on the glass with a request, and all of the fish are glub glubbing looking at you. .. are you being quiet enough? I wished I could have held the “punch line” back until the end, but I was anxious to make sure that the lettering worked and was in place and not going to fade away, so I put it in at the beginning. Oh well, the cat’s out of the bag!
I’m wondering if this drawing is complete. I keep going back and tweaking little areas, and fine tuning edges, or shading that looks like it didn’t develop enough. My question is this: “Is it done?” Please feel free to give me your opinion.
Another week of work (sort of) on the sharp-shinned hawk drawing. I was in New York City from Friday evening until late Monday night, so it was really only a three day work week, with the presidential inauguration happening on Tuesday. Anyways, I’m happy with the work I did get done. There’s a new leaf over the hawk, not floating down as I had originally envisioned, but I like what it adds all the same. Tomorrow I’ll start on the leaf that’s going in below the hawk. This drawing should be done soon! I cropped out the glue smear in the photo, which is an accurate depiction of how the top of the drawing will look when it’s framed. The bottom will have a little more space when the fourth leaf is added.