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Ever since I saw an article in a gardening magazine on Himalayan Blue Poppies I have wanted to draw them. The perfect opportunity came when I received a large tin of Derwent Coloursoft Pencils for my birthday. The colors are not only beautiful but they blend so easily. I like to layer several colors rather than use a single color (I think it gives more life and dimension to a drawing) and the Coloursofts allowed me to blend layers gradually until I had achieved the tone I wanted. Even though they are a very soft pencil they can be sharpened to an extremely fine point for detail work. I have always liked Derwent pencils and have used the Artist, Watercolor, and Metallic lines for several years. The Coloursofts are a great addition to my pencil obsession.
Materials: Strathmore 400 Series drawing paper, Derwent Coloursoft pencils, Prismacolor Verithin pencils (lettering)
One of the advantages of taking an art class is that you often don’t have to select your own subject. You just sit down and draw/paint what is in front of you. It gets you to try something new or just have a bit a fun for a few hours.
My last class was no exception – the instructor put together a still life from a paper-mache monkey, an orange and a banana. Even though this may seem like an odd combination if you looked at the overall shapes, the monkey was a triangle, the orange a sphere, and the banana a cylinder. A sneaky and playful way of building on what we have been learning about rendering shapes. It also didn’t hurt that the monkey reminded the class of Curious George. When I showed the piece to my husband he called him Pleepleus. No matter what he’s called it was a really fun class.
Pansies are a wonderful flower, they are a member of the Viola species and come in myriad colors. I like the ones that have “faces” — the dark mask-like blotches add contrast and character to the plants. In my watercolor class there were two flats one with dark purple flowers and yellow ones with reddish-brown markings.
The great thing about this study is that I was far away so I was forced to work on the overall shapes of the petals and leaves and not get fussy with details. The rules of using shadows to create volume and varying tones to add contrast all apply, the part you leave out is rendering of every little detail. This is quite a shift for me since I have spent so many weeks in the academic world of botanical drawing. It was actually quite fun to see if I could create something that looked like pansies without all the detail.
Materials: Strathmore 400 series 140# CP watercolor paper and Winsor & Newton paints
My botanical illustration class has come to an end but the journey with botanicals and colored pencil will continue. The last classes were all about the color yellow and its interesting challenges.
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I decided to take a watercolor class – I have dabbled with watercolors on my own but a class will give me the chance to grow. Our first assignment was to sketch then paint a plate with various fruits on it. The basic techniques covered were creating a wash and blending. It is a great class and I am looking forward to the next one, we can choose the subject to paint.
Materials: Strathmore 400 series cold pressed watercolor paper, Winsor & Newton artist paints