Monthly Archives: October 2012

Warbler

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Word of the day: experimentation.

My typical sketches use only one medium but after playing with combining watercolor and ink like in Alphabet Soup I decided to try mixing colored pencil over graphite. Not a huge leap in mixing media since they have similar properties but nonetheless one I had never tried. I worked the entire drawing in graphite then once I was happy with the tone I added color only in certain areas (top of head, shoulder, and chest).

If you try this here are a couple of things to keep in mind — graphite darkens color so you made need to use brighter colors than you think and if you use a hard graphite pencil the dark areas will be more silvery toned which can be a nice effect. If you want a truer black I suggest using a softer pencil (maybe 6B or 8B) rather than a black colored pencil.

I think the addition of color gives the piece an interesting look, similar to a hand-tinted photo. I encourage you to experiment and see how this works for you. You never know what can happen in art.

Cheers!

Kelli

Cedar Waxwing

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I find birds fascinating and have taken great enjoyment this fall watching as flocks have been stopping by my yard and garden for seeds as they travel to their winter homes. The waxwings typically don’t visit until winter is ending so it will be awhile but when they return I know they’ll head for the crab apples. This sketch is based on a photo I took a few years back. I think this pose really shows off the sleekness of their bodies.

Cheers!

Kelli

Foxtail Grass

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If you are like me there always seems to be a patch or two of grass that gets missed by the lawnmower. If you leave it alone long enough you can actually determine what type it is by its inflorescence (flowering part). I was able to figure out that a species of foxtail grass (genus Setaria) was growing by the milkweeds this year. Its drooping panicle and long tapered leaves made an interesting composition. As it was drying out a graphite study seemed a good choice to depict this humble grass.

Cheers!

Kelli

Oak Study

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After painting some autumn leaves I decided to add a page dedicated to the oak tree to my collection of botanical studies. I found a Red Oak branch with acorns and leaves on one of my walks, selected the parts that were the most visually appealing, and drew them in graphite. As I was carrying my branch home several of the acorns fell off but the empty acorn cup added a nice interest to the piece so I kept it in the design.

I choose graphite because I wanted to concentrate on the forms and not be distracted by rushing to add color. The elements are drawn to scale and I used a magnifying glass to make sure I had all the pieces that attached to one another correctly indicated. The page was shaded using only HB, B, and 3B pencils. Highlights were maintained using a kneaded eraser.

While fall is often thought of as a colorful time of year, graphite renderings add an unexpected but welcome visual contrast.

Cheers!

Kelli