This week’s drawing is an exploration in mixed media. Most of my experiments have been with watercolor and ink and while they are different medias they are a classic combination. I wanted to be a bit more adventurous so I started mixing watercolor and pastels.
My little lovebird above began as a watercolor painting. As you can see from the photo on the right only the major shapes were blocked in with a light wash of color. There is very little detail and no background. Those come later. Once the paint was dry I covered the entire paper with a light layer of black PanPastel (including the bird). This step can be a bit unnerving since all those bright colors become dark and dull but the fun is only beginning. Using a kneaded eraser I began removing some of the black to reveal the bright colors underneath. On the bird’s back I removed less pastel to help add dimension. I switched to pastel pencils and hard pastels to add the feather details and wispy bits. I also sketched in some branches in the background with pastel and charcoal so my bird didn’t look like it was floating on the page. White charcoal pencil was added at the very end to give some added sparkle.
I think the key to this technique is using 140# cold-pressed watercolor paper that has a distinct tooth. There are several brands on the market that offer a variety of surface finishes. Try a few to discover which one you like best.
If you have interesting ways of mixing medias leave a comment below or send me a message. I’d love to see what you created.
After a crazy week it was nice to recharge the creative spirit with a fun pastel drawing. I like using a combination of PanPastel and soft pastel to render the initial layers of fur. Once the drawing has been blocked in I add the finer details with regular and white charcoal pencils. It’s a fun technique because the results can be controlled or expressive, it just depends on your imagination.
Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!
With classes over for the summer I am rediscovering my love of Chinese Brush Painting. Since I haven’t painted in awhile I like to go back to the beginning to what the Chinese call the Four Gentlemen so I can practice my brushstrokes.
My plum blossom began by painting several layers of Indanthrone Blue onto crinkled paper. Once I was satisfied that I had a dark enough base I used ink to paint the branches. The crinkles in the paper give texture to the branch and create an interesting pattern in the background. The blossoms were done in thick white paint and the stamens were added in ink once everything was dry.
I like the contrast of the white blossoms with the blue background. I don’t normally use such a strong blue in my paintings but I think this works rather well. Give it try for yourself and let me know how it goes!
Class was cancelled last week due a power outage so we rescheduled for this week to finish our class on drawing birds. This week we drew a red-bellied woodpecker on gray-toned pastel paper. I like how the colored pencil interacts with the tooth of the paper to help create texture.
Normally for the black feathers you would pick up your black pencil and have a go but you would soon realize that it takes many (many) layers to get a rich dark value with just a single pencil. Instead, if you begin with a layer of indigo, dark red, or dark violet when you add the black over it you will create a much richer color. For my bird above I used dark English red for the feathers closest to me and indigo for the ones farther away. I do this because warm colors give the illusion of things being closer while cool colors help make things recede. Try this in your next drawing or painting, you’ll be surprised by how well the theory works.
This class has been such a wonderful experience. Seeing all the beautiful art everyone has created has me looking forward to when classes resume again in the fall. If you are in the area I hope you will join us!
Until next time…keeps those pencils sharp!
My first experience of seeing a tiger was watching Daniel the Tiger on Mister Rogers as a child. As I got older I learned of the many different species of tigers and the exotic places they live. A favorite of mine is the White Bengal tiger. They have a mysterious quality that gives them an almost other worldly aura.
Being a predominantly white animal it is the perfect subject for a pastel study on black paper. When I work with pastel I like to use my PanPastel colors as the base then add details with my pastel and charcoal pencils. I like the expressive marks I can make with the pencils which helps me create the different fur textures. I am looking forward to my next adventure in pastel I hope you will visit again to what I create next time.