Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Venice in Colored Pencil

Venezia, 13 1/2" x 8 3/4"

I did this one for my mother, from an old photo she had taken of a Venetian canal on a trip to Italy. The picture itself was very small and not very clear, which required plenty of interpretation with the drawing. Once again, it's colored pencil, using a fairly illustrative approach with a bit of abstraction thrown into the sky. I also softened the top of it with some lost edges and pushed some elements out of the frame which then lead the eye into the image. It ended up being kind of a fun result and for some reason, I always get a sort of "stage set" impression from it - not sure why, maybe it's the sky!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pastel Pencil This Time!

Malheur Cranes, 16" x 9 3/4"

Here's another oldie! This time using pastel pencils instead of Prismacolors, but still utilizing the background color as part of the imagery. I had wanted to try the pastel pencils in an attempt to break away from the detail that I consistently gravitate towards in my work. Guess I figured I couldn't sharpen them as much as my colored pencils, which should translate to more looseness! Can't say as I was successful in that regard, but it didn't come out too badly nonetheless.

This piece was done after a trip to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. It's a highly regarded bird watching venue and we were fortunate to see some Sandhill Cranes while we were there. The refuge is adjacent to Steens Mountain (in the picture's background), which is a dramatic fault block mountain with striking views overlooking the Alvord Desert and the refuge. It's a bit remote, but well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another from the Archives

Tropical Bird, 15 1/2" x 9 3/4"

This piece is another colored pencil drawing, with the addition of some watercolor in the background. I just started drawing a Bird of Paradise one day, without much forethought as to the final outcome, and this is where I ended up.

After finishing the flower, I decided that all it needed was a relatively simple background, maybe incorporating a Latin style architectural motif of some sort. After designing the geometrical tile element, I felt it was going to require contrast between the foreground and background, so I layed in a multi-hued wash of watercolor. As it turned out, the background then appeared a bit strident compared to the pencil work, so I outlined the edge of it with a light blue, and crosshatched it with a beige matching the color of the paper. That solved the intensity problem and also created, what I felt, was a rather interesting effect. Sometimes things work out, even if you don't know where you're heading at the beginning!