Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No time for CPs in October.

Whew! I apologize to my September portrait students for not getting this done sooner. October was a busy month and I didn't get time to pick up a single CP! We had two trips and put over 3000 miles on the car. I also had a big woodworking project to get done.

So at long last here it is. Tao's finished portrait. If you scroll down to my Sept. 27 entry you can see where I left off on this. All that was left was rendering the forehead and adjusting the face.

Getting the forehead as dark as needed on the left side is scary. I had to keep using my value finder to check for adequate dark value. In order for the brown to not look muddy I had to bring up the color with Pink and Henna to keep it looking warm and real. You can see this is the progress photo. If you go to the darker hues before bringing up the value and getting the colors fairly bright the darker shades look dull and dry. I took Tao's forehead all the way up the skin value range to the darkest ones including Tuscan Red and Dark Umber. I blended it with Goldenrod and Pink to warm it up again. The only place I didn't bring the value up so high was on his chin where I wanted to indicate his beard and have it look scumbly and beardy ;O).

Friday, October 3, 2008

September Class is over :O(

We had a great time in class again this time. Many of the students want to continue to learn more about CP so I have decided to hold an Open Studio Day once a month.

It will be in
be in Lexington at my home. The first one will be Tuesday November 11 at 10 AM. Charge is $20 for the day. The class will be 3-4 hours. All are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Students will work on colored pencil projects of their own choosing. For those having trouble picking a project or beginners please consider one of Ann Kullberg's CP kits: www.annkullberg.com

This open studio day is available to those who have had CP classes in the past as well as those learning about CP for the first time. The class is filling fast. There is room for only about nine people. To reserve a spot drop me an email gretchenparker@earthlink.net

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yorkie lesson

Here's our project for today. The progress photos are below this reference photo.

We did a water color underpainting in class today to chop away at the sections of hair.

Photo 1: The eyes have been washed with Light Umber and I have placed the pupils. I also impressed little dots to the left of the pupils to indicate the high light. It probably will not show up on these photos.

The nose has been washed in Clay Rose, 20% Cool Grey and Dark Brown. Before I laid in these colors I impressed all those little hairs around the edge of the nose. The nostrils have been burnished black but I saved that little highlight around the bottom edge of the nostril.

Photo 2: The eyes have been colored with 70% Cool Grey then burnished with 10% Cool Grey to indicate the reflected light. The edges of the eyes were darkened with Dark Umber and then deepened more with Black. Before I did that I impressed a line in the white of the paper to save that highlighted eye rim on the right.

The nose has all been covered with 70% Cool Grey then the shadow area was pushed back with Black along the upper left. The front of the nose was blended with Rosey Beige and the nostrils were highlighted around the edges with it as well.

Photo 3: I just had to put the hair in around the eyes. I inscribed tiny lines along the edge of that light area between the eyes. Then I did negative drawing with dark brown around the feathery hairs in that light area to set it off. I filled my left hand with Jasmine, Burnt Ochre, Terra Cotta, Peach, Tuscan Red, Light Umber, Dark Umber and Black and just attacked the area blending the darker colors along the edges of the areas and the lighter colors in the lighter more highlighted areas.

Last I used very sharp French Greys in the area between the eyes and used short directional strokes to put in that fuzzy little area. I left a lot of my under painting showing to indicate the lighter hairs.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nose Demo

This face is coming right along nicely. See the photos below.

It's time to start lifting the nose up off the paper. It is done by shading the sides of the nose and paying attention to the highlights along the bridge and around the nostrils.

As I began the nose I noticed his eyes didn't look quite right. I got out my mylar sheet and sure enough the fold above the eye on the right was turned wrong. You can see the correction by comparing the second photo with the third.

Once the eye was right I used Peach to begin pushing up the side of the nose. I felt like I needed to "anchor" the nose so I started the cheek on the shadow side of the face. I slowly built up the cheek color by using at least one color from each skin tone level working up the value scale all the way to level six which includes Dark Umber and Tuscan red. As I worked the cheek I worked the value level of the nose along with it. To develop the cast shadow on the cheek along the edge of the nose I had to go to black because that side of the face is in such deep shadow. I rarely go that dark in a portrait.

I used my mylar sheet to check the shape of the nostrils. Though they are tiny but they must be the right shape to make the nose look right.

It's important to save the little white highlights on the nose tip by working color around them. Those highlights help move the nose tip forward and give depth to the face. The nose tip generally tends to be shaped like a partial ball and should be shaded like the ones all artists practice when first learning to render a sphere. The nose bridge should be thought of as a cylinder and shaded much like those cylinder lessons we all did when we were learning to draw.

You can see in the last photo how the nose curves and turns as the shading is developed. Apply the lessons you learned in rending curved surfaces when you first learned to draw. The important thing to remember is that color does not matter nearly as much as value. If you have the value level right the color choice is secondary. The secret is to work in light color washes if you need to adjust the color you can easily do it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Mouth

Class moved on to the mouth yesterday. A closed mouth smile is of course the easiest to render. If teeth are showing it's best to not draw the teeth but draw the spaces around them. They tend to look less like Chickletts!! Also if you are rendering teeth really look at their color. They are never stark white. You will often see Cream or a mauve or even some blue but never all white. There may be a tiny white highlight where the light catches here and there.

While rendering the lips shown here I discovered Prismacolor's new colors Chestnut 1081 and Mahogany Red 1029 work really well for the colors I need on this dark face. I used them to map out the shapes in the lips.

Next I used Peach to start mapping out the shapes around the lips. Henna was used to continue rendering the lips and adding the shape of the lips.

In the fourth photo I have used Tuscan read and Dark Umber to fully deepen the shadows between the lips and at the corners. Little spots of black have been added to the darkest most deep set areas. The color of the lips was then blended with Rosey Beige and Pink Rose.

To anchor the lips I have completed the shadows around the mouth moving up the value scale to Dark Umber, blending it all with Beige. See the last photo.

As with the eyes, later I will adjust and deepen all these colors as I complete the rest of the portrait.

The Mouth

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portrait Class Eye Lesson

Click on the photos to go to larger photos. Use your back button to return to this page

My second class has started and the people who attended my class in July have come back to work on portraits of their own using Prismacolor pencils. To teach this class I am working on a portrait of my future son-in-law, Tao, as a demo. The reference photos are all presented below this text.

Yesterday I started his eyes in class. To keep up with the class I spent four hours this afternoon working on Tao's eyes. I realized after starting on it that the eye on the right was not quite the right shape. So I got my mylar sheet out and traced Tao's eyes as you can see in the second photo. The left arrow points to the tracing. The right arrow indicates the edge of the mylar. Laying the mylar over my work I could see the that right lower lid was a little too narrow and too much white of the eye was showing. The mylar overlay is a great tool for helping to correct this sort of thing.

In the third photo you can see I have started to mold the contours around the eye with Peach. I also reshaped the pupil a bit and deepened the Dark Brown and Pumpkin Orange a bit. Then I blended it with light umber and added black to the edge of the iris. I also drew some delicate lines of black into the iris.

In the fourth photo you can see where I lightened the highlight on the lid with sticky stuff and blended the entire area with Jasmine. I have also added in the eyelashes. I have deepened the shaded areas with Burnt Ochre. It's important to get the areas I am going to make dark brown bright first so when the brown goes on it does not look dirty on the skin. I have added Pink and Terra Cotta to the area that will be the darkest. I have also begun to contour the area below the eye with Blush Pink.

In the fifth photo you can see that I have blended the dark areas with Light Umber. You have to be very careful with Light Umber. If you get enough bright colors under it first it is easier to control as you use it to lightly blend and darken that shadow area. As I worked around the eye I added color in the area where the brow would go. The skin can be seen through areas of the brow. Before I laid in the brow I blended the area with Yellow Ochre and Goldenrod.

Photo number six shows more Pink under the eyebrow and over the deep area of the eye socket. Also it is clearly was time to add the eye brow. Scary because it is so black! I have added Dark Brown to the deep shadow of the eye socket and lid. Putting in darks is hard when the rest of the face is not done. They can look too dark! I can use my little value finder on my photo to determine that I need to take the colors this deep. The rest of the face will blend with this later. I will have to adjust the colors a bit more when I have more of the face done. The areas are still too light.

Number seven, I have pretty much finished both eyes. I put skin tones around both eyes and started the forehead so that I could get all the other colors of the eyes right. The eye on the left will be darkened considerably as I work on the rest of the face. I love the drama of the lighting in the reference photo and I want to reproduce it in this painting. Also the right eye looks a little larger because the face is turned to that direction. When the painting is done this perspective will look right. For now it looks like a mistake.

Next class we will start the mouth.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sandlapper Grand Gala Celebrating Creativity in SC 2008

Well today was sure a suprise.

I entered an art competition last spring at a newly reopened gallery in Lexington called the Sandlapper. I met the owner over ten years ago when she had her first gallery in the Old Mill. She and I lost track until I found her again at the Old Mill last spring.

Tonight I won Best of Show at the grand opening of show with this watercolor painting! This was my first Best of Show and a huge shock. There was a ton of great art by many outstanding artists entered. I thought mine would never do anything and I was even a bit embarrassed about having entered it!!

Goes to show you never know what a judge will like. The owner said he chose mine because it best reflected the theme of the show, Carolina Sun Carolina Rain.

This painting will be featured on the website of the hosting gallery the Sandlapper http://www.sandlapperart.com
It will also be on exhibit in the gallery for a couple of months.

This has sure been an amazing year!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mom's Tulip is done!

Mom's Tulip is done and for sale in my Ebay Store. Just click the photo.

The last petal was a bit of a challenge getting the veins just right. I used a lot of neon colors in it and then finished the final detail with Verithin pencils.

I used a colorless blender to soften the edges of the veins on the tips of the last petal.

In the end I didn't feel like the background was dark enough so I lightly went over it with indigo blue and then brushed it to smooth out the grainy appearance.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Good News!!

The folks at Wingard's Nursery have asked to use my landscape in their advertising to be placed in two local magazines. Between the publications one or both end up in virtually every house in the Lexington/Richland County area! Of course I said YES!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mom's Tulip Progress

I am getting to the fun part, the petals with the detail and I am frustrated! I can't get those delicate little veins near the petal tips looking as lacy as I would like! grrr!

I guess I will have to play with it some more tomorrow.

I also think I may darken the blue/green background more as well. I think it is distracting right now. I will wait until this is done before I make that decision though.

I am using a lot of neon red, pink and orange and I really like the way it pops! Who knew I would EVER use those colors! I just told my class last month not to buy them! Now I think if you plan on doing florals you just may want them!

Stay tuned for the next installment of this project sometime this weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Floral on White Ampersand Pastel board

Being the glutton for punishment that I am I had to try another floral layout. AND because my family is loaded with gardeners and thus great floral photo ops I have tons of flowers to paint. This one is my Mom's tulip.

The top photo is my reference. I altered it in in Photoshop Elements by making a more pleasing background. Elements is a great way to find out what colors would work with my flower. I also deepened the red of the petal in the rear so the pink and yellow petal in the foreground would pop.

In the second photo you can see my background which I basically just scribbled in with WC pencils and then wet with clear water. I really liked the effect I achieved with these pencils. The secret of doing a background this way is to wet the lightest areas first and then the dark and let the darks bleed into the light. While it is still wet you can drag the darks into the lights and let them bleed a bit too. This gives some lovely soft edges and a feathery look to the background.

Once again I wanted a watercolor wash on the flower so I would not have so much white to cover up in the flower itself. What you can't see is that I outlined the red area with red CP before I wet the background WC pencil. I did it to keep the dark colors from running into those lighter areas. When the background was dry I added in the red. I followed the same steps in the pink area.

The CP worked fairly well as a resist to keep the water where I wanted it except where I got a little sloppy. I have to learn to let watercolor dry before painting a different color next to it. CP has me spoiled. No waiting for it to dry and it doesn't bleed into other areas if I goof.

You can see the CP I have laid down in the red areas. I used a lot of black cherry to create the shadows. It does not show well here. I am finding I really like to put in a layer of CP then smooth it with a brush into all the nooks and crannies of the Amapersand. By doing this the next layers of color go on smoother and blend better as the rest of layers are all laid down.

In the last photo the dark red area is done. I committed a big no no according to some CP artists and used neon red and pink in those areas where I want the light to appear to be shining through the petals. I really like the way it looks. The color really pops!

I laid the photo reference out yesterday afternoon but I didn't lay out the painting until late this morning. I had errands to run and really only spent about 3 hours working on this painting today. Very quick work for CP!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yellow Rose Challenge


decided to challenge myself yesterday and see if I could do a painting in a day. This is on an 8" x 10"piece of white Ampersand pastel board.

The first photo is the watercolor under-painting. Because Ampersand is really grainy I figured the white would be sort of hard to cover with colored pencil and I wanted to get the white covered quickly without having to worry about having a lot of little white flecks showing through the colored pencil.

I laid down the watercolor in the morning and then took a couple hours to run errands while it dried. I started adding the CP around 2 PM. My husband was not home for dinner and it's good he was not. After a quick lunch break I worked pretty steady on it. When I looked at the clock again it was 7 PM and it was completed! That's an amazingly quick turn around for a CP painting!

I have to admit I did play a little bit with it today to tweak the darks and the veins in the outer petals but 99% of the work was done yesterday afternoon.

What I learned from this painting is when working on Ampersand you don't need as many color layers to get a good color mix and build up. I also like the way the pencil blends with a cut off bristle brush. It gives a smooth finish to the pencil. Also if you try to mix darker colors with a pencil that is too light you end up with a chalky look to the color. It’s best to blend with a darker value pencil of a similar hue.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wingard's Azaleas Colored Pencil on Stonehenge 8.5" x 27"

What a fun painting this has been! All those tiny flowers and leaves really appealed to my compulsive side. I am about done but may adjust a few tiny things, like those white spots in the trees where you can see the sky, they are distracting and look like flowers.

I added shadows in the parking lot that were not in my reference. But as my artist daughter says painters can do a painting any how they want! I had to take a couple shadow hunting trips to get the idea in my mind of how to render them. One thing I noticed is in summer when the light has warmer light cast shadows are more blue and the light they surround is warmer. So I laid my shadows on the parking lot in with cool grays and then blended them with blue violet. Then I went over the lights in the shadows with light peach. When there was enough color laid down I blended them again with a heavy hand using both the blue violet and the light peach. This softened the edges and made it all look more shadowy.

The Wingards are going to have an open house and arts event on October 10. I wish I could be there but I will be out of town. I had thought I would have this painting there but the State Fair will be on going then and I have entered this in the Fine Art Competition at the fair. Shucks!!! A giclee will just have to do!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Not enough hours in the day to paint!!!

Whew! Busy weekend and week and not much time to paint. I rotated out a show I had up at Continental American Insurance. I don't really know what happened to the rest of the time. I finally was able to get back to Wingard's today. I hate it when I can't work on a painting a little bit every day. I feel like I lose touch with the work and it feels like I am starting over when I don't paint daily.

The way I paint sort of helps when this happens. I tend to think of each area as a little painting unto itself. I started doing this when I was taking in one of Ann Kullberg's (www.annkullberg.com) portrait classes. She pointed out that each part of a face has different colors in it so using the exact same colors on one side of the forehead would not necessarily be the ones used on the other side. This happens because the light is different in every area of the face (or anything else for that matter) and it's ok to work on one area at a time. I know this is sort of contrary to the way painting is taught formally but I have never been one to do things the way educators do it.

Everything seems to work and fit together in the end painting this way. With little extra adjustment when the work is done it seems to work just fine working on one area at a time. I actually find it pretty easy to lose my way in a painting when I try to work all over it instead of just working in one area. This may be unique to the CP medium.

I am getting really excited about Wingard's. I think it's going to be a fun landscape. I have already entered it in the SC State Fair. I have never entered a painting in a competition before it was actually done. This means I have got to stick with it and get'er done because I still need to mat and frame it as well!!! Entering an unfinished painting is probably not one of my brighter moves!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Progress slowing now

Now that the trees in the background are done I am getting to the fun part. The fine detail. I have not had time to work on this as much as I would like but this stage will go slower now too. As you can see in the close up the detail is starting to appear. I love this stage. The painting is starting to look like the place I am trying to represent.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday progress on Wingard's Nursery

Ahhhhh the background trees are about done! Standing back from my drawing board I really like what I see but I will still adjust them as I work on the rest of this.

As you can see I have put in the first wash of color on the roof, finished the chimney and made a start on the lattice of the gazebo and the arbor on the right. To finish the chimney I only put in a few bricks using a template. The viewer's eye will finish what I have left out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Landscape progress today

Faced with all that green in the background I decided to crop 2 inches off the top of this layout. It will make for a more intimate landscape as well.

Every time I do trees in the background I learn more. To speed things up I did blocks of color and then chopped leaf like shapes in a few areas by drawing in the negative space around the leaves with Indigo. To make the darker more distant areas look further back I went over all the dark areas with Cerruliean blue. Adding light areas in the background under the overhanging trees adds a feeling of depth and distance. I Did that with white pencil in little leaf shapes to show the little bits of light that makes it to a few leaves under the overhanging trees.

Leaving little openings through the trees so you can see the sky makes the trees look more realistic. I am going to add more later with white acrylic paint. If you study trees they are really lacy and you can see a lot of sky through them. These trees are a bit more dense in reality and you can't see a lot of sky through them.

By using different strokes for deciduous trees and pines helps move the work along. I only added a few areas of truly leafy looking work the rest is just clumps of color. This will let the eye of the viewer finish the area for me without drawing in all those leaves!

I laid down some yellow ochre where I wanted pine and then inscribed incised lines with my ball tip tool to indicate needles on the tree. Going over that with olive green and indigo makes them look piney. Adding a bit more yellow ochre at the tips delineates the clumps of needles a bit more.

This is an amazing amount of progress in one afternoon. I am happy with it. I hope to finish that background tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New landscape

I have had a landscape rolling around in my head for about a year now. It is Wingard's Azaleas on the corner of N. Lake Dr. and Pilgrim Church Rd. in Lexington. I finally got around to getting my photo shoot done this week. This photo is actually 4 photos stitched together in Photoshop Elements.

I started the layout (11" x29") yesterday and began the watercolor under painting today. Right now it looks pretty scary! I hate this stage!

Stay tuned I will update this as it progresses.

My class Yorkie is done!

I finished my yorkie from last week's class. I love this little dog. The finished size of this one is 6.5 x 10" I think I will sell it in my EBay store. I am running out of wall space at home!!! ;O)

Good news I was able to get the church reserved to hold another CP class in September. This will be the last one I can do before next spring. My schedule is filling up!!! If you are intersted in joining us drop me an email. gretchenparker@earthlink.net

I have also taken my Ampersand Rose to the Art Spot Gallery in the Old Mill. I have several other pieces there too. If you are local go take a look. It's a fun place to see works by many area artists.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last CP class tonight

Tonight was the last class in this session. It's been a lot of fun. So much in fact we plan to do another one in September for three weeks. Let me know if you are interested.

Here are the photos of the progress members made tonight. Sadly some of our students got sick and missed the last few classes. Also I just realized I didn't get around to the stars of our class with my camera. Sorry Monica and Tyler. Your work shows promise! I sure am glad we didn't have to send either of you to the naughty chair! :O)