Sworn to Protect

I’ve been working on this piece off and on for several months.  I made a huge mistake and was very close to throwing it away.  My family begged me not to, so I just set it aside.  A week later I went back to see if I could repair the damage.  After many days of careful, painstaking work I was able to fix the problem.

Things I learned on this piece:

1.  At a certain point, Prismacolor pencils stop layering and start coming off of the paper!  This goes along with the thing that all artists need to remember:  don’t overwork a painting!!

2.  The Icarus Board is an invaluable blending tool.  It is also useful for layering color and making repairs.  In order to fix the above mentioned problem and layer color over the areas where the Prismacolor was coming off I did the following process:

– sprayed the piece lightly with fixative

–  let the painting dry thoroughly (about a day)

– turned the Icarus board to the highest setting

very gently stroked the pencil tip in a single direction over the area

The reference photo for this painting was used courtesy of courtnaxho on www.deviantart.com.

11×14 Stonehenge paper. Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencils.

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The Trio – Finished

As predicted, I finished “The Trio” on Monday afternoon.                                       Details:  11×14 Stonehenge paper.  Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencils.

What I learned while working on this piece:

1.  That tracing paper does not serve as a good barrier between the hand and paper.  I used it to try to prevent smudging.  It actually created quite a bit of smudging.

2.  I love the Prismacolor pencil “Black Grape.”  It is what I used for the final layer on the background.  The background is actually composed of several different layers of color: indigo blue, violet, sky blue and black grape.

3.  Fantastix are great color blenders.  They are cheapest when bought in a bucket on Amazon.com:

The Trio – WIP

Happy Belated Easter Everyone!

Here is my latest work in progress (WIP).  “The Trio” is my daughter, Hayley, and the family’s two rat terriers, Ranger and Scout.  They love to “sing” together quite frequently, so I thought that it would be fun to capture in a painting.

The first step was a photo shoot of the singers….which was fun, but eardrum splitting!  Scout (the dog on the right) has a nice, cute little howl.  However, Ranger (the one in Hayley’s arms) doesn’t really know how to howl.  It’s kind of a cross between yapping/howling.  Quite comical – yet noisy!  By the time the photo session was over my ears were ringing.

After looking at all of the photos on the computer, I discovered that there wasn’t just one photo of the three of them that I liked.  Three separate photos had qualities about each subject that I thought were cute.  Therefore, I took the three separate photos and used them as a reference for a sketch.  The sketching phase of this piece took quite a bit of time.  Especially since I’m not at all good at drawing people.  For some reason I have a mental block when it comes to the human figure.  My professors in college constantly told me “Michelle, if you can draw horses as well as you do, then you can draw people!”  I guess I just need to practice more.

Quite a few colored pencil artists will work on one little area of the painting at a time.  Some start from the center and work outward, while others work from left to right.  They do this to prevent smudging.  However, I cannot do this.  I simply cannot focus on one area at a time or I quickly become bored.  Not only that – I’m afraid that I won’t be able to keep the colors in the piece balanced.  To prevent smudging, I carefully lay the dusting brush across the piece (like a painter’s maulstick) and rest my hand on it.  It helps to have the brush right there anyway – so I can brush away crumbs quickly as they appear.

I’m hoping to finish this piece up this afternoon.  Once I have it completed, I will do a post and put it in the gallery.  Until then, here are some photos that I took along the way (next time I’ll try to remember to take photos during earlier phases):

April 4, 2012:

 April 7, 2012: