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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Child Portrait Study in Colored Pencil

I've been working with Colored Pencils for a couple of years now with my friend Kendra Ferreira, an accomplished member of the Colored Pencil Society of America. Another day I'll show you some work from her class. First, though, I'd like to show you some process on a more urgent study of my two little nieces, sisters, three and five, who live in Montana.  I want to present these next week. (Do I love pressure!)

Working with colored pencils has a certain challenge. I think, as I do with oil painting, that the drawing must be accurate, especially to produce a likeness. Color and tone are added in successive layers to achieve greater detail. I love the rich color intensity working into the CP drawing. I am forced to slow down, and I find myself liking the meditative aspect of enriching a small area at a time. So far, I have worked with very small pieces. The two finished drawings will each be only 4" x 6," and I am using photos, very close up and cropped, for reference.

Here is a study of Charlotte's left eye and mouth, drawn with Derwent Inktense water-soluble on Gatorboard (Grade A Foam Core) coated with Colourfix Primer, a fine-grit tinted surface. These are merely studies - practiced in the margin of the painting to see how the color goes down on the ground - a pale blue background. I've decided to try another background color, more pale yellow to highlight the girls' fair skin and whitish blond hair. The blue requires too many layers to cover up the ghastly blue. I am pleased with the realistic effect and love to see what water added does to soften color and make form more subtle.  Stay tuned to see the progress on these little drawings.

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  1. What great challenges you are doing.

  2. Thank you, Susan! Give a holler when you're back! Getting revved to paint!


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