Tuesday 28 July 2009

Purple Poppy Finished - ish

Another 3 hours or so on this adding in more of the same colours here and there. I've tried to get an accurate scan of the picture colour-wise. This is as near as I can get to the original, although I think it is showing up just a tad bluer than it should. I'm calling it finished now although I know I could go on, there are always things I want to change.
If I were to do this poppy again, I'd do it on white, probably Colorfix, sanded paper and forget the flippin' background! Oh well, onwards and upwards....now, what next?

Monday 27 July 2009

Purple Poppy WIP 3

Another couple of hours or so further on. That background was bugging me, it had to change. I've put a layer of Parrot Green (Prisma) all over it....risky, but I think it looks better for it, more harmonious with the flower. I've also intensified the colours generally, using the previous ones plus Black Grape and Pink (Prisma) and Rose and Loganberry (Derwent Coloursoft). I'm now heading towards the finishing line and the next post should be the final one.....ever the optimist!

Saturday 25 July 2009

Purple Poppy WIP 2

Another four hours work on this and it's looking decidedly more purple now. I spent a long time on the background using Derwent Coloursofts Mid Green, Lime Green and Dark Green and a paper torchon or two to blend them. At first, I was thinking a light limey green theme would be a good foil for the dark poppy........wrong! Then I darkened it but it looked too dark. Finally I settled for this muted, mid-toned limey-green look! I've concluded that doing backgrounds for a light coloured flower is much easier, there seem to be more workable options. I wonder if other people have these perplexing dilemmas!
Anyway, I'm quite happy with the colours now and the next stage is to darken the darks, particularly around the centre of the flower, and do some tweaking here and there. It is a pleasure to be able to put lights over darks, as you can on this paper, it seems to make the process of drawing more spontaneous.

Thursday 23 July 2009

Purple Poppy WIP 1

Approx 11" x 9" Coloured Pencil on Aubergine Colorfix sanded paper.
I'm using Prismacolor pencils on this one, plus a few Derwent Coloursofts, because there are some lovely dark reds in these brands. I snapped this beautiful poppy last month in a friend's garden - I hope I can do it justice!
Thus far, this is about four hours work and I am really liking this paper. The pencils are going on like pastel and working on this coloured ground really speeds up the process. I spent some time 'sculpting' those stamens, until my eyes were crossed actually!, and then just blocked in the basic colours for the petals using Tuscan Red, Magenta, Process Red and Hot Pink (Prismas). I envisage the background, at the moment, as loosely rendered, muted greens but that could change. I'll start work on that as soon as I've finished laying down the basic colours for the whole flower.

Monday 20 July 2009

Watery Waterperry

My friend and I went over to Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford, yesterday for the annual Art In Action event. There were exhibitors showing and demonstrating activities such as calligraphy and illustration, ceramics, woodwork, painting, drawing and printmaking - also, lots of opportunity to have a go yourself. I particularly enjoyed the drawing tent, unsurprisingly, and saw some beautiful charcoal work by Marguerite Horner.

The gardens were particularly picturesque and, had it not been for the rain, would have been great to browse around. Now, I'm not averse to the odd shower but we are talking here, folks, of frequent torrential downpours which had everyone dashing for the nearest tent every ten minutes or so. Welly boots were the order of the day, though not for me unfortunately! Rivulets of water and the odd puddle turned into a veritable muddy quagmire and the rain kept coming. We brits do not complain though do we? We just smile and remind ourselves that without this wet stuff our country would not be nearly so green and pleasant!

What irritated me more, however, was the fact that I had to pay £1.60 for a cup of tea - correction...a polystyrene cup of hot water which had been tickled by a tea bag. Refraining from a strong desire to tell the organizers that I could have bought 200 tea bags for that price I comforted myself with a piece of carrot cake. Chin up though, the parking there was free - yay!

Tuesday 14 July 2009

White Daisy WIP 3

Another 3 hours or so of work done on this. I put a layer of Phthalo Blue and over that some more Sky Blue, in places on the background just to give it a bit more ooomph! My lighter blue pencils are now reduced to little stumps - oh the perils of sanded paper!

I have basically strengthened all the colours on the petals and tried to get more tonal contrast, more by lightening the light areas than putting down darker greys - if that makes any sense. It's quite satisfying being able to put lights over dark colours, as you can with this paper, and I have used a Chinese White Derwent Drawing Pencil as the final layer for the highlights.

I think it's probably about finished now. I'll put it away for a few days and then look at it again. No doubt something will shout at me to be tweaked, I'm never satisfied.

Saturday 11 July 2009

White Daisy WIP 2

Another four hours or so of work on this. I am using almost all the cold and warm greys in the Polychromos range on the petals. I've never used these greys before - I tend to steer clear of them usually - so now I'm really getting to know them! I quite like this stage, when all the basic colours are laid down, because I can now move around adjusting the tones and generally refining the whole thing. Looking at it now, my eye goes straight to that dark grey in the petals on the right - looks odd so I'll adjust that. The pencil colour is going down almost like pastel and it's easy to blend on this paper.
I am not one to keep slavishly layering colour over colour, haven't got that much patience!, but I do want to introduce more contrast to this because, apart from the white highlights, there is very little tonal contrast in those petals. Have to be careful though, could easily overdo it.

Thursday 9 July 2009

White Daisy WIP (1)

I've started this daisy on pale grey Colorfix sanded paper, about 9" x 11". I took lots of photos of white daisies in the Spring this year and this is from a crop of one of those. I'm using my favourite pencils, Faber Castell Polychromos, although I haven't used them on this paper before - oooer! I like to work the whole picture up at the same time, rather than working on one bit in detail, because I get a better sense of the whole piece, colourwise ,as I'm going along.

I've used sky blue and light ultramarine on the background so far and a stiff brush to try and get a smooth look - we can't have a stripey sky! Trouble is, as any seasoned coloured pencilist will know, while this sanded paper speeds up the drawing process, it does tend to eat up your pencils so I might have to dip into my stocks for some more 'blues'. I've also put in the lightest bright bits with a white pencil and started modelling the centre. I've used the blues also in the petals and introduced some greys.

I don't really have a 'game plan' when doing these flowers - I just work it out as I go along so it's always a case of being 'on a wing and a prayer'. We'll see....early days yet.


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