Tuesday 27 July 2010

Marbles Portrait

"Five Marbles".  11" x 14.5", Derwent Coloursoft Pencils on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card (Dark Grey).

Well here's the completed picture I did for the Derwent Pencils Company.  It is a larger piece than I normally do but, strangely, it didn't really take a great deal longer to do than a smaller piece.  The detailing is the same whatever the size, in fact, I think it's easier because it's not so fiddly and you've got the freedom to do bold, broad strokes.  I had wondered how on earth pencil artists do their large pieces, much bigger than this, without going totally bonkers!  Now, I'm thinking working big is maybe not so onerous as it seems.

One might think that the logical surface to draw marbles on would be smooth white paper.  However, I chose to use a dark grey 'La Carte' pastel card for two main reasons.  Firstly, coverage is quicker and the Coloursoft seemed to lay down very softly and smoothly.  Secondly, it's harder to work precisely or get bogged down in detail on this rougher paper - you are kind of forced to work more loosely which, I think, yields a less 'photographic'-looking result.  I used the pencils dry, with no solvents, and used cotton buds and a hardish bristle brush in circular strokes to smooth out the pigment on the marbles. 

I'm really not into slavishly copying my photos.  I'm not that good a photographer that I get brilliant photos worthy of exact copying anyway!  Nor am I keen on jiggery pokery with photo software, I'd rather be drawing.  What I do is choose a photo and then interpret it in my own way, exaggerate colours, leave extraneous bits out, bring out the colours in shadows and so on.  Whilst this drawing could be regarded as photorealistic, especially as you see it on the screen here, it is most definitely a drawing in actuality. 

I took many, many photos of marbles in different lighting, positioning and group combinations before I came up with a composition I thought would make a good drawn image.  Derwent wanted a portrait format, rather than landscape, of 'close-up' marbles, which was more of a challenge, I think.

Hmm, all in all, I'm quite pleased with this one.  It looks especially good when viewed from a distance, something which is hard to achieve with a smaller drawing, I think.

Ooh, I nearly forgot to say, I had the thumbs up from Derwent today (Phew!) so the drawing is now winging its way up north to them.


Sue Clinker said...

Fantastic drawing Janet - I have to keep going back to take another look!

The composition and colours work really well.

Do today's children play with marbles I wonder??

Pauline said...

Beautiful Janet, well done, I love the light on the marble on the right.

Janet Pantry said...

Thanks Sue, good question, I wonder if they do ? Probably not..how sad.

Thanks Pauline, I really enjoyed doing this one :)

Leslie Hawes said...

This is wonderful, Janet!
My "inner child" still plays with marbles...does that count? :)

Unknown said...

Job well done. Congratulations Janet. You deserve the thumbs up and more.
WTG Janet. Aplause.

Anonymous said...

excellent result, Janet. I really like this and I totally agree with your comments about not copying slavishly from photos. Glad to hear that Derwent liked it too. Daryl

Janet Pantry said...

Thanks Leslie, Dors and Daryl. I really appreciate you stopping by to comment :)

Alison Staite said...

Hi Janet
This is great! As Sue said the composition and colours work really well. I love the yellow against that blue. Time well spent trying different things. I was also interested in your comments about working larger.

Do you know what Derwent intend to use it for?

Anyway congratulations and I look forward to seeing what the next subject will be!

Janet Pantry said...

Thanks Alison. That's a good question, I've no idea how Derwent might use this - maybe they haven't decided yet? When I know I'll post it to my blog.

I want to get back to doing more summer flowers, foliage since the season is so short ;)

Paula Pertile said...

Oh, well done!! I hear you on not fiddling to get a perfect photo. This is definitely photo-real but still a drawing, like you say. So glad the Derwent people liked it too!!!!

Carolina said...

It's really beautiful, Janet. The lights on the marbles, the close up, the colors, it's vibrant. I'd love to see it in its real demensions.
Congratulations on the thumbs up :)
Big hugs,

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

Very cool piece. Love the colors.

vivien said...

lovely work Janet and congratulations on the commissin :>)


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