Friday, November 29, 2019

Drawing Copper & Metals in Colored Pencil

My lesson this past week was to have my students draw objects in different metals; shiny silver, copper and iron. Most of my students in this session are new to colored pencil so it was not only a challenge for them but also for me.

I draw and understand which colors I choose and how I layer pencils but sometimes it can be difficult to verbalize to students. Everyone sees color and value/tone differently, new students don't always see every detail of the subject they are drawing and I often assist with the correct angle or perspective.

This was our fourth class in the series and this week one of my students said she is beginning to notice things she never noticed before. For instance, when she looked outside she noticed cast shadows from sunlight and moonlight. She also began to notice different colors and shades/tones of color. This excited me because I feel that I am succeeding in teaching not only to render subjects but to really study and see characteristics and relationships to surroundings.

 These photos are sketches I did for the class trying to simplify drawing metal. I chose the spoon as a quick study and (hopefully) easy way for my students to understand reflections and different values/tones in metal. I started with an outline and denoted shapes where the light was reflecting. My photo shows more white reflected areas than I was actually seeing.

Leaving the reflected highlights the white of the paper, I drew the different values using Prismacolor Warm Greys #30, #50, #70 and black. I shaded the spoon in gradual transitions from light to dark. I added some contour line on the edges of the spoon but careful not to outline whole shapes, just varying my pressure so lines are more prevalent in some areas and softer or fading away in others.

In my final drawing below, I burnished with a bristle brush to remove the texture of the paper and added a few more darks where needed.

Here are some examples of student work. I also let students choose the color of paper to work use for a background. I was so busy helping students achieve their goals that I only got three photos at the end of class. I was really pleased that each student chose a metal object that was challenging!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

White Objects in Colored Pencil

My colored pencil class lesson yesterday was to have my Bristol Art Museum students draw white objects on gray toned Canson Mi-Tientes paper. Working on a toned paper helps the student create a full range of value and tone in her drawing. When we begin with a toned surface, we start somewhere in the middle of the value scale and will only need to push the values lighter and darker.

I have collected various white objects in different shapes, textures and degrees of difficulty and I encouraged my students to select an object or objects each would feel comfortable drawing. We began the class with a short talk about our lesson and I also like to present a short PowerPoint presentation with examples of my works and other artists' works pertaining to the lesson. 

As they began working, I asked students to take a few minutes to study their still life objects and determine the light and dark tones. White shapes will come forward and dark shapes will recede; as an object curves away from the light, it will become darker causing a gradual change from light to dark. I will help my students determine the lights, darks and shadows and how different textures will affect light and dark tones. 

Each student began with 3 colored pencils white, medium toned gray and dark gray. This helps to simplify applying color and tones. All students were using Prismacolor pencils in either Warm or Cool Grays. After completing the initial value drawing in grays, I asked my students if they were able to see hints of colors in their objects and encouraged each to add some color in order to create some interest and some colorful grays. 

I like to end class with a little sharing of works and discussion about the lesson and how each students interpreted their subjects in colored pencil. It also helps my students stand away from the drawing and see how each drawing looks at a distance; are values significant enough? Do shapes and composition work? I also like them to look at other students' and see how each person interpreted their subject(s). 

Our class time is 3 hours long and during that time I guide each student through drawing and making color and value choices. Many of the students in this class are new to colored pencil and some are new to the drawing medium. I was pleased with the results – each student starting to develop her own style of working and choice of subject matter. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

November Book Sculpture

My husband recently had a knee replacement surgery so that meant I was also homebound and had to be attentive for more than a week. I had a difficult time focusing on drawing with colored pencil so I decided to create a few book sculptures with my available time instead.

I had seen a picture on the internet of a similar turkey book sculpture and decided to try my own in honor of upcomingThanksgiving. I took a small book I had purchased somewhere and began folding all of the pages in triangles. Afterward I added tail feathers, long semi-circles folded in half and glued between the folded pages. the head were two book pages folded together and cut into a head and neck shape. I colored only the eye and 'gobble'.

I was invited to a ladies' night party and I presented the hostess with this book sculpture as a gift. She really loved it and is going to put it on her table for her Thanksgiving dinner. On a side note - my friend and hostess' husband is experimenting with cutting books for me with his power tools. This will open up a whole new creative process, I am thinking up ideas for cut book sculptures! So much fun in between my drawing projects.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Handmade Book Workshop

I taught a 2-day Handmade Accordion Book Workshop at my studio last week. I asked students to choose a theme before the workshop and have some reference photos or ideas to put on each page. We decided on a 5x5" size and to design six pages. I let them choose the color and type of paper for the accordion format. This student chose Light Blue Canson Mi-Teintes  as her surface. Her theme is birds and she drew the birds on white paper with colored pencils. She wanted to tie the birds and the pages together by sitting the birds on a continuing branch beginning at one end and ending at the other end of the accordion book. She cut out the birds and glued them onto the Canson Mi-Teintes surface.

Using book binders board and colorful Asian decorative paper I helped her to put the covers together to complete her book.

This student created two books using some of her previous prints of colored leaves and small pieces of handmade and decorative papers. She chose white paper for her accordion book background and collaged elements onto the pages. We used Jade glue mixed with methyl cellulose (helps when repositioning pieces) for thicker pieces and the cover and Uhu glue stick for lighter papers. Both types of glue are archival and permanent. All of the papers and boards we used are also archival so they will last and remain their true colors as time passes.

I really enjoyed teaching and assisting my students to put their creative ideas into handmade books!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Pet Portrait of Nikki

 I was asked to create this pet portrait as an anniversary gift for the owners of this beautiful Golden Retriever Nikki. My customer asked for a small piece that could be hung or displayed on a stand. We decided on an 8x8"image in colored pencil that would be mounted on Ampersand Clayboard 3/4" cradled panel to be unframed and varnished.

I chose to work on Fabriano Tiziano paper, the color is Felt Gray. This is one of my favorite papers for pet portraits. I like the textured and flecked background so I will let the paper show through as the background behind Nikki.

My first step is to layout the drawing and put in the outlines in graphite pencil. I don't have to add a lot of detail to my initial line drawing but I want to be sure I have important features such as the eyes, nose and mouth in the proper positions. Using a sgraffito tool (has a blunt pointy end that will impress lines into the paper) I have impressed lines into the paper where the whiskers and some of the hairs will be. That way I can add color over the area and the whiskers will remain the color of the paper.

Using Prismacolor, Derwent Drawing and Luminance colored pencils I add white, cream, warm yellows, red browns, browns and warm grays to the drawing building and layering colors on the paper. Some of the areas have been burnished with a bristle brush; particularly the eyes, nose and tongue. My customer asked me to leave the drawing somewhat "sketchy" and simple and I did that by letting the drawing softly flow to the edges.

I did receive feedback from the owners and they love the piece. It's small enough to fit in a small space on the wall and enjoyed every day!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Accordion Book and Colored Pencil Workshop

I am going to be teaching this 2 day workshop in October. Please contact me if you would like more information or to register. It's going to be a lot of fun. Although I realize many of my readers aren't in the area! 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Colored Pencil Portrait of Six Goats

I was asked by a customer to draw a 'goat' portrait of these six goats for their owner's upcoming birthday. The drawing is going to be a surprise! I was really excited about the idea so the customer and I jumped into her car and drove over to the see the goats. We went into the barn area and I was able to take multiple reference photos of the goats to use when creating the drawing. The goats were so curious! You can see the looks on their faces.

The drawing is approximately 8x16" and is drawn with Caran d'Ache Pablo and Prismacolor brands of colored pencil on Oyster colored Canson Mi Teintes paper.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Relief Monoprint Workshop with Frieda Dean

I've been regrouping after curating the Bristol Art Museum Fine Points exhibit so I am finally getting around to sharing these photos and writing about a Relief Monoprint workshop I took with artist Frieda Dean at the Providence Art Club in July. Frieda Dean is the sister of Angel Dean who - besides being an artist - coordinates Event Planning and Member Services for the Providence Art Club.

Frieda began by explaining her process of inking small, medium and large stencils on two sides and layering them between two sheets of printmaking paper (like a sandwich). We learned that we needed to plan out our composition and layer different sizes, thinking about both front and back as they would be sandwiched between two sheets of paper. This allowed us to pull two prints at one time.

The workshop was great fun!

 Here is my inking area, I was experimenting with different oranges and yellows on my artichoke stencil.

 Above is one of my stencil layouts on paper ready to print, below it is lying on the press ready for me to add a top sheet of paper before running it through the printing press.

 It is a messy process and takes up a lot of space but great fun! Below are three of my finished prints. I have added some colored pencil embellishments to all three. The bottom print is created on Asian rice paper with a texture.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fine Points Drawing Exhibit at Bristol Art Museum

I am really excited to have been asked to guest curate this drawing exhibit at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island. I invited six artists who are proficient in their mediums and profound in their works of art. They are Deborah Friedman, Holly Bedrosian, Elizabeth A. Patterson and Susan Tait Porcaro (colored pencil), Kathie Miranda (colored pencil, silverpoint) and Tatiana Flis (graphite, colored pencil). You can click on their names to see more of their works on the individual websites. 
I am also exhibiting some of my handmade books containing colored pencil drawings. 

The exhibit opening reception is Friday, July 26 from 6-8 pm. I am hosting a Curator's Chat at 5:30 mp just before the opening on July 26th. 

The exhibit is open for preview Bristol/Warren Art Night Thursday July 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. See the flyer below for more information and all of the Art Night stops.

The works of art in this exhibit are amazing, please stop in and you will surely be impressed by the wonderful drawings! Five of us are members of the Colored Pencil Society of America.

The exhibit runs through September 1.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Collecting Shells - Handmade Book in a Handmade Box

I just finished this handmade accordion book that folds up into a handmade box. I drew the seashell and sea life illustrations with black and white Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and Caran d'Ache Supracolor watercolor pencils on Strathmore Toned Tan drawing paper. I wanted to create this artwork using only tones of black, white and grays.

I built the box using book board and made the book cloth with this lovely fabric I found at a local fabric shop. The accordion book folds up into the box but can be displayed on it's side with the pages fanning out.

I enjoy creating small sketches and drawings and looking for new ways to present them instead of just in a sketchbook. I decided that I can create the drawings into handmade books and display them. This piece is going to be exhibited at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI. I am the guest curator of an upcoming drawing exhibit that opens Friday, July 26. More about that in my next post!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

My Colored Pencil Drawing Book

 I'm really excited to announce that my book about drawing with colored pencils is available for preorder on Amazon – just follow this link. The book is written and illustrated by me with the help of a variety of editors and designers who work with the publisher GMC Publications in London, England. It was such an exciting project to work on, much thought and hard work.

The beginning of the book consists of information about materials, techniques, color theory, sketching and composition. The remainder of the book has ten step-by-step projects and three focus projects to help the reader learn all about drawing with colored pencil and refining their skill.

The publish date is September 2019 and I look forward to book signings/demos and teaching workshops in colored pencil in collaboration with the book. Please contact me for any additional information at

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Three New Folded Books

Here are three new folded books that I created last week. I'm teaching an altered book workshop at Providence Art Club in a few weeks so I decided to sit down, fold a few more books and write down all the instructions for my students. 

I will credit Johwey Redington's website for the instructional videos to create these three sculptures. Click on the link and you can see the different folded books on her website. I added my own ideas to the books I created. The Yin-Yang book (middle) was a colorful book containing some maps and map images on the inside covers. I tore out a few pages so I would have just enough to fold so the end inside cover illustrations would show. 

I did the same for the last book here with the red end pages, I tore out a few pages so the red would show at either end.