Monday, October 31, 2011

Colored Pencil on Wood and Trip to NYC

This is the second piece in which I'm working with colored pencil on wood. The photo just above shows my beginning. I decided to try starting the darker areas with a watercolor underpainting so I drew in areas with Inktense watercolor pencils. Afterward I gently added water to the pencils and worked them with a brush like watercolors. I found that I had to add very little water otherwise the water would puddle and seep into the wood grain taking the colors in areas I didn't want it to go! The very top photo shows where I have begun working with colored pencils. The colors are much more intense with the watercolor wash underneath, as I mentioned in the last post of the pears on wood, the wood is relatively smooth and will only take so many layers of colored pencil which is why the watercolor wash will help me achieve the color I want.

Debbi Friedman and I spent the weekend in NYC. Our main purpose was to attend the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's annual awards dinner. While neither of us were receiving an award, we both had a piece in the exhibit and had enjoyed attending the dinner so much last year that we decided to go again. On Friday afternoon, we were able to get tickets and view the new World Trade Center memorial. The two footprints of the towers have been constructed into beautiful reflecting pools and waterfalls surrounded by all the names of the people who died on 9/11 and the 1993 bombing which killed six people.

On Saturday we braved the snow and rain and walked to the Chelsea area of art galleries. On the way, we passed the Fashion Institute of Technology and noticed there were two fashion exhibits on display so we wandered in to see them. One was the history of sportswear from early 1900s to present and the other was a collection of unique clothing and shoes belonging to the famous heiress, socialite and fashion stylist Daphne Guinness known for her flamboyant personal style. The shopper that I am really enjoyed this exhibit, videos and slide show shown along with it. If you want to read more on Daphne and her collection, here is a link.

The two photos above are of work by Luisa Caldwell in the Bertrand Delacroix Gallery on 25th Street. The top piece is called "Smile" and is constructed of thousands of colored candy wrappers hung on threads in the colors of a rainbow. If you look at the flowers very carefully in the bottom picture, you will notice they are made up of various little stickers that are on fruit when you purchase it from the grocery store. Ever wonder what to do with all those empty candy wrappers or stickers when you peel them off fruit?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Neo Color & Colored Pencil Workshop

Yesterday I taught a one-day workshop on working with Neo Color II watercolor crayons as an underpainting and colored pencil on top. My five students had done little or no colored pencil in the past but are all artists working in different mediums. I've included the reference photo of the pears to show the colors and composition we would be working on. The surface we used was Ampersand Gessobord primed with Terra Cotta Colourfix. Pictured above are their drawings. This could actually be a 2-day workshop because there was not enough time to complete the work in one day.

We began by lightly laying down one layer of the Neo Colors and next adding water with a brush and disolving the color to look like an underpainting wash. After this dried, students began working with the colored pencil and again adding some of the Neo Colors letting them blend with the pencil, not adding water this time. I love all of the results! A few of the students commented that their work didn't look like mine but I was happy that each person developed their own style and I could see influences of the other mediums they work in coming through. I was really excited with each of their drawings and hope they all take the time to complete them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Colored Pencil on Wood

I was walking through our local Michael's craft store when I spotted the Artist's Loft (brand) Unprimed Wooden 1" Cradled boards. While at the CPSA exhibition and convention in Dallas this past summer, one or more manufacturers gave similar cradled boards as door prizes. I've seen some colored pencil work done on wood, so when I passed the display at Michael's, I decided to take a 9x12" board home with me to try. I need a slight break from my Angel's Trumpet piece and all those flowers and leaves so I was excited about trying a simple composition on the wood. I looked up "colored pencil on wood" on the internet and found a few ideas. One person said to lay down a very thin coat of gesso on the wood before using pencil and another person said the wood won't take many layers of pencil because it is so smooth. I decided to work directly on the wood with my colored pencils. I began with light layers of pencil knowing the pigment could build up too fast and then I wouldn't be able to apply more layers. I crosshatched in different several directions because the wood grain would show through the pencil, by crosshatching I could cover the grain pattern. I used Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft pencils which both applied nicely. My finished piece was nice but subtle and I couldn't get the pears to stand out from the background with just colored pencil. I remembered that someone had written about using Derwent Inktense pencils and water as an underpainting when working with colored pencil on wood so I decided to apply the Inktense pencils on top with water. I wet a small area with a brush, applied some of the Inktense pencil, then moved the pigment around with the brush. As a result, I achieved richer colors in my pears. I'm wondering about other brands of the wood and if they differ. I will have to try it again. This is a quick and fun way of drawing!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Working on the Angel's Trumpets

One negative aspect of taking a long vacation is that when I come home it can take me up to a week to get myself mentally back into my work. At first there are tedious duties to attend to such as unpacking suitcases and restocking the refrigerator and then frustration when I try to sit down to draw. I finally eased into my work again yesterday and I began by studying my Angel Trumpet flower drawing and deciding to add more flowers and foliage to the composition. I am adding a large blossom at the top left corner and four more flowers at the bottom, varying size. I've decided to leave the flowers and leaves for now and start to work on the Chinese lantern on the right.

I am very excited to learn that this piece "Round About" won the Martin Hannon Memorial Award in the Salmagundi Club Fall Auction and Exhibition in NYC. It's very small, 8x9" but has been one of my favorites. I submitted three pieces to the auction and all three currently have bids. If you'd like to view the on-line auctions here is the link.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Treasures in Paris

One of the highlights of my trip to Paris was viewing Monet's huge waterlily paintings in L'Orangerie Museum. The L'Orangerie is one of the smaller museums of Paris but quite a gem. The bottom floor contains the collection of Paul Guillaume who was a gallery owner and patron of the arts who aquired many works by the well known artists of Paris. The second floor large oval room displays Monet's paintings presented with natural light coming in from the ceiling. It's impossible to take a photo of the entire painting so I photographed a section of one. It is amazing to stand in the center of the room and behold the surrounding paintings. Wish it was in my house!

This picture is a view of one of the main gallery spaces of the d'Orsay Museum. This museum is a gem and seems to be everyone's favorite. The museum is a converted train station and it is beautifully renovated with two floors of the main galleries and smaller galleries off to the sides. The museum contains many impressionist and post impressionist works by favorites such as Degas, Bonnard, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Seurat. After taking this photo, I saw signs everywhere saying no photos allowed and I didn't photograph of any of the art works.

My one disappointment was that I had hoped to see Monet's cathedral series of the Rouen Cathedral and they weren't currently on display. I found out later many of the impressionist paintings had been moved into storage while some of the galleries are being renovated.

I enjoyed this Van Gogh painting at the Rodin Museum in which Auguste Rodin's sculptures and his paintings are housed in a mansion and gardens (Hotel Biron). What I found interesting is that Rodin "traded" art with several famous painters and their works are also displayed. Such is this piece by Van Gogh. I am drawn to this painting for it's wonderful composition, such an interesting and intricate background which does not overpower the figure in the foreground. I also love all of the bright colors and bold strokes.
The last museum we visited was Center Pompidou which is the modern art museum with quite a collection. I have to admit, it was the end of the week and I was on information overload so I skipped most of the most recent works which I believe are right through the 1960s or 1970s. What we did spend time looking at was the special Edvard Munch exhibition at the museum. I have never seen an exhibition with so many of Munch's works before. Munch himself was a troubled man who dealt with depression all of his life and even checked himself into a hospital for several years of treatment. His works were often disturbing and he often painted a subject over and over.

One of the tidbits of his life I found very interesting was that in 1886, Munch exhibited a painting called "The Sick Child" in which his style transformed from the traditional impressionism to a style of his own. He received negative comments from the critics saying his work was scratched and unfinished. However, the exhibit stated that this only served to help his career as the public wanted to see what all the fuss was about! I learned years ago in college about critiquing art that a negative reaction is better than no reaction at all.

Oddly enough, none of Munch's Scream paintings are included in this exhibit. There was only one reference that mentioned like many of his other subjects, he painted a series of the Scream paintings.

The above painting is one of Munch's last self portraits titled "Self Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed". He stands between time and sleep, his final resting place.

This small sculpture or vase was displayed in a gallery window and I couldn't help but stop and admire it. The top of the piece is constructed of colored felt-tipped markers. It started me thinking of what could be done with colored pencils in this fashion!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Few Treasures From the Louvre

My husband and I spent about four hours at the Louvre last week mostly looking at all the paintings and sculpture. I don't think I missed one painting gallery and by the time we left, I was in a state of confusion. I could barely remember what I had seen in the first galleries and I guess that's what happens when you try to take in too much at one time. Here are just a few of the pieces that captivated me. Above is Winged Victory by an unknown sculpture from approximately 190 BC. It is an amazing piece of work to behold, the gracefulness of the pose and the perfect lines of the body and drapery and created so many centuries ago.
I had to include a photo of the Mona Lisa which is very small (30x21") and behind glass. It is also very dark, much darker than reproductions I've seen on the internet. Good luck getting close enough to view it, we had to push and bump through the crowd in order to try to see the painting up close.
I've always liked Guiseppe Archimboldo's work and was happy to be able to view The Seasons up close. The subjects in his paintings are comprised of vegetables, plants and fruits and very intricate and I like intricate.
Here is Ingres Grand Odalisque which is a lovely and large painting but criticized because the figure does not appear to have muscles or bones. Many of her proportions are incorrect; right arm longer than the left arm and she has extra vertebrae. Yet she hangs in the Louvre and is famous just the same. Next time I'm working on a figure drawing and my proportions aren't quite right ... I won't feel so bad!
Lastly, here is a snow scene by Monet. It's one of his earlier paintings Snow Near Honfleur
and I don't believe I've ever seen this one before. My camera gave this painting a pinkish glow but what I really like about this piece are the many subtle colorful grays in the scene.

I'm going to post a few more images tomorrow from other museums.