Archive for March, 2010

#58 and a pastel background

Yesterday I drew out the entire composition on newsprint for a pastel painting that I am working on. I was able to transfer the newsprint study onto my Pastelbord panel with graphite paper yesterday afternoon and last night I blocked in the background’s main colors. Oftentimes pastel paintings have “ugly” stages and to me, this is one of them, but I wanted to share my progress with you everyday. The background is a beach scene with crashing waves and foam accumulating where the water meets the beach sand. When working in pastel, I like to block in the background first because afterward when you add the figures in the foreground, the risk of accidentally getting pastel on your figures is reduced. Pastel is messy stuff, because basically you are painting with pressed clump of dust. I am a little worried about starting the figures because I know it will be difficult to create the small details… I may need to go and purchase some pastel pencils to add the facial features, etc. because the heads in this painting are about an inch wide. Miss Cordelia and I may need to hit the art supply store today. I am also curious if I would be able to mix colored pencil on top of the pastel to add the details- I have never added colored pencil on top of pastel on a Pastelbord panel before…

I like the process of photographing my progress and sharing it with my readers, because after I take a picture of my drawings, I see many things that I need to fix that I did not notice when I looked at the original. Here in the background of my painting I noticed that the lines of the water in the far distance break up at the heads of my figures and do not look continuous… I will need to fix that, among other things.


Study for a painting

I recently received a commission to paint a portrait of my nephew and his father on the beach. I am going to paint the portrait with soft pastels on Ampersand Pastelbord. I love working on Pastelbord, but it is quite pricey and graphite does not erase very well off of its surface, so whenever I plan on working on Pastelbord, I draw a study on newsprint that is the same size as the Pastelbord. I draw on gridded paper so that I can make sure that everything in the drawing is to scale and after I sketch out the study and I am happy with the composition, I then use transfer paper to transfer the image from the sketch onto the panel.

Today’s sketch is of my nephew’s father. The image that I was working from is not very clear and I could barely make out his facial features, so I shaded in the study to see if by adding the tone that I saw if it would look more like him (I usually do not shade my studies, but often it is the only way I can be sure that my lines are “correct”).

Tomorrow I will share the sketch of my nephew and I will continue to post images on this painting as I work on it.

An ode to graphite

Oh, how I love graphite, let me count the ways! Graphite has always been my favorite material to draw with. I like how easy it is to work with. I can grab a pencil and some paper and create anything with it… I do not even need an eraser.
My husband arrived late last night from California and right now he and my daughter are both napping upstairs in our bed. Roman had drawn the curtains before he had laid down and the room is quite dark at the moment. So, when I started to sketch Cordelia it was difficult for me to see the edges of her facial features and I drew the space in between her nose and her mouth too large. I usually sketch with very light pressure, so my pencil lines were not too heavy, so I just smudged the graphite with my finger to erase it. And although after the smudging the lines they were still slightly visible, the graphite that I pushed around added a nice gray haze on the drawing (which I always like). For today’s drawing I went back to drawing on a 9″ x 12″ piece of paper… but I will need to force myself to draw more in my little sketchbook later this week.


My husband has been out-of-town and Cordelia’s Mema came to help me out with her this weekend. I worked all day yesterday, and after work we all went out for dinner and a little shopping. We did not get home until well after 10 pm and by that time we were all a little sleepy, but I had not drawn my portrait of the day yet. While Mema read Cordelia her bedtime story, I took the opportunity to draw the two of them as quickly as I could. I decided to use pen so that I would not erase and spend too long on the drawing. Cordelia was so tired that she barely moved, but Mema was a little fidgetty. The scale is a little off on the finished drawing- Cordelia’s head is a little too large- but I kept thinking about Constance’s advice in her sketchbooking class about not worrying about having “finished” drawings in your sketchbook. I captured a very tender moment whether I got the scale correct or not.

Today’s drawing is of Cordelia. I drew the portrait in a small sketchbook that I got when I signed up for Constance’s class. It is a little awkward to draw in because it is narrow, but I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone ( I usually draw on a 9″ x 12″ piece of paper). To keep Cordelia as still as possible I let her watch her favorite show, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and for 25 minutes I was able to sketch her. I am going to continue drawing in this sketchbook because it is ‘homework’ for my class, and I would like to get more comfortable drawing on a smaller scale.


Quick sketch from life. Cordelia and her Mema.

11 Indigo Cordelias

I told myself that I wanted to draw 11 Indigo Cordelias for my bedroom walls. I am really enjoying drawing them, so I may do some more- but here are the first 11 that I have drawn so far. I thought it would be interesting to see them all together.


Today’s drawing took me twice as long as usual to complete because half way through the drawing Cordelia moved into a totally different position and I had to start over from scratch. The angle that she settled into was a difficult one to depict. Her face and body were so foreshortened that the finished drawing looked almost like an abstracted version of her. I think it is difficult to know what you are looking at when you look at this drawing. As I was drawing it, I thought that maybe it wasn’t the best view point- but I was not about to move her, so I draw what I saw. I am not sure how I feel about this drawing, but I do find it interesting and it was a challenge to draw her from that perspective. I really need to sign up for a life drawing class so that I can sketch different people from life… I would really like to try out the skills that I have been practicing lately. I have drawn Cordelia so much lately that I can capture her likeness in minutes… I am curious how long it would take me to draw someone who I do not know…

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