Saturday, January 19, 2008

Apples & More Apples

Here is the third set of apples in my apple series - simply named Three Apples. It is the smallest yet at 7" X 5 " and took about 3 hours to do from start to finish.

The first in the series, An Apple a Day, may been seen on my website. With Red, White & Silver that I finished the other day and now Three Apples I think I've satisfied that apple craving I had, but I will say I have one or two more apple compositions rolling around in my head that at some point I will have to draw. . .but I'll save those for a later date.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

That's It!

OK here is the final drawing - hope you like it. Just finished off the top and added and checked bits and pieces throughout the drawing and decided I'd quit before I messed something up.

Now to decide what to do next. . .

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Almost Finished!

I've worked on this just a little over an hour tonight but decided to stop and give my little dog some attention for a while, but before I do I thought I'd post what I have so far.

Most of what I did tonight was to refine those areas that were almost finished by adding more layers and making sure the edges looked as they should. I added a wash of brown and black with the Conte pastel sticks over the background and in the areas of shadows on the flag in the foreground. I still need to work on the lid so it should be finished tomorrow - be sure to check back.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Red, White & Silver

I've started on a new pastel tonight, Red, White & Silver. I have a couple of hours of work in this so far. I had really planned on trying to do this in stages so I could walk you through it but I got so involved in what I was doing I didn't stop to scan each step - sorry.

This is a rather patriotic apple still life don't you think? It is about 10"x 8" on sand colored velour. I've used mostly Rembrandt soft pastels and just a few hard Contes. I wasn't sure how I'd do on getting the silver life like but so far I'm liking it.

The first thing I did after selecting my photo reference was to transfer it to my velour paper using a light box. My outline sketch was pretty rough - just to get placement of everything down and not worrying about the details. There is no right or wrong way to do this step, freehand, grid or transferring all work well. You can add the details or not at this point - it is totally up to you. I do recommend that you practice drawing freehand as much as possible - good drawing skills are a very important and I try to draw something every day.

After I had my rough sketch I began laying in the red and white with the soft pastel sticks. You can see how I did that on the unfinished parts on the left hand side. After the reds and whites were down I started adding the blacks on the silver sugar bowl (at least I think that is what it is) and then went back with whites and a light blue and gray to add highlights. Rembrandt has a wonderfully rich black that gets the black really dark. The Conte black just doesn't get that deep black that I need sometimes, however the Conte does come in real handy when doing light washes of black, outlines or when coverage isn't an issue.

I don't do much blending at all with my fingers. I just layer color over color until I achieve the look I'm going for by using varying amounts of pressure. Occasionally I'll just press my finger on a spot of color without rubbing. This will make the color a little dull by pressing it down in the tooth of the paper. Sometimes it is just trial and error - I find pastels pretty forgiving.

On the apple I used red, orange, a bit of yellow and green, some brown and then added whites and blues for the highlights. After that, to get the shadowing on the apple, I did a wash of brown and black with a light pressure using the Conte sticks. It has probably about 8 to 10 layers of pastel on it if I were to guess. I find I don't pay attention to those things either when I'm drawing - I'll try to pay more attention next time though. There is still a lot more to do on this piece - lots of rough edges to sort out, layers to add, lines to make sure they are straight enough or curved enough - so check back later.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

2008 is here! It's hard to believe. 2007 was a good year and I'm looking forward to great things happening in 2008 and sharing them with you along the way.

I haven't been drawing much over the holidays. Sometimes I find it is a little hard to face that blank piece of paper after such a long break. Even though my fingers itched to get started, that first drawing makes me hold my breath sometimes and this was no exception.

I love drawing eyes so I thought I'd start off with a cat with large green eyes - just something small about 8"x10" and nothing too detailed - just a nice head study. The more I drew on it the more something looked off. I'm still not sure what it was. As you may know, after a certain point you can't get any more pastel on the paper and I found myself getting there fast. However, I wasn't going to give up on this first drawing of '08 and decided to get a little dramatic!

It didn't turn out like I had planned - but I salvaged it and plan on matting and framing it. It was a good lesson for the New Year too. If I had given up after it not going exactly like I had wanted I'd have nothing to show for it and my confidence would have been a little shaken. Instead, I kept at it and probably ended up with a drawing with more impact than I had planned AND now I'm looking forward to starting on my next drawing.

Happy New Year!