Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Painting in Progress Part II

Well, this has taken longer to get to than I imagined. Have to stop working on the painting long enough to write about it. I mentioned in the previous blog entry that I used isopropyl alcohol to blend my coloured pencil pigment. In the picture below you can see the two main items I used to do the blending. An old towel and the alcohol itself.

Note that all of the easel images have some parallex error because I hand held the camera and the easel itsel is not quite level. Click on any image to enlarge.

In the next image, you can see that I have wrapped the towel around the end of my finger and then soaked it in alcohol. I begin by rubbing the towel into the pencilled area. You can see the difference between the blended area and the non blended area by the softness of the colour and the pencil strokes.
For finer blending work, I recycle old colourless blender markers by dipping them in the same alcohol. I also will pour some alcohol into a small cup and let multiple old blender soak up the alcohol while I'm using another one. For future use, I'll also pour a tiny amount of alcohol into the caps before snapping them in place.

The old colourless blenders are ideal for blending colour in tight places, in this case the area around the model's hand.

After working the colourless blender into the wall, I go back and add some additional layers of coloured pencil using a Derwent watercolour pencil which is well suited to blending techniques.

Once I've added enough of the coloured pencil to build up the texture I'm going after with the wall I then add a glaze of yellow ochre over it. If I keep it thin, it will still allow the pencil strokes to show underneath. Too much of the hue will make it opaque. In some areas this is actually desirable, but not here. Because I may possibly add other layers of pencil over the glaze, I use water instead of glazing medium to thin the yellow ochre down.

It's helpful to me to not get too fixated on any one area so I shift from working on the wall to working on the background. The background is a mix of the coloured pencil with acrylic. I probably should have mentioned this earlier but I had actually messed up the alignment of the blocks and painted the wall entirely and started over.

Continuing with other parts of the background, I begin roughing in colour and detail on the stone floor behind the figure. I'm using a mixture of indigo blue coloured pencil along with the yellow ochre and golden brown watercolour pencil. This gets a little terra cotta pencil added to it and then a thin glaze of transparent burnt sienna.

You can see here by the time I had taken this photo, I had developed the column and the wall a good bit more. You can also see a decision I had made about the background over the figure's shoulder. This area was done with indigo blue coloured pencil with washes of ultramarine blue mixed with burnt umber. I spatter what I intend to be stars to represent night. After looking at it awhile, I decide I don't really like it. So I paint it out and start over.

Before I had experimented with the star background, my original thought was to extend the colonnade in the daytime background into the night time background. I rough this in with a white coloured pencil and use a very thin iridescent white for the clouds and the moon. The trees are a pthalo green blue shade with some white highlights. I draw the mortar of the brick with a white coloured pencil and then fill with burnt sienna.

The wall gets new attention in the form of ivy painted with a dark hooker's green. In this view, you can see where the painting is heading. The hardest decision I now have to make is what colour the figure's dress should be. I will work out the final details on the dress and then decide the colour. For colour blind people, colour decisions can sometimes be excruciating.

The next installment will get into working more on the figure herself and seeing how the colour choice I make for her attire pulls everything together and puts the focus where it needs to be on the central figure's face.