Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Color lessons

Detail from Bass Lake Trail
colored pencil on pastel board

First, let me begin by apologizing for not having a pastel post yesterday. I did do a pastel drawing but haven't finished it, so next Monday I will hopefully resume with my Pastel Monday posts.

What I do have to post today is a small colored pencil piece that I have been working on, and all its stages of process. I have been concentrating on color these days, or more specifically, my use of color, and have learned a few things about myself and my working habits along the way. Not to bore you with all the details of my color study I will just say that using color, and especially using color expressively, is a constant challenge. A challenge that keeps me interested and moving on to the next thing but is always a learning process. I have a tendency to over work color through a struggle of pushing and pulling layers of color throughout the making of a piece, often losing that fresh, expressive quality I was after in the first place. I do this no matter what media I am working in, colored pencil, pastel, acrylic, watercolor, any color media I pick up is fair game. So my challenge is to overcome this habit and try to be much more focused in my intent. And posted here is one recent attempt to hold on to that focus plus do a little experimenting with color.
This first image shows my 6 x 6 inch pastel board drawn with Derwent's Inktense watercolor pencils. I was looking for patterns of light and dark, warm and cool, in this little landscape scene.

Next, I washed the Inktense pencil with water. The colors become much more saturated.

When the board was dry I started in with Derwent's Coloursoft colored pencil. Again looking for patterns of light and dark, warm and cool.

Here I am much further along with the dry colored pencil. I tend to work from the top left outward, getting to about 80% completion, and often bouncing back and forth from the area I am expanding back into previous areas to make adjustments and outward across the board some more.

Bass Lake Trail
colored pencil on pastel board
6 x 6 inches
©2008 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Lastly, here is the completed piece. I did manage to keep my focus for the most part and was happy with the overall process on this one. I have previously done colored pencil works using this technique but with a lot more pushing and pulling of color back and forth. I still have a way to go before I can really say that I was able to stay focused on my intent throughout. And I know there are always those times when you have to let the work dictate what it needs. In this piece I like the effect those bright colors of the underpainting have on the colored pencil applied over top. In the future I would like to push this use of color even further and have the underpainting play a more important role in the finished work. It's really all about the process.


Unknown said...

Wow beautifully done, and awesome tutorial. YOu are a true professional

Luba said...

This has such depth and the trees have their own dimension, too. The loose shadows from the trees look very natural. Hard to believe that all those previous versions are under the final one! Looks great.

Jennifer Lawson said...

How beautiful and very cool to show the progression along with your explanation—thank you.

Lynn said...

Thanks for this fascinating post! I was very interested in the process you used to create the dappled light and shadow on the road. It's beautiful!

Anita Davies said...

Such an interesting WIP, thank you for sharing it with us.

nadine said...

Beautifully done. Soft and moving. Vibrant and flowing. Lots of personality. Love both of the Bass Lake Trail pictures. And I love the last one, in all of its stages.

Linda T said...

This was so interesting to see. Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen said...

Great piece and a great demo thanks so much for sharing this with us --I am inspired to try the inktense and colored pencils on pastel board - really nice post thanks again

lyn said...

I love demos of progress to the final work! The 2nd step has such vibrance and contrast and the end result so calm and peaceful. Continued success!

Laurel Neustadter said...

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your approach with us.

Rita said...

Fantastic job Ann and even if it was an experiemnt I'd say you've got an A+ with this one!

I can sympathize with your struggle to use colour expressively. It can be a constant challenge but if this is any indication of where you're headed I look forward to future pieces you try out like this. :)

Rose Welty said...


I'm way behind on blogs, but I have been saving this post to read carefully...it is a beautiful piece - both the art and the post.

You are making headway with color, even if it isn't as fast as you would like!

Well one.


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