Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every Day in May

watercolor in Watercolor Moleskine journal
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

How often have I said I would like to be in the practice of keeping an illustrated journal? I start and stop, never really making any progress. So when the Every Day in May challenge was announced on the Everyday Matters group, I thought I should go for it. What better way to develop a habit than to practice daily? I may not be able to post everyday, but I will do something everyday and share the results, good and not so good. Want to join me? Just follow the links for more information. May is going to be lots of fun!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wishing Tree

Wishing Tree
5.5 x 7.5 inches
colored pencil on Rising Museum Board
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

Here's my most recent landscape on Rising Museum Board. I am really liking this surface. With this one I wanted to see if I could keep the color softer and more muted, in order to make the tree appear a little mysterious or magical. So I did a grisaille using warm grays before adding color. It may just be my imagination, but doing a grisaille first that is addressing only the values in an image does seem to speed up the process a bit. At least it's a method I am enjoying and I think the result ties the color together better. The image comes from a beautiful old live oak at the Outer Banks, NC, beside the old Whalehead Club house.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It all started when

Rhododendron Blossom
colored pencil on Strathmore 500 Bristol
4 x 4 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I decided it was high time I did a little updating on my website. My website had been badly neglected for quite a while so I was happy to get that task crossed off my to-do list. But then, since I was in an updating mood, I decided to try out a new look for this blog. It wasn't that I was unhappy with the old look, I liked the colorful design, but it was beginning to bother me as it seemed a bit busy. I felt at times that the art work was lost on the page. Plus I was never satisfied with they way images with a white background were undefined on the white blog background. For a couple of hours there yesterday I had a gray background. Which was okay but not really me. So I settled on this look. What do you think?

Above is my entry for April's Virtual Sketch Date. It is from a lovely photo reference by Jeanette Jobson. This was my second attempt. I am not even going to show you my first attempt. When I tried it this second time I came in closer and was much happier with this simplified crop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

and miles to go

Waterway II
4.5 x 6.5 inches
colored pencil on Rising Museum board
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

Here is another piece inspired by the low country marshes of coastal South Carolina. As with my previous post, I used an underpainting with this as well except in shades of pink to deep reds this time. I am really liking this museum board right now for its ability to accept many layers of color, stand up to erasing out highlights and pushing the pencil around with a brush and still maintain that soft textured surface. I am also enjoying my explorations with color while doing these drawings. Working in this smaller size is so much more to my liking now as well. I really got bogged down with that last larger colored pencil piece. I realize now that I can explore so many more ideas when working smaller and can complete a work more quickly.

Also, I must mention this wonderful new spot on the web. I was so happy to find this new website, Colored Pencil Central, put together by none other than Ann Kullberg!

This is just the sort of site I wish had been around when I began researching colored pencil artists. And I am so glad all this information is now available in one place! I have already spent loads of time looking through all the artists' blogs and resources listed. What fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Promises to keep

Waterway I
4.5 x 6.5 inches
colored pencil on Rising Museum Board
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
click here to buy

As promised, here is one of my latest colored pencil pieces, inspired by this scene of the marshes at Edisto Island, SC. I decided to give the Rising Museum Board another try for colored pencil and am getting along with it much better now. I think it helped to let the texture of the board work for me, instead of me working against it. Besides, I do like a soft texture in colored pencil work. It was that soft textured look of Bet Borgeson's art works in colored pencil that made me want to try this surface in the first place.

I also tried a little different method with this one where instead of using a neutral grisaille or "underpainting" as my first layer, I used an analogous grisaille of yellows, ochres, a redish orange, and a warm brown. I think that helps hold the color together better and set the color tone for the piece. I am also trying to break out of my habit of always using local color to describe a scene. I am often drawn to works where the use of color is more expressive than representational. So I am experimenting a bit to see if I can find out how I want to communicate color in my work.

And if I haven't already included enough links in this post for you, here are a few more. I wanted to mention that I have been adding works more regularly to my sales blog. But I did make a small change over there. All sales will now go through my Etsy shop, at least for the time being. The process for purchasing is the same though, and Etsy is just as simple for making a purchase. It was just too complicated for me to keep up with both the sales blog and Etsy. Yet I couldn't imagine letting either one go at this time as they have both generated sales. So streamlining them together seemed a reasonable solution.

And now, for the last link for today, I was delighted to find out that my little "Basil" ACEO was selected for this Treasury collection over at Etsy. How cool is that!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I almost forgot

To post these Everyday Matters drawing challenges! First is challenge #217, draw an umbrella. I sketched this with a brown watercolor pencil and then used watercolor washes. I kind of like the brown pencil more than ink for the initial sketch, it's a bit softer. Of course I got lost in all the folds of my umbrella's fabric, so I just went with it and played with the color.
This is for challenge # 218, draw a knife or a blade. So I drew this little pencil sharpener in graphite. Perspective is obviously something I need lots of practice with. And I'm all about pencil sharpeners. I have several of various types for various needs. This one stays in a plastic sandwich bag in my sketching kit. Both drawings are done in my small, square journal.

I have been busy lately making colored pencil drawings and plans for more colored pencil works. I will be sharing some of those drawings soon. This is also the week we do our annual achievement testing for our homeschool requirements. Good thing we have plenty of jelly beans and chocolates to keep us going! If you're ever searching for nut-free chocolates (and I know just how difficult that can be) here is an excellent company. Their candy has never even been in the same building with a peanut or nut. And it's really really good. Kiddo gets to have a chocolate bunny in her Easter basket that is safe for her to eat. And somehow my bag of dark chocolates left by the Easter bunny is quickly vanishing. But dark chocolate is good for you, right?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Present tense

Thanks to everyone who commented on my old paintings. Now back into the present, or rather the more recent past. Here is another ink and watercolor sketch that I did a couple of weeks ago. It is in my journal. I am working on some new drawings that I will show soon. Besides, these watercolor sketches became the inspiration for the colored pencil pieces I am now working on. Well, sort of the inspiration. You'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I used to paint

Maybe you knew that. When I was cleaning out the attic last week I came across some photos of my old paintings. Works I had forgotten about. I thought it might be fun to share them here.

This first is from around 1988, but I didn't keep very detailed records back then so I can only guess at the date. I was fresh out of grad school and the professor and I were living in an apartment in the heart of Cincinnati. I was into using stencils back then. I would cut out stencil shapes and repeat them on the canvas, building up layers of painted shapes. This painting was done in oil and stencils were used for the flowers and leaves. It was about 24 x 36 inches. Again, I'm going on memory because of my poor record keeping.

In 1989 we moved to North Carolina. During the summer of 1992 we took a three week train trip all around the US, stopping at various points of interest. I was in awe over the landscape of the southwest and did a series of paintings during the following year or so based on the images I had gathered from our travels. This one is in oil, 36x36 inches, inspired by the landscape of the Grand Canyon.

While on that trip we drove a rented car all around Santa Fe, New Mexico, looking for Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch. This next painting is from O'Keeffe inspired country, also in oil. It is actually the center panel of a five panel piece, each panel is 20 x 24 inches. I still have these paintings stored in our basement. The early nineties was not a great time to be doing landscapes in the academic circles I traveled in. Of course, the internet had not arrived so networking with other artists was limited by geography. And I was living in a small southern college town.

So my methods changed a bit. I brought back the stencils and combined them with landscape, making the landscape image a view through the picture plane like a view out a window. The symbols suggested some kind of added meaning, (for the sake of the 'academics') and reminded the viewer that this indeed was a painting.

These were acrylic and oil on canvas, from around 1995 - 97. The first is 20 x 18 inches and the one below is 30 x 30 inches. I would do an underpainting in acrylic, often in complementary colors, and then go back into it with oil. I also made stamps of various textures that I would use to add textured impressions on the surface. I had more success with this series. Got a few into regional and national competitions and even had local gallery representation for a while. Some sold. Some are in our basement, some I still don't want to let go.

In 1998 I stopped painting because I didn't want to be exposed to the fumes of oil paint and solvents while I was pregnant with kiddo. It wasn't until around 2006 that I even began making art again. But this time things had changed in the art world. I had a computer, and the internet. There were now communities of artists to network with from all around the world. And learning opportunities at my fingertips. I discovered that I really liked to draw. And well, you know the rest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Southern Exposure redux

Here is, hopefully, a better image of this drawing. I had a bit more patience today playing with it in Photoshop. Now, back to the drawing board.Southern Exposure
colored pencil on paper
11 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Southern Exposure

Southern Exposure
colored pencil on paper
11 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have had this on my drawing board for at least two months and am calling it finished. It's done with Faber-Castell Polychromos on Stonehenge. It is a view looking South from the Moses Cone Manor off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Bass Lake is seen in the distance. It's a beautiful spot if you ever have a chance to travel there.

I had a heck of a time getting the colors accurate photographing this image but this is pretty close to the original drawing. Adjustments in Photoshop didn't help a whole lot. I do much better with smaller pieces that I can fit onto my scanner. Working this size on paper also presented other challenges for me. Like how long it took me to complete it. I admire those artists who work much larger than this with colored pencil on paper and love the look they achieve. One of these days I'll attempt another like this. But I think I'll return to using sanded supports for a while.


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