Great Grey Owl......part three
A very happy Monday morning to the world. It has been a gorgeous weekend and Monday has arrived once again. After the chores are done more work can start on my owl portrait. Work has been proceeding slowly, of course. There is only one speed with coloured pencil and that is slow. But then wouldn't the world be a better place if everything slowed down a little? So here is the vast progress shot of my latest work!
Hello. Happy Friday! It's kind of odd chatting away here and wondering whether anyone anywhere in the world will find this post! But I said I was going to share my journey, so here goes.....
This lovely owl is proving to be far more time consuming than even I imagined, and I imagined a very long time. I am spending as long - or probably longer - straining over the reference photo trying to pick out detail, as I am actually drawing. This is the problem with working a lot larger than the photo, and why really, if you do, you need a super high resolution photo. As I blow the detail in the photo up it becomes blurry and trying to tell which way the feathers are going is seriously hard. But it matters. Feathers going the wrong way look terrible. I began working on the beak for a little respite. I shouldn't have done really, because see how many more feathered areas there are! And there will be no respite! I have done a little extra work on the eyes too, but that will be ongoing. You see, that's the thing with colored pencils, you can just add and add and add. It feels like each little mark is insignificant, but each little mark is important. Sometimes a few tiny strokes make a huge difference. And the more you keep adding the more the piece comes to life. Which is very exciting! And that is one of the joys of working in coloured pencils.
Welcome to my blog. I began my journey with coloured pencils less than a year ago and I thought it would be fun to share that journey with anyone who cares to join. Why colored pencils you ask? The answer to begin with is simple. They were what I had to hand. One day I saw a picture, thought I would like to draw it and the only materials were a few nice coloured pencils I had bought a while back. I knew nothing about working with them, but hey! haven't I been using them since I was two! How hard could it be. I'd love to share my first picture with you. But I can't. I knew nothing about copyright. I will add a page to my website about that sometime. But my first picture cannot be shared with the world!
Of course, to produce a great picture is not so easy, but you know, it really isn't hard. All that is needed is patience and practise. I have one of the two! And colored pencils are teaching me the other. I was lucky, I began with the best pencils that you can buy (see tips and techniques on my website for a discussion on pencils). As I sat with my little drawing and began to colour, a wonderful transformation took place before my eyes. I watched this little picture (a group of mushrooms) come to life. One tiny little piece at a time. The more I layered the pencils, the more beautiful the piece became and then suddenly, as if by magic, the work developed the most beautiful sheen and everything just melded together. This was burnishing. But I didn't know that then.
Well, picture followed picture. In a very slow fashion, because colored pencils are sloooow! And more pencils kept arriving. And I fell in love with the medium. There is a wonderful depth to a coloured pencil painting that is so different to paint. And if detail is your thing they are just perfect. A perfectly sharpened Faber Castell Polychromo - now there is a thing of beauty!
So here I am with my first blog post and today I am going to share with you my current work in progress. An owl face. I believe that he is a great grey owl. Anyway he has the most amazing yellow eyes. I got the reference photo from the brilliant Gary Jones on the pmp website (paint my photo) where some absolutely amazing photographers share their photos for artists to use. Gary is a brilliant wildlife photographer and has some fantastic photos on there.
So the above is the first day's work. A simple line drawing and some work begun on the eyes. They are nowhere near finished. It is quite strange working on a piece where each eye is of a different size and shape because he is looking at an angle. I feel the need to even them up, but have to keep telling myself to leave them alone. I have also realised how hard it is going to be to do the feathers on this piece. The work is 11"x8", so much bigger than real life. Magnifying the feathers I have to work hard so that they still look feathery and not like twigs! At this point I always have a confidence crisis and think it is going to look awful. Just have to work through it. Literally. Colored pencil has many really awful looking stages.
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