Thursday, January 16, 2014

Discovery Bay Rhododendron Progress - Colored Pencil Blender Tips

Here's the latest update on my Discovery Bay Rhododendron painting. Since my last post I've filled in considerably more background on the right side. I will continue filling in background information in a counter-clockwise direction until the painting is finished. Then there will be a little visual surprise at the end of the painting. 


Have you worked with a colored pencil blender before? Here are some tips that will help you get the most from using a colored pencil blender to enhance your colored pencil work.

1) When you've been blending in a dark area, like the dark background behind the flowers above, roll and dap the point on a tissue thoroughly before you move into a light-colored area, like the white petals above. The point of the blender will pick up the dark color and transport some of it into the light area, and "stain" it with the darker color. When you're blending an area of dark and light hues, blend the light color area first, then move into the dark area. 

2) The tip of the blender doesn't hold its point very long. After  blending for a while, you'll find that the tip has crumbled slightly. You will then have to be careful when blending in tight areas. If you're not careful when blending in a tight dark and light area, the dark color on the tip can stain the light area. Once the area is stained, it's not easy to remove. You can scrape it with an exacto knife, but in doing so you can easily damage the surface of the paper. This is the big advantage that Photoshop has over traditional painting. I must admit that I've been spoiled by Photoshop. 

3) To get the feel of how the blender works, you may want to experiment on a separate piece of colored pencil art that you don't mind practicing on. The above painting was my first experience with the blender, but I just dove in and got the feel of the blender through the course of the painting.

4) As you apply the blender to your colored pencil, you'll find that it makes your "dry" colored pencil strokes look wet, like watercolors. Yet the colored pencil strokes will still be somewhat visible. The blender also fills in the tiny white specks that occur when you don't thoroughly cover the paper with the colored pencil. You may prefer to practice using the tool before starting your painting to get the feel of applying the blender solution in different strokes, like long and smooth, or tight circles.

5) The blender I used is called: Artist's Loft Colored Pencil Blender. I bought it at Michael's Arts and Crafts, an art and craft chain store. The blender has a large tip on one side, a small tip on the other. To give you an idea of how long the blender lasts, I will go through three or four blenders to complete the above painting, which is 8.5 x 11 inches.

Check out my Painting in Paradise web site for the date of our next workshop. On the "Package Info" page you'll find the departure date for the fantasy South Pacific island of Rarotonga. In the course of the workshop I will teach you how to paint flowers in the realistic technique that you see above.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles

Friday, January 10, 2014

Discovery Bay Rhododendrons Painting Progress - Lower Background Finished

My Discovery Bay Rhododendron painting is slowly coming together. I started the painting on November 25, 2013. I wish I could move more quickly through the painting, but it's one of many projects that I'm dealing with. Plus, painting in a realistic technique is painfully slow. This is my early morning-late night project. The lower background portion and the foreground rhodie on the lower right is now complete.

I found this rhododendron along Highway 101, just west of Discovery Bay, in Washington State, USA. There was something special about this flower that you can't see yet. It will be revealed at the very end of the painting. 

I normally teach painting in a watercolor technique. But I decided to try something different with this painting and render it in Prismacolor Pencils using a colored pencil blender, which gives the wax pencil more of a watercolor appearance.

I'm still a bit unsure about how I will handle the background in the upper portion of the painting. Will I fill it with detail as I have in the lower portion of the painting? Or use more dark areas with less detail, so the flowers stand out more? I will be addressing that issue soon.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Discovery Bay Rhododendron Progress

I'm still plodding away on my Discovery Bay Rhodie painting. I try to put in an hour early each morning on the painting before I start on my regular projects. I'm painting this to add more floral images to my Painting in Paradise web site. This is the painting style that I teach in my Painting in Paradise workshops.

It may seem difficult to you to paint anything in a realistic style, but in my workshop I break it down into easy, understandable steps so that you can get results like what you see on my web site. If you don't you could do this, just check out the "workshop" page on my web site. The two paintings that you see by Alice were her first realistic paintings. Karen's pink flower was her very first attempt at painting. I was very proud of her.

Regarding the above painting, I decided to depart from the usual realistic watercolor technique and experiment with a Prisma Color Pencil technique, using a colored pencil blender to "seal" the colors. This gives the image a watercolor-like appearance. Now that the petals and leaves are finished, I will  be working on the dark background. I'm looking forward to this phase of the painting because the flowers will finally begin to "pop", and gain contrast with the dark background behind them.

You'll find more information on my workshops here at my Painting in Paradise web site.