Showing posts from March, 2009

TIP: Colored pencil breaking? Time to start baking!

It is so frustrating to be "in the zone" working on a colored pencil painting and have the tip fall off the pencil. Then, you sharpen it only to have the tip fall off again - or worse - to remain in the sharpener clogging it. Sometimes that requires a screwdriver, a few expletives and an unwanted interruption in the work process. When colored pencils are dropped, the "lead" can break inside the pencil and no matter how many times you try sharpening them, the tip will continue to fall off. Well, I received a wonderful tip on resolving that problem from Audra Stevens, Product Information Specialist with Blick Art Materials. Here are her instructions: What you will want to do is put your pencils on a cookie sheet - preferably lined with wax paper or a silicone pad - and put the pencils in the cold oven. Heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and let them bake at that temperature for 2-5 minutes.Then let the oven completely cool down to room temperature befor

Taking the Good from Failure

I thought that I was getting very close to finishing this picture. I was working to quickly fill in the background and wasn't sure which direction I was taking with it. I had originally considered a light blue background, but it was competing and clashing with the other blues in the picture. I switched to greens and was happier with that. Initially, I had thought the green jays would blend into a green background too much, but found that they didn't. I had added a tree trunk to the left side of the picture, made some changes to the bottom limb and started filling in the background. (You can refer to the photo from my previous post to see the differences.) To get the background done with soft gradations and variations, I had switched from the colored pencils to Neocolors II . They are used by Ester Roi , who uses heat to melt the wax in the crayons and colored pencils and has developed a heated drawing surface especially for that purpose, and Ranjini who likes to work on sand

Art Interrupted by Spring

I have been busy working away at the green jays with the wisteria and have the two birds pretty much done. W may be harder is figuring out how much of the background to include. I want to keep the rest of it quite a bit lighter to avoid having it compete with the birds. In the meantime, spring is knocking at the door. That brings some pleasant interruptions including an early morning visit to a friend's to take some photos of the birds that flock to their house. She keeps dry dog food available in big tubs outdoors and the birds love it. I got some photos of the cardinals, green jays, brown thrasher and Audubon's orioles. My corn plant is blooming! I've had this happen with 2 other corn plants ( Dracaena Massangeana ), but believe it is rather rare. The flowers take a while to develop and open, but when they do, it is very fragrant. I was disappointed at first, because the flower stalks (there are 2 on this plant!) had gotten quite large with no fragrance at all. Last