Boxed In

Of course, it’s called “Boxed In” because it’s a box turtle, right? There’s actually a pretty cool story behind it.

“Boxed In” | 6″ x 18″ | Colored Pencil and Neocolor II on pastelbord

Close-up of "Boxed In"

Close-up of “Boxed In”

We have this black tube attached to our gutter drain to direct water flow away from our house. It’s VERY long – like maybe 50 feet. One day as Mike and I were doing yard work, we heard a scratching sound that sounded like something was in the drain. When we (Ok, Mike) pulled off the black thingy to see what it was, (I was cringing because I imagine something would jump out at us), we saw a turtle. Stuck. For who knows how long?!?!?!

The turtle made a long journey from the tube opening and I guess got stuck as the tube joined the gutter drain. Just like my grandmother did when she ran to get her camera before rescuing my brother who fell into the toilet, I grabbed my camera and took some closeups before we freed him (or her…I think it was a her after reading up on them).

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Poor turtle…

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Finally free to roam the overgrown lawn. (Don’t worry – we are careful when cutting the grass…I mean weeds).

WIP: Elk

This is the WIP for the Elk. In order to depict the massive rack, I wanted to do this on the largest surface I had in the studio. So, I used my only 18″ x 24″ pastelbord (gray). If I had something larger, I would have used it. I’ve found I like to work large when working on animals…maybe it’s because I prefer to stand when using charcoal and pastel, maybe it’s because the nature of the subject warrants to me really get in the fur without getting bogged down with the detail. 
On the other hand, the colored pencils are the opposite. I prefer to sit down, work smaller (for now), and concentrate on the details.
So let’s get back to the elk…I’ve added captions to each step. I guess I didn’t take a picture of the drawing, but my favorite step is below…right after I’ve drawn in the subject, and I pick up the first and second color. It’s just magic. 🙂
Blocking in the elk and background…
  Adding detail…
  Here’s a good photo of the easel and reference photo. Not the best placement for the photo, but I haven’t figured how to affix the references without looking away from my easel.
  Working on the horns a little more…
  Softening the horns further away, working on the chin contour, correcting the ear

Goat WIP

After I completed the donkey, I started to do this guy…and was asked by a few people to do it in pastel. OK…I hit a few bumps in the road since I haven’t really worked a lot with pastel. This was my first pastel animal (before the Alaskan Malamute).

I was working on two photos, but not on purpose. My reference was the black and white copy at the top. I realized I needed to go back to my photos and print out a color copy to work with pastels. The photo I chose wasn’t a perfect match, but I went with it anyway. (Not to self…delete the reference photos you decide NOT to use…or…don’t take so many photographs!)

Basically, blocking in color…but I guess I didn’t use a lot of charcoal in the beginning of this one.

Here’s a close up.
 

Adding more to the nose and face…note the lavendar/purple?

Working on the head and fur a little bit….and background still hasn’t been started! (There should be warning sounds here…) 

Because, what was a I thinking? I wanted to add a little more color to the background, I guess, but it wasn’t working. I should have stayed with the photo reference, but being used to close ups and values with charcoal, backgrounds could be abstract. That’s what I was going for, but my attempt to add color didn’t work at first. The goat started to recede and not pop out as much.

(*Cringe…*)

Starting to blend the background. There are certain colors that will be banned from my pastels…Olive green is one of them…

I decided to stop here for a while and even signed it, thinking that it would grow on me and that maybe, it was the goat that I wasn’t fond of. Maybe it was the subject matter after all…

Except it wasn’t. I like goats. I think they’re cute, so…

After I finished the malamute and went to the pastel class, I thought that maybe I overworked the goat. That I blended too much.

Part of what I love most about pastels is the texture that you can SEE. Some pastel artists do blend and create beautiful paintings. I love them! But…I want to go another way. I want to see the strokes of the pastel stick. To figure out when the artist used the flat end of the pastel or sharpened the end of it like a pencil. That’s the beauty of pastel to me.

So I worked on the goat a little more…and added some warmth to him and the background.

I’m getting there.

Art Updates…

The writing gene apparently did not rub off on me, which is probably why I don’t post more…yep, that’s my excuse. Maybe I need to write less and post more pictures.
I’ve been working on quite a few pieces since I last posted here, so I’m going to update everyone!

Let’s see…I finished a charcoal drawing of a local dairy cow… this is 16″ x 20″ on pastelbord

I finally finished the Lily of the Valley (it’s a Flower of the Month for May). It’s 8″ x “10” on Stonehenge paper…and yes, it was white paper that I painstakingly darkened. (Reminder to myself that there are other papers to choose from!)

I also finished the tiger lilies here, that I believe is on Aquabord (Ampersand). It’s 10″ x 8″ and is framed without glass.

The poinsettias are actually small – 4″ x 4″, almost coaster size, which is exactly what my family thinks it should be…

Another flower of the month, this time for June…an antique rose.

This is a 16″ x 20″ pastel of tropical flowers…I keep forgetting what they’re called. I can’t decide whether or not to leave it as is, with part of it incomplete, or work it a little more. That’s why I haven’t framed or named it. 

And finally, the autumn berries – on aquabord, 7″ x 5″, framed without glass. (I may have already added this to a post, but maybe not?)

I do have another colored pencil flower I’m working on…I promise to add this as I work instead of posting the finished product.