Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Coloured Pencil Work

Geranium Leaf study, approx. 5"x5", Coloured Pencil on Stonehenge
Copyright Teresa Mallen

Here is a small study of a geranium leaf that I have just completed. I have been wandering a few sideroads and I even ended up in a ditch to get to this wee piece...whew...

You might recall my large peony piece which I finished a couple of weeks ago. Following that, I decided to change gears a bit by creating a quick little trading card sized image of a section of a hyacinth. My heart wasn't in it, I didn't feel jazzed by my drawing and by the time I hit the colouring part, I was bored. I was missing working big. So I abandoned it, one of my sideroads...Then I taught my coloured pencil basics course last week...another sideroad...My dump into the ditch took place later in the week when I decided to do this geranium study on UART paper.

I was quite excited last year to discover that my local art supply store was now carrying UART - in all of the various grades no less. So I stocked up. I messed about with it last fall, just to experiment but it wasn't until now that I had something that I thought would work well on the beige coloured surface. You might have noticed that the above image was done on Stonehenge not UART! I started off in love with the sanded paper, from the 400 toothy grade to the 800 smoother grade. Very quickly I realized that it probably was just an infatuation and not long after that we had our first fight and we still aren't speaking to each other! :-)

That paper left me absolutely flummoxed! I have worked on all sorts of surfaces, rough, smooth, printmaking paper, watercolour paper, drafting film, sanded pastel paper, canvas and Pastelbord. I have never worked on a surface that left me flummoxed (great word isn't it?). No matter what approach I tried, I couldn't build colour to my satisfaction. The colours blended rather than sat on top of each other (which is great if that is the look you are after but it wasn't what I was aiming for). I couldn't get nice crisp lines (heck, I struggled to transfer my drawing with transfer paper) and my stroke technique went all ugly - like I was leaving the odd streak. It felt like working on velvet or velour. Remember black velvet poster art? It started to reminded me of that. Not exactly a great association! I persevered but to no avail. It just looked like a bright mess. Sorry but I won't be posting any photos. :-)

But hey, before I turn you off this paper, stop and have a look at this site for UART paper. Many wonderful artists work on this surface and their work is fantastic. I love Linda Lucas Hardy's work and she uses her famous dry brush technique on UART. I have noticed mixed reviews on Scribbletalk about it. I guess you either love it or you don't. I will return to it though because I am a determined sort of gal. I will say this in its favour, it would be a wonderful surface for pastel work and I think it would be lovely for paint.

Enough of my ditch experience. Below is a work in progress shot of the geranium leaf (on Stonehenge). Are you one of those people that brings your summer geraniums inside for the winter? I do. I just can't let the frost kill them so I haul them inside and I repot them. Sometimes they flower nicely but often they just get leggy and scraggly. Once April and warmer weather comes I am ready to move them outside. I must confess that I have so many pots that I don't actually do the kind hearted hardening off business. After nursing them through the winter, I find myself getting rather impatient at the end and they are booted out the door to toughen up quick or else. Last week I was sitting on my deck surrounded by these straggly, mangy plants. I became mesmerized by the undersides of the leaves and I grabbed my camera for a delicious photo shoot.

I also spent a morning with my camera in our woods last week. I took oodles of photos of unfurling leaves and close ups of wildflowers. Here is an example of some of the fern pics I took.

Finally, I must share a picture of a lovely trillium. Ontario chose the trillium as its provincial flower in 1937. These white wildflowers can be seen in early May in forests throughout the province. So simple and so beautiful. Ah, the delights of spring. To top it all off, I heard a whip-poor-will yesterday evening. I am delighted to know that at least one bird has returned safely. This species is considered globally threatened, in part due to loss of habitat. I am hoping to hear more of them in the coming nights. Okay, now what do I work on next? It is time to browse the stored reference photos.


Laure Ferlita said...

Lovely post!

I love your "determined" attitude! That's where the breakthroughs come from!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Laure. I had to smile at how you "love" my determined attitude. 'Determined' people are usually go getters and successful but they are not always easy to live with. I know, I come from 'determined'(read stubborn and bull headed) parents! :-) So I can expect breakthroughs with the UART paper? Yippee!

Laura said...

For some reason I missed this post but was very interested to read about your experiences with UArt paper having just spent today trying to source some for me to try.

I love Linda Lucas Hardy's work and noted she used this paper and thought I would give it a try. Your experience with it reminded me of my experiments (I should say scribbles) on Fisher 400 which is also a fine sanded paper. I keep intending to go back to this paper and experiment more but I need to accept first that I won't get the same detail that I can on my hp watercolour paper:-D

Ann said...

The geranium leaf is beautiful.

I love your discussion of Uart paper. I had some sample pieces sent and have tried only one of them, don't remember which grit, and had the exact same experience! I, too, was 'flummoxed' by the whole experience! It's put away now but I imaging I will give it another go at some point :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Laura, do give it a try but do be warned - it is rather pricy. I would love to hear what you think of it. The less gritty version is a lot like Wallis pastel paper if you have tried that.

Ann, thanks. I am so glad that I am not the only one to be flummoxed! :-) I actually tried messing about with it again today. I didn't stick with it too long but I will master it. I will! Oops, is my determination showing?