Friday, March 5, 2010

Cellophane rocks!

Continuing on with my cellophane inspired abstract...above is a picture of how things looked as my first layer of coloured pencil pigment was going onto the paper. At this point I was trying to follow my road map of white lines (my transferred drawing). As I worked, I ensured that the white lines were going to be covered. If I thought the transferred lines were too heavy, I lifted them with masking tape. I did not want them to show in the finished piece.

I worked on a drafting table but I put the piece on an easel to make it easier to photograph. It was also nice to get a vertical view every once in a while. Due to the size of the paper, I worked half of the time with the piece upside down on my table. This was so my arm wouldn't have to rest on the paper. I modified the drawing wherever I thought it was required as I went along.

The following picture shows the piece after more colour had been applied. I used Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft pencils. Some artists find the Prismacolor Lightfast line of pencils to be a bit dryer than the Premier line. I like the Lightfast pencils and any extra dryness works well on this sanded paper. I really like the Coloursoft pencils on the pastel paper. I also like that you can obtain lightfast rating information for each pencil from their website.

The next photo shows the work after I had worked it up to a more orangy red stage. At this point I taped the paper to my white board stand (used for teaching). I needed to work standing up so I could step back often to see how things were developing. Again, due to the size of the piece, I couldn't get a sense of the overall work without frequently backing away from it. As I looked over the piece I was checking to see if something was sticking out that shouldn't be, did something look weird, was there an undeveloped area, did an area bug me for some reason, how did my eyes travel over the image. I looked for lifeless spots, I checked the composition of the piece and I examined the relationships amongst the colours.

Taped to the right hand side of my sheet of art paper, you can see my reference photo that I printed out to use as a guide. It isn't a great photo (I just printed it off on some regular printer paper and the image was blurry due to the enlargement) but it was sufficient for me to grasp the direction I wanted to go in with this piece. I found it helpful to study the character of cellophane, that is I got familiar with how cellophane crinkles and folds and how it captures and reflects light. This was very useful information when it came time to suggest this in my art.

Here is the finished piece! I have entitled it: Cellophane Symphony. Please keep in mind that my goal was not to render a realistic image of cellophane, rather I wanted to use colour, line and form to create an abstraction of cellophane. For some reason, when I look at the piece, I think it depicts what sound looks like (gosh it is hard to describe this sort of stuff in words). Specifically, when I look upon the art, I make a mental connection with the sounds that an orchestra makes and as I listen to a lot of classical music while I work it seems appropriate for this to be a Symphony.

Cellophane Symphony, coloured pencil on Colourfix paper, 23" x 14" (58cm x 36cm)
Copyright Teresa Mallen

I know that this compressed image leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to getting the full effect of the piece. Here is a larger image of a small section of the work.

I like how coloured pencils can yield pigment rich paintings like the one above and yet also execute a soft image like my rose below.

Center of a Rose, coloured pencil on Stonehenge, 18" x 8".
Copyright Teresa Mallen

So what about my original flame idea? Well, I enjoyed working on this cellophane piece so much that I intend to return to those flame reference photos for future work. I had no idea I would like working with such a subject. I guess it is because I enjoy patterns and shapes. Normally I am drawn to the patterns and shapes of nature - the lines and patterns found in wood, acorn caps, snake skins, etc. Working on a human made, plastic subject is the opposite of what usually interests me. I did find the cellophane quite beautiful, especially as it looked in some of my photo set ups. Often cellophane is overlooked as just the packaging around a gift. Making it the inspiration for a fine art piece seems like a sort of redemption.

Next up is a piece inspired by blood and veins...nothing gory though, I promise.

P.S. As Cellophane Symphony is a piece that I will probably be entering in an exhibition or two, please refrain from leaving comments that are of a critical nature (for example: suggestions on how you think it might be improved). Work entered into shows should be solely the work of the artist. While this piece is finished and I would not change it on anyone's advice, I still wish to be clear about this. Having said that, should you wish to comment that you think the piece is fabulous (without any helpful suggestions), I am sure that wouldn't be breaking any rules. :-)


Carlynne said...

The Cellophane piece is gorgeous!!! Beautiful job!

CountryDreaming said...

Images I really love, like this one, I also really love to analyze in detail. Looks like I'll have to wait until after the exhibit! Meanwhile, awesome job.

Christine said...

Very beautiful piece to look at! I am normally not so drawn to abstracts and favor realism, but this piece really is very interesting and gorgeous. Excellent work, and quite impressive size too!

Anonymous said...

Love this Teresa, just shows what can be achieved with CPs.

hbedrosian said...

Beautiful job, Teresa! I love the colors in this piece.

AutumnLeaves said...

What a truly beautiful piece!! The intricacy and details are amazing, Teresa. I would hope you would never get any critiques or suggestions, unless you specifically asked for them. For my mind, I am not an art critic but an art lover and I always think an artist's work is unique and lovely (exception: myself). I am excited to see your "blood and veins" inspiration piece. LOL Must say that intrigues me!

Brenda said...

There is not a child who woke up to find a wrapped Easter basket that was not forever fascinated by cellophane!! I really like this composition... Fabulous work!

Susan Roux said...

So striking! Well done.

Jennifer Rose said...

turned out lovely :D

Kathy said...

Hi Teresa! I've been watching in the wings for some time now and I have to complement you on such a unique and wonderful piece. Good luck with your competitions.

Jan said...

This is one I'd definitely like to see in person. It looks wonderful here on your blog!

Teresa Mallen said...

Carlynne, coming from you, such an accomplished abstract artist, your comment means a lot. Thank you.

CD - thanks so much, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this piece - someday. :-) You are always so elegant with your prose and thoughful in your appraisal of art that I am sure it would be an interesting analysis!

Hi Christine, from someone who favors realism - well hey, thank you!!

Thanks Vic! And yes, cps are a lot more versatile than a lot of folks think.

Thank you Holly!

A.L. - I don't get critical/helpful feedback on my work in the comments, probably because I don't solicit them. I am a woman who knows her own mind and I don't care to hear the advice of others! :-) But, hey there is always a first time so I thought it was good thing to mention. Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. The blood and veins piece is coming up next week!!

Thanks Brenda and Susan and Jennifer Rose!

Hi Kathy - thanks for coming out of the wings into center stage! :-) I really do like hearing from and meeting new people. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Do stop by again!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jan, your comment slipped in as I was writing mine. Thank you! I am glad that you found it looked okay on the computer because it really does look better full size. Sigh...

Cheryl said...

Looks great. Can't wait to see it in person.

Janet Pantry said...

When I first saw the photo and your initial drawing, Teresa, frankly I thought you must be masochistic or something! You have done a beautiful job though - what patience! It is a truly lovely piece. I too love Coloursofts on sanded paper.

I can see the music in this, as you describe - it is a symphony I think! Would love to see it IRL, good luck in the competitions too :)

Gillian said...

That is an amazing and beautiful work of art. It really does look like cellophane - at least an impression of it - so 10/10! x

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks Cheryl!

Janet - I confess I wondered about masochism during the photo shoot! I am delighted that you can 'see' music. That is so cool!

Thanks so much Gillian!

Leslie Hawes said...

This is amazing!!