Monday, August 15, 2011

a mystery


Well it had to be done. Sorting pencils and finding ones that need replacing is a 'yawn' task if there ever was one, for me anyway. 

I did have two surprises though and one of them is a mystery. First of all, I was quite surprised at the number of pencils I have to purchase! It has been a very long time since I replenished my stash but I hadn't realized just how long.

The second surprise occurred when I checked my bin of neutrals. I discovered short pencils in colours I don't use!!! Honestly, cool grey 70%, 20%, 10%, french grey 30%, 50%, 20%, warm grey 10%  etc. (Prismacolor's Premier line has oodles of greys if you didn't know).I am puzzled! I don't like using grey pencils - I prefer to make my own greys/neutrals by using layers of other colours, like painters do. And just what art have I done in the last year that would have included greyish areas anyway? Humm...none... Soooo, what's up? A colouring intruder? A ghost with a penchant for grey? Weird goings on around here, I say...

Here is a peek at the humpback hosta piece...

work in progress, cps on Colourfix paper, 6.5" x 23"
copyright Teresa Mallen
There is much tweaking to be done, some dark areas to lighten and some modelling to do but it is getting there. In my pencil sort out, I discovered a pencil I didn't know I had. I thought I needed to purchase it in order to work further on the background. So with my new found pencil in hand, I settled in to work on the upper background. The photo is a tad dark and doesn't show the subtle colour changes between the upper and lower areas nor does it show well all of the colours that are in the background. Trust me they are there. :-) I really enjoy using several colours in my backgrounds as I think it gives the work a vibrancy and an energetic quality that increases the closer you move towards the piece.

I like the change of pace backgrounds give. No fussy detail work, just flat out colouring. While one might think a 23" wide piece would require quite a bit of time to lay down several layers of colour, it doesn't. Over the years, hours of practice has earned me the ability to lay down colour in quick even strokes. If you work in cps, you might recall how in the early days you had to concentrate to get a consistent even stroke. As I used to tell my students, it will become automatic one day, just wait and see! Anyway, I dashed this off while listening to Donizetti's opera Maria Stuarda on 'Saturday Afternoon at the Opera' on CBC radio and I was done long before poor Queen Mary of Scotland met her doomed fate with her executioner. Goodness, as the confrontations between the two cousins, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Queen Mary heated up and insults were exchanged (in Italian of course) and as the drama of passion, betrayal, love and death unfolded, my pencils were flying with the excitement. Isn't it funny how we can get all caught up in a story, even when we know the plot and the outcome?

For drama of a quieter sort, I have been taking reference photos for some landscape pieces that I might do some day. So many ideas, but only so many hours...

I live on the Carp Ridge in rural Ottawa (Canada) and just a few minutes from my home there is a huge tract of land (hundreds of acres) that is publicly owned and protected from development. It is a wild rocky place filled with deep ponds, some the size of lakes. Here is a small study I did a couple of years ago, inspired by a fall outing.





And here are a few pictures taken while on a recent hike.


Carp Ridge Cuties, two of them but you can't see my husband... :-)

18 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

i really should go through all my pencils one day and figure out what i have and don't have. would probably surprise me to find out which colours i have left :p

really like the hosta piece. the greens are gorgeous :D

it does become automatic laying down an even stroke. same as what colours to mix to get the final colour. it takes time and patience to use cps, which frustrates so many people :/

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jennifer Rose, I know I still have pencils from my original 120 Prismacolor set - the metallic gold and silver pencils for example. But I sure go through my favs. Thanks for the kind words on the hosta. Me, I love greens period so they pretty much have to be in every piece I do.
And yes, what pencils to use to 'make' a colour is also something you eventually don't have to think about. Good point. If only beginners could believe that it will happen! :-)

Ester Roi said...

Teresa, I can definitely relate to having oodles of grays and neutrals. What should we do with them?
Your humpback hosta is looking more and more delicious - almost ready to eat in my salad. Would I die? Is it poisonous?
As usual, your pictures make me feel like you live in vacation-land. You lucky girl!

Kendra said...

I'm laughing at your grey pencil mystery! I don't often use greys myself (because I like pure color) but somehow I find those greys just disappear! I've started buying 6 or more of each color I need in advance but it never fails that I go looking for a particular color and it's nowhere to be found!

Teresa Mallen said...

So I am not the only one with the unused greys!
Good heavens Ester, eat my hostas? I have no idea if they are poisonous. I think deer like to eat the leaves but I haven't had deer eat any of mine. But then again, we aren't ruminants so maybe it wouldn't be a good idea. Yes, I am very blessed to live here! :-) Thanks for stopping by.

So you have a colouring ghost as well Kendra? Six or more of each colour?? Wow. That is impressive but yes we do seem to gobble up our favourites...

Paula Pertile said...

Wow! The hostas are really coming along! What beautiful colors.
How funny about the colored pencil ghost - figures it would love 'greys'. :~)
And beautiful landscapes, both the pics and your art. Love the cuties too.

Barbara Goodsitt said...

The Hosta piece is very good. I really like the horizontal layout. I am looking forward to seeing your landscapes. I find it is a challenging subject matter using colored pencils.
I was just in British Columbia, (not near you) but really enjoyed being in Canada. The country is beautiful, and the people are so nice. I even like poutine :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks Paula! Yup, not surprising that my ghost likes to work in light greys and neutrals. :-) Maybe I should check for missing paper...

Well hello Barbara, thanks for following by the way and thanks for your comment. I am delighted you enjoyed your trip to British Columbia, very glad that my fellow citizens were on their best behaviour and goodness who wouldn't like a plate of fries and cheese curds smothered in gravy??? :-)

Jennifer Rose said...

i know i would love a poutine right about now lol

Teresa Mallen said...

So no poutine in haggis country? But you have haggis...perhaps top it with curds and gravy??? LOL might need significant libations to get it down though :-)

Jennifer Rose said...

lol can't stand the smell of the stuff. luckily haven't eaten any yet either
blagh :p
nah, unless someone has been to canada they have no idea what i am talking about

Teresa Mallen said...

I think it would export well, fancy a poutine franchise of sorts? :-) Seriously, beaver tails and poutine, universal appeal, no? Dear Jennifer Rose, you have my sympathies! Do you get 'home' much?

Jennifer Rose said...

i haven't been back for about 4 years, not cheap to fly and really dont have a reason to go back :)

Brenda said...

Wonderful photos! Those will be great to reflect on when the winter months close in.

You wouldn't have to do so much sorting if you worked in graphite. LOL ;) Although, I am good at misplacing my erasers. I think my cat has had a paw in that though. :)

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

Usually I'm wondering who the gremlins are that are taking off with my pencils but I do understand the "what to do with all these greys" dilemma. I was given several boxes of greys years ago - back when they were still labeled like cold grey dark with no %. I was excited to get them at the time but I still have every one. Apparently I wasn't that keen on using them.

And... gorgeous work as usual :)

Teresa Mallen said...

Jennifer Rose - home is where the heart is and you have found a home in Scotland. So save the airfare and just make a homemade version of poutine!

Well Brenda you have a point, simply working in graphite would solve this sorting business but I am afraid I am addicted to my cps! Happily addicted though... :-)

Hi Carlynne, now surely you date yourself - greys before the % labelling???? And gosh several boxes? Not surprised you have every one. Your work is just too darn colourful for you to be content working with greys! Thanks for stopping by...

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

yeah, well I'm old, what can I say :D I bought my first set of Prismacolors (the 120 color set) 33 years ago! Incredible.

Teresa said...

Hosta leaves - and the dog - are gorgeous!