For Christmas, I subscribed to art lessons at The Virtual Instructor for a year and have completed my first course, The Secrets to Drawing, and also followed along with a live, weekly lesson. So far, I, truly enjoy the classes. I’m gaining skills and filling in missing pieces of my understanding of art.
I bought four Stillman and Birn sketchbooks for my notes and projects while I follow along to the videos. The recent live lesson series focused on graphite and white charcoal on gray paper. I used my new Tombow graphite pencils, a Conte white pastels, and my Nova S&B sketchbook with gray paper to draw this rhinoceros.
This lesson was important because it taught me how to layer different grades of graphite, and using white for highlights was also interesting. (Graphite can go over charcoal, but charcoal cannot go over graphite.) I decided to use this process on a sketch of my own, so I used a photo of my horse and his friend playing in their pasture. I tried out a new paper, Stonehenge, which I love. The texture is like vellum, but it’s somehow crisper, if that makes any sense. This sheet was tinted a warm gray color, not as dark as Nova. I used my Tombow pencils and the Conte pastel. This was a super fun drawing, and I especially enjoyed drawing the texture and patterns of the horse blankets.
I designed these two Claybord pieces as a diptych. Pete is on the left, Banner on the right.
Like the bunnies I drew last week, I spent all my art time this week working on another Ampersand Claybord. This time, ponies!
I’m fascinated with Claybord and how both the Golden High Flow Acrylics and the Derwent Drawing Pencils work on the surface. What seems far too vivid and strong with the acrylic paint at first, mellows into a rich and earthy palette once I add the Derwent pencils. Adding the scratching gives it an old-fashioned look, something I didn’t even know I wanted.
I start with a rough sketch on paper, sample it again on mineral paper and add in some scratching to see how it works, create a background in the Claybord panel (6″x6″) with acrylics, and then lightly draw in the subject, swapping back and forth between pencils and scratching until it feels done. I didn’t plan any background with this one but let it develop from the colors, lights and darks. I had no idea these two little ones would be in a meadow when I started out.
Both using Golden High Flow Acrylics on Strathmore 400 acrylic paper.
I experimented with painting one on a golden background and the other with a gray underpainting. Both methods created unusual effects. The golden background definitely made the painting bright and crisp. The gray underpainting looked nearly done on its own. I added several layers of paint, but I’ve learned to test colors first for transparency as some of the shadows were blotted out and needed repainting.