Mar 5, 2015

Feather Soft, Gritty Bumps with a Pencil??


Texture can create so much interest in a piece of Art
It's one of the reasons Original Art is so special!

In thick oil or acrylics the brush or palette knife is a natural tool

But . . .

Creating Texture with a pencil is a different process.

On the Watch - 13 x 16 - Graphite
Drawing a picture like "On the Watch" requires a lot of planning as you can imagine.  In that planning process I always think about texture.  I really like my birds and animals to have that feather soft look.  I often hear comments on my dogs and cats like,  "the fur looks so soft, you could pet it".  I want my birds to have that same feeling,  their feathers need to have that smooth, sleek look as they fold around the body.

At the same time I do not want the sand and trees to be smooth and even though the rocks are smooth I do not want them as smooth as the eagle's feather.  So decisions are made early on as how things will be treated.

My process in drawing is two part.  I draw and fill in areas with a soft pencil.  I use Rising Museum Board to draw on which has a 'bit of a tooth' or bumpy surface.  Using my soft pencils, I glide over the tooth dropping graphite in between.  This leaves little white flecks which gives the area a gritty look.  In the sand which I want a light value, I use harder leads, like a B, F or 2H.  But with the rocks and trees I use softer leads, 4B, 6B even an 8B.  This gives me darks but still leaves the gritty texture.

On the Watch - Detail
The soft smooth texture on my eagle is created differently.  Here I am flattening the tooth of the paper to get that smooth look.  For this I use a blender or tortillion.  To achieve the darks it takes many layers as each time I blend I am also picking up graphite.  Above in the close up of my eagle, you can see the gritty texture of the rocks and sand while the feathers have a soft, smooth texture.  
Blenders/Tortillions - wads of rolled paper, I like several different sizes

My picture "On the Watch" was inspired by salmon runs that happen here each fall.  The spawning salmon are moving up the Fraser River dying on their journey and after they spawn.  At the peak of the run the shores of the river are lined with dead fish and the smell . . .    Well let's just say it is something else!

The Bald Eagles gather for this Salmon Feast, it is one of their major migratory stops in the late fall.  You can hear them screeching as they announce their find and declare their ownership.  This eagle has just found a dead salmon washed up on the shore and is about to feast on it.  But he has to keep sharp watch as at any time others may come and challenge him for a piece.
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Have a great day,


Brenda Hill CDM said...

The textures say it all Wendy! a very nice graphite piece

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

So true, the more texture you can work into the work the better. It really adds something when you are working only with values.