I promised quite some time ago to share with you one of my latest colored pencil drawings (or are they paintings? I can never figure that one out). Since last week’s post was a bit politically charged, I thought I’d make a less controversial contribution to the blogging world this week. So, get your sandals on and let’s take a little walk along my Garden Path.
The Story Behind the Picture
Okay, there’s not really some deep story behind why I wanted to do this piece. I’m just not that much in touch with my inner feelings when it comes to art. Basically, I see something I like and I want to draw it. Sometimes something that seems like it’s going to be a simple drawing turns out to b a huge challenge…which I love (“Yellow Car” and “Dying Gaul” are good examples of this).
One day i was out watering a few plants that line the gravel walkway in my garden. Since I was barefoot, I was watching my step (pea gravel is bloody painful to step on!) and noticed how eye catching the colored gravel and stones were. Then, some of the water dribbled over the rocks and really brought out their color…and that’s when I promptly stopped watering and ran int o grab my camera.
The stones did take some arranging to make a good composition. I wanted to keep the big stepping stone as sort of an anchor and the striated yellow-brown stone as a focal point with some smaller rocks to sort of guide the eye through the picture (sort of like your eyes taking a walk…now I’m imaging your eyeballs on little leashes).
With rocks set up I took two pictures, one with the scene dry and one with it wet. I worked between the two pictures since some of the rocks looked better dry why others looked better wet.
Working the Piece
Let me just say there are a whole hella lotta rocks in this picture. Every piece of pea gravel was drawn in and colored individually. Let me tell you, I was celebrating every time I got to a “big” rock.
I started out by printing out an 8×10″ black and white image. Then, on a piece of artist grade drawing paper, I traced the basic positions and shapes of some of the larger rocks just to orient myself. I honestly had no idea how to go about getting the texture of the rocks. Some were smooth, some were bumpy, others were rough. The only way to get around this was to dive in and see what my pencil could do.
As mentioned above, each bit of pea gravel was drawn and colored individually. At first I was being super careful following the colors in the pictures I’d taken, but after realizing the basics of what colors I needed, I started winging it to keep from getting too many pieces of the same color bunched up together.
The river rock turned out to be quite fun to do. I used a white pencil to blend and burnish the colors which gave the rocks a smooth, yet mottled appearance. The stripy stone at the bottom was a nice challenge of textures and I keep tit rough looking by not doing any blending, just adding stippled layers of color. The final part worked was the big stepping stone which was also simply stippled and left unblended.