garden path, tammie painter

“Garden Path” aka “A Lotta Rocks!” – Colored Pencil Art

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.

Wet rocks

Wet rocks…shiny!

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).

Dry rocks

Dry rocks

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.

garden path, tammie painter, art, lore pencil

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.

The Winner!

Personally, “Garden Path” is one of my favorite pieces I’ve done so far (“Yellow Car” might be my top favorite), which is why I knew it had to be one of the works I entered in the art competition of the county fair. I was beyond shocked when it took First Place in landscape art!


Selling Off the Path

Of course, prints and greeting cards of “Garden Path” will be available in my online shop when it opens later this month (by the way, to get some great deals and giveaways, you should really sign up for my mailing list – hint hint). But the original of Garden Path is also for sale. The piece measures about 8×10 inches, is on a piece of 9×12-inch paper, and it looks gorgeous with a black mat around it. If you’re interested in “Garden Path” please be sure to contact me.

garden path, tamm


Yes, I Did Check the Calendar

Don’t worry, I do know it’s Wednesday. I normally make my “What’s up with me” post on Friday, but I thought I’d try a little experiment over the next few weeks and post on Wednesday. As usual Travel Pic Thursday will still happen on Thursday and Saturday Selections will still happen on Saturday because I just don’t want to have to some up with new names for those posts!

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7 thoughts on ““Garden Path” aka “A Lotta Rocks!” – Colored Pencil Art

    • painterwrite says:

      Thanks, I haven’t yet done the math with the prize money to calculate how many cents I won per pebble. Maybe some day when the procrastination bug bites hard.

  1. David says:

    “Garden Path” is my favorite. Great job! But I also pick up rocks I find in the street or on the sidewalk.

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