Monday, November 22, 2010

Farley finished

12'x10' Coloured Pencil
Copyright Laura Hardie 2010

The portrait of Farley is now finished and has been for over a week but thanks to Blogger having a wobbly I couldn't upload any images at the time. And then of course it slipped my mind later!

I am currently trying out new papers for my coloured pencil drawings as, after years of using Fabriano Artistico hp watercolour paper (and shouting its praises to all who asked), I've decided it is too 'off white' and cream coloured for my liking - I want a paper that is a lot whiter. I probably would have quite happily carried on using the Artistico paper had it not been for my wanting to try Mellotex. Mike Sibley, who needs no introduction and whose work I greatly admire, uses this paper as do more and more pencil artists it seems.

Mellotex did take a bit of getting used to as it was so smooth but what I liked straight away was the whiteness of the paper and the fact that this in turn made getting prints of my drawings so much easier - made my Artistico look yellow in comparison! I encourage any artist who hasn't tried this paper to give it a go - you wont be disappointed. The range of darks you can achieve with this paper is reason alone - lots of lovely blacks:)

Unfortunately it is just too smooth for my coloured pencils hence my search. Farley has been drawn on Fabriano 5 described in Jacksons catalogue as 'a very white paper ideal for botanical work'. Sounded ideal, and still being a hp watercolour paper I knew it would have enough tooth to take all my many layers of pencil. But, for some reason or other, I didn't enjoy working on it and found it hard going. I still got the results I was after only I had to work harder to get them. I'm not an expert on papers but did wonder if the fact it was mould-made using 50% cotton rag as opposed to 100% in the Artistico could make a difference. I'm probably way out and clutching at straws but it is the only difference between the two papers, besides the colour, that I can see and it would be interesting to know. Maybe I got paper from a bad batch, who knows.

I will try it again but for my next portrait, which I'm currently working on, I'm back to the Artistico this time in extra white. No problems to report with this paper so far (still not as white as I'd ideally like but thats being picky) and there are a few more out there I'd like to try. Especially one from a fellow coloured pencil artist that I hadn't come across before and, thanks to him, have small samples of to scribble on and play around with.

I am working hard on my next portrait but unfortunately can't show you how this is progressing (yet) as it is going to be a present for somebody and it could ruin the surprise. I will of course post the stages as soon as I can.


RLT Art said...

This is fantastic! The owner is going to be so happy with this - its amazing

K. T. Sparks said...

It is so beautiful and I would be thrilled if it had been my dog that had been commissioned.

Gayle Mason said...

Beautiful Laura, you have really captured the spirit of the Rough Collie.

I too have tried to find a 'white' white paper, Arches watercolour paper is my favourite to work on but is even more cream than Artistico.

I've used the Artistico extra white for my most recent portraits.

Lene said...

beautiful portrait.

Did you try out bristol boards, they tend to be very white. They are harder than watercolor papers, but not as hard as Mellotex - the hardest and most smooth surface I've tried for graphite.

Judy said...

Absolutely beautiful work and a beautiful Collie portrait.

Judy, Aus.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

Farley is absolutely gorgeous - what an amazing piece, considering it has been done with coloured pencils!!! :)

Laura said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments:-D

Gayle, I tried Arches years ago and didn't like it though I believe it is a favourite amongst watercolour artists. I didn't realise just how difficult it was to get a 'white' white paper - will keep looking though:-D

Lene, I have tried Bristol Board (with graphite) and think Mellotex is very similar but again I think it would be too smooth for my coloured pencils - should maybe try it before writing it off though shouldn't I:-D

Katherine Thomas said...

I want that dog! And the painting is lovely too!
Have you tried Stonehenge paper? It accepts layers better than other papers I've tried.
But I'm using smooth bristol board lately, and also plain white printer paper!
I'm going to check out the Mellotex since you mentioned it. I've never heard of it!

Laura said...

Hi Katherine, He is a beautiful dog isn't he:-D I have a pad of Stonehenge paper somewhere still unused - I never got round to trying it out as I was very happy with my hp watercolour paper. It didn't feel smooth enough for me. Now Bristol Board is definately a smooth paper and I wouldn't have thought you'd get a lot of layers on this surface - again maybe I should try it out instead of judging it on how it feels:-D

wildlifeart said...

WOW what a superb finish - really enjoyed watching it come together - fantastic blog too BTW


Jason fellow animal artist

Laura said...

Thank you Jason, means a lot coming from you:-D

Sam Gilmore said...

Wow! That is beautiful.

Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

Another great portrait Laura! All the best with the Xmas commissions and stress that goes with it ;D

Jason Morgan said...

Love it - as always brilliant work in every way

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Farley's 'Mum'. I have been watching Laura's progress with Farleys picture and was so excited to be getting it. Last Friday, the painting arrived. I knew it would be stunning, but WOW, it way exceeded my expectations!
Farley is gorgeous in real life and yes I am besotted with him, he's my pride and joy so to have him captures forever in this way, means the world to me.
The painting is just to die for. Laura, you are so talented. The detail is incredible and you have captured his colouring and the cheeky glint in his eye superbly. His soul shines out. I LOVE IT!
Thank you so much. You are the best. Can't wait to hang it now and admire it every day.
The best present I have ever received, except for Farley himself!!

Laura said...

Thank you Sam:)

And thank you to Sheona, stress levels not too bad with commissions this year - it's the terrible snow we've been having and the problems it causes that is giving me most stress. Just want it all to disappear!

Laura said...

Hi Lesley, Thank you so much for what is probably the best testimonial on a portrait I could wish for - it is reading feedback like this that makes what I do all that more enjoyable. I'm delighted you are happy with your portrait and that I captured Farley as you know him best. Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity to draw him for you, it was my pleasure.

Laura said...

Thank you Jason:-D

Katie said...

Wow, you have such a great use of texture in this, it's so amazing. You have a real talent! (:

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