Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Fun of New Adventures!

The delight in my Bible Journaling has led me to a better understanding of how coloured pencils can be utilized within a fine art endeavour.  As you may recall, I previously shared some of my testings and one painting I'd done - since then, I've delved into this process more fully and with gusto -- I'm enthralled!

My self-education of crash coursing has been so fun as I've experimented with an assortment of surfaces including a variety of papers designed for pencil work, textured surfaces for pastel work and also my beloved Ampersand Pastelbords (which you may recall I used for my oil pastels and pastel pencil work).  I've also been testing a wide variety of coloured pencil brands to see which work best on which surface and how the different brands can or cannot work together. I've also tested using water solubles as underpaintings - a technique which makes the pencil work go much more quickly.

Coloured Pencils with
Derwent Inktense Underpainting
Watercolour Cold Press Paper 140# 5x7
Photo Reference of Steven Meister from Paint My Photo
Along the process, I've learned which of these surfaces and pencils are light fast ... a subject that is critical for my work as its my only legacy to my children and grandchildren and the generations to come as well as my extended family members.

The Cardinal
Coloured Pencil with
Odorless Mineral Spirits Blending
Ampersand Pastelbord 5x7
Photo Reference of Rodney Campbell at Paint My Photo
This was gifted to my nephew Joshua and his family as a belated baby/family gift.
I had already had the set of FC Polychromos pencils which I had innocently purchased, thinking they would work for fine detailing in my oil pastel work because the Polychromos brand of pencils is considered as oil based. **blush**  Ahhh the ignorance of beginnership.  LOL   Luckily, these pencils are considered one of the finest brands to have for the fine art endeavour as they are well made and light fast.
The Rose
Coloured Pencil
Watercolour Cold Press Paper 140# 5x7
Photo Reference of Suzanne Wallick at Paint My Photo

I had the Prismacolour Premieres as well as some of their Verithin pencils which I've been using within my Journaling Bible.  These are a lovely pencil and used by many fine art pencil artists, but one must be careful in selection as approximately 1/3 of their pencils are below the mark for good light fast rankings.  Since it would be rare for any of my Bible Journaling pages to be exposed to direct sunlight, these are perfectly safe for use within my Bible. <3
I had already had a 36 set of the Lyra Rembrandt pencils, which David had purchased for me way back in the oil pastel adventures as this brand was also labeled "oil based" by the vendors.  They are very similar to the Polychromos and brought some lovely pigment additions that I felt were missing from the Polychromos line.   I had purchased a resource book that indicated these pencils were very well ranked in light fastness, so I purchased more of their colour lines to complement my Polychromos.  Unfortunately, I have since learned that that resource was invalid and this brand is not well ranked in light fast.

Coloured Pencil
Art Spectrum ColourFix Coated Pastel Paper 9x12 Photo Reference of Suzanne Wallick at Paint My Photo
I bought an assortment of colours within the Caran d' Ache lines of their Luminance (wax based) and their Pablo (less wax based) line of pencils. These are classified as the best made pencil on the market and cost a pretty penny, I might add, but are well worth it.  The Luminance especially work well with the Polychromos and brought some of the colours I felt were sadly lacking in the Polychromos line - tan browns (for natural Caucasian skin tones) along with varying ranges in Ochres and Siennas plus a range of Paynes Grey which I've always loved with my Genesis Oil Paintings.  The Pablos brought some very light pigment colours that I especially appreciated as well.

So, I have had a lot of pencils to enjoy!

"Aubrey's Rose"
Coloured Pencil
Paper: Stonehenge Warm White 90# Cotton 5x7
Photo Reference courtesy of: Aubrey Campbell at Paint My Photo
I've also discovered that pencils need fixatives now and again, and have been delighted with Brush and Pencil's line of product.  Their Texture Touch up offers the opportunity to use the glazing techniques I've loved with oil paints and can now do with coloured pencils - a process unheard of before with pencils!  As well, all of their fixatives are non-toxic and I can use indoors, without harm to David or the animals.  I SO appreciate that!

"Coloured Pencil Glazing Technique"
Enabled by using this Brush & Pencil Texture Touch-Up product!
I straight-lined the sand pencil colour to the blue water, then ran
a 1" of the touch-up product, covering 1/2" on sand and 1/2" on the water.
Once that was fully dry, I pencil painted those colours plus white atop
the colours beneath.  This process allowed for the colour beneath to show
through the colour above.  Its a brilliant techinque used in other mediums
that the Coloured Pencil Teachers and Experts had told me was not do-able in pencil.
Never tell me its impossible!
I've recently joined the Color Pencil Society of America (CPSA) and am eagerly and no-so-patiently :D waiting for my copy of their light fast testings guide which includes all of my pencil brands, in addition to gobs and bunches of others, up to and including watercolor pencils!  They've put all of these pencils through rigourous and extensive light fast testings and I'm well assured their results will be of great benefit to my endeavours.

"Thoughts of Diane"
Coloured Pencil
Ampersand Pastelbord 5x7
A birthday gift for my sister, who's large dairy farmyard has many little vignettes like this. <3

And so, the testing and creative fun continues with the pursuit of fine art in coloured pencil.  With each piece I do, I learn more skills and become more refined in my techniques.  I've learned that foam board 1/8" works well to tape my surfaces to - its lightweight means my strength issues aren't impacted at all and 1 sheet got me two sets of foam boards to accommodate each of the size surfaces I most use.  I've found pencil cases that afford a small footprint, open like a book and flip pages of elastic loops which hold  the pencils firmly in place yet are easily removed - and it all rests naturally on the arm of my bedchair.

"The Tulips"
Coloured Pencil
Art Spectrum ColourFix Coated Pastel Paper 9x12
Photo Reference by Pezibear at Pixabay
I've found more free photo reference sites through an assortment of Coloured Pencil Groups to which I belong, so there's no end of creative days ahead of me.  Its truly captured my heart and even on bad health days, its easy for me to work on small pieces.

That's not to say I'm not still working in my Journaling Bible. ;) 

"Look! Seek! Find!"
Jeremiah 29:13
"When you look for me, you will find me.  Yes, when you seek me with all your heart."

I am so truly and abundantly blessed!  

Thank you for sharing my adventures. <3

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Heart of Bible Journaling

my design
Prismacolour Premiere Pencils
As you may recall, the last post was the introduction to my new journaling Bible.  I'm delighted to say that my adventures continue and have opened up a world of hearts and souls who are also dedicated to exploring God's Word through our artistic endeavours!

I've been crash coursing what art mediums work best, adding tip-ins through inserted pages and tags, and learning and sharing results among any number of Bible Journaling groups -- grand fun!  I've invested in a few additional supplies to the Prismacolour Premiere pencils, which include chalk stamping pads, Koi Watercolours, Gel pens, a bit of washii tape, and a few sets of assorted stamps that I know will work nicely in my designs.

Since then, I've played both within the images included as well as creating my own designs.  Each one has lifted my heart to God while I've worked my way through the colouring or designing process.  Such a blessing!  As well, I've discovered live Bible Journaling streams on Periscope, Twitter's live feed - so fun! <3

Enjoy this very small sampling of my adventure ...

Book of Ezra
included design of the My Creative Bible
done with Super Doodle Glitter Gel Pens
"My Fill My Cup Lord"
<3 a favourite hymn <3
I so enjoyed creating this "Fill My Cup Lord" tip in as its one of my favourite hymns.  I could hear daddy's voice singing this the whole time I was designing and colouring it. :D   This was sketched in pencil, then gone over with Faber  Castell Black Pitt Pen, coloured with Sai Watercolour Pens,
"... a new song in my heart"
tip-in with pocket, done on mixed media paper,
Chalk Pad Inks, Washii Tape, Stamps, Gel Pens
"Faith & Believe"
done in Koi Watercolours, Micron Black Pen 08 & 01,
 UniBall Signo White Gel Pen, Glitter Gel Pens

"Where He Stands"
part of the Faith Illustrated Bible Journaling
Series.  This main image and circle pieces were
created by Tonya Hamilton (aka MessyBible)
along with her chosen scripture verse and
journaling thoughts about it.  Its a powerful
message, which I've included under the hinged
image.  The rest of this tip-in was done by me
to complement her lovely theme.

"Where He Stands"
showing the hidden journaled verse and
thoughts of
Tonya Hamilton aka Messy Bible

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Combining Faith and Art

My Creative Bible
For Mother's Day this year, I was gifted a beautiful art journaling Bible from my son & daughter-in-law, Todd & Rhonda. Also gifted from my daughter and son-in-law, Cassandra and Mick, was a large set of Prismacolor Premiere Pencils to use within it.

The Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils that I love are oil based and need to be final finished set or they tend to smear, so they are not a viable option for use with my Bible.  The Prisma's are wax based and self-sealing as a result of that binding agent, making them a perfect pencil medium for the Bible art.

I'm delighted to have a new venue to combine my faith and my creativity!
The Bible's pages are made of very light-weight paper so potential bleed through is also a concern.  I was happy to discover several bleed-proof markers and hi-liters made especially for Bibles! Do a search at Amazon on "bible markers" and you'll find a number to choose from. :D Gel pens are also a lovely medium to use within the Bible!  I've several sets of pens and find each offers colourful creative play.

There are almost 400 illustrations within the Bible varying from a fine-art style to doodled scripture text -- all of which allow you to bring your own creative style.  Each page within the Bible has wide lined margins where you can create your own imagery or journal personal thoughts as you delve into The Word.

My Creative Bible
I am so excited to share my first completed pages - the inside front covers.

Surprisingly, I've taken a wee bit of heat over this among my art friends when I shared those first completed pages above.With all of my health issues constantly at my door, my creativity has become limited, narrowed and funneled down to a handful of mediums and methods for which to find an outlet, so I was absolutely delighted to have this Bible gifted to me as yet another venue of creative play.  To have anyone toss in anything negative about it, both shocked and hurt me deeply. It has taken me a few days to wrap my head around that feedback and put those heart thoughts into words.

I heard several artists say they were raised to believe the Bible is a "faith icon" and should not be blemished in any way.  Different churches teach different things based on the religious practices, doctrines, creeds and tenets of their General Synod or affiliation. While the remark(s) were tempered with a "Oh, I'm not judging you!" follow-up, it was clearly a judgement of disdain or of being horrified based on their religious upbringing or they would not have felt it important to comment as such on my post and photo.  Subtle it wasn't.

I heard another artist friend, when asked to show her art journal Bible and colourings within it (during her recorded U-Stream) say several times "... but its not the Bible I read!"  Frankly that shocked me even more than the "faith icon" status -- as if the illustrations meant to be coloured within the Bible somehow made The Lord's Word any less valuable and viable.  Ummmm WOW.  I don't even know what to say about that ridiculousness. 

While I can certainly appreciate my Bible as "The Holy Word of God", it is that very appreciation of His Word that helps make my Bible (any Bible!) truly something personal to me as a valuable tool in my walk of faith.  A tool that I can and should take personally to make my walk of faith stronger.

My son-in-law Mick and I were discussing that attitude of a Bible being solely a "faith icon" in terms of my father.  Daddy walked and talked his faith every day.  He guest pastored wherever requested and served the Lord in ministry through song as well. His Bible was well loved and used during his life time and Mick referenced the ways in which one could follow specific sermons Daddy had spoken through the personal notations and hi-lites within his Bible.  Our family will tell you its one of our most precious keepsakes.  I hope someday my new Bible will also become part of my artistic treasured keepsakes left to my family.

How sad that there has to be any contention at all about something as wonderful as an art journaling Bible.

How wonderful that Christian publishing companies have created a variety of  art journaling Bibles made specifically to draw a soul even more into The Word of God through creativity.

I am happy to say there are other artists who also share this joy. 

There are artists in my circle who have this or similar art journaling Bibles and also love them like me.  

Does this make me or them better than those who've expressed negativity over these Bibles?  


It simply means some of us are enhancing our walk of faith through a creative Bible ... and there's simply NOTHING wrong with that!

Don't let anyone take away your enjoyment of it either ... that's theirs to own, not yours.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Coloured Pencil Testing Atop Underpainting Mediums

As you may recall,  health issues continue to plague me.  One of the latest health issues has impacted my strength which means I'm even more stream-lined in my arting mediums as, right now, my oil pastel box is too heavy and big for me to manage.  This has transitioned me into coloured pencil work more as I can handle my cases quite well.  I could continue the Pastel Pencils, but given that I'm working in my lap [read 'on my tummy!'], its difficult to not smear them in one way or another. (Ask me how I know this?  LOL)

Anyway, I was trying to emulate my friend, Dede Willingham's work with pencils over top of acrylics bases and backgrounds.  As you may also recall, I detest acrylics (for gobs of reasons which I will not go into at the moment! lol) and was trying to find an alternative underpainting to that medium.  So, I did an experiment using plain old copy paper.

My test medium pencils include:
  • FC Polychromos 120 set, 
  • Lyra Rembrandt 36 set, 
  • Prismacolour Premiere 36 set and 
  • Caran D'Ache Luminance assorted pencils (this latest is the brand I use for Caucasian facial tones as they are my preferred choice of colours). 

For underpainting mediums, I used:
  • Sai Watercolour Brushes
  • Koi Watercolour Brushes
  • Caran d'Ache Neocolour II's
  • Derwent Inktense
  • Stabilo Markers
  • Pro-Art Markers

The Pencil test results were actually shocking to me.
  1. Luminance were the most happy and did what one might expect - their ability to add details and shading, highlighting were spot on.
  2. Prismacolour was second in that they offered some struggles but overall, they were quite accommodating.
  3. Rembrandts struggled and really made me work for the results.
  4. Polychromos were not in the slightest bit happy -- and I fought tooth and nail as they are my all time favourite pencils!  :(
 The assorted underpainting results were really interesting!
  1. The cheapie Pro-Art Marker set - 100 colours for under $20 at Amazon (now sold under a different name but the exact same product!) were the happiest to play nicely with any of the pencils! No matter what I wanted to do, they were like "SURE - let's do it!"  lol
  2. The Stabilo were also happy but occasionally gave me the odd stink eye during play.  O.o
  3. The Sai and Koi watercolour brushes were kind of like -- omgosh, really?!?  O.O  -- testy little goobers.
  4. Inktense was a full grudge under the Sai and Koi's attitudes.
  5. Neocolour II's were like -- getouttahere !!! -- Hokey smokes I was shocked at their outright defiant attitude!
So, there you have it.

Dede obviously has the smart approach with the acrylics!  But, since I'm still not remotely fond of that medium, I'll haul out my Pro-Arts and play then!  :p

My next series of tests will be to change up the paper and see how that impacts these very same mediums.

Get Out There & Be Creative For ME Please!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sheer Bliss

After almost a year away from my arting adventures, I went back to my comfort zone of subject matters but chose to notch up the challenge a wee bit with a different medium on my favourite surface, the Ampersand Pastelbord. 

I'd read the Pastelbord's were great for coloured pencils but that the oil based pencils, which I prefer, were not very happy with this surface.  Frankly, that surprised and shocked me and I wanted to see for myself. 

You be the judge.  :)

Sheer Bliss
6 x 8 Ampersand Pastelbord
Faber Castel Polychromos Pencil
Lyra Rembrandt Pencil
Tri-Tone Pencils
It was "sheer bliss" to not only be arting again, but to find another happy combination for my artwork -- I'll be back to this surface and medium again!  :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fall Reflections

As most of you know, my Summer into Fall was challenged with a severe case of hives (from top to bottom and side to side) so not much got done in the way of arting, but I wanted to catalogue the last piece I did before the hives took full control ... as they are back after a respite with Prednisone (and thank heavens for that respite!).

John's Rose
Painted from a photo taken by my friend Jaen.  This particular rose holds great heart-meaning to her and her hubby, "Mr. Bears", which I was pleased to hear about when given permission to paint it. 

Its done with Oil Pastels on Ampersand Pastelbord 5"x7" and sealed with SpectraFix.  Then carfully and lovingly packed and sent to them in Canada.  :-D

Thank you Jaen and Mr. Bears for your kind permission to paint this beautiful rose!  <3

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer's Here!

Its finally Summer - hot and rainy so far as June comes to its end.  Some odd health issues have set me back a bit so while I'm feeling out of sorts with general social chatter, its a good time to catch up the blog, I think.

Painted with oil pastels from a photo reference at Paint My Photo, I chose this image solely for the challenge of getting the ice crackle to show on the pond.  Wonderful photo and a painting I greatly enjoyed attempting to render.  A bit tricky with the ice crackles! :D
 "The Dancer" below, was painted from a photo taken by my daughter, Cassandra, of one of her trees in the yard, the first Spring after we all had moved into this new home.   The motion she had captured of this flower's petals just captivated me as it seemed so whimsical ... the title seemed appropriate.  Interestingly enough, I had begun this painting in Genesis Oils way back then, but if you have followed my blog, you know I was and am no longer able to sit at my desk and easel, so there it sat, dust covered, unfinished.  I wondered if I might be able to finish it in the Oil Pastels.  Yes, yes indeed that could be done.  :D

The Dancer

My artfriend, Dede Willingham offered free demo/classes (these can be found on her YouTube channel as well!) on how she uses her combination of acrylic and Prismacolor Pencils for portrait painting. Our mutual friend, Mandy allowed the use of her adorable daughter Amelia's photo for this first endeavour and so we began to learn Dede's process.  I used Faber Castell's Polychromsos Pencils for my version, although I did have to convert to Prisma's white as the Poly's was too translucent for what was needed.  The Polychromos are oil-based and subsequently the artist doesn't have to deal with the waxy bloom found with the Prisma's and other lines, which eventually stops one from building layers and values.

I'm continuing to study this process of Dede's but quickly realized that the FC Polychromos line do not have appropriate skin tone colours in its venue ... their flesh tones are entirely too pink and/or red for natural looking portraits so I begin to look at other lines for colours.  I studied six different manufacturers' flesh tone colours and eventually found that Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils Burnt Ochre values were exactly what I needed and wanted for natural Caucasian flesh tones.  I have another portrait almost done and hope to show it to you soon.

Painted with Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen
When not playing with the oil pastels or pencils, I have been playing with drawing and colouring mandalas.  My artfriend, Barb Owens of How To Get Creative inspired and educated us on several of her Ustream shows.  Check out Barb's Mandala eBook available for purchase at her site - its an awesome adult colouring book but she also teaches you how to be creative with several of them to make them uniquely your own.  I love that!  I've really enjoyed designing and colouring my own as well.  :D
Painted with Bic Mark-It Ultra Fine Markers
Coloured with Polychromos Pencils

Papa thought the Mandals were so fun he stopped into the craft stores and got me a variety of sets of RoseArt Rainbow and Multi-Colored Lead Pencils and Derwent Tri-Color Pencils!  These make for wonderful colourings of Mandalas.
So there you have it ... or most of it anyway ... of what I've been up to.
Enjoy your Summer!!