Sunday, 10 June 2012

White Rose

Last Friday I showed my students how to make a white flower with coloured pencils. Normally I would prefer to use watercolour as a base for white flowers. It's just more delicate. But it can be done in coloured pencil. The most difficult part is not to use outlines to show the flower but only shadows and colour. This is what I made for them when I demonstrated how to do that. It's a tiny (1 inch) tiny rose. White with a hint of pink.

The image here is a bit enlarged and I wasn't able to get the sharpness, smoothness and the colours right but it's close.
As you can see there are no outlines at all. The darkest shadows are at the overlaps of the petals and are quite strong. Also there's a good amount of shading under the stamens. That shading makes them pop up from the flower.
The biggest reason I don't like to make white flowers with coloured pencil is that there aren't so many subtle, very light coloured pencils. Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils however have a nice range of very light colours, almost whites... So I was happy this time I could use their Buff Titanium for the creamy centre. If you compare it to the cream pencils of Faber-Castell and Prismacolor it is whiter, less yellow. And sometimes it's just that tiny bit that will make the difference.

Saturday, 2 June 2012


These months are all about courses... last week I went to a master class about composition with Anne Marie Evans. I knew she was the best teacher already. This time she gave us such a great class that really opened our eyes and I think it made us all move up a level. We worked and struggled all week with Peonies and at the end of the week I had made a composition with two flowers and a leaf that I would never have done or tried before this class. I don't know if I ever will do something like this composition again (it's a bit too decorative for my taste) but that is not the point. The point is that she made us think much harder and force ourselves to do something that we never would have done. Not going for the easy or obvious composition.

Here's me and Anne Marie (thanks to Janneke Brinkman for taking this photo). See how wild my hair is from all the fighting with the composition? :P
She's here giving me some tips on one of my older paintings that I haven't finished yet. I was very happy to get some pointers that made sense and also that she loved my dark shadows (teehee) and the thin filaments I managed to get into the painting. But that is all more fun for me that it is for you. All you want to know now is how that Peony composition turned out... right? Ok, here it is:

Like I said, very decorative and it would be a great wrap around a bar of heavy scented pink soap. I haven't done much more than this since then because there's my own class that I'm teaching these weeks. I hope to get the Peonies painted after that.

This week my students learned how to draw leaves and flowers, how to measure things, how to work with graphite pencil and more basics. Next week they will start with coloured pencil. I'm very excited about that since it's the first time I'm doing a course about that. I'll try not to forget to take some pics next week so I can show you the place (we're in the greenhouse of De Kruidhof. That's a botanical garden in Buitenpost in Friesland, in the North of the Netherlands).

Finally another photo of moi that Ria van Elk took at the Anne Marie Evans Composition Course in Leiden (I really love this photo):