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Featured Artist: Elizabeth A. Patterson

Bring energy, vitality and glass-free presentation to colored pencil

I have a real fondness for the still life

“Pastelbord has become my surface of choice for colored pencil. The consistently even sanded surface holds so many layers of color! I’ve come to rely on the sturdiness of the board—no more worries about tearing or creasing paper. Finally, having the option of varnishing my finished work, and framing without matting or glass is a huge bonus!”

1. I begin with a simple line drawing to establish the basic shapes of the composition on the Pastelbord™. I try to use a color that is close to that of each of the objects.

2. I block in the very lightest areas with white, then continue blocking in colors: lights, brights, darks, and any geometric designs such as the checkered cloth. I often start off with color that is quite a bit brighter, or deeper than what the final desired appearance will be, keeping in mind how I might want the successive layers to interact with it.

3. I continue layering color, moving around the composition, occasionally changing my focus: hue, value, form, intensity, and finishing up with small details and the refining of edges. Applying a workable matte fixative spray a few times while working allows me to put down more layers of colored pencil. The variations that come and go in this layering are many and it’s the little hints of these, peeking out here and there on the sand colored Pastelbord’s textured surface, that give an energy and vitality that I love.

4. When the work is complete, some of the surface is thickly covered with colored pencil almost to a paint-like finish, while other areas allow more of the board’s texture and even bits of its original sand color to show. I like this “selective focus” effect resulting in the eye being drawn to the most refined areas in the drawing. To finish, I prefer to varnish my drawings, but this is optional. See how-to varnish colored pencils below.

How-to varnish colored pencils

Use five coats of gloss Prismacolor Final Fixative allowing 15 mins. between coats. Let dry overnight. Then, varnish with three coats of Golden Polymer gloss Varnish thinned 2 parts varnish to 1 part water. Apply using a soft wide brush; allow three hours between coats. After one week, frame without glass.

Adapted from Ester Roi’s framing process shown here: http://bit.ly/pXuqVV


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