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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Ranjini Venkatachari

“Epiphany”, at the UKCPS show


Washington based artist, Ranjini Venkatachari, another wonderful colored pencil artist, has shared her work with us and her process of working on Pastelbord™.  She explains why Pastelbord’s surface has worked so easily for her style and experimentation.  “I like working on surfaces that have a little bit of texture compared to smooth ones like a hotpress paper. I do not make my work look completely smooth, I really like the texture of the board showing through to some extent in the end.

With Pastelbord, Ranjini uses the grit in the surface to blend her Neocolors and colored pencil, working with a stiff bristle brush.  She has also mastered a technique to correct mistakes by working through the layers of pigment down to the grit of the surface, which remains intact. “If there is a mistake in the Neocolor layer, the board can be cleaned off with just plain water. If I have something to erase after I have started the colored pencil on top of the neocolors, I use the battery operated eraser.  Even if you have to get through a painted neocolor layer, the battery-operated eraser easily gets right through and the grit still remains to add color on top.” 

Line Drawing, Necolor II, then Colored Pencil on top


Pastelbord has even inspired Ranjini to test oil pastels and to combine her colored pencil with soft pastel.  She originally began working in graphite, as she has always had a tendency for drawing.  Pencils are portable, easy to clean up and little health risk.  So, it was natural for her to gravitate to colored pencil once she moved to the United States from India in 2003. 

When she first began using colored pencils, Ranjini was working on paper.  But quality materials, in both Pastelbord and Neocolor II, dramatically changed her work.  She was able to work more quickly, layer the colored pencil as she was accustomed and work in both wet and dry media together.  Plus, no framing needed!  Ranjini finishes her work with 4-8 coats of Lascaux fixative and then sprays with a Damar/UV varnish.  

“Cherry Delight”, 9″ x 12


To catch a glimpse of Ranjini’s colored pencil works in person, you can see her show at the Nuneaton Art Gallery for the UK Colored Pencil Society through November 25, 2012.  She is also showing with Women Painters of Washington’s Traveling show starting in November at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA.

To see more of Ranjini’s work online, keep updated on her workshop schedule and shows, or to see works in progress, visit her blog and website.  

And just for fun, check out this video demo of Ranjini’s work on Pastelbord:


All things Ampersand,
Karyn Meyer-Berthel
Artist & Social Media Specialist
Ampersand Art Supply

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