Wednesday, May 31, 2023

California Poppies (and My Genius Moment)


5/24/23 California poppies in Maple Leaf

Suhita Shirodkar and Nina Khashchina have been giving me California poppy envy. They’ve been sketching the gorgeous blooms growing profusely right now in northern California.

I pass these poppies on my walks now and then. Not quite as vibrant and extravagant as the ones in northern California, they still make me happy with their sunny outlook, even when they aren’t fully awake.

Process notes: Spontaneously, I tried an interesting experiment prompted by the subject matter: Here’s a case in which I didn’t want the bright yellow and orange poppy hues to get muddied by the green foliage around them. Using Derwent Inktense pencils, I drew and then activated the poppies with a waterbrush. While that dried, I put in the foliage greens around them with more Inktense pencils. Then I spritzed the flowers and foliage liberally. Since Inktense pencils are supposedly “permanent,” the poppies I had initially activated shouldn’t reactivate and mix with the foliage. I think the flowers did stay relatively unmuddied, so that’s one way to take advantage of this unique Inktense quality. 

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle replication of sketch

To be fair, I thought I should test this real-life situation by making a similar sketch using only Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles (at left). I replicated the poppies and foliage doing just that, in the same Hahnemuhle sketchbook. The flowers did blur with the foliage a bit more than the Inktense did, but not significantly. I must say, though, that the Museum colors are more vibrant, aren’t they?

The lines on the fence, too, are something I wanted to stay crisp and sharp, but since I had already drawn them, they were prone to being blurred when I spritzed the foliage. However, I just happened to have a Black Cherry non-soluble Prismacolor in my bag. I used that to draw the fence – ta-da! No blurring. (Every couple of decades or so, I’m a genius! But only for 30 seconds at a time.)

One of these pencils is not like the others.

Actually, I recall some similar experiments I did a few years ago, using watercolor pencils alongside non-soluble ones to take advantage of the soluble/non-soluble properties of each. It’s a great strategy, but I don’t remember why I stopped doing it – maybe the non-solubles got ejected during a bag refresh because I wasn’t using them much. This idea is worth exploring further, though, and just one non-soluble pencil would do the job.

1 comment:

  1. Good thinking to use the non-soluble pencil on the fence. This came out nice!!


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