This piece is 19×24 bright Bristol, has 4 images on it and this would be after maybe the second day of working on it. I use mostly Prismacolor Pencils along with a few colors from Faber-Castille and Derwent.
The first day is usually reserved for any watercolor work and then I let it dry COMPLETELY! I know that wet paper and colored pencils are NOT going to get along.
At this point there really isn’t much to see, but it does give you an idea of how I “start” something. This will take some time… be patient.
I spoke to my “rep” a couple of weeks ago and she suggested that I do MORE dogs but add a background to them. FINALLY, an opportunity to use my “ghost”.. and seeing as I had not worked on the Cane for a while, I thought I could add it easily. Then came the problem.. with all the black and grey on the Cane.. what color could I possibly use that would not take away from the other work.. as always, my inspiration comes just before sleep (which can really ruin a good night’s rest) and here’s the beginning..
And then I tried to get a little farther along on the piece before I went to do something else. When I do too much pencil work, I develop a very painful “lump” on my thumb. It’s not a callous.. and not a blister because it’s UNDER the skin.. anyway.. decided to work on watercolor for a while and guess what – the lump went down!
So now we have one dog relatively done (without highlights), and another that’s rather close. The two dogs are “black” and “grey” – which means there are all the warm grays, all the french grays, white, cloud blue, periwinkle and some espresso. Before I go any further, the “ghost” is being done with “holland brown” by Derwent (bought a bunch of those pencils and I don’t like them much. But for this, it’ll work)
The “black” and “grey” dogs are now done but still without “highlights” (I won’t put those in until the piece is actually complete – it’s the LAST step before the signature) and the “ghost” is starting to take shape. Also the reclining dog has been started (it will be a brindle) and there has been a little work done to the large head. New colors: clay rose, ginger root, sienna brown, burnt ochre, yellow ochre and I can’t think of anything else.
At this point, I had to finish what I was doing and take a break from it. The pencil work is so intense – I need breaks, but.. you can see it is developing well. Back when I can.
So.. “when I can” turned into being better than a year.. but I continued on, as you can see.
Because of the cancer, my time at the board is limited but if you stick with it and work at it.. you can achieve great things. I just took this piece one day at a time with many breaks in between. A note here: one of the side effects of chemotherapy is that the reumatoid arthritis doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore – which is wonderful.
And then, of course, when you can see the end coming near, you have a tendency of working a little harder or more often.. in my case it was just more often that I would sit at the board and argue with the work.
And – Tah Dah!! the finished piece.. completed on the 27th of May 2009.