Working My Way Back Into Color

I'm re-entering the world of color after years of working strictly in B&W with charcoal.

When I started making art seriously in high school I was known for my colorful oil paintings. They won me awards and were key in my portfolio acceptance into art school. When I was pregnant with my first son I stopped using them regularly because they can be toxic (and who has time for all that clean up when you have a crying baby around?). Instead, I only drew and taught myself how to knit. If you've followed my blog you know knitting and drawing remain my favorite mediums, but you also know that I love a good art challenge. So, I've decided to push myself back into working with color. 

This year Stephen asked me to pick out a Christmas gift for myself. The perfect opportunity to figure out how I can make the color leap! I wanted a medium that would be portable and could work with ink which I'm also interested in experimenting with. I've never been fond of any water based medium so I was looking at art materials like oil and dry pastels which I've worked with in the past and loved. They can be expensive, messy, and again the dust can be toxic. So I looked to different types of pencils. I learned that there are two types of colored pencils; wax based and oil based. The oil based pencils are essentially oil pastel pencils. You can blend them with baby oil just like oil pastels! 

I researched the different brands and decided on these Lyra Rembrandts. They aren't the most popular choice in oil based colored pencils but they are more affordable and their reviews were the same or better than the more popular choices. 

Included in this post are my first efforts with these pencils, am I rusty working with color, ha ha ha. The portrait of the woman and the dog both have ink and parts blended with baby oil. The portrait of the man is only colored pencil. Probably the biggest lesson learned so far is to choose a palette of colors to work with. I found that I pull out a gigantic pile of colors when I could easily achieve the piece with less work if I cut the pile down to a 1/3 of what I selected. I've been using bristol paper, it's weight and smooth texture has been working great.

One of the many things I love about drawing is how it forces you to focus on the little details. This transition into color has me noticing the subtle differences in color when light hits it. I have a lot of progress to make but it's all so much fun!!!