About me: Yelena Shabrova, an artist and web designer who lives and works in Silicon Valley, Ca. See more of my art at shabrova.com or visit duskowl.com for everything that has to do with graphic design and web development.
The new three piece series, On the Way, and another small work, Gathering I, will be a part of the upcoming annual HARK! exhibit and sale at the KALEID Gallery.
The On the Way series is my exploration of people in transit, both literally, on foot, and metaphorically as a state of mind, the experience. I kept the details to the minimum because they would be a distraction to the notion of “here and now” that in this case was more important to me then particular surroundings or the final destination. Oil pastel is a perfect medium for this; it does not eagerly land itself for a lot of details, so staying vague is pretty easy.
The opening reception will be held during the San Jose First Friday, on December 6th, 2013 from 7 pm till 11 pm. If you are in the area, stop by to see high quality art of amazing variety and to chat with the artists.
The exhibition will continue until January 18th, 2014.
KALEID Gallery is located at 88 S 4th St, San Jose, CA 95112.
Open Tuesday – Friday from 12:00 pm till 7:00 pm, Saturday from 12:00 pm till 5:00 pm.
This is another piece in the “small landscapes” series that was started long time ago, survived a two year interruption, and is finally getting done. It’s always difficult to pick the pencils again when you almost don’t remember what you had in mind in the beginning. But as a nice exception to the rule, this little drawing was finished relatively easily. It was almost all about playing with colors and almost no struggling through the process.
This one started as an exercise after I haven’t done any pointillism in more than a year. In the process of getting the feel of the pen again I began to see a composition in the bunch of rock textures and from that point treated the small drawing more seriously.
The horses came into the picture last to make things more interesting. I thought of lighter-colored petroglyphs etched on a dark rock surface and decided to reverse colors. That seemed to work better with the rest of my rocks.
There is another Gathering piece in the making already. Turned out playing with rocks in black and white is just as exiting as doing it in color.
Looking back at all my attempts to make colored pencils play nice with the digital canvas, I have to admit that they certainly prefer a traditional linen one. So the blank digital canvases that I still have will be used for other media. For example, a graphite pencil:
Miniature – graphite pencil on canvas, 3.5″ x 2.5″
Things learned with this one:
- only soft graphite works, harder grades scrape the priming off the canvas without leaving noticeable marks
- for blending, small sponge makeup applicators and bristle brushes work best
- common erasers are of little help when you need a highlight or to scrape off a mistake, but kneaded eraser works wonderfully (I am using a Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth eraser that comes with its own case and like it better than other brands I had before)
- an x-acto knife can be good for small bright highlights, but using it requires care because it easily gets deep into priming and scrapes it off
- areas treates with a x-acto knife are still good for blending tools, but pencil marks behave unpredictably, so better be avoided
My other canvas experiment that is yet to be finished is a mix of the black India ink and graphite. I am not sure how I like the result so far, but we’ll see.
This one was created with Derwent Coloursoft pencils, not my usual Prismacolor. The good thing is that these pencils are really, really soft and blend together easily. The bad thing is that in just a few layers it becomes impossible to add more color. The next stroke tries to lift off what’s already on the surface. This is not such a big deal with lighter colors, but getting good darks with Derwent on canvas (at least on a digital one that was used for this piece) turned into a challenge. The solution: use a softest graphite pencil you have. Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth 7B worked quite well for me.
Most of this one was done with an artificial light, and today I was going to put finishing touches on it while we were at the Pescadero Beach. But the sunlight showed me that more than just that was needed. Good thing that the weather was very warm and without strong winds, or the miniature would travel back home to be finished there. I must say though that colored pencils start to lay on the canvas in a funny way as humidity goes up. I think if I was working with water soluble ones, I would end up with a painting without adding water.
Finally, a miniature on a digital canvas that was not a struggle:
colored pencil on canvas, 3.5″ x 2.5″
I noticed that colors almost do not smear at all on this type of canvas and put dark branches first, then moved to the clouds. It worked – branches stayed dark, clouds stayed clean, no mess at all. And it probably helped that I used harder Derwent pencils for the branches and my usual Prismacolor ones for the rest.
That’s the pleasant part, always good to finish even a little piece. Now, the unpleasant one: this miniature, like the previous two, was done on a digital canvas, and apparently it has a shorter patience with multiple layers of color than a traditional canvas does. In the process of “thinking” about earth colors right on the canvas I found out that I better make up my mind quicker, or the color will start to chip off. It didn’t really come to chipping off, but from my previous experience with paper I know the feeling that the pencil gives you right before the surface gives up. That’s a little disappointing, or maybe it’s a good opportunity to learn how to be more decisive.
That’s right, this little piece went with me over half of the globe and back. I had big drawing plans while visiting with my family and friends in Russia, and as it usually happens very little of it got accomplished. In fact, this is the only thing I managed to finish in 3 weeks, all done either in flight or in airports. Yay for working small.