Paradise – a miniature on canvas

Yelena Shabrova ~ Paradise (Miniature) ~ colored pencil on canvas, 3.5" x 2.5"
colored pencil on canvas, 3.5″ x 2.5″

A kind visitor at the third weekend of recent Open Studios came up with the title, not me. I often draw during SVOS. People like to see how art is created, and whatever I am working on easily becomes a conversation piece. Sometimes I get a free benefit of getting stuff named for me.

The original miniature ($35.00) is available in my online shop as a part of the “Miniatures” collection.

After the Rain (miniature)

Yelena Shabrova ~ After the Rain (Miniature) ~ Derwent colored pencil on canvas, 3.5" x 2.5"
Derwent colored pencil on canvas, 3.5″ x 2.5″

Here is my newest tiny digital canvas. I haven’t done any for a few months and completely forgot my past experience with colored pencil on this kind of surface. It is a bit slippery and does not allow to build up really dark darks unless you carefully plan for them from the beginning and use very sharp pencils all the time. Unlike with paper or traditional linen canvas it is not possible to start with lighter colors everywhere and then go darker in as many layers as necessary. Darker colors on a digital canvas start to chip off relatively quickly if you are not careful.

So with a refreshed memory, I am now going to use digital canvas with soft graphite pencils only and leave colors to linen ones. Or maybe it’s worth trying to gesso a digital canvas and see if it becomes more tolerant to dark colored pencils.

The original miniature ($35.00) is available in my Miniatures online gallery.

Ghostly white horse

Yelena Shabrova ~ Ghostly White ~ white Prismacolor colored pencil on canvas board, 5" x 7"
Ghostly White – white Prismacolor colored pencil on canvas board, 5″ x 7″

University Art carries something I never saw before: a canvas mounted on a cardboard. 5″ x 7″ pieces are sold unprotected, unlike canvases and real sturdy canvas boards. They come in white and black versions. Naturally, I had to buy both to see what can be done with them.

This white horse was done on a black one. Even though the canvas accepts many layers of color the result is not purely white (hence the “ghostly” reference). Alas, colored pencils are not completely opaque.

The original drawing found a new home at the Midsummer Art Festival 2014, but greeting cards, and prints are available in my online shop as a part of the “Colored Pencil” collection.

Further experimenting with canvases

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.