I just finished this piece today, continuing my Dutch master inspired still life series. This one is smaller compared to my previous piece, its a 12×16 inches so went about much faster. I had several requests on how I do my background so I thought I will take some pictures inbetween my working process to show how I go about it.
All of my works are on done on Ampersand Pastel board using NeocolorII (water soluble crayons) and Colored pencils (Prismas & Derwents mostly) . I first transfer my image onto the board then lay down the NeocolorII , I just apply it directly on the board like drawing with crayons. I do not pay a lot of attention to tiny details , its mainly like blocking out color so I sure do keep my darks darker and highlights brighter.
Then I add water and paint on them like watercolor. I make sure I do not use a lot of water which would wash off the color off the board. It takes about half hr to dry completely depending on the size of the work. Once dry I go over the lighter areas with a damp brush to take off the grainy residues that few of the lighter neocolors leave behind. My neocolors never saturate the boards tooth since I need to use CP’s on top of them.
My next step is to start adding the colored pencils , I keep them fairly sharp but my pressure is just medium. I usually have atleast 5-6 layers of colored pencils on top of the neocolors so I like to retain my tooth of the board until then. Here for eg. working on the background I have Expresso, sepia and warm grey all laid out in angled strokes. Then I go over that with a bristle brush in circular motion and blend them completely.
And this is how the background looks after a couple of layers of colors and blending.
I continue the same process for the whole piece until I am happy with the saturation and values. If I have a lot of yellows or oranges I make sure I go over them with a colorless blender so that they do not dissolve when I spray them with varnish. My last step is to go over the whole piece to deepen my darks and do highlights. Once I do that I usually dont blend them with the brush because that will soften the colors again.
Hope that helps 🙂