Photo reference for colored pencil painting, Buckles & Belts in CP
Original Colored Pencil Painting
11 x 14 Rising Stonehenge Paper, 90lb, Pearl Grey

Back to work on week 2!

From this point on, each day will be a matter of building value and defining detail. For the most part, I work throughout the painting each day, though I may focus on tack one day and on the horse another day.

The purpose at this stage is to bring the umber under painting as close to looking like a stand-alone painting as possible. A work of art in its own right that could be marketed as a sepia study if I chose to go that route.

I also am working on developing highlights in the under painting without the use of lighter colors or white.

The best way to accomplish that is by gradually building dark and mid-tone areas around the highlights. That is part of the reason I begin with the darkest areas first and work toward the light areas.

Photo reference for colored pencil painting, Buckles & Belts in CP

I continued to use Verithin Dark Brown, but began laying in color with the tip of the pencil instead of the side. I also began stroking in the direction of hair growth or muscle structure where appropriate. A lot of this week’s work involved going over specific areas multiple times.

The bridge of the nose is a good example of that. Short, directional strokes applied with a needle-sharp pencil, and a repeating pattern. I didn’t copy each stroke exactly, but there are areas where hair groups are apparent and I did my best to replicate those hair groups by emphasizing the shadows in the gaps.

The same goes for the outside surface of the ear, the orbital structures and the shadows of the forehead on the eye on the far side of the face.

I used the same technique, but with less detail in the jugular groove, throat and cheek. The further from the viewer each area is, the less detailed it should appear. If you look at the original, you can see hair-like strokes in each of those areas, but they are less and less defined. That reduction in definition is accomplished either by working with an increasingly blunt pencil or by alternating layers of pencil tip work with a layer of work applied with the side of the pencil.

Photo reference for colored pencil painting, Buckles & Belts in CP

I also spent a good deal of time darkening the deepest of the shadows to create a wider variety of middle tones.

The shadow under the ear where the head stall disappears behind the ear is a good example of that work. This shadow goes through a variety of values from a nearly flat shadow at its darkest point to a lighter shadow where reflected light illuminates an upward facing angle to half light values.

That area is also a study in color variation. Though it’s not apparent in the image shown below, there are dark browns, golden browns, red browns and golds throughout the shadow and adjacent areas. That’s what makes working the underpainting with a single color so efficient and valuable to this type of work.

Photo reference for colored pencil painting, Buckles & Belts in CP

This is how the painting looked at the end of the week. It’s really coming together and I’m loving that eye!