Thursday, June 30, 2011

Open Tulip-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I can't say this looks very promising at this stage. I've been wanting to paint this open tulip for a while, from a photograph I took in Toronto last year. It's on a 12 x 12-inch square of masonite.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

China Book

© Ellen Blonder
I just learned how to put a link to my China Book on this blog, something I designed on after my 2009 trip. I'm not selling it as of now, but click the link for an armchair tour. Sorry I can't make the photos bigger.

Most of the photos are mine; some are taken by my cousin Rose, my traveling companion. I took over 1,400 photos. The book has around 500.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colored Pencil Peony-Final

© Ellen Blonder
Shading in the petals was far more difficult in colored pencil than my usual watercolors. Getting darks required going over and over an area, pressing down hard on the pencils, while the lightest tints were a challenge to keep clean and bright. I don't think I'll be switching my preferred medium, but this exercise made me appreciate a good pencil drawing even more.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Colored Pencil Peony-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
If you just held a petal from this peony in your hand, it would appear pale pink. In a drawing, though, I keep having to reach for darker and darker pencils to convey that paleness. I'm using ten different pinks, reds and purples to try to get a full tonal range. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Colored Pencil Peony-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
Yesterday's post, of dark blue berries was easy compared with this. Getting a peony's pale pink petals to look delicate but not washed out is going to be the big challenge here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


© Ellen Blonder
After working in this medium, I can't say I prefer it to watercolor or acrylics, but colored pencils do present some interesting challenges--and I always have fun with those. I'm used to mixing my green paints with black or red to gray them down before I paint leaves. Many green colored pencils seem way too bright, and it's much harder to tone them down to what I want. On the other hand, shading spherical shapes is much easier with pencils than paint. Next, I'll have to try a flower in pencils.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blueberries-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
Filling in blueberries all day today. It's a slower process to do shaded spheres in pencil than watercolor, but pencil is also more forgiving.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blueberries-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
I haven't tried drawing in colored pencil for many years. Feels odd not needing to mix my colors on a palette beforehand, and it takes a different kind of patience to build the color up slowly so the pencil tracks don't show. This is more fun than I expected.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blueberries-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I photographed a branch heavy with blueberries last summer. I also bought some colored pencils and have been looking for a subject to sketch with them. My inspiration is a book by an artist I met in Kauai, who was there to co-teach a seminar on botanical illustration at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Her name is Wendy Hollender, and you can see her beautiful images or find her book Botanical Drawing in Color through this link, which will guide you through learning to correctly draw botanicals with colored pencil.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


© Ellen Blonder
The lilies are done, unless I add a gecko to a flower stalk.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lilies-Day 9

© Ellen Blonder
Detail of the lilies in the center part of the painting where the orange tones become more muted in the distance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lilies-Day 8

© Ellen Blonder
Progress seemed slow today, then I counted. There are 19 flowers in this, excluding the buds.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lilies-Days 6 and 7

© Ellen Blonder
Details from the right side of the painting. Only the foreground flowers are finished, but I like the background flowers more muted.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lilies-Day 5

© Ellen Blonder
Now it's time to add detail to the flowers, a slow process, but fun. Here's a close-up of the lower left corner.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lilies-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
Painting catch as catch can lately, I'm trying to get the background leaves in before adding details to the flowers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lilies-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
Here's the detail emerging on the upper right corner of the canvas.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lilies-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
The blue background makes mixing of the colors for the lilies a challenge. I'll have to punch them up, without making the eye jump back and fourth.