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I received an interesting call last week from the folks at the Carolina Chamber Music Festival. They are doing an event in New Bern in conjunction with the Craven Arts Council called Debussy After Work Thursday, September 15. They will have three musicians (a harpist, a flutist and a viola player) playing the three movements of Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. They then invited three visual artists to each create a painting based on one of the movements. I was pleased to be asked to be one of the artists. I chose the final movement to inspire my piece.
Here is the painting that I mentioned in an earlier post about Debussy. It was presented Thursday night to the accompaniment of musicians with the Carolina Chamber Music Festival.
I collaged the score of the movement on the canvas first, then collaged and painting the three instruments and painted a portrait of Debussy in transparent colors over that.
Webster defines painting as "to produce in lines and colors on a surface by applying pigments". Most colored pencil artists refer to their work as a painting because of the application of color washes as well as the color layers that are applied. These washes are not wet as with conventional forms of paint like oil or watercolor but are used in much the same way.
While colored pencils were once considered to be primarily for kids, throughout the years they have been steadily gaining respect amongst artists, galleries, and collectors. Artists are exploring the creative potential of this art-making medium, while art collectors and enthusiasts are marvelling at their output!
Unlike mixing paints that fully combine together, colored pencil layers and mixes of color remain separate and visually mix together. Colors can be easily blended together in endless combinations to create even more shades, tints and hues. One of the unique qualities of this medium is that you are often times able to still see the various colors separately when you look close enough. You can basically draw anything with colored pencils that you would be able to depict with paint. Colored pencil art can easily rival paintings in luminosity and depth of color! Colored pencils can be used to create artwork in a variety of styles, such as photorealism, abstraction, whimsical, and composite (combination of styles).
Colored pencils come in three categories: Wax-Based, Oil Based and Water-Soluble. Wax-Based pencils are dry and the most common colored pencil. The leads are soft and thick or hard and thin. The pigment is bound together with vegetable oil. Water-soluble are the common watercolor pencils. An emulsifier is added to the binder, and the pigment can be liquefied and used like watercolor. They can be sharpened to a fine point to allow for exquisite detail.
In the late 1970’s, after years of testing, light fastness standards were written for oils, watercolors, acrylics, and alkyds. Since then, paints suitable for fine artwork (IE: will not fade over time) are marked with Light fastness symbols I and II, providing artists the option of choosing materials that have been stringently tested for light fastness. In the early 1990’s, with the founding of the Colored Pencil Society of America, CPSA, and the increasing use of colored pencil for creating fine art, it became necessary to have a standard of light fastness for this medium. Today the light fastness standard has been achieved.