Friday, August 28, 2009

Clock People in Colored Pencil

Cynthia Emerlye:
A decade ago there was a period when I worked exclusively in colored pencil. I like the control one has with this medium and the precise detail that can be achieved. It is more difficult to lay down large areas of color, however, and when I began to do larger work I found it unbearably slow. (Strangely, it hadn't occurred to me to use another medium as an underpainting.) My hands would cramp up after hours of penciling. So eventually I switched to watercolor for my illustrations.

Today I use mediums more interchangeably. Although I haven't tried it, I am fascinated by K.Y.Craft's method of using watercolor as a base for oil painting. She applies a watercolor underpainting to heavy paper or canvas, then sprays it with acrylic to make it waterproof, over which she paints her very detailed work in oil. This seems like a great way to cut down the time needed to illustrate using oil.

Likewise, I now like to mix my mediums, not only to save time and effort, but because I can often get a more elegant look. Watercolor is a great base for the detail of colored pencil. Pastel adds a dreamy look to watercolor and smooths out its roughness. Of course, watercolor washes added to or underneath india ink has been a staple of illustrators for centuries.
The paintings shown here are all from my colored pencil period.

"Clock Face," shown above, is one of my favorite colored pencil paintings, done several years ago. She looks much better in person (as most colored pencil does) and hangs in my bedroom, watching me as I sleep. She is one of several clock people. Back then I was fascinated by clocks and time. I was in my forties and suddenly "Carpe Diem" had become relevant!

I was beginning menopause as well. "Eve Everywoman," below, is a meditation on the mystery, mythology, and miraculous nature of the feminine body. This is a larger work which, again, was more difficult in colored pencil than it needed to have been had I mixed media. Nevertheless, I am happy with her.

These four represent works or a more visionary nature, a subject I would like to return to. I have always been fascinated with mythology, fantasy, and symbolism. Must do more of this.

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