February 9th, 2015

Rugged Cosmos

Artist: Ellen Ward, United States
Artist Statement: I use the Alpha Series for almost everything. The lighter weight of the paper is really pleasing for journal work and both wet and dry media are easily manipulated on the surface. Alpha has a slight tooth, and results in a light texture when a field is quickly developed. In this drawing I tried to retain the rough, sketchy vibe of pencil on paper. Using this quality, I combined complementary colors in shadows to avoid losing saturation. I was not interested in burnishing or blending pencils to look like an oil painting. It is a viable technique, but I lack that kind of patience: oil painting is faster!

I grow Cosmos [flowers] in my garden and despite their apparent fragility, these survived into the first few cold days of Fall. I chose this subject to demonstrate the versatility of the Alpha paper in its ability to imply a variety of surfaces when using pencil: wood, glass, atmosphere, flora. In any shadow area there may be three or more colors, speckled over the surface. Reflections are based on observation, and it is a good strategy to isolate the highlights and low lights immediately to establish depth. Warm colors describe the foreground and cooler colors describe distant elements.

This image avoids using gray, black, or dark brown but instead allows the eye to optically mix color flecks juxtaposed side by side to create neutrals. Overall I used only about five pencils to complete the image. This choice to limit the palette was a practical one. A limited palette is a simple device to visually unify an image. Sketching with only five pencils is a great exercise in restraint and forces one to become creative with layering, color combinations, and composition.

MEDIA: Colored pencil
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain



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