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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Mini Adventure in Colorfix

Cattails in the Moonlight

A mini painting on white Colorfix. This is the first time I've used a sanded support. This painting (2 1/4" x 3 1/2") is really only big enough to just get my feet wet with Colorfix. It was interesting. I used a limited palette (which I am liking more every time I use it) and a mix of Prismacolor, Polychromos and Lyra pencils. I made the palette selection based only on color.

To begin with it sure was weird to feel the pencil scraping over that gritty surface. I did a few tests to see if I could get smooth even coverage just using the pencil and I couldn't. Guess if I'd persisted and put lots of heavy layers on I would eventually have filled in the ridges and achieved a smooth look, but I don't want to have to work that way so I tried a few other methods. I first used a short stubby stencil brush and that helped push the color down into the grooves, but I lost my fine lines. Next I tried a Kleenex (okay, it wasn't a Kleenex... I ran out and used bathroom tissue.... Mr. Whipple would be proud) and that smoothed some of the pigment ....... and ground the tissue to a pulp! Next up was The Q-Tip, which performed decently but again, I lost the fine lines (and the Q-tip looked like it had had a really bad hair day by the time I finished with it). Last resort was solvent. Ann at Blue Bird Hill blog had mentioned some time ago that she liked Eco House Citrus Solvent for dissolving cp (thanks for the tip, Ann!) so I ordered some and thought now was a good time to try it out. I liked the scent and it did a good job of give the cp a painterly look. I found out that it doesn't take much - I almost used a dry brush technique - and it does work the pigment down into the crevices. In this project I limited its use to the dark brown grasses in the foreground. Using solvent holds some promise but it's something I need more practice with.

So how do I like the Colorfix? Not sure. It's a very tough surface, erases quite easily (at least for light marks) and seems to strengthen the colors. But unless I use solvent, it still looks grainy. I was looking for something smoother- I'm after a painterly look that I can achieve using just a few layers of cp. Anyone have any ideas?
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