Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jerry Fredricksen, Lori Van Dyke and something entirely new

My father-in-law, Jerry Fredricksen, and sister-in-law, Lori Van Dyke, 9" X 12", Prismacolor watercolor pencils on Strathmore toned tan paper

Apologies for the gulf between posts! Just been a whole lot of non-artsy work that took priority but I promised myself that art gifts would be given to to my family as well as my wife's family this Christmas. Hey, it helps keep me in practice, as well as allows me to try new techniques. This first piece back was a doozy...

First of all, Tracy suggested I create a portrait celebrating her father (who, very unfortunately, is no longer with us) for her sister, Lori's, gift. Well, it's my belief that folks you don't know personally or family are much more daunting, stressful subjects than, say, celebrities, athletes, etc. to render. Mess up a loved one's likeness and, well, you simply mess up and might not be taken serious later.

I had something of a mildly hazy photo reference of Jerry (and a teeny-tiny Lori) going into this (mind you, the original photo is from 1969 or 1970; the date escapes me), so I might run the risk of over-detailing my rendering from imagination. I thought, "I'll go watercolor on cold press paper."

Enter even greater stress.

I didn't offer myself enough time to work on the piece (completely my fault) and didn't take into consideration that some pigments are thinner than others and require studious layering, not to mention that I didn't take the time to mix my own custom colors (something of which I'm extremely fond). No matter how hard I worked, I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I was getting nowhere - and fast.

At that point, I just threw my hands in the air (and was so irritated with myself that I didn't even wave them like I just didn't care) and vowed to start anew. At that point, I was gonna try something completely different.

A few months ago, I bought a pad of Strathmore toned tan paper (9" X 12"), knowing I was going to attempt a different kind of portraiture, something that, with the natural color of the paper, would accentuate lighter colors. And the tooth (texture) of the paper is remarkable when it comes to using colored pencil (which I've seen more artists use, other than charcoal). At that point, I felt a weigh lift off my shoulders.

So, our finished rendering is Prismacolor watercolor pencil on Strathmore toned tan paper. What I really feel good about is not just nailing the likenesses but developing something close to pop art with this one.

And when you're drawing someone's pop, I'd say that's pretty cool.

Rest in peace, Jerry.

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  1. Mrs. Coyote (Tracy)January 2, 2016 at 5:42 PM

    Love this!!!! :) <3

  2. And I couldn't be more glad, Beautiful. Thank you!! <3 <3 <3