First True Layers
For the actual colored pencil paintings I switched from watercolor pencils to professional quality fully pigmented pencils. These are wax based, and predominately Prismacolor. I really like the quality of pigments used. Even the white pencils have coverage, which if you have used colored pencils you know is not always the case.
For the singing bird, I set out Cloud Blue, True Slate and True Blue. I want the blue-gray sky I remember. The first layer was cloud blue, followed by a layer over the top half of the painting of true slate. After blending these two together, I decided to leave off the true blue. It just was not the color I wanted.
My mat board is mounting on my drawing board, not my drawing table. Yes this allows it to be portable, but it also allows me to rotate the board as I go. This avoids any directional ness in the background, very important when you are working with more or less solid colors in the background. Using short circular strokes and rotating the board is the best way to get this that I have found.
I want all the focus on this close-up of the cardinal. I am afraid if I add too much background detail it will distract from the bird, and the artwork would loose its focus. Sometimes you can put too much in a work of art.
So I am simply going to put in a yellow-green moddled background. The color will support the cardinal, but there will be nothing to distract from him. I used several different greens and two yellows. Unlike oil paints, I find it is a good idea to have as many colored pencils as possible for depth of color. These are put in random swirls and carefully blended together.
I concentrated at this point on the backgrounds not the subjects. Once I had color where I wanted it, I did use solvent and a cotton swap to “melt” the background colors together. Do this carefully, as this become totally permanent and cannot be lifted after it dries.