Sandrine's Gallery

Original art by Sandrine Curtiss

Blog posts : "Work in progress"

Monthly challenge work in progress

A while ago I started working on the new Colored Pencil Magazine monthly challenge, but I had to put my drawing aside to work on some commission pieces -the Holidays rush has started. Now that I have a little break, it's time for me to get back to it and finish it. Here's what I had already done.




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New Project

I started working on a new project, my biggest watercolor painting yet.

Still a work in progress for now.

Plumeria 20 - 18x24" - Watercolor - NOT FOR SALE








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The Chocolate Bunny Dilemna

Or how I decided to build a lightbox.

Easter is right around the corner, and for many weeks already we've seen a plethora of Easter treats wherever we go. One in particular keeps on catching my eye because I've always wanted to paint it: the infamous Lindt Gold Bunny!
For a couple of weeks that little cutie has been sitting on my drawing table, staring at me. I've been so busy, I haven't had time yet to pick up my brushes. But every time I walk by, I feel the urge to take a bite off of those lovely shiny ears. But I'm proud to say I've been extremely good, and haven't succumbed to the temptation... yet!

The problem is that Easter is in a week, and even if I start working on it today, there's no way my oil painting will be ready by then. But rather than give up, and plunge my teeth into its creamy deliciousness, I decided to take a bunch of reference photos of the little rascal, for when I'm ready to paint it.
I have a good camera, but I'm always struggling with the right lighting. So a little internet search allowed me to make this cheap, easy, and really quick to build lightbox:

I wanted the box to be large enough for all kinds of different projects. So I got an 18x18x22" moving box. I taped the bottom, and traced some lines a little over one inch from the edges on three of the four sides. I used the width of the ruler to guide me, rather than actually measure one inch.


I then cut out the holes, following the lines I traced.


I cut out the other two sides the exact same way, and cut off the flaps sticking out, on those same three sides:



I took a white poster board, and cut it to the width of the box, making sure it was going to be snug. I then placed it in the box for the backdrop, making sure I didn't fold it in the bottom corner. It needs to be slightly curved. As you can see, my box is REALLY big compared to the poster board. I'll have to find something else to cover the whole thing for when I have bigger objects to photograph.



Next, I taped some white tissues to the cut out sides of the box. Once you start taking your photos, you can decide how many layers of tissue to add, depending on the effects you want. For now, I only put one layer on each side.




That's it!
The lightbox took a little over half an hour to build.
Now just put some lights near the tissue covered openings, one, two or three sides, and have fun! You might have to figure out the right kind of bulb you need for your desired effects.



As you can see, the sides of my box are a little weak. So make sure you get a box made out of thick cardboard. You won't have that problem if you make a smaller one. I later reinforced the sides with extra cardboard and duct tape.

Photo shoot in session:



I really like the result.
The following picture was taken with a little compact camera, with only one lamp on the side. There was absolutely NO editing done to the photo.
You can reduce the shadow effects by adding a light on the opposite side as well.


I decided that a smaller lightbox would be easier to work with when I want to take pictures of smaller objects. So about 15 minutes later I had this one finished, with a black backdrop.



This time I took my fancy camera and went all out, playing with the different settings, and the light sources. I love the black backdrop!



Don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions. I'll be happy to help.

For now, I'm off to feast on that teasing bunny!!



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Flamingo Update

Been stalling this one.

I just don't like the paper I'm using, and so I'm not enjoying myself much. I think the paper is too rough for my style. Tough to draw on it for me. But I'll have to finish it anyway.

Pastels on Colourfix paper.




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Work in progress - Tabby 102

From a great pricture provided by photographer Nicke Reeves Payne.

A big thank you, Nicke, for your adorable picture of Bobo.

I always start with a line drawing, using a white pencil. A regular graphite pencil won't show very well on black paper.

Once the line drawing is done, I add all the highlights, and lightest areas, still with a white pencil. It's kind of like drawing a black and white picture of the subject, but in reverse since I'm using black paper.
I think this is the hardest part of the process because I have to make sure I put everything in its place, that the proportions are correct, and the right details are in the right spots. It takes a lot of effort and observation.
I usually take a little break after this step.



Once my eyes are working properly again, I start adding some colors. This time, I use the darkest colors first to work on the shadows. I go over the whole picture and add all the colors everywhere.
Once this is done, I go over each area carefully, working on the highlights again, making sure there's a nice contrast between the light and the shadows.

Working on black paper can be difficult, as not all the colors stand out well. I have to make sure I use many layers. To do so, each layer has to be applied very lightly, using a very sharp pencil tip, or the surface of the paper will be saturated too fast, and I won't be able to add any more colors. I go through pencils and sharpeners very fast. I keep a stock of new sharpeners, and I've go a bunch of white pencils.


Here's our cute Bobo, all finished, happily sleeping on his chair:


Tabby 102 - 8x10" - SOLD

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