I can’t stop looking at Arlene Steinberg’s painting, Paradise Dreams (below; colored pencil and water-soluble crayons on heated paper, 12×12). Each time I flip through my newest issue of The Artist’s Magazine, I seem to stop on this page and stare, enjoying the color and depth of this image. At first the abstract quality of it lured me in, but as I look more, memories of Hawaii sneak into my consciousness. But that’s another story.
Arlene’s work is part of the feature article “Colored Pencil Comes of Age,” by Maureen Bloomfield. Below is a free excerpt. (By the way, only magazine subscribers have this issue of The Artist’s Magazine, as it’s hot off the press–this is a special preview to say thanks for being a loyal newsletter reader.)
Eleven years ago Arlene Steinberg was working as a textile designer while creating paper sculptures on the side. Then she took up colored pencil and says, “I haven’t looked back.” As a throwback to her childhood love of crayons, she delights in colored pencil’s waxy component. One reason Steinberg’s color is so intense and saturated is that she works on an Icarus Art drawing board, a portable board that has warm and cool areas; the board is placed under the paper, and the wax reacts to the heated part of the surface.
She starts with an underpainting that consists primarily of local colors; then on the warm side of Icarus Art board, using a very low heat setting, she adds a layer of complementary color to create shadows on the paper. “If I’m creating a red cherry,” she explains, “I’ll use a combination of a dark green and a dark blue to create shading. On top of the complements, I’ll layer darker shades of local color, then blend in different colors (reds, yellows, pinks, oranges).” To make the colors merge together, she uses a colorless blender pencil or paper stump on the warm side of the Icarus Art board.
At first glance, Steinberg’s work seems a rhapsody on one primary and maybe one secondary color, but actually she uses between 25 to 35 different colors artfully blended. To “add back the whites” at the very end, she scrapes shavings from Caran d’Ache Neocolor II water-soluble crayons (softer than colored pencils and denser in the concentration of wax). The scrapings of pigment go into a small container; she wets the pigment and then, using a small watercolor brush, she puts back the highlights. The result is arresting color that seems to sizzle on the page. —Maureen Bloomfield
You can read about Joseph Crone, John P. Smolko and Shawn Falchetti, who are also featured in this article, in the May 2013 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Other highlights include: The Other Watercolor: the Case of Casein; Acrylic Inside & Out; Learn Airbrush Basics, plus more. View the complete table of contents here, and take advantage of this special subscription offer so that you never miss an issue of instruction and inspiration.
Want to see your art featured? Enter your best in The Artist’s Magazine’s 30th Annual Art Competition (don’t wait–the extended deadline is May 1, 2013).
Free Download: Colored Pencil Techniques
Bonus article: Perspective Drawing: Tips and Advice on Creating Realistic Art