Thursday, August 26, 2010
I'm reading Colored Pencil Painting Bible by Alyona Nickelsen, and she recommends using a solvent to blend colored pencil. She compares colored pencil pieces of today with those of 20 years ago, and she says that today's artwork appears more painterly with "paper surfaces...now completely saturated with rich and vibrant color". This she attributes greatly to the use of solvents to blend colors. She lists Best Klean, odorless mineral spirits, turpenoid, Weber turpenoid, and Zest-it. She recommends Gamsol, an odorless mineral spirit, saying it leaves no yellow residue and does not permeate healthy skin (this is the only solvent she uses). The only solvent that I had on hand from her list was turpenoid which she says has a "light yellow color, but doesn't stain the paper." A couple artists on the Wet Canvas blog also suggested isopropyl alcohol, so this is what I used and applied it with a brush and a rubbing motion. An artist on Wet Canvas uses a Q-tip to blend colors, but my piece is only 5" by 7 1/2" and I was afraid I would lose some detail.
There is a difference between the top photo (before solvent) and the bottom photo (after solvent). If you click on the photos to enlarge them, it is somewhat easier to see the pencil strokes are blended. In the demonstrations in her book, Alyona may use the solvent wash more than once on a painting, and she also burnishes with white or a colorless blender (which she calls " a required tool in the colored pencil painting technique"). I've used the colorless blender on many colored pencil paintings.
I found that the pencil color coat lost its sheen after using the alcohol to blend strokes. Now I will go back to adding more layers.