Spot the Difference

A first for me - drawing the same picture on two different papers; Pescia and Velin BFK Rives.

A first for me – drawing the same picture on two different papers; Pescia (left) and Velin BFK Rives (right).  Here they are at undercoat stage.

I have not used my new paper, Velin BFK Rives, very much yet.  After two drawings which succeeded, I fell off my horse (so to speak) with the one below.

Joy small size

Though I may have sounded gung ho in my post about chucking out the drawing “Joy” two weeks ago* the fact is I was winded by my fall and my confidence was bruised.  You know what any riding instructor will say when her student falls off?   “Get back onto your horse at once!”

I couldn’t do it straight away.  I didn’t want to ride my new horse, Velin BFK Rives, any more.  I wanted to go back to my dependable old horse, Pescia.  I was curled up on the ground in misery.  I have two pieces of my old Pescia paper left so decided to just go back and do a drawing on one of the pieces.  I had had enough of messing with new papers.  So I began. It felt so good, smooth and silky.  Ahhh – that’s what I was used to. But using the Pescia didn’t make me happy: quite the reverse.  I was drawing on my old Pescia and grieving at the same time – for this paper which I only had two pieces of.  Gosh I was depressed.  I was IN the comfort zone but it wasn’t going to get me anywhere, was it?!

Then I had the idea.  I still needed to go forward.  The BFK Rives was probably not at fault in my failed drawing “Joy”.  It was a compositional problem.  So rather than blaming the paper (the new horse), why not do this current drawing on Rives as well as Pescia?  I will clearly see how both perform with the identical subject and I will surely learn something.

So this is what I am doing.  After mapping in the under-colours on the two papers, I will complete the Rives drawing before working with the Pescia.  Here is the way the Rives drawing looks so far…(still with most of the geisha to layer).

Work in progress on Velin BFK Rives

Work in progress on Velin BFK Rives (detail)

I am enjoying working on the Rives and I feel confident that I CAN work this paper.  It will be fascinating to see the two completed drawings side by side.  Will one be more intense than the other?  Will I be able to get the depth of colour with one that I can achieve in the other?  I will find out – and so will you.

I went right back to a very old photo as source material.  I photographed the image in February 2005 on my old film camera.   I drew it in the same year.  The drawing has not been in my possession for at least six or seven years.  I am not going to look at the photo of my 2005 drawing until I am finished this pair as I don’t want to be influenced by what I did back then.  Finally, when I do check it out, I look forward to seeing if and how my pencil work has changed in a decade.

From feeling hopeless, I am now happy again, sitting astride my new horse and moving forward with her.   “Trot on.”

* The Only Thing I Ever Got From You Was Sorrow is my post a fortnight ago about the failed drawing “Joy”.

Afterword:  September 2015

The finished "Amethyst" on Velin BFK Rives. July 2015.

The finished “Amethyst” on Velin BFK Rives. July 2015.

Version 2 of "Amethyst" on Magnani Pescia. September 2015.

Version 2 of “Amethyst” on Magnani Pescia. September 2015.

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18 thoughts on “Spot the Difference

  1. anna warren portfolio

    Fascinating! This will be such a useful exercise. I do hope that even if you love the drawing done on the Pescia you will love the drawing on the Rives as much. This is something you have to be brave with – if the Pescia is gone for ever if you want to continue you HAVE to find a good alternative – or maybe more than one! I find the difference in the warmth of the papers interesting, I wonder if that influences the colours you choose, or whether you are being completely identical in treatment of each. Something else I like, even at a cursory glance I can see these two drawings are not identical, it is so good to see the hand of the artist at work!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thanks Anna. You raise a good point. That is, the two drawings are NOT identical. I am not slavishly putting a colour here and putting exactly the same colour in the same spot on the other piece. In fact, I cover one drawing completely while I work on the other and just take peeks from time to time. Because I want to be working the way that is right for whichever paper I am using; Rives is Rives and Pescia is Pescia. Each requires its own decisions.
      I really think that this exercise will help me to stop mourning for what I can’t have any more. One realises that resources are finite…as are our own lives! It is a shock to the system when one is forced to look that fact in the face.

  2. kathleen campisano

    Are those papers two different colors? Love to hear how your confidence was bruised, I can so relate!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Kathleen. Both the papers are white – but the Pescia is a cooler white than the Rives. So the Pescia seems brighter than the Rives.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my bruised confidence. I’m sure there will be plenty more falls and bruises in future too. That’s how we continue to learn.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Ann, I am not immune to mistakes in writing. Yesterday I wrote “gun-ho” and only realised after I had published this post that there is no such thing as gun-ho and the word is, in fact, gung ho. I managed to get to nearly 56 years old without knowing that one.

  3. John Z

    Hi Julie. Your honest laments are refreshing to say the least and they help me relate where I oftentimes think I am the only artist who experiences what you experience that is, until I read your Blog. My vision, albeit an incorrect one, is that professionals such as yourself simply put the pencil to paper and the masterpiece begins!

    Although I am what you would consider a beginner, many of my attempts hit the trash bin (and probably with good reason) but I feel I learn with every mistake. Therefore, I am anxious to see where your two attempts end up but more importantly I am interested in your critique of them.

    By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you. . . we are somewhat kindred spirits as my paternal grandmother is from Krakow. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1913. Although I am not Polish, but rather Ukrainian. I am wondering. . . do you make your own Pierogi?! 🙂

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      John, I wondered what the Z stood for.

      I’m no cook! My meals are plain and very British. I’m only half-Polish and as my English mother did 95% of the cooking, I learned her ways. One of my three daughters is an extraordinary cook but the other two are like me – or even worse – in that they don’t care very much for the preparation of food.

      Honest laments are important in this world of blowing one’s trumpet on social media. Who wants to portray him or herself as always right? Some people perhaps, but not me. I’m glad if my mistakes help other people as well. That’s terrific. Thanks for your valuable feedback, John. (Sorry about the Pierogi.)

      1. John Z

        Oh well. Thought you might have leaned towards the Polish side. And I, too, am half Ukrainian and half English (mother’s side). My father was the cook and made all the traditional Ukrainian/Polish dishes for us where I grew up learning how to cook them as well. Nothing wrong with not being interested in preparing food – I know many people who are not. How else would you have become the phenomenal artist you are if you were otherwise preoccupied in the kitchen? 🙂

        Social media is a such a slippery slop, which is why I don’t post much, if anything at all, online – leaves the door wide opened for criticism, which I can do without especially when people tend to think that they’re invisible when they’re online.

        Cannot wait to see the finished pieces, Julie!!

    2. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi again John, I must qualify (important) that I do cook most nights for my husband and the daughter who is still at home. I think my dinners are yummy – and I am conscious of nutrition – lots of veges.
      Regarding social media, there is a coloured pencil site on Facebook that I am part of called CPAL – or in full – Colored Pencil Artists and Lovers. Funny name I know, but there you are. It is a closed group but if you have a FB page, I could send you the portal where you apply to join. The thing is, it is extremely well administered and there are rules – like – only critique a piece if the person who created it asks for it to be critiqued. Members, while they get into hefty debates sometimes, are never ever rude about one another’s work. People respect one another. So I highly recommend joining if you are into coloured pencils, at whatever level.
      PAS (Pencil Art Society) which is Canadian, is also very well administered and respectful as well. I am also a member of that group.
      I spend too much time enjoying communication with members from both groups – I have made some wonderful friends from them and we all have that precious love in common – coloured pencils.
      Yes, social media can be cruel, but NEVER in those two groups. I give you my word.

  4. occasionalartist

    What a fascinating experiment Julie, on so many different levels. I hope it helps you bond with the new paper. I can’t wait to see the results and then see how the two new pictures relate to the old one. Karen


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