Look Out

“Look Out” – a drawing in Neocolor 2 and coloured pencils. December 2019.

I don’t fall in love with Rome until there is a thunderstorm.

We are exploring Palatine Hill, the two of us huddled under one umbrella.  As we reach a magnificent lookout, the deluge ceases.  Rome, freshly washed, is before us under a dramatic thunder-sky.

As usual I am exclaiming loudly in my excitement.

A yellow legged gull swoops up from below and places himself right there.  (Some people are scared by these enormous gulls – LOOK OUT!)  But I think they are beautiful.

As we regard one another while he poses this way and that, a plan for a drawing is hatched.


A technical note:

Neocolor 2 colour mapped onto the paper, ready to be layered over with coloured pencils.

A light Neocolor 2 underlay makes a welcome base for coloured pencil work, adding soft richness to the drawing.  Only the sharply focused seagull is 100% pencil without Neocolor undercoat.

Fixpencil 0012 by Caran d’Ache fits Neocolor and coloured pencils.

16 thoughts on “Look Out

  1. Brenda Milstein

    Julie what wonderful painting, not only the background and of course the bird but how the tops of that stone wall shows up wet and glossy is fabulous… thanks for sharing your methods with us all its great to more insight into how youve achieved these outcomes ……

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Brenda, my pleasure. I like to share methods. As I mentioned on your FB comment, I left out the bird poo on that stone wall. There was plenty of it as it is obviously a well-used seagull spot. I thought about including it but – no. (Self-censorship.)

  2. anna warren portfolio

    Isn’t it interesting how weather can alter our impressions of place – sometimes we have preconceived ideas of what to expect and that can make for a ho hum experience but then bam! out of nowhere comes a whole new aspect, whether it is sunshine after rain, or a sudden thunderstorm, it freshens our view. This is a great addition to the series of international seagulls, with its own personality, a bit of Roman hauteur. In technical terms, I love the balance of this, the bird occupying its clear space above the sun warmed city, with that wonderful moody sky. Fabulous!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Can I tell you how I see it, Anna? What absolutely lined up in this happy composition were the diagonals going through the clouds, then through the shapes of the ruins and through the seagull’s body position and feathers, and even the stone wall he is standing on. It is the lovely flow of diagonals going in the same direction which makes it work. A clear blue sky wouldn’t have cut it.

      1. Brenda Milstein

        Intersting observation Julie and youre so right. Much to think about with composition that I still need to learn

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        Brenda, the more we look, the more we pick up these compositional elements. And sometimes a particular photo can sit for months or years before one notices that special something. I took the source photo for this in March but it didn’t capture my critical eye until November.

      3. juliepodstolski Post author

        Yes – and a note regarding a comment in your welcome letter today – when I use Neocolor I don’t use a brush like I do with Sennelier or Neopastels. I simply put the colour on with the tip of the crayon. Neocolor isn’t soft enough (I don’t think) to use with a brush.

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