All the World’s a Stage

“All the World’s a Stage”    Neocolor II and Luminance.  32.5 x 48.5 cm.  August 2020

All the world’s a stage...” as William Shakespeare wrote – but it would be a mistake to think that only humans are performers.  The Yellow Legged Gull stands centre stage on Palatine Hill in Rome.  He parades his gleaming health, strength and character amidst this imperial setting.  The sound and lighting are brought to us by Jupiter, Roman god of sky and thunder, who provides a stupendous thunderstorm.  It is a grand drama and we come away wet through and thoroughly satisfied.

The completed undercoat stage drawn with Neocolor II.

A note about art materials:

A new colour selection of Luminance pencils

In July 2020 Caran d’Ache launched a set of 24 colours to add to the other 76 colours of their Luminance lightfast range.  I used these extensively in the making of this drawing.  While the collection is marketed as a portrait set I also find the colours perfect for all aspects of landscape.

I particularly want to mention no. 639 Dark Indigo.  In the image below there is a patch of dark indigo to the left of a patch of black.  This is such a useful colour because it is as intensely dark as black, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t dull other colours when used in layering the way that black can, because it is BLUE, albeit an extremely dark blue.  It is the darkest dark blue of all coloured pencil brands I have ever come across.  Dark indigo is liberally used throughout this drawing.   I have used it with minimal pressure on the light tones and with heavy pressure on the bird’s darkest feathers.   It is a colour enhancer as opposed to a colour oppressor.

“All the World’s a Stage” is undercoated in Neocolor II wax pastels with Luminance coloured pencils worked into, and layered over, the top.

Here are the full 100 Luminance colours.  These are my light-fast tools…





14 thoughts on “All the World’s a Stage

  1. Jeannie Beauchamp

    Dear Julie – I had wondered why this seagull must take centre stage, but once I saw it close up I realised – this bird with its deeply contemplative eye (especially), its stance, and its white, black, red and gold draw the whole scene together in expressing, to me, the grandeurs and ironies of history.
    Thank you also for the colour information and table – very useful indeed.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Oh yes – I love your interpretation. Having the Colosseum as part of the composition helps that idea – a crumbling edifice from bygone (violent) days. I thought of the concept of time in this work: one brief moment (a posing gull) in eternity. I see the eternal most in those distant purple hills. The thunderstorm has another scale of time – an event which happens over half an hour or so – brief but turbulent.
      And then there is the time taken to draw the piece – six weeks. Not a moment, but not eternity either.

  2. anna warren portfolio

    The first thing that I noticed when looking at this drawing was the three dimensional quality – the seagull really does sit out from that moody, stormy city below. He is sovereign of all he (or she) surveys. This of course is testament to your skill in using colour to create not only form but a story too. It is a really great drawing. As you know, I have just invested in the portrait set of colours, and with the previously lost set of 16 now have a good range, as there are no duplicates, so I am particularly interested in the technical aspects. I have just started a new drawing and am enjoying the ease with which I can build colour – the Indigo is a key ingredient! My previous drawing used Polychromos, which I like too, but it took a lot more work to build colour. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Anna, I just love sharing thoughts about art materials – especially my FAVOURITE art materials. It is a pleasure to think that you (and hopefully other artists) are finding my words useful.
      As to the skill in creating the 3D effect, let me tell you that this didn’t happen with ease. In my experience some drawings magically resolve but others are a grim and protracted battle. This one falls into the latter category. But I’m not complaining because a challenge is a very good thing. I was sad at times to think it might not work out but at the same time I felt acceptance that to push boundaries means surrender to the real possibility of failure. Every drawing is a tightrope but some more than others. During this one I wobbled significantly while on the high-wire act!

      1. anna warren portfolio

        I have only just seen your reply (I must remember to tick the box for getting an email about replies). You know, I have seen you say you don’t teach and yet you really do, with the information you so generously share. You give me a lot of ah ha! moments! It is interesting isn’t it that some drawings glide along, behaving just as you intend and others fight back all the way. This one may have fought you, but it has resulted in a particularly good drawing, which is often strangely the case I find. There is more satisfaction in rising to a challenge.

  3. Robyn Varpins

    this bird is really captivating, and you have honoured her/him with your careful attention. It is a stunning portrait.

  4. lauraslittlecorner

    Hi, dear Julie, I was thinking of you, all these months… I had no time/mind to comment, but today I’ve recalled the new Luminance set, so I’ve googled it and finally I’ve come here, to you, to visit your art blog again, after a while. I was hoping you would have written (and drawn) something about the new colors, and so you did. The drawing is so bright and conveys so much light, that I can imagine the air around, and the subject stands out so fine respect to the background. He seem so proud and, yet some melancholic. Thank you also for what you have written about the new coloured pencils, I was so curious and your colour chart is amazing. Perhaps you know why there is a 20 set plus 4 additional colours and not a 24 set? Thanks in advance.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Laura, it is so nice to read your comments today. I have no idea why there are 24 new Luminance colours but box sets that fit only 20. As there were already 76 Luminance pencils, Caran d’Ache needed another 24 to make up 100. I am expecting, therefore, box sets of 100 pencils to be available perhaps even for Christmas. But why they didn’t make boxes to fit 24 I don’t know.
      It is interesting that you see a melancholic look in the seagull’s expression because I am feeling quite melancholic these days. The news is always so miserable that it is very difficult not to be affected by it. I feel just at the moment as though I have completely run out of ideas for art. I hope this feeling is temporary. Otherwise I will never draw again!

  5. lauraslittlecorner

    Hello, dear Julie, I’m defintely on the hunt for the 20 + 4 set. 🙂 About melancholic look, several moods happen to live inside of us in the same time, I guess what’s happening doesn’t help. Your feeling is surely temporary. 🙂 And you’re going to portrait beautiful cats, seagulls, a lot of beautiful places, flowers, if you want. And, thinking of the paper, thinking of the coloured pencils, you’ll surely want to hold them and start to use them, as it were a struggle for regaining life.

  6. Adeyam Tsehaye

    Hi Julie, great post! I used your super helpful colour chart to buy a selection of luminance pencils. Very happy with my choices, thank you!


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