The Prettiest Star

“The Prettiest Star” coloured pencils, 23 x 23 cm. September 2022

In the past I have written about “undercover white” (Click on the underlined words to see the post). This is my method of putting a layer of white underneath colour to increase its glow and luminosity.

In this drawing I did something different – and for the first time. I put a light layer of grey underneath all of the surroundings (but not under the bird himself) before putting colour layers over the top. I did so because I wanted the background to be exceedingly muted. My hope was that the purple-backed fairy wren, with his pure un-greyed colours, would stand out from all the rest.

I drew the same bird several months ago. “Beautiful Bird” sold earlier this year but I liked him so much that I did another drawing of him for my April 2023 exhibition.

In the latest drawing “The Prettiest Star” (thank you, David Bowie, for the title) the bird is slightly inclining his head towards the viewer.

Here is the drawing I did last December. Both drawings are sourced from a photo-burst I took of him while he stood still for at least two seconds. Purple-backed fairy wrens don’t hang about for long.

“Beautiful Bird” December 2021

3 thoughts on “The Prettiest Star

  1. anna warren portfolio

    Your technique has really worked! I would never have known if you hadn’t mentioned placing the grey below everything but the bird, but he is really popping out, yet still is ‘in’ the landscape. These little birds have such character don’t they, and always on the go. Another beauty!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Actually, Anna, I think it was you some time back who mentioned the grisaille technique. While this isn’t exactly it, because there is colour on top, I’m sure your mention of it planted a seed.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        That’s interesting! I do remember mentioning it. It is a good way of establishing tonal values at the beginning of an artwork. Of course the classical way of using it is with oil paint, then building layers on top, but clearly it works with pencil too!

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