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Vase with Tomatillo thoughts

I finished the small vase with tomatillo (7inches by 10inches), but if your monitor shows an incredibly brilliant scarlet background, it’s really tomato color. The towel is not as harsh, either. Everything really is bright and strong, but some monitors are showing a background that would start a fire alarm.

I’m going to add to my thoughts about Derwent, below.

Well, I’ve worked this to the stage where I want someone else to take it and finish it for me.

I’ve got to improve the shadows and bring everything to a finish.
But about the Derwent Lightfast pencils and paper:
The pencils smudge and blend. Nice. I like the amount of titanium white in the white pencil. It’s actually able to lay down some opaque white over the colors. Maybe not every color. Maybe not every time.
I’m doing a warm color scheme and loving the warm browns. Ruby Earth and Sepia, Venetian Red. Yum.
I’m using some green browns on the vase, Light Bronze and Seaweed. (Oh, that really is a tiny vase. It’s a knickknack I have.)
So far, the pencils all lay down smoothly. No grittiness, no drag.
The swatches in the window have experienced a little smudging. I’ll have to account for that when I evaluate their lightfastness in August.

The pencils are very strong. I’ve dropped them on concrete several times and they haven’t broken. I’ve pressed down very, very hard on the background and they haven’t broken.

The tendency to smudge a little makes them painterly. I just have to try to lift my hand off the paper. I’m using scrap paper under my hand when I think about it. (But does that help enough?)

I think they’re going to last longer than I expected. I’ve only sharpened a few times. I used very strong pressure with the pencil “Strawberry” on the background, but I’ve never sharpened it.

Putty used as a kneadable/kneaded eraser does a wonderful job lifting color.

The Derwent Lightfast paper doesn’t seem quite as tough as some watercolor paper. I can incise a line when I use only somewhat heavy pressure. That may be a feature, not a bug. A lot of pencil colorists use that as a technique. And I’m using that to inscribe some skinny lines in the vase with my 0.5 mm. mechanical pencil.
So if burnishing requires flattening the tooth of the paper, that’s not a chore. And the paper takes more color afterward.
By the way, burnishing is lovely.
When wetted, the paper turns up and stays up at the edges. But it’s not painting paper. It’s meant as drawing paper. It probably wouldn’t even happen if I had taped that practice paper down.

It seems to take the color evenly enough and hasn’t stopped taking layers. I like the paper fine so far, except for the that fact that my stick eraser incises a line. I DON’T like that, because if a drawing doesn’t require erasing, it’s not my drawing.

I’m not going to use a solvent. Not only do I not see a need, I don’t think I like the idea.

After I finish it, I am going to use Grumbacher Final Fixative, matte, to seal it from smudging. Though, I can only finish if I can stop eating the props – the apples and the tomatillos.

Unfinished Vase with Tomatillo. Colored pencil.
Almost, but not quite finished
Small vase with tomatillo - Moon 2021
Finished-warm color scheme trial

Link to the pigment info:

Link to the paper stump I’m using:

Categorized as Art


  1. Hello Cindy! A very nice picture! I also like the goat you created in lilac hues.
    You talked about the difficulty of blurred backgrounds. I fought with this problem, too. Now I use the following technique: I draw with Coloured pencils on Pastelmat and use oil as a primer! Then I spread paint with a brush. It’s not unhealthy like solvent and you can use it like oilpaint, but with the details the pencils enable. It has to dry several weeks, and hardens out. I recommend safflower oil, walnut oil and linseed oil tend to yellow in the dark. Currently I try sunflower oil, it is supposed to yellow the least but has long drying times.


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