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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Happy Summer Solstice

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Happy First Day of Summer!

Colored pencil and acrylic portrait of a Doberman, with a spring flower meadow and Mt. Rainier in the background, and "Happy Summer Solstice" lettering

This artwork is a portrait of Doberman “Party” that I created for Emily M. in 2020. Several flower species were included that have special meaning to Emily. In the background is Mount Rainier, a favorite place where Emily and Party liked to hike.

How it was made

Most of my art is done with Prismacolor colored pencil. Party and all of the landscape - the meadows, trees, and mountain - were done with colored pencil on "Hemp" Canson paper, an orangey-beige paper. That paper color was chosen to give the whole piece the warm golden glow of morning sunrise on an alpine meadow in early summer. The sky was masked off before I started on the figure and landscape, and painted with opaque acrylic paint to give a rich clear blue sky, completely covering up the orange paper. I rarely use acrylic opaque like that, although I often use it thinned with water, transparent over the underlying paper color. But there is no way to get a smooth sky like this with colored pencil, and a transparent blue over orange paper would only have given a muddy grey. (Blue + orange = "mud".)

So in this case I chose to go completely solid with the blue paint. I created a smooth gradation from pale blue in the lower right to a mid-range blue in the upper left. I did that by masking off the figure and landscape to preserve the paper, and then applied two coats of acrylic paint with long, sweeping, horizontal, back-and-forth strokes, blending the shades of blue smoothly into one another before the fast-drying acrylic paint could dry, with a very large brush, so there would be no visible brush strokes in the sky.

21 x 19 inches

Prismacolor pencil and acrylic on Canson paper

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