Moonflower Maiden

“Moonflower Maiden” 24x18” graphite on glazed paper mounted to canvas.

I’ve been doing some experimenting with new surfaces to draw on including different papers and ways of finishing drawings. One of my favorite new papers is Strathmore’s Mixed Media paper. I’ve been very pleased to have a paper surface that holds up well to sealing with acrylic medium. I came across the Canson version of a mixed media paper when shopping the other day and decided to give it a try, a decision made even easier since it was a roll vs. sheets and better still on sale.

One of the problems with roll format papers, especially with thicker papers on a smaller roll, is that they always want to roll back up like window shades. They need to relax and flatten out before they can be drawn on. I found this Canson paper to be very resistant to laying out flat so I figured it was the perfect candidate to attempt to mount to a heavy canvas. This is a process I’ve been wanting to try for some time. I know the usual “glue” for this is an acrylic medium but I’ve also read about gesso used as an adhesive and that’s the way I went this time since both canvas and paper were on the thicker side.

The process was simple. I wanted the look of old leather or parchment so allowing for some mild paper wrinkling for additional texture worked out well. Once the paper had been adhered to the canvas surface I applied several passes of colored glaze. Then the prepped piece was left to dry for a solid week while I worked on other projects.

The resulting creation was very nice to work on, if different from the typical paper I’m used to. Very hard with a nice gritty texture, it grabbed the graphite and allowed me to use much harder pencil than I’m used to drawing with, so nearly the entire piece was completed with a 3H pencil! I can’t remember the last time I did a finished pencil drawing with such a hard pencil.

“Moonflower Maiden” detail

One of the best features of this surface was that when complete I could easily seal it with acrylic medium with no worries about distorting the substrate and I may finish with a gloss varnish. In any case, I will have a drawing that does not require a glass covering. It will be as durable a surface as any painting and I think would display well in a floater style frame.

Origin of the Emissary

“Origin of the Emissary” 30x20” graphite with acrylic on Strathmore cold press illustration board.

This drawing was the result of a mixed media experiment and subsequent sketchbook scribble. The first was a mix of acrylic graphite and colored pencil on a small piece of paper. I liked the basic composition and wanted to explore it further in a larger graphite piece. A very quick scribble in my sketchbook provided the basic layout which then evolved as I began to draw.


Drawing began at the bottom of the board with the face, specifically the eyes, (Facebook video link of the way I begin a drawing) then moved up along a central axis, spreading off on both sides as I climbed higher up the surface. I usually leave the details until the drawing reaches a stage where I’m confident that the main elements have been accounted for. Once things are in place I move all around the piece much the same as I would when painting. When the drawing was complete I sealed it with a double application of matte medium. Then the acrylic accents were added, bronze metallic followed with a layer of iridescent gold at the top and cad red for the circular element at the bottom.


“Shaman” 24x18” graphite with colored pencil on paper.

“Shaman” continues my exploration of weaving color through an otherwise black and white or greyscale drawing as I’ve done in “Essence 2”. These drawings require a bit more planning than some of my other drawings as the areas where the color will be applied have to be mapped out so I don’t cover the area with graphite. I’ve also tried to keep the color looking light and transparent, with graphite peeking through here and there, even though some areas of colored pencil application are fairly dense.