The Black Board

Close-Up of Colored Pencil - Kathryn Koozer, A Seattle Artist -
People are often surprised when they witness me working on one of my art pieces. And because most of you haven’t seen this I shall explain why this is even relevant.I draw on BLACK. Yes, you did read that correctly, black. Not your typical white drawing paper, cotton canvas, or even paper for that matter. I work on black matte-board.A stiff board is excellent for drawing on as I usually draw on a soft surface… Like my bed, or the floor. If I tried that with paper, well… It would end up just being a real mess, and nobody wants that, nor would anyone wish to purchase it. The boards are also perfect for viewing when they are unframed as you can sit them up and lean them against anything without having to pin, tape, or hold them up yourself.Matte-boards come in different colors. The most common being white, grey, and black. So why wouldn’t I just use a white board for my ground color like any other sane person? Well, other than the obvious response (and some of you would be correct) I would have to answer that I the intensity and depth of the color that results from drawing on black rather than white is huge. It may just be the darkness inside me laying claim to my artistic preferences but there is a noticeable difference in the final product when completed on a black background.

Some may argue that developing color from light to dark is much easier than going from dark to light and that it is the standard and/or most correct way to create an artwork. I would say that is true when working with watercolor. With graphite pencils you can use an eraser, with acrylic, oil, and other paints you can wait till the first layer of paint dries and just paint right over the top with a new color with little or no problem, with textiles you can employ the use of bleaching. With color pencil, as long as you don’t overuse the surface of what you’re drawing on you can generally add more, darker and lighter, colors and shades.

When I begin one of my drawings or collages I start by using the white pencil. It is a light layer and when you’ve worked with color pencils you know that a light layer means plenty of little spaces between the color you just added and the surface you are drawing on.


Close-Up of Colored Pencil by Kathryn Koozer

Close up of the white layer.

After that initial layer where I define shapes I add the color. This is the fun part because this is when the subject gains debth and defines its essence. One thing that you must remember when using color is that the first color you see, for example when you look at grass you see green, is generally not what is there. Don’t misunderstand, there is green in the leaves, but there is also brown, yellow, blue, grey, white, and yes, sometimes even red shades. There is shadow and light and there is a depth to the colors in things that a lot of people aren’t trained to see.


Close-Up of Colored Pencil by Kathryn Koozer

Close up of a finished portion of the drawing.

Objectivity in Progress by Kathryn Koozer

Drawing showing the black board. This is the Iris ColorBlindness Drawing.

So… What color is your canvas?

– Kathryn Koozer

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