Here’s a small (5×7) colored pencil on smooth Bristol. I enjoyed working with the birds and ribbons theme and have finished four: Wren, chickadee, oriole and cardinal. Here they are at a glance and you can see the gallery here.

After these, I was still interested in the ribbons but trying to find some other way to work with them. My perceptive and idea filled friend over at Wholly Piecemeal suggested eggs as being related to birds and knowing I love their shape and texture. That was brilliant and resulted in the ribbon nest above. I like how delicate and fragile it appears as well as the contrast between the neutral eggs and the aqua ribbons.

I’ve got one more egg and ribbon piece – larger at 8×10 –in progress but I can feel the colored pencil phase is ending.  I’ve got the urge to paint again and have already started playing around with something new and will show that soon.

About the pencils: Most of us have our favorite brands and favorite colors in those brands. I’m pretty well invested in Prismacolors having used them for years with a good sized (read: a LOT of pencils) collection as well as being very familiar with the colors and how they perform. Well, the manufacture has changed and the cores (can’t call them lead after all) are different. Because I have so many old ones I can readily compare them to the newer pencils.

I’ve noticed the newer pencils seem softer and the cores are much more variable in how well centered they are which makes keeping them properly sharpened a trial. The blenders in particular (I know some people hate them, but they work for me) are more fragile and brittle – impossible to keep a point.

Am I the only one? What pencils do you use? I’m not sure about changing brands now, but information is always good to have. Please, let me know, I’m curious.

PS Don’t forget to get your cardinal greeting card – that’s him over there on the right – because his last day is the 31st.