Unusual use for a pet heating pad

by Carol

I bought a pet heating pad recently, but not for either of my two dogs.

Instead I am using it as a piece of art equipment!

My favorite medium for producing art works is the humble colored pencil. Yes, the one that we all used as kids and which we called a "pencil crayon"!

Well actually I don't use the kiddies version but more expensive artist pencils, which have a higher lightfast rating, and more pigment. A number of companies produce these around the globe. There are however, two different types, of which only one will work on the heating pad.

The pencils that will not work are oil based. Of course my first complete set of 120 colors were this type, and although I love working with them in the straightforward way, the heating pad is of no use here.

A little later I purchased another complete set, this time over 130 pencils, which are wax based.

My process consists of plugging in the heating pad, allowing it to warm up, and then laying my drawing paper on top of it. The outline of my picture has already been drawn onto the paper with graphite pencil at this point.

I then start working with the colored pencils. The wax in the pigment starts to get softer and melt into the paper as I draw on the heated surface. This makes it easy to spread the color around and blend it into the one next to it, giving really soft transitions.

With normal colored pencil work you have to add layer after layer to build up a solid base where the paper no longer shows through the color. By using the pet heating pad the time involved in creating an artwork is significantly reduced.

What's more, the work ends up looking as though it was painted rather than drawn.

I got this idea after seeing an "invention" by a lady called Esther Roi, who paints marvelous pictures of colored rocks and pebbles on her special Icarus board. Although I would love one of her boards, as it has hot and cold areas, the pet heating pad works well for me and is a lot cheaper!

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