Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

Hey Everyone,
I’ve officially completed the Eastern portion of Canada with my latest piece inspired by Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been juggling a number of other projects this month so I’m happy I was able to complete this before month’s end. This piece included one of my favorite birds the Atlantic Puffin so it was an extra special piece for me this time around.

If this is the first post you are seeing in this series, you can read more about it on my previous posts here. Now on to the symbols represented and a few process shots.

The title of the piece is a translation of the Latin Quaerite prime regnum dei which is the official motto of Newfoundland & Labrador. 
Bird – Atlantic Puffin
The North American population of this bird almost exclusively makes its home in the province. The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve South of St. John’s boasts the largest colony of this well-known provincial symbol.
Flower – Pitcher Plant
Notably the most unusual of all the provincial flowers, the pitcher plant was chosen at the floral emblem in 1954. This insect-eating plant was chosen by Queen Victoria and appeared on the island’s penny until 1938.
Tree – Black Spruce
Though not actually black in its coloring, the blueish-green tree was named as a way to identify it from other types of spruce trees in the region. It was adopted at the official tree in 1993 and appears on the Labrador flag as it is the tree most found in there.
Animal – Caribou
The woodland caribou is not the official provincial animal but I felt represented an animal that is common to the boreal forest landscape especially found in Labrador. The caribou is also an animal that has a popular association with typical Canadian wildlife.
Other –  Water/Rocks
The presence of water and rocks was included in this piece as a reference to this being a coastal and partially island province.

“Seek Ye First the kingdom of God” 11×14 in Colored Pencil, Ink and PITT Pens on Hot Press Watercolor Paper 2017.
All images copyright Barb Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.

To be completely honest I don’t have much for the process on this one cause it came together rather quickly and was completed just as quickly.  My initial sketch was quite different than I ended up with but I really wanted to show the puffin flying. Although it looks quite similar to a penguin, unlike them, the puffin can actually fly. I thought it was important to show that for people who may not be familiar with them. That decision then informed the rest of composition needing to change to still feel balanced.
This piece aside from New Brunswick had one of the most limited color palettes. I still ended up using around 35 colors but that is significantly less than in some of the other pieces.  Using the Faber-Castell PITT pens and Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils was a huge part of laying down my base colors and tones. Using this process has made the colored pencil rendering and details much more expedient. Upon researching the Pitcher Plant I also discovered that my typical wreath-like motif I was creating with the provincial flowers wouldn’t be appropriate for this illustration. The plant is in part characterized by these long beautiful stems and colorful foliage at its base. It seemed like an inaccurate representation of just how unique looking it is showing just the flower.

This also presented a challenge for how to round out the bottom area of the illustration. At first,
I thought I would let the elements round out the bottom the way I would have if there were flowers there, but I decided in the finished piece to create a more defined edge/border using
the landscape.

We’re in the home stretch now, thank you so much for sticking with me on this creative adventure! Next up the Northern territories!

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Prints available in my Society6 shop!


Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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