July 25, 2018
It’s been a busy summer with lots of exciting news! My biggest thrill was to have the honor of teaching two workshops at the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 2018 convention in Chicago Aug. 2 and 3. I’ll be teaching the participants the advantages of using the Grisaille technique with colored pencil. It is all about creating form and maintaining lively skin tones. The classes filled up immediately and there is even a wait list! If you would like to take a workshop from me there will be opportunities in the near future. Another honor I received was getting my piece, “Made in America” accepted into the CPSA International Exhibition at the Bridgeport Gallery in Chicago. What a beautiful space to be showcased along with so many talented artists. The show will run from July 12-August 19, 2018.
My other news is a biggy…after 26 years of teaching high school art, I am retiring! I’ve waited my whole life to be in the position where I can pursue my life as a fine artist! My mother always told me to make sure I could support myself. She did not want me to be a starving artist. It is very exciting to begin this new phase of my life. Although I won’t be teaching in a public school setting, I plan on teaching workshops around the country, locally, and offer private lessons. More information will be posted on my website about times and locations soon.
This is my piece, Made in America”. It is a portrait of “J”, a student at the high school where I taught. I was walking across campus after school one day when I noticed a tall kid with a striking red afro! I had to do a double-take! He was stunning! I went over and introduced myself as the art teacher and asked him if I could draw him. He agreed to do a photo shoot with me and so the process began. I liked the angle of this portrait because it emphasized J’s height. His facial expression denotes a sense of pride in who he is as an individual. For me, his red hair speaks of the creative spirit of our youth and the need to express it. The red hair, white shirt, and bluish background reminded me of the American flag, but I didn’t want this piece to seem politically motivated, but rather a celebration of the creative youth we have in our country and that we should recognize the beauty and importance of this resource. “Made in America” is 19 x 30 inches using Prismacolor pencils on Stonehenge (fawn-colored) paper.
March 3, 2018
It’s time for an update on my latest adventures. In January, I entered two pieces in the Glendale Statewide art Exhibition. I was delighted to find out that “Cat’s in the Cradle” won first place and the People’s Choice Award! I feel so honored to have been picked out of all of the exceptional work at the show.
In February, I presented the queen of the Renaissance Festival a print of the colored pencil piece I created. Queen Katherine seemed quite happy and surprised by the gift. I took advantage of the day by taking lots of photos to use as references for future works of art. I can’t wait to have some time to begin some new projects!
On March 1, 2018, I was honored with three awards in the Celebration of Artists Exhibition at the West Valley Art Museum. I received 1st place and the West Valley Art Museum Award in drawing for “You Can Make a Difference”. “Mourning Light” received the Mayor’s Award. I enjoyed talking to the arts in the show so much!
November 27, 2017
Get the latest Colored Pencil Treasures from Ann Kullberg! One of my pieces is in this brilliant collection!
November 24, 2017
“Fair Queen”, has been my largest colored pencil project to date. It took four months to draw, measuring 33 x 36 inches, on double-sided matte drafting film. This portrait was inspired by the Queen of the Renaissance festival in Arizona last spring. The light on her face and her intricate costume was a delightful challenge for me. I toned the drafting film with a mixture of Sienna Brown, Yellow Ochre, and Dark Brown Prismacolor Art Stix (colored pencil crayons) and Turpenoid. The solvent melted the colored pencil into a liquid state which could be brushed over the entire sheet of film. Once it was dry, the image could be drawn on the surface and the values could be erased. I know it is strange to talk about erasing colored pencil because it is usually not so easy to do. However, that is why drafting film is the ideal surface to draw on. I use a variety of erasers to get different effects, but the Mono-Zero eraser made by Tombow, is my favorite. With the Sienna Brown underpainting as my base, I was able to lift off portions of the underpainting to establish a Grisaille technique, much like what an oil painter would do. I proceeded to add the local color to the underpainting to get the rich skin tones and royal trimmings. For more contrast, I would deepen the color on the back of the drafting film for maximum depth and contrast. This piece and three other drawings are featured at the West Valley Art Museum until January 6, 2018. The reception for our show, Coloring Outside the Lines, is on Thursday, December 7, 2017, from 3:30 – 6:00 pm. Come see 50 pieces of fine art created by 15 Arizona artists.
September 7, 2017
The Arizona Artists Guild is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year! I’m happy to say that one of my pieces will be included in their exhibit at Sky Harbor Airport from October 2017-May 2018. ”It’s All Up to You”, is a portrait of one of my former students, Jowel. It is a reminder to us all that the future and the choices we make will come from our actions and our attitude. We all have the power to make the world a better place, but it is all up to you. This is piece was created using the “subtraction method” of applying colored pencil to drafting film. The light tones are erased from a medium toned ground and the dark tones are added using Prismacolor colored pencils. The next time you are at the airport in terminal 4 on the 3rd level, check out the exhibit!
May 30, 2017
I am super excited to be sending my piece, “You Can Make a Difference” to Washington D.C. for the International Exhibit hosted by the Colored Pencil Society of America. I hope that people see the powerful message that I am trying to convey with this portrait of one of my former art students, Jowel. I want to send a message to individuals to realize their power in affecting others through their actions and reactions. I hope that people see the kindness in Jowel’s face and appreciate the beauty that I saw in him that day. The texture of his fingers, the lighting on his face, and the movement of his jacket. This piece allowed me to play with perspective and use the extreme size of his hand to grab the viewer’s attention and hopefully, empower the viewer into action, to make the world a better place. The exhibit runs June 10, 2017 – August 6, 2017 at the The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Maryland
March 16, 2017
I was absolutely blown away as my named was called four times for awards at the 2017 Celebration of Artists reception! ”A Time for Peace”, won 1st place in mixed media and the West Valley Art Museum Award. ”Cat’s in the Cradle” won 1st place for drawing and the Mayor’s Award. Both drawings were inspired by my students. I appreciate Erica and Jocelyn so much for letting me use them as models for these unique portraits.
Nov. 26, 2016
The judges at the Arizona State Fair were very good to me again this year! I received the Directors Award for “Abstract Thought” and 2nd place for drawing. ”Behind Rose Colored glasses got first place and the “Peoples’s Choice Award”, and “A Trail Less Traveled”, won third place in drawing. I am so delighted!
Sept. 9, 2016
It’s time to give an update about my summer adventures! The school year is in full swing now, so I’m a little tardy on making some announcements. Four years ago I decided to join the Colored Pencil Society of America with the goal of achieving “Signature” status within a 10 year period. I’m happy to report it only took me 4 years! This past summer at the convention in Tacoma, WA, I received my recognition and credentials. I get to put C.P.S.A. after my name now! It’s such an honor, I feel about as proud as I did after receiving my Master’s degree in Education! I love the medium of colored pencil and look forward to learning more and to continue experimenting with this versatile tool. To top things off, I was lucky enough to win an “Award of Excellence” from the judge for my portrait of Toni Cook, called “Abstract Thought”. I’m so happy that she was such a big hit!
Speaking of hits… ”A Trail Less Traveled “, won “Best of Show” in Tubac, AZ in the “Wish You Were Here” show at Tubac Center of the Arts.
July 20, 2016
I just finished this piece this week I call, “On Pins and Needles”, 14×14 inches. It is 100% colored pencil on Dura-lar drafting film. The interesting thing about working on drafting film, is that it is a semi-transparent support and is very erasable. Because of the smooth texture in the surface, I applied color to both sides to create maximum depth and color saturation. I am intrigued by this new surface and plan to do more in the future.
July 8, 2016
This spring I’ve taken to hiking on the trails of the White Tank Mountains by my home. I take my camera along with me just in case I come across something interesting. The piece I call, “A Trail Less Traveled”, is an example of morning light hitting the cactus and rocks in a way I simply could not ignore. As the temperatures heat up, some of the plants shrivel up and barely hold onto life. Other plants absolutely thrive in the heat, like the little red-tipped cactus. Most people just walk by and not even notice the glorious light, color and texture that is before them. I wanted to challenge myself, so completed this huge colored pencil piece in a three month period. It is 19 x 30 inches. At times the complexity was completely overwhelming and I didn’t know if I could ever finish it. Luckily with a little perseverance and a dash of tenacity, I managed to work it until it was completed. I even met the deadline for submission into the “Wish You Were Here” show in Tubac, Arizona. I am very please to be included in this lovely venue. The reception is July 29, 2016.
May 9, 2016
It is exciting to announce that the portrait of my friend Toni, called “Abstract Thought” has been accepted into the Colored Pencil Society of America’s International Exhibition in Tacoma Washington in July. This is the third year that I’ve made it into the show, so I have finally earned my signature status. The goal is to be accepted three times within a 10 year period. It took me 4 years to complete this task. Each piece of artwork must be 100 % colored pencil. I’m very proud to be part of this wonderful organization and look forward to the convention, banquet, workshops, and reception. It will be fun to rub elbows with so many talented artists!
On another note, I am honored to be included in CP Treasures, Vol. IV with this piece. CP Treasures is a book put together by Ann Kullberg and contains some of the finest examples of colored pencil work. It is so exciting to be published!
March 24, 2016
I was honored in March at the Celebration of Artists Art Exhibition in the West Valley Art Museum in Peoria with a second place win for mixed media. This piece was drawn with colored pencil, markers, white gel pen, and wax pastels.This is a portrait of Hildi, a friend of my Mom’s that I met last summer in the community pool. This portrait is extra special because it was the last time I saw Hildi befor she passed away. Although she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, she always had a sweet smile for everyone she met. I was struck by her timeless beauty and sense of style. The colors of her bathing suit, sunglasses, hat, and reflecting water captured my attention and my heart. Rest in peace, Hildi. You were loved.
Winner of the 2016 West Valley Art Museum Award, “Destiny Awaits” is a portrait of one of my students named, Gisma. This is a colored pencil drawing with a gold leaf background. The gold leaf has oil paint on it to give it an antiqued effect. It seemed like the perfect match to show how she was a contemporary girl with ties to tradition. She was torn between going back to Africa or staying in the United States. Because Gisma means “Destiny”, it seemed fitting to title the portrait, Destiny Awaits”. I hope that I can resume contact with Gisma someday, so I can give her a print of this piece.
November 21, 2015
For the last five months I’ve devoted my energy to drawing twelve portraits in mostly colored pencil. It was a daunting task that was difficult to do while maintaining my high standards in teaching art to high school students, but with the support of my husband, family and friends, I managed to complete it. The twelve portraits will be featured in the Artisans Spirit 2016 calendar, soon to be in print. The originals hang in the Artisan Food Guild Marketplace on 7th Street in Phoenix. Each person featured, was chosen to be in the calendar for their unique passion for their product and their contribution to the Artisan Food Guild. There are three cover designs to choose from. If you are interested in ordering a calendar, click on this link http://artisansspirit.com/
June 2, 2015
Today marks the first time my artwork has ever appeared on the cover of an artist’s magazine. I’m so happy, I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream! I’ve always admired the work of artists who made it to the cover of a publication. It is a sign of acknowledgement that I am truly thankful for. Ann Kullberg has given me such a wonderful opportunity with this special feature! Hopefully, this won’t be the last.
June 15, 2014
My wonderful husband gave me a fancy new camera lens for Christmas last year. I was able to do this precious colored pencil drawing so detailed because of the clarity of the reference photo. This is our dog, Sierra. Can you tell she is extraordinarily cute and spunky? She just loves to play ball and anticipates my every move. She is my little lap buddy whenever I sit at the computer. I had fun trying a new technique on her. I used Prismacolor markers to speed up the colored pencil process. The underpainting with markers probably shaved off 5 hours of labor in building the depth of color and eliminating the paper color showing through the strokes. “Sierra” is currently hanging in the “Blank Canvas” show art Arts HQ in Surprise, Arizona.
September 6, 2014
It is now the end of a very busy summer. Many exciting things have happened so I thought I had better update my blog. While I rested in Alberta, Canada after a hectic school year, I couldn’t help but delve into a colored pencil drawing of a lovely rose bud unfolding from my garden. The delicate colors of pink and white spoke to me of a time in my life that has simple pleasures and innocence. I call this piece, “Morning Blush”. I prefer to take photos in the morning or late afternoon light. Everything tends to have a glow to them. Although this piece is only 12 x 12, I find myself delighted by the simplicity of it. It is currently hanging in Salon 1219.
April 5, 2014
This is a portrait of my father that I completed a few weeks ago using Polychromos Colored Pencils. We set up a photo shoot with the afternoon sun just about to set in his backyard a few months ago. This portrait was a challenge as well as a delight. I loved playing with the warm skin tones versus the cool tones on the shadow side. I entered it in the Celebration of Artists Competition at the West Valley Art Museum in Peoria last week. I was blown away when they announced that I won 2nd place for my drawing called, “Potential”, and third place for, “Dad”. Then I almost came to tears when they named “Dad” as the winner of the West Valley Art Museum Award. I sure wish he had been there to celebrate the honor with me, but he is a little fragile right now. I feel very blessed that he has managed to fight everything from cancer to pneumonia and a fractured spine. I am very thankful for all of the kind remarks from many of the participants of the show.
March 16, 2014
I’m so excited that my drawing, “Fatima” made it into the top 30 of the artFido’s North American Artist Showcase and stayed there throughout the entire contest. I thank all of my friends for supporting me in this endeavor. I’ll be setting up an account through artFido so that my artwork can be seen by a much wider audience and perhaps (hopefully), increase my sales.
Jan. 21, 2014
This is Joan, the subject of my latest commission. Joan passed away about Thanksgiving time last year, but her memory and image will live on. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful woman, I can tell a lot about her, by her face. She had a joyous personality that showed… through her expression… her eyes…her smile….and her bright clothing. I can tell, that this lady enjoyed life. I was very happy to have the chance to know her through the people that loved her. Here’s to you, Joan!
Jan. 21, 2014
Carrie Weldy is portrayed in this oil painting as a vibrant marathon runner with the dream, talent, and determination of an Olympic athlete. With the help of my photographer/son-in law, Johnny Kerr, I was able to capture Carrie in her element. With the morning sun warming her tan skin, she ran with utter joy on the top of South Mountain in Phoenix. The wind caught her ponytail so that her speed was apparent. I love the way her hand glowed with the light behind it. The city behind her will let the world know someday, that this marathon runner is from Phoenix. Carrie is the fourth subject depicted for the Indigenae series. I hope that this portrait will fuel her Olympic ambition. Prints may be available in the near future.
Dec. 20, 2013
Today was my lucky day! I just found out that a fun little piece that I created over the long Thanksgiving weekend won first place in a colored pencil contest. It feels like Christmas came early this year! I call this drawing “El Blanco”. I took my reference photo at the zoo last spring. My subject was quite camera shy. He kept running away from me. I finally caught him in the grass under a tree. The surroundings reflected in his white feathers which was really fun to capture in colored pencil. I used Soho Colored Pencils, a brand exclusively sold by Jerry’s Artarama. They are not as waxy as the brand I usually use (Prismacolor). I was able to layer the color without the need for burnishing. The black Stonehenge paper made the drawing go extremely quickly. I actually completed it in only 4 days!
Oct. 27, 2013
Today I finished a piece from a reference photo I took in California last summer at the Botanical Gardens. The afternoon sun was spotlighting this beauty I have come to call, “Botanical Ballet”. The pink blossoms remind me of the pink tutu I wore as a child at my dance recital. You could even say that the dramatic lighting on the flower looks like mother nature’s spotlight and her garden is the stage. The unusual color combinations attracted me to this “out of the ordinary” botanical specimen with movement of the leaves and the arch of the branches, it is almost like nature’s version of “Waltz of the Flowers”. Hey, what a great title for my next botanical!
Sept 1, 2013
I can hardly believe it’s been a month since my last posting. School started in August so my time hasn’t been my own. I needed a good night’s rest last night to honestly say I was in “The Zone” today. Sometimes everything you touch just works out the way you want it. That is what I call “The Zone”. I had total concentration on my artwork, and after 6 hours of tweaking it, I’m calling it finished. As I worked on it today I came to grips with the fact that I will never be a photo-realist, but that’s o.k. I admire those artists who can capture every detail and mix their colors to perfection and make it exactly like a photograph, but don’t have that skill level. What I do have though, is my own way of capturing an altered reality. I make my subject come alive on a two-dimensional surface with a three-dimensional quality that some will say is better than a photo. I say, it’s just different. It has my artistic voice in it, my mark, my nuance, and my judgment of what I think is beautiful. I can’t wait to see Danielle’s reaction to on Thursday night when she sees her portrait for the first time. Thursday night is V.I.P night at the Clarendon Hotel. It is the grand opening of a new art experience called, “Artel”. It is when the art world and the hotel industry collide!. Indigenae is one of 20 artistic entities performing or displaying their artwork this weekend. It coincides with “First Fridays”, the big downtown artwalk. Exciting stuff! I’ll post pictures of the event soon.
July 30, 2013
Here is a detail of the areas I’ve been working on most. Today I added florescent pink and orange to the red radishes. Notice how the bright colored veggies make the skin not look quite as bright. Like Albert Einstein said, “It’s all relative”. I smoothed out the sky today and blended the skin with the Icarus Board. The Icarus Board is a wonderful aid that heats up the wax enough so that blending can be accomplished with ease. The white gel pen was added to the highlights in the hair to give it shine.
July 27, 2013 It is so exciting to see this portrait coming to life right before my eyes! The Prismacolor Premier pencils glide over the under-painting like a dream. I always start rendering values and color with the eyes because it is so important to get them just right. To recreate the look of moist eyes I used my favorite secret weapon, the white gel pen (Uniball/Signa). The skin-tones are rich and warm, just as I had pictured them. I’ll be working on the sky next.
July 22, 2013 I began drawing my third subject for the “Indigenae” project yesterday, Danielle. It measures 22 x 30 inches on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. I am beginning this piece using the Grisaille (greez-eye) method. This was a method used by the Renaissance artists to establish an under-painting in shades of gray or brown that gave a three-dimensional effect to the subject. I started with the value study in brown, but added violet to give a cool undertone to the shadows that will give the subject rich skin-tones. I am using Inktense Watercolor Pencils for this stage of the drawing, but will switch to Prismacolor Colored Pencils to add subsequent layers. After I add a little more color, I’ll be wetting it with a paintbrush. I love this technique because it gives the affect of a watercolor painting, but for me, much more controlled. I feel the need to tell you about my subject Danielle because she is amazing! Danielle was born weighing only one and a half pounds. It is a miracle that she is alive today, yet she is the one who is making miracles for others. At the age of 10, Danielle had the dream of making a community garden so that the kids at school would not be hungry. This year, at the age of 14, she has been able to make her dream a reality. With the help of a supporting family, friends, and community, Danielle was able to build her garden. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate this special person in a work of art. That is exactly what “Indigenae” is all about! Johnny Kerr was the photographer that helped me take a great reference photo. The low angle perspective and the foreshortening of her outstretched hands give Danielle an important stature. I want the emphasis to be on her big heart and kind soul. As soon as I add the color on top of the values, I hope she will glow with warmth!
July 2, 2013 I see now why many artists call colored pencil work “paintings” instead of drawings. Although colored pencil is a dry medium, when applied in layers and burnished to a saturated color, it is so similar to creating an oil painting, that many people will say, “I can’t believe that’s colored pencil”. I am grateful to organizations such as the Colored Pencil Society of America that help raise the value of this wonderful medium into the realm of the fine art world. Below is my finished painting of “Bill Chester, a Genuine Classic”. I would have never been able to achieve the level of detail in this piece had it not been for the precision of a colored pencil. I hope that Bill will be pleased with the end result.
June 28, 2013 Update on Bill…I find this portrait both a challenge and a delight because of the many textures involved in this piece. The chrome and fender are highly reflective. In the detail below you can see three portraits of Bill counting all of the reflections. Can you find them?
June 25, 2013 I thought I’d share the progress of my current portrait commission for the “Indigenea” project. Indigenea is the name of a concept developed by Roy Allen. Basically, it is the celebration of unique people in a community through art. Here are some detail images of the progress so far on the portrait of Bill Chester. Bill owns a garage that specializes in restoring antique cars. My son-in-law Johnny Kerr, assisted me with the reference photo I used to create this colored pencil portrait. So far I have used Prismacolor pencils, white gel pen, Neocolor I wax pastels, and the Iccarus Board. The image will be 22 x 30 inches mounted on wood, matted and framed to a finished size of 32 x 40 inches. I began with a light pencil sketch of the general features and shapes. I like to begin with the rendering the eyes first because they are the most important part of the portrait to me. If you don’t get the eyes right, there is no point in going on… The paper I used in this portrait is Stonehenge (Kraft). The Kraft color worked perfectly with Bill’s skin tones. For the twinkle in his eyes, I used a white gel pen. It’s a neat trick for getting small white areas to show brightly. The mouth appears to be moist with subtle glimmer on his teeth and tongue. His genuine smile was revealed as he delighted in stories of his passion for cars, wife, children and grandkids. The lines of time are etched on his face that he earned from years of care. I’ve only met the man twice, but I can tell by the brief time I’ve spent with him that he is a genuine craftsman and gentleman. Bill’s shirt turned out to be extremely fun to do. Just as Bill would detail a car, I in turn felt compelled to give extreme detail to every aspect of the man.
Here is a close up view of some of the folds in his shirt. I used many shades of blue which helped me bring out the three-dimensional quality of each fold. The secret to success of drawing a fold is to understand the anatomy of a fold. Notice where the light hits the folding fabric. That is your highlight. Next is the core shadow which of course is the darkest area on the fold. If you look closely, you can see reflect light on the dark side. This is a detail that many beginners miss, but it is crucial. Today I started adding Bill’s surroundings. The yellow Model A car the brick red wall really helped pull the composition together. The primary colors are strong and vibrant, just like Bill!
June 5, 2013 I am absolutely thrilled that my first entry into the International Colored Pencil Society Juried Exhibition was accepted! This is a big deal because o ut of approximately 700 entries, only 125 are chosen for the show. Additionally, My piece called, “Potential,” could potentially (pun intended) be one of the images chosen for the publicity posters and post cards for the show in Brea, California this summer. It was one of seven chosen by the CPSA board to be featured! A step-by step demonstration was featured in Ann Kullberg’s CP Colored Pencil Magazine in May which really puts the icing on the cake! I’ll give an update after the convention in August.
March 19, 2013 My latest portrait called, “Potential”, is a colored pencil drawing of a former student of mine. I tried to capture the edgy character in a dramatic way. The background is scribbled to reflect a graffiti-like style to symbolize the teenage angst that is typical of this age. I’ll be entering this piece in the Colored Pencil Society Annual Juried Exhibition at the end of the month. As a new member of this group, I’m excited, yet nervous about my first entry. There are many extremely talented artists in this group, so I will be thrilled if I even get into the show. I’ll keep you posted!
I’m very excited to announce my first article to be published in Colored Pencil Magazine! The name of the article is “Why Grisaille? It is a four page article describing the Renaissance technique of creating an under-painting using gray, brown, or blue. I show a step-by-step process of building the layers of colored pencil in my newest series of mums drawings.
March 2013 Issue
After my most recent trip to Alberta, Canada, I was drawn to the flowers in the region around my in-laws cabin. All of the flowers in this series I call “The Three P’s”, were found in Roy and Margaret’s garden or their friend’s gardens. I painted them on a grand scale (36 x 40) canvases so that they would be eye-catchers; too big to ignore.