9 Oct 2012

coloured pencils for grown ups?

Of late, I seem to have a bit of a thing with sleeping figures ....people will think that all I do is sleep (I wish!) Perhaps, there is a subconscious associaton with dreams, etc, or maybe it is because I am dying to have a lie down on the sofa and never manage to find the time to do it, or perhaps it is just a picture that popped into my head and as I started, the drawing evolved of its own accord, as generally happens to some extent....

 while you were sleeping
coloured pencil on paper
36.5 x 26 cms unmounted and unframed

This has been a longsuffering piece, started months ago, hiding beneath a cartridge paper block, a box of Derwent pencils and all the paper paraphenalia that the average household accumulates in their kitchen.......

Finally, I have finished it, but it has been a battle.  Since I damaged the corners of the paper, the guillotine had to be called for and the composition sacrificed, but, it is what it is.....

On a more positive note, while I would tweak certain things, probably get rid of the goose? I actually quite like it for it`s, hopefully, being a little bit different.  More than that, I am growing more and more towards a liking for coloured pencils.  While I use them often for sketching, it`s only been in the last year or so that I`ve discovered their potential for finished pieces of work. The underdog of fine art, in many respects, they are, in my opinion, highly undervalued as a serious art medium, especially in the UK.  Any thoughts? 

Perhaps it is the immediate connection we make to childhood scribbles and colouring-in books that is the culprit for that..... Let me say, that  firstly, I value childhood art greatly - the medium used is insignificant, but secondly, we have come a long way from Crayola.  Nowadays, there is a large foray of artist quality, lightfast pencils on the market; check out the price of Caran D`ache Luminance pencils just to see how expensive some of them are!  For the artwork above, I used Derwent Coloursoft and some Prismacolor pencils.

Here are some books (pictures taken from AmazonUK)  that I recommend on coloured pencil techniques.  There are quite a few out there, especially from the USA, but I find these to be a bit more openminded as regards technique and especially style.

For some time now, I have felt strangely guilty, for want of a better word, for using a wide variety of media in my artwork.  I admire so many artists who spend their entire artistic career concentrating on one medium and exploring its full potential.  But I am learning to "listen to my heart", and accept that I am a bit all over the place, so to speak, in my art, much as I am in life as a person.  That is who I am.  I have an idea.  I decide this medium will be best for expressing it.  Halfway through, I have another idea based on the former one, and that another medium would be interesting.  Often, I can`t keep up.  It doesn`t always work out, but not everything does in life....  Rather than fighting it, I am trying to embrace it.  I love oils, watercolours, pencils, collage, printmaking....... they are all unique and each one can say something differently, much like us.  

After reading an article on Oliver Jeffers from Artists and Illustrators November issue, I am heartened to know that many successful artists can be so, in various genres and working in different mediums.  Granted, and especially from a marketing perspective, it is important to find your own style and voice.  As I look over my artwork from the last few years I do seem to see that happening.  It is a slow process and a long journey, but rewarding nonetheless.

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