What Medium Do You Use?

Frequently, people ask me what medium I use and assume my paintings are done with just that, oil or acrylic paint.  However, I have worked exclusively with colored pencils and pastels/pastel pencils since the start of my art journey.  While I drew in high school, I put off my interest in art for many years until recently (the past few years) when I decided to dive in again and give it a try.  At the time, I was just drawing for me/the sake of drawing, but I soon got strong reactions from my family and friends about my finished pieces and even offers to purchase what I had drawn, so I started to think about art more seriously.

Since the beginning, the majority of my work has been with colored pencils.  These are not the colored pencils you may remember using as a child with your color-by-number sets.  These are professional-grade pencils that are made for artists.  Some are waxed based and some are acrylic based — basically paint in a pencil.

With colored pencil, you can achieve a painterly affect or your drawing can also be very detailed with colored pencils, in essence, you can create a hyper-realistic/photo quality  (if you are talented enough, and I’m still working on that).  You apply many layers of color to achieve these effects, sometimes 8-10 or more layers of color within a single piece.  These layers can then be blended together.  Colored pencil artists use a variety of means.  Some blend with the colored pencils themselves, others use a blender pencil created specifically for this purpose, others use a blending solvent; I prefer Gamsol — an odorless mineral spirit (or commonly known as OMS).  I use pastels or Pan Pastels for backgrounds when I am going for a blurry or “Bokeh” effect.

My art pieces are always finished off with several layers of spray fixative.  I prefer the one sold by Brush & Pencil or another by Krylon, but there are many fixatives on the market to preserve your artwork.  Some of my friends even use varnish to finish their pieces.  I haven’t dived into using paints for several reasons:  I love colored pencil, they travel well and aren’t messy, but with paints — they are messy, you have to wait for them to dry before you can do more work on a piece, and, knowing me, I’d spend a fortune on supplies if I tried them and liked them, and my current artwork requires its own art supplies, and I’m perfectly happy working in colored pencils — in fact I love them.

Currently, I use many, many different brands of colored pencils, but there seems to be a number of “go to” pencils that I reach for the most:  Faber Castell Polychromos, Caran D’Ache Luminance, Prismacolors, and Derwent Lightfast, Inktense, and Coloursoft pencils, among others.  Next, I will be writing about some of my favorite “gadgets” to use with colored pencils.  Stay tuned!

Saving Animals, One Print at a Time

As I’m relaxing on this special Thanksgiving Day 2018 awaiting a full course dinner at my sister’s house, I can’t help but reflect on all the blessings and things I have to be thankful for, even despite all the chaos in our world today. As I was perusing our local paper this morning, I was shocked to find a half page article about ME and my art. You can imagine my surprise!

While I’m incredibly thrilled and humbled to be featured, I am even more thankful that the reporter, Mary Compton, took the time to listen to my story and share it and spotlight the plight of the animals and the important role people play to the health of our earth and the life in it and preserving it for generations to come.

We are all a part of this living earth, and we can all make a difference. Can you imagine elephants or lions going extinct in our lifetime? It’s unbelievable to me, but a real possibility without intervention and action by the greatest predator, humans.

And while these amazing animals live far away and are not part of daily reality, they are living, breathing creatures who play an important role in the delicate balance of their ecosystems, and they also deserve to live out their lives without the threat of homes and habitats destroyed or being killed by poachers.

I am most thankful that through my art I can both bring attention to these amazing creatures and their stories, as well as donate back to a number of my favorite charities to help fund important work and animal rescues.

I hope you all have a safe, warm, blessed Thanksgiving (for those who celebrate it) and will consider giving a small gift this holiday season to help a worthy organization that works on behalf of animals or the environment– whether a local shelter or a prominent national organization–the are many of them.

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season!

Starting to Get Rolling

I have been doing artwork professionally now going on three years.  It has been an interesting journey, which started out as a simple hobby after my husband gifted me with a full set of 120 Faber Castell Polychromos artist pencils.

I was interested in art and drawing throughout high school, but life just got in the way and I drifted away from it.  Through Facebook, I began to see many wonderful works of animals, which drew me in, as I am an avid, lifetime animal lover, but it also stirred my art interests again — I said “I think I can do that…”

I began with several larger animal works of Big Cats, a lion, clouded leopards and an Amur leopard.  I got unexpected, strong favorable reactions from friends and family to the then ‘hobby’ pieces I had done, with lots and lots of encouragement.  Not long after, I won an award for one of my pieces and got an unsolicited offer to purchase one of my pieces of artwork, and I then started to think about my artwork my seriously.

While it is taking me time to slowly grow my art business and remains very part time, as I still hold a very important, more-than-full-time job, I have slowly been able to grow my portfolio and make my art available through my website, Facebook page, and merchandise through Redbubble.com.  And, this week, some of my limited prints are available at OOAK boutique shop in Three Oaks, Michigan which sells unique, one of kind merchandise.  I really feel like things are starting to gel.

It is still more about my personal enjoyment than about the money, and I hope that it always stays that way.  Through my art, I am able to satisfy my creative desires, while enjoying the many wonderful creatures with which we share the planet, and am able to de-stress and unwind while doing it.  I hope you continue with me on my journey, as I’m sure there is much more to come.