“Landscape Debris, Lake St Clair” WIP
80 x 37cm – Coloured Pencil on Pastel Board
Coloured pencils have been my preferred medium for the past 26 years. During this time I have come to know my medium well, but I’m still learning and this was well illustrated this week when I took delivery of another 2 brands of pencils to ‘try’. Pencils aren’t my sole medium; I also enjoy painting (acrylics), pastels and digital art, the latter being of particular interest to me.
One of the drawings I am currently working on is a study of a group of sticks and stones from the southern shore of Lake St Clair in Tasmania. I have visited this area many times and completed a number of drawings, but I wanted to ‘re-visit’ this subject after a seven-year break. I have also completed a digital drawing on the same theme and I am presently planning a larger coloured pencil work.
Today’s featured drawing is complex and tedious. It contains several thousand small stones and numerous pieces of wood in an orchestrated arrangement. Why go to such lengths to produce this drawing? Why travel 100s of kilometres, take 100s of photos, make numerous sketches, set up and photograph arrangements of driftwood in one’s backyard? It’s because that’s what artists do! It’s not simply a matter of copying a photo and replicating the image. Artists have to immerse themselves in their chosen subject if they want to be true their profession.
What is so special about coloured pencils? Well, nothing really, it’s just that I have aligned myself with the medium I think best fits the way I think and work. I carefully choose subjects that suit my preferred medium.
Anyone who specialises in this medium would know and identify with my journey so far. I’ve had to face (I still do) prejudice, ignorance and non-acceptance about the merits of coloured pencils. I’ve had work rejected, even had some of my framing methods questioned, but still I ‘keep on keeping on’. I am in this for the long haul and refuse to let such setbacks deter me, although there have been times when I have felt like walking away; it’s these times though that make you stronger and even more determined to press on. I think the fact that I have been drawing for such a long time has seen me develop coping strategies when needed.
Coloured pencils may seem a straight – forward medium to work with, but they do present artists with many challenges. One needs extreme amounts of patience, a strong wrist and the ability to concentrate for long periods. I know this applies to most mediums, but cp can be a challenge to master.
On the credit side, I am always grateful for the awards I’ve won and the art prize finals that I’ve made. Every sale is a bonus, particularly for me as my work is often very personal. I’ve never won a popular vote, but I receive enough positive comments to know that there are people who appreciate what I do.
Recently I was awarded Master Pencil Artist Status by the Pencil Art Society of Canada. I treasure this award; it vindicates all that I’ve achieved over the past 26 years. It has also given me the impetus to plan a retrospective exhibition, hopefully next year.
My advice to all artists is NEVER GIVE UP on your preferred medium. Stay focused, stay determined, keep on track. Explore, investigate and keep your work ‘fresh’ by constantly challenging yourself. Don’t work to a formula because there is a danger that your art will look too familiar. Sales should not determine what you paint, your heart will.
If you are really serious about your art, take your art seriously.