“St. George’s Island, Lake Sorell, Tasmania”, coloured pencil.

We’ve all grown up to know and love coloured pencils. They were probably introduced to you as a child following your first forays with waxed crayons. Most adults don’t give coloured pencils (CPs) a second thought these days and as for seeing CP art in galleries, well that’s just not on! Or is it?

Attitudes are all to do with education. As a CP artist I have experienced the frustration of having people walk past my work without giving it a second glance. I’ve heard the comments, I’ve watched people stare into the frame and try to work out what the medium is. When they are told they often reply “Oh, it doesn’t look like coloured pencil”. What’s all that about? It’s about how we perceive things, it’s about how educated we are, it’s about our understanding and appreciation of the vast array of art forms on offer.

The more people see CP work, the better. The cleverer the CP artist, the more acceptable is the work because it challenges and excites the viewer. Unfortunately, too many people demand realism and detail ahead of feeling and emotion in the art they “like”. CP does not have to compete with other art mediums, it’s simply another way of art expression. Sure, it has its limitations, but so do all other art mediums. This however, should not stop the CP artist from stretching the perceived boundaries of the medium.

YOU DON’T COLOUR-IN WITH COLOURED PENCILS, YOU PAINT. This is where the general public and the CP artist differ. People think back to their childhood when confronted by CP drawings. If on the other hand, you are clever enough, the work will speak for itself.

I am continually amazed and encouraged, even excited by some of the work I see from CP artists from around the world.

CP is not over-rated, it’s under-rated and under-appreciated!


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. Chelsea says:

    I agree CP’s are brilliant…
    CP (Chelsea Parsons!!)

    • artkleko says:

      I’m glad somebody else does Chelsea! I am writing a book about my “struggle” with coloured pencils which I hope to complete in 12 months.

  2. Lorraine McNeair says:

    I have seen some incredible art done with coloured pencils – all done so well that people have to ask what medium. As you say Richard, it doesn’t have to compete with other mediums – it holds its own. Unfortunately, it would not be for me, as I think the artist with CP would have to have exceptional patience.

    Lorraine McNeair

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