Monthly Archives: January 2013

Alternate look at Pencils as an Art Medium

Jennifer Maestre Aurora 7" x 17" x 17"
Jennifer Maestre Aurora 7″ x 17″ x 17″

In my wanderings around the internet I have found these fabulous artists who also use coloured pencils as the medium for their art work, but in quite a different way.  They use the pencils themselves as a medium for their sculpture.  I love the way of seeing every day objects in such a different manner and making art out the materials we use to make art but in a completely different way.

Jennifer Maestre

Aseridae 5" x 24" x 24"
Jennifer Maestre Aseridae 5″ x 24″ x 24″

These sculpture are made by cutting coloured pencils into 1″ lengths, drilling a hole in one end and sharpening the other, then she joins them together using beading techniques to make these amazing pieces.  On her website she describes her work…

The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials. Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature. Pencils are common objects, here, these anonymous objects become the structure. There is true a fragility to the sometimes brutal aspect of the sculptures, vulnerability that is belied by the fearsome texture.

Jennifer Masetre Luna 8" x 11" x 11"
Jennifer Masetre Luna 8″ x 11″ x 11″

Lionel Bowden

He is an Australian artist and has been working for many years with pencil sculptures.   The pencils are glued together then sanded down to create these wonderful shapes.

These images came from the website of Karen Woodbury Gallery, a fabulous Gallery in Melbourne, who represent some great Australian Artists.

Lionel Bawden Esque
Lionel Bawden Esque

Jessica Drenk

Jessica is an American Artist who has worked with standard pencils and makes these really organic muted shapes.

Jessica Drenk
Jessica Drenk

I hope you enjoyed this look at pencils in a different way, it has fascinated me.


Grevillea 5 – Anatomy of the drawing Part 1

Grevillia 5

Grevillia 5

This is the current drawing that I am working on, and as I always find it fascinating to see how others go about constructing their paintings I thought I would show you how I work.

The Photograph

Australian Garden

Grevillea Australian Garden Nov 2011

Most of the time I work off photos that I have taken.  I am not a good photographer and a lot of my photos are taken with the iPhone, but as I am not a botanically correct artist, I don’t require the level of detail that they do.  I am looking for interesting shapes and colours.  I will take a lot of photos of the flower and then play around cropping it until I get a composition I like.  Some times I will join together a couple of bits to get what I want and other times it works in the photo like this one did.

Cropped photo

Cropped photo

The Sketch

I then do a rough sketch on thin paper and get an idea of the shapes and composition of the painting. I like to take particular care on the shapes and the curves of the plants so that painting will have lyrical lines and the shapes are pleasing and give the feeling of the flower that I want to convey.  I also like to show people parts of the flower that they might not take the time to see.

Sketch Ready to transfer to good paper

Rough Sketch

Transferring the Image and Inking up

Once I am happy with the image I will transfer it onto my thicker good quality rag paper.  I like to use heavy paper around 300gsm.  Mostly because I enjoy the feel of this heavier paper and because it handles the paint and doesn’t buckle.  I use the highly technical method of holding the two pieces of paper up onto the window and tracing the back image onto the front.  Once the image is transferred and touched up I usually ink it.  I find if I leave the HB pencil lines they often bleed into the paint and colour pencil work, dulling and changing the colours.

Inking in outline

Inking in outline

Under Painting

I like to under paint my colour pencil work, it gives it more intensity and makes the pencil work quicker, which is helpful in the size of work that I undertake.  Most of my paintings are either A1 or A2 size.  It also gives me a chance to check on the colours to see if they are working and if the overall composition is ok, before I embark on the colour pencil shading.

Under Painting

Under Painting

Shading with Colour Pencils

Now the part I like best, but also the most time-consuming part, shading with the coloured pencils.  I really enjoy taking these flat objects and making them into living moving flowers, bringing out the lovely shapes and colour, it is a little bit of magic.

But this is where I am up to at the present so you will have to wait until I finish before I can show you the last step and how this painting will turn out.


First for 2013 or last for 2012, whichever a recalcitrant painting indeed



Some painting just flow onto the page, there may be a couple of hesitations as you consider colour, technique or composition, but they just work.  Calm, smooth and satisfying, like good quality chocolate.  Others do not, you struggle with them, you struggle not to throw them aside, you struggle to get them to work.  This one was the latter, and I am not sure if it has worked yet or not, we need some time apart for tempers to settle.

It was just plain recalcitrant, what a great word, I had to look it up before I used it, just to ensure that I had the meaning right.  My dictionary said

“resisting authority (that would be me) or control, not obedient or compliant, refractory.  Hard to deal with, mange or operate”.

It started out so beautifully, a dear friend bought me a lovely bunch of Gerberas for Christmas and they were so fresh and happy I decided to paint them.  Trying to find a different take on them I decided to paint one from underneath.

My major issues were

  • Tricky perspective that hasn’t quite worked in the stem.
  • Petal Colour, I really wanted to get the clear soft pink, which I think has worked, but I tussled with the difference between shading and the different colours in the petals.  Still not clearly resolved.
  • The background had a couple of attempts, happy with it, but not sure if I like it more than the white paper backgound of my other paintings.
  • The outline, I used my new Sennelier inks and it was such a gorgeous dark black, but too black and I ended up going over the lines again in grey pencils to knock them back a bit as they dominated the picture.

So I put this one before you, and as I started it in December and finished it in January, not sure were it fits.  Any ideas on it are welcome, we clearly need as much help as we can get to  repair our relationship.  (Or should I not take this so personnally?)


2013 to begin, 2012 to remember

Happy New Year to all the lovely readers of this blog.

Melbourne FireworksHerald Sun Website

Melbourne Fireworks
Herald Sun Website

This is the fireworks in Melbourne last night, I had the privileged position of being on the top of one of the south bank apartments in town, 28 floors up.  We were right in the midst of all these fireworks, an absolutely spell binding view.  We were literally on the roof which was a little scary, but worth it for the show.


My favourite paintings 2012

2012 was such a great year for me, I have restarted my art, which is so exciting in itself and this blog and the generous support of my readers, the comments, likes and views have been wonderful.  When I started I did not know if any one would see it and now I have over 70 followers.  It has kept me going, even when my energy levels have been low and I do not post as often as I would like, this blog and its supporters have made me get back on track so thank you. I still battle with Chronic Fatigue and sometimes I  do not have the energy to draw, paint or write.

I also had my wonderful trip to France which I shared with you, and again because of the blog I was committed to keeping a journal of the trip and it has been so fantastic on many levels.  I did some lovely, quick, loose drawings of the scenes that caught my eye, I have the best keep sake of the trip, I was able to share it with not only my friends and family, but with so many of you out there.  It enriched the whole trip so much more than I had thought.


I am excited for what 2013 could bring, I have a few things on my agenda for next year.  They include

  • Starting to exhibit my work, this is my major artistic goal, though I am not sure how to go about it,
  •  I will start an Etsy Store and see what that brings.
  • I am going to do some relief printing classes, so look out for some prints.
  • Just be grateful to be able to continue to create and share the results and the journey with you.
  • I might even finally figure out Facebook and get my work out on it.

As always I have a great many plans, we will see how the year and the energy goes, but I am hopeful and content with how things are improving.  So thank you for your support and my family who give unstintingly in their support and understanding of me.

Karen x