Three New Bits of Colored Pencil Art

After finding out I’d been chosen to show my work as part of the Clackamas County Arts Alliance’s Artist Exhibit Program, I thought (mistakingly as it turns out) that I had to have the art I would show ready by the end of the year. I kicked myself into gear, made a list of pieces I wanted to complete, and prepared myself up for some serious hand cramps.

My hand was quite happy to find out at the AEP orientation last week that I would probably still have a few months to add to my stash of artwork. Still, I had some pieces that were centimeters (literally) away from completion and, with only a slight cramping of my hand, I managed to finish them ahead of the deadline I’d created for myself (I am a rather mean boss to myself).


Blue Car

Blue Car is the third of my Cars series (the first two being Yellow Car and Red Car – sorry I’m not very clever with naming my art) and I think it was the biggest challenge of the three. The main challenge was that grill. I knew I did NOT want to draw out every single little square, so I needed a lazy-girl’s way of making squares, leaving the border of the square light, while the inside of the square was dark.

I never want to see a blue pencil again!

I never want to see a blue pencil again!

That lazy way was to impress the grid of the grill by laying tracing paper over the bristol then  using a straight edge to draw a bunch of lines. Color over the impression and the white outline is left. Voila! A grill is born! It didn’t come out perfect, but I also didn’t go insane drawing hundreds of little boxes. This technique also worked well on the screen of the horn.

Reference photo by Steve McIntyre.


I’m not thrilled at how this one came out and it’s very unlikely it will be included in my AEP exhibit, but you gotta show the bad with the good, right? The photo was taken on my recent trip to Maui. Our vacation rental had a huge plumeria tree (along with mango trees, banana trees, and more) in full bloom that was just begging to be photographed and drawn.

colored pencil art, plumeria

I boosted the color of the scan to try to darken the background, but that makes the flowers overwhelmingly bright. Sigh. Time for a do over!

I should have gone with a lighter background, but I really love the drama of dark backgrounds. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get the dark to intensify and it came out rather dull. The flowers came out good though and I’m sure I’ll be taking stab at these again sometime.

Reference pic.

Reference pic.

Fall Leaves #1

I really hate fall. It’s messy and icky. However, this year the leaves in my neighborhood and my yard had some great colors going on. I spent a lot of time walking around the neighborhood taking pictures of leaves on sidewalks (quite possibly looking like a complete nutter), but the best candidates for future drawings came from arrangements I did with leaves I’d picked up out of my yard.

Reference pic.

Reference pic.

The leaves for the the first piece, however, were brought home by my husband. I not only loved the color, but I liked the shapes as well (they reminded me of little starfish).

colored pencil art, leaves, fall, autumn

The scan of this one doesn’t do it justice – it either comes out too saturated or too dull, but I’ve tried to adjust it to make it as close to the true colors as possible.

After the dark background disaster of Plumeria, I wanted to keep the background of this one light and just add shading to give the leaves a slight 3-D effect. I have a few more pictures in the queue waiting to add to this series and I may try this one again with a dark background when i feel brave enough.

A Bit of the Process

I have fun taking pictures of my work as it’s progressing since the pics are something easy to share on social media. Here’s a few…

I usually work from the left top corner, but after the grill and the horn, I wanted to do some of the "easier" stuff on the car.

I usually work from the left top corner, but after the grill and the horn, I wanted to do some of the “easier” stuff on the car.

Why I kept going after the background disaster, I will never know.

Why I kept going after the background disaster, I will never know.

One more leaf to go!!!

One more leaf to go!!!

Next Piece?

So what’s next? I was going to work on a piece I started a while ago based on a photo from my neighbor’s garden (they really have a nice yard) and on an owl I’ve been dying to do. But after doing so many “realistic” drawings, I really need a break from the tedium of trying to get everything photo-perfect, so my next piece is going to be a little more fun and a bit more doodle-y abstract-y. After that, back to the realism.


* * *