by Elena Adam
I am absolutely sure that everything in life comes to me at the best time, at the best place and in the best way. Colored pencils definitely did! They found me one day and became my favorite media. Since I am a self-taught artist, I am learning something new every day, trying different techniques, paper, tools, and ways, workshops, tutorials, and practice. I love to combine different things and media. Sometimes work goes straight to the trash can. Sometimes it wins award. Any time it’s a precious experience.
Every year I participate in four annual shows of my local art club, Artists’ Society of Dearborn, Michigan (I am also a web master and social media chair for the club), and also in two shows a year of Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors. My colored pencils pieces won several awards and honorable mentions, and that makes me more and more interested in the ways of working with this amazing medium.
I love a strong outline, what probably comes from illustrating the children’s books, so I often use an ink with my colored pencils. At the same time I love to create the softness of human faces with pencils.
I think colored pencils are the best medium for the portraits. I love to experiment and call my style an “Allusive Expressionism.”
Even if the piece I started supposed to be realistic, it would come out the way that people would say “it’s definitely yours”. Stylization comes by itself; I don’t try to stylize my works on purpose. That’s probably how I see things. Each piece has mind of its own. Because I strongly believe that any art work has a birth moment somewhere in Universe and has its own life from that second when I touch the paper with the pencil. I just help it to start.
11x14", Prismacolor and Derwent watercolor pencils on Strathmore mixed media paper. Honorable mention at ASD Fall show in 2016. Original is in private gallery in Israel.
Making “Music” was incredible. It’s a portrait of my best friend’s daughter, who is 16 and plays guitar. I wanted to combine her soft eyes and face with something very strong and energetic. Like sounds of the famous guitar piece, “Alhambra,” the portrait needed to be quiet and loud at the same time, giving the feeling of movement. I was lucky that Michelle was curly, that gave me the possibility to show a movement using her hair. To add to this feeling of flying sounds of music I decided to bend the guitar itself. I used Derwent watercolor pencils for the background, hair and guitar and Prismacolor for Michelle’s face. The work was sent to Michelle as a birthday gift. It was framed and packed well. The package was very badly damaged on its way to Israel, but the painting itself arrived safe.
Over the Head
11"x14", Prismacolor and ink on Strathmore tan toned paper, 2018.
I have two Scottish terriers that own me and rule the house. Even if I don’t intend, once in a while Scotties appear in my drawing. “Over the Head” piece was done for a themed challenge in our local art society. I decided to show somebody’s thoughts, which fly over the head and don’t give that person a rest. I planted her thoughts on her hat, and you can see that she thinks about Scottish terrier. Of course. Tan Toned Strathmore mixed media paper dimmed the colors down a little, I loved the effect of “the painting that painted itself”, because I used the toned paper for the first time with Prismas and had no idea how the color would change.
11"x14", Prismacolor pencils and ink on Strathmore tan toned paper. Second place at Artists' Society of Dearborn, MI Show, 2018, works on paper category.
The same effect I used making “Good evening”. The brightness of some colors came a tone down bringing me the possibility to show the evening color of the forest more easily. The heroine of the painting is imaginary person, some Crazy Scottie Lady, funny and creative as any human trained by a Scottish terrier. The work won an award at the local show and went to the new home to the Scottish terrier breeder, where a lot of dogs live and every evening is good.
Sometimes the subjects of my works come by themselves, I think of something, the face that fascinated me or color of the eyes, or dog’s pose, and the image follows me for a little, then asks to put it on the paper. Sometimes the piece of paper could tell me what to do on it, that’s happens very often. The color of the paper, its texture, how the hand feels it by touch.
Except for commissioned portraits I never use photo references.
I love to think of my art works as of the windows to different worlds. You can just pass by. Or stop and look, and get amazed by those worlds with me.
Elena Adam was born in Sumgait, Azerbaijan. A graduate from Moscow State University she has worked as an editor and writer. In 2001, Elena moved to United States where she decided to follow her dream and become an artist. She works as a fine artist and illustrates the children's books. She is a member of Artists' Society of Dearborn, Detroit Society of Women Sculptors and Painters and Colored Pencils Society of America. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two Scottish terriers.
See more from Elena: https://www.elenaadamart.com/