August 2021 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

August 2021 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

Below, the three artists featured in the August 2021 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase share their amazing artwork and the inspiration behind it for our blog.



Smile of the Golden Age by Hleing Aye
15 x 12 inches
Derwent Lightfast, Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor on Clairefontaine Pastelmat
(Photo used with permission)

“Smile of the Golden Age” is the portrait of Kayan-Kekhaung (Kayan-Padaung) old woman. They are the one of ethic group of Myanmar, mostly live in Kayah Stat, Myanmar. Wearing brass ring on women's necks is a unique Kayan-Padaung custom. The meaning of name Kayan-Kekhaung is the Kayan living on the high plateau.

Girls first start to wear rings when they are around five years old. Over the years, the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. No more rings are added when the girls reach 15 or 16 years old. An adult Kayan woman has about 20 brass coil on her neck. Kayan women, when asked and often say that their purpose for wearing the rings is cultural identity. It is usually only removed to be replaced by a new or longer coil. The muscles covered by the coil become weakened.

I decided to draw this portrait because of her innocent smile and the lighting on her face. I have notice that her smile is not only on her lip and but also in her eyes. So, I tried to draw a smile on her lips and a smile in her eyes. The light and shadow on her brass ring around the neck is also give pleasure to me to capture and draw.

I would like to thanks to photographer Artis Hla Myint Swe, who give the kind permission to draw this portrait.

About Hleing Aye:


Hleing Aye lives in Myanmar (Formerly Burma). He is an engineer but his dream is to become an artist one day. He found out the way of his dream to be come true with colored pencil. He is self-taught and has learned through colored pencil instruction books, websites, and the colored pencil community's Facebook pages.


Social Distancing by Gail Collier
6 x 12 inches
Colored pencil and acrylic paint on Ampersand sanded pastel board
(Artist's own photo)

This piece was done in 2020 during the Covid pandemic. How many times did we hear that we had to stay six feet away from people not in our household, wherever we went, inside or outside? How did it feel to be unable to personally see or touch friends and relatives not in our household? This felt very isolating to me and I was compelled to put my feelings on paper. I chose to use rocks rather than human forms in order to make this piece more universal in scope. Also, I am a still life artist and I enjoy showing that inanimate objects can evoke feelings. Even rocks had to social distance during the pandemic and they could look separate and lonely.

Most summers I collect rocks along the shore of an island in Maine, but last summer I was unable to visit due to island restrictions. Sifting through my collection and choosing which rocks to portray in this piece was my connection to the island in 2020. Like people, no two rocks are alike in "Social Distancing," and the somber palette intends to convey the gravity of the pandemic.

About Gail Collier:


Gail Collier has worked in colored pencil for over 30 years, has earned many awards including the CPSA 20 Year Award for having her colored pencil drawings accepted into the CPSA International Show 20 times. She enjoys arranging real life set-ups in her studio. When not working solely in colored pencil, she combines colored pencil and acrylic.

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Ladies by Lynn Stephenson
22 x 29 inches
Colored pencil on hot pressed watercolor paper
(Artist's own photo)

My piece entitled "Ladies" helped decide my entire artistic direction. One of my first colored pencil works, it ended up taking nearly two decades to complete. I started this piece in college, then abandoned it due to the prevailing opinion colored pencil was not truly fine art.

After years of creating pen and ink, then watercolors, I realized that for me no other medium could compare. Following my heart, I returned to the piece I had started 18 years earlier, finished the bugs, and created an entire background surrounding them. I used multiple layers of solid and textured color to create a very waxy surface which I then burnished to give a very painterly appearance. After completion it was accepted into the 4th Annual Colored Pencil Society of America's International Exhibition. That acceptance led to my renewed commitment to colored pencils, which I have been working in ever since.

About Lynn Stephenson:


Lynn Stephenson is a colored pencil artist creating expressively realistic work in a palette straight from nature. Lynn earned her BFA from the University of Michigan and is currently working on signature status with the CPSA. Born in Japan and raised in Michigan, Lynn’s home studio is on the inspirational shores of Grand Traverse Bay.

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These artworks were published in the August 2021 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the digital version of the magazine for just $3.89, or subscribe and save 15%. Each issue is packed with step by step projects, critiques, colored pencil tips, artist profiles and much more.

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