December 2021 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

December 2021 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

The three artists featured in the December 2021 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase shared stories about their artwork for our blog. Read below about their inspiration for each of these beautiful works of art. 

Swift Comprehension by Claire Needham
19-1/2 x 19-1/2 inches
Colored pencils on Pastelmat
(Artist's own photo)

My reason for creating this portrait was to work through ideas about how I could relate to and better understand my son who is on the autism spectrum. This work is about "auditory processing" and our sometimes shared difficulty of listening and understanding. The flock of birds circling the figure could be symbolic of Twitter and the constant noise that surrounds us and can be difficult to decipher, however for me it is based around a childhood memory.

Around age of 10, I remember taking a listening and comprehension test at school to determine what level of book I would be started on for the new class coursework. I recall the panic and struggle of listening to the audio and understanding the questions. Up to that point I had been in the top group for reading and writing, but this was my first memorable experience of not understanding and failing. The book series was called "Swift" and had a silhouetted image of a bird on the cover that will be forever imprinted in my mind.

Like my son, I gain more understanding through a visual language and find it easier to express myself in this way. This process has led me to relate more to what my son might be experiencing and has given me a better understanding of him and myself.

About Claire Needham:

Scottish born artist Claire Needham has been working with colored pencils for the last couple of years and has a passion for portraiture. In every project she aims to achieve a likeness, character, and a story. Her latest work focuses on the understanding of autism by exploring the relationship with her son through her portraits.

See more at:


Kyle & Saydie by Harrie Vonk
11 x 16 inches
Prismacolor Premier and Faber Castell Polychrome pencils on Strathmore Medium paper
(Photo by Kelly Howard, used with permission)

A family friend and hair salon owner, contacted me about her middle daughter, Saydie, getting married to Kyle. She commissioned me to do this drawing, because I made a drawing for her when her oldest daughter got married. She always cuts my hair for free, so this was basically payment for her services. She still has the youngest daughter, so I'm sure I will do one of her as well.

They took several photos of the two together, but I chose this one for the drawing. I really loved the pose and how the sunlight touched the woman in the photo. I also love doing blurry backgrounds to make the subjects stand out.

This is my first real portrait drawing and I had some struggles, but I'm very happy about how it turned out. The drawing I did of their oldest daughter was of the two them standing in front of the sun, so there wasn't as much detail in the faces. It was mostly dark.

The parents presented the framed drawing to them at their wedding. Everybody was happily surprised! Unfortunately I couldn't be there to witness their reaction, because my daughter's best friend was getting married on the same day.

I want to thank the mother of the bride for allowing me to give her daughter and husband this amazing portrait.

About Harrie Vonk:

Harrie Vonk was born, August 21, 1970, in Heemskerk, The Netherlands. He came to the United States in 2004, got married, and lived with his late wife in Boone, Iowa. He is a self-taught artist and started drawing with colored pencils in 2016.

See more at: 


Omniscient Love by Buena Johnson
32 x 26 inches
Colored pencil on Stonehenge
(Artist's own photo)

"Omniscient Love" embodies a mother's pure love. Depicted is a young African mother draped with beautiful native African homeland fabrics from head to toe. She holds and looks upon her son as he gazes into her warm face, feeling loved and protected. The other son is standing and looks upon her as his hand embraces her hand and his other hand gently holds her shoulder. I photographed the model and her sons.

Behind her head is an enlarged sunflower center (resemblance to the sun), which I photographed and enlarged via Photoshop, distorting the flower seeds. Sunflower also symbolizes faithfulness, light, and truth. Beneath the mother's flowing robe is the universe, representing universal love, which I photographed from NASA's live feed and also creatively embellished. The roses are from my garden and surrounding areas. I used Polychromos, Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle, and Prismas on Stonehenge. I chose to do this scene to show a Mmother's love is kin to God's love for family and positivity and children are our future.

I'm elated, honored, and humbled that my inspired artwork "Omniscient Love" won the 2nd highest award, The CPSA District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement, in the 29th Annual Colored Pencil Society of America International Exhibition, 2021.

I am passionate about art and the power of art as a tool to speak to the viewer.

About Buena Johnson:

Buena is a local Los Angeles visual artist, arts instructor and owner of Buena Vision Art Studio. The aim of her work is to inform, uplift, educate, motivate positive change, and heal. Her style is realism/photorealism. The media she uses is mainly pencil. A graduate of Pratt in NY, her work has been showcased in the Smithsonian, Getty, and MOCA LA.

See more at:

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

Leave your comment