by Lisa Hammerstein
My story is nothing stellar but rather pretty mundane. I think it’s possibly a story to which many other colored pencil artists could easily relate. I began with no formal artistic education and as a method to combat the issues related to the sedentary nature associated with a chronic disability that affects my vision and mobility. That, coupled with the separation of family by death or distance, inspired me to begin a journey into drawing as a way to always have my loved ones close by keeping treasured memories alive through rendering drawings of them. I am often surprised when my artworks are accepted into Ann Kullberg’s Color Magazine online monthly digital showcases. Even though I find joy in the process, it’s difficult for me to recognize what others see in my artwork. This issue of self-esteem is something I constantly work to improve.
Welcome To The World
Inherently a very shy person, my physical disabilities made me comfortable staying at home where I feel most content. However, fears of becoming physically and mentally stagnant pushed me to busy my hands and mind. Then one day I picked up a pencil and began sketching a photo my daughter had provided of my twin granddaughters. When I first started exploring learning how to draw, I remember asking an old friend who is an artist if this idea seemed realistic, as I was already into my late 50’s at the time. My friend replied by directing my attention to the fact that Grandma Moses was in her late 70’s when she began creating what became a world renowned primitive artistic style. Question answered, so off I went to explore.
“The language of art speaks to so many in ways that can’t be measured.”
With the advent of the internet, our world suddenly has become much smaller and more intimate, connecting artists from all walks of life, near and far. At the same time, I found I was inspired by the information highway where I could look up any artistic technique I wished to learn and find a plethora of brilliant artists with online videos to view or tutorials to purchase. I’m surely not a superhero, but drawing became my superhero power that enabled me to feel like no matter what, I can always pick up my pencil and create something that will not only make me feel good about myself but can reach others who might view my artwork and share in those good feelings. The language of art speaks to so many in ways that can’t be measured. The moment you breathe life into a portrait creates an experience like no other!
My aim has never been to become recognized as a published artist or to do commissioned work. These are very respectable goals, but my true goal has always been to “create” my own unique expression of my world, my refuge where I conjure up happy memories with the stroke of my pencil. I’ve pondered questions surrounding what to label my style, but it occurs to me that truthfully when you draw from the heart, your style inevitably finds you. When I began my journey, I thought it would be safe to call my style expressionistic, but when I began seeing how wondrous realism looked, attempting to follow that style was my mission. I currently feel inspired to be something in the middle. That’s at this moment in time. Who knows where my journey might lead in the future? My focus has been on portraiture, but I also am interested in drawing birds, animals, landscapes, and flowers. The possibilities are without end.
“It’s never too late to keep learning something new”
I have now had numerous pieces selected for Ann Kullberg’s Color Pencil monthly online showcases and have also had my work included in a couple of issues of her magazine in the section named “ The Pencil Box”. Ann’s magazine also periodically publishes a book called CP Treasures where works from around the world are selected for inclusion in this book. Having my work chosen to be included in the 8th edition of the Color Pencil Treasures book was such a thrill!
I recognize that there’s so much more to explore and learn, but it’s sort of like knowing you have a secret stash of Christmas presents left to open. Nothing compares to that feeling of anticipation and excitement. I have many pieces lined up to draw and I add reference photos regularly to my list of “Ladies in Waiting”, as I jokingly refer to them. Our family photos tell our life stories. My journey happily continues. In closing, I will say, it’s never too late to keep learning something new, so pick up a pencil and explore the world within.
ABOUT LISA HAMMERSTEIN:
An unexpected self-taught artist, Lisa finds a sense of peace in applying what she has learned to pencil strokes that attempt to look into the heart of a photograph and tell a story. Her artistic style is a work in progress, focusing on human portraiture with a strong emphasis on children and family renderings. She is inspired by the relationship between the camera and its subject. Lisa is a self-described creative soul, always searching for ways to express and share emotions through the arts.
FACEBOOK: Lisa's World of Art