The three artists featured in the March 2023 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase – Caroline Strong, Denise Ho, and Aura Skugariene – share the stories behind their beautiful artwork here in our blog.
Red Admiral and Ivy Bee Caroline Strong
10 x 12 inches
Colored pencil on Clairefontaine Pastelmat
(Artist's own photo)
I was out walking in my hometown, on a bright, sunny, late summer’s day. I noticed this beautiful Red Admiral butterfly resting on the ivy growing all over a fence. I then noticed the Ivy bees all over it, too. I love butterflies and the Ivy bee just added to my excitement. I just had to take photos, to then draw them using my own compilation, making sure I portrayed the strong shadows that they would cast on the ivy leaves.
I used dark green Pastelmat because the background is various shades of intense greens and I used many Polychromos, Derwent Lightfast and Luminance pencils, with the addition of Drawing White to enable the white on the butterfly’s wings. I used a layer of Pablo White under the red parts of the wings, and then various opaque yellows, oranges and reds. I did need to lay down many layers to achieve the intense colors, whites and shadows. It is the contrast of color, but mainly tonal value that portrays a sunny day.
About Caroline Strong:
Caroline is an artist of the natural world, drawing realistic artworks in mainly colored pencil and/or watercolor. She portrays whatever interests her and is always learning and experimenting; she loves a challenge. Caroline has exhibited nationally, belongs to several local and international societies, and teaches adults.
See more at: www.facebook.com/colourful.strong.art/.
Peaceful Moment by Denise Ho
20 x 13.5 inches
Colored Pencil on Tulip Artist’s Drawing Pad.
(Photo by Yun Jun Chu. Used with permission.)
This is the portrait of my mother-in-law. She is 90 this year. She’s very kind and loving to me and my kids, and I respect her very much. The reference photo was taken by my brother-in-law and he asked me if I could draw her. The second I saw the photo I immediately told myself to give it a try. I just want to capture how peaceful and contented she was at that moment. She had been suffering from insomnia for a long time.
It’s precious for me to see her enjoying the sea breeze with such a sweet smile on her face. I used oil pastels for the background (seaside and the far end of a pebble stone bench); the rest were done in colored pencils. The most challenging part was to draw the floral pattern of her blouse, which I almost gave up on. I even thought of changing it into a plain colored blouse. I’m glad I didn’t change it but to push myself through this challenge instead. It’s a great joy to achieve the end result.
Having drawn the image onto the support, I spent many hours slowly building up the colors of each flower, layer upon layer, thus achieving the final result and my botanical artwork for August.
About Denise Ho:
Denise Ho is a full-time mum from Malaysia. She was a graphic designer and a violinist in her earlier years. She stopped drawing for more than 20 years before picking it up again last December. She enjoys working on portraits in her free time. For her, colored pencils are convenient and clean. She can stop or continue to work on it at anytime.
Selfie With Trifocals by Aura Skugariene
9.5 x 7.5 inches
Prismacolor colored pencils on Suede Board.
(Artist's own photo)
This drawing was born rather unexpectedly. Through the years, it’s been increasingly necessary to use assistive devices to enhance my vision while doing small tasks. This includes sewing, cooking, reading, drawing, and many other things. While some work can remain undone or be delayed, drawing can’t wait, because it’s a pleasure and a passion of mine. Lately though, during my drawing sessions, my eyes have been feeling very weak, especially in the evening. It’s gotten to a point where I feel like I’m drawing with only one eye. Such sensation brings a sense of despair, self-pity and fear that this is how I will permanently see my surroundings: foggy with double or triple contours.
My aid during such times has been glasses. However, one pair of glasses is no longer enough, because when I’m drawing I need to see both very small details and a reference photo, and I have to look at the whole picture of what I draw in the course of work from afar. Drawing is a work process and one stage cannot be excluded from the whole. When drawing nowadays, I always wear two pairs of glasses and sometimes even three. One day following my drawing session, I found myself relaxing with three pairs of glasses on my face and thought to myself, “I must look very funny. My nose is not long enough to accommodate all the glasses.” I took a selfie and in the same minute I decided that this would be my next drawing project. Since I like drawing portraits the most, this one was immediately satisfying in terms of composition and color.
About Aura Skugariene:
Aura was born and raised in Lithuania, where she acquired a BA in teaching art at university and taught high school and college students sewing, weaving, fabric dyeing, knitting and various crafts. When she arrived in California in 2005, she discovered colored pencils as a medium. Aura likes to draw portraits of elderly people the most.
See more at: www.auraskugare.com/
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