This month, three artists who were featured in the March 2017 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase submitted stories about their artwork for our blog. Read below about their inspiration for each of these interesting subjects.
I AM, Soup For The Soul
by Buena Johnson
22" x 27"
Own photo reference
In my inspired artwork, I like to present the viewer with positive messages to empower, uplift & inspire. ‘I AM, Soup For The Soul,’ influenced by Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, my aim was to recreate & relabel a mass produced product with a brand & label of Positive Affirmations for the everyday audience. Imagine the local supermarket shelves or your kitchen cabinet being stocked with canned lunch choices that empower you to feel stronger & more confident plus fill the body; Every word on each can & every bite generating a sense of self worth. The Powerful word LOVE is spelled out with noodles in one open can of ‘I AM’ soup. LOVE for oneself & others is the greatest gift. Positive, Empowering Affirmations- "I AM, Soup For The Soul," A gratifying way to start any day, all day & great at all times! This artwork of positive affirmations is the first in an ongoing series.
BUENA, fine artist, teacher & photographer, conducts workshops & has exhibited in galleries & museums locally & internationally, including the Smithsonian & the Getty. She has received numerous awards & is widely published. BUENA’s favorite tool is the pencil.
"I am grateful for the gift of Art."
Living the Big Easy
by Cheryl Caro
23" x 16"
Own photo reference
Basset Hounds were the beginning of my colored pencil journey. After three years that journey has come to a crossroad. It is time to leave my precious basset hounds. I yearn to draw complex compositions and develop my own unique style. This desire had me purchasing a high resolution camera in order to capture interesting subject matter. The quest to find something worth drawing had me taking a day trip to New Orleans, aka The Big Easy. I specifically targeted the French Quarter. The streets were lined with all types of people, from artists, musicians, street performers, and panhandlers. Each and every one making a daily living in the Big Easy. I took many photos, but this particular man seemed to stand out the most in my thoughts during my drive home.
What attracted me to this man was all the beads around his neck, and then the look he gave me when he thought I wasn’t going to put any money into his bucket. His stare was penetrating. Later that night, as I looked through all my pictures, I knew without a doubt which picture I was going to use for my first complex drawing. It was only fitting to title this piece “Living the Big Easy”.
“Living the Big Easy” was going to be my first photo realism drawing. Well, so I hoped. After laying the drawing out on paper, I realized what a daunting task this was going to be. Last year I took a four day workshop with artist Wendy Layne, a very photo realistic artist. I expressed my desire to draw photo realistic. Her words kept repeating in my head the entire time I worked on this drawing. Draw what you see. Look at the flesh and pull colors that you see. I tried very hard to stick to those words. Previous to this drawing I had only attempted four drawings with people. This was pretty much a first for me in many ways. It may not be the photo realism I would like to have achieved, but I guess it is my style. I suppose I must have a style because another artist told me she could pick out my work before she even looked at the artist’s name. I never realized I had my very own style.
When I started drawing my basset hounds I tried different colored pencils and different type papers. I really like and tend to stay with the materials used for this drawing. Fabriano Water Colored Paper, hot pressed. I use Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran D’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils, Caran D Ache Luminance Colored Pencils, and Derwent Drawing Pencils. I also learned to layer quite a bit to achieve the desired colors instead of blending.
My childhood passion was put on the back-burner for over thirty years until three years ago, when the love of my basset hounds had me buying my first set of colored pencils and a drawing pad. Since my first basset drawing, I have been like a sponge, absorbing everything about colored pencils, papers, and techniques. After two years of drawing bassets and other dogs, I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and focusing on people and everyday living. I am at the beginning of an endless colored pencil journey. It’s never too late to fulfill your childhood passion.
See more from Cheryl on her facebook page.
by Carolyn Chua
14" x 19"
Own photo reference
Acceptance is one of the completed colored pencil paintings that I'm planning to develop into a series of bread in a plastic/cellophane bag - it's an exploration of the relationship between bread (basic food) and human, and its impact on one's outlook in life.
Before starting this artwork, I took many photo references of different types of bread loaves, slices, etc. that I had trouble selecting a picture that would speak profoundly through visual means. In fact, even though I knew the photo (that I ended up using) was the right one, I just couldn't bring myself to draw it. I think I was very afraid of not being able to rise above the occasion to deliver the realism of the subject matter. I finally resolved in putting myself to the test, skill-wise, but not expecting the mental and emotional test that come with it.
There were many personal conflicts that affected me during the process of this artwork, plus the fact that the US elections had the entire world raging against the candidates for the next US President. With so much turmoil raging externally and internally, it sure made an intense influence on the development of my artwork. However, I let all this dictate my feelings and direction while feeling very pressured to succeed to even complete it. What made it worse was the fact that I had used a substrate which I had no experience in handling (Fabriano cold pressed watercolor paper) and found it extremely difficult to conquer it; it instead made me changed my entire art process and had to customize it specifically for this artwork!
In the end, I instinctively knew what this painting is all about; it's coming to terms about many things that I don't have control over. Even if I could change it, there'll be a bigger consequence to face. So, I took all my influences, emotions, mental state of being, and wrote it on the cellophane bag to reflect the situation that I was in, and the bluish brown slices of bread (charcoal bread slices) were symbolization of parts of me which had undergone transformation from the situation and now ready to emerge as someone unique. Maybe not everyone is accepting of the final results, but I am... It's acceptance on my part, of who I am and what I'm capable of... Skill-wise, I feel I have broken my own boundaries and created new learning experiences.
Carolyn started drawing at a very young age and excelled in arts throughout her schooling days, and pursued her passion at Malaysian Institute of Art where she graduated in Graphic Design. She's an award-winning creative with experience in both art and writing in the advertising and media industries. A multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on colored pencil art, her fine arts style is best described as contemporary realism. Her artworks have been featured in notable art publications, and her works have been exhibited both locally and overseas. She's currently a member of the Color Pencil Society of America.
See more from her at http://carolyngmc.wix.com/carolyncfinearts.