May 2024 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

May 2024 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

The three artists featured in the May 2024 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase share the stories behind their beautiful artwork here in our blog. 

Dancing with the Light by Barbara Dahlstedt
24 x 36 inches
Prismacolor, Derwent Lightfast, and Luminance colored pencils and Neocolor II wax pastels on drafting film. (Artist's own photo reference.)

During a performance of Ballet Folklorico Esperanza, I had the opportunity to capture a beautiful dancer in natural light. Her white dress became illuminated by the sunlight and the looming storm that surrounded her. I was reminded of the Impressionists who used shades of blue in the shadows of white objects. I knew the costume would be complicated, but I do like a challenge!

Drafting film has been my go-to surface lately and using the subtraction technique that I learned from Tracy Frein made creating transparent material and lace easier to do. The overall effect of the image was meant to be uplifting. The dancer shows us that even with an impending storm, we can experience joy if we focus on our passion.

It is too easy to take for granted these wonderful animals, as well as every other creature with whom we share our planet. But despite the strength and power these beasts represent, without our help, they may one day be little more than folktales, like the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger. We have to protect them and ensure they don’t just end up being pretty pictures on a wall or stuffed exhibits in a museum. I hope, with my work, to maintain awareness of the fragility of life on our planet and our obligation towards the creatures living on it.

About Barbara Dahlstedt:

Barbara is a Signature Member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and American Women Artists. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Arizona State University and has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. After enjoying a 26-year career teaching high school art, Barbara enjoys the pursuit of a fine art career.

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Lillie in a Glass by Harrie Vonk
9 x 12 inches
Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum 300 Series. (Photo by Used with permission.)

A few years ago, I met a fellow artist on the internet and we became friends, admiring each other’s work. I always wanted one of her paintings and she really wanted one of my drawings. She made this lovely scenery and I decided to do a flower for her.

Looking for a reference, I came across this amazing photographer by the name of Alexey Kljatov. He shot this beautiful photo of a lily flower in a crystal glass, sitting on a blue velvet cloth, called “Light Inside.” I love a challenge and decided to use this for my drawing. After asking permission from the photographer, I went to work and started with the lily.

The glass was the real challenge. It took me quite a while to get all the detail in the drawing. Eventually I had to adjust the design of the glass a bit to make it work. After the glass, I finished the drawing with the blue velvet cloth and the light effects, putting everything in a black background.

Both my friend and I were very pleased with the end result.

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.

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Refuge by Karen Hull
10 x 8 inches
Polychromos, Luminance, Verithins, and Pablo colored pencils on watercolor canvas. (Artist’s own photo.)

Every picture tells a story.

This is from a photo I took of my youngest son Sam quite a few years ago. I wanted to try to capture the way in which a shower can be a place of refuge, a place we can escape to, where the calming stream of running water flowing over our body feels like it is washing away our troubles and our fears. The watercolor canvas was the ideal surface for this artwork as it enabled me to render the slightly blurry portrait of Sam first and then to add in the crisper foreground image with the water droplets afterward.

You can easily scratch into and erase colored pencil on the watercolor canvas, and this made it possible to draw the water droplets after I had completed the drawing of Sam’s face without having to work around each droplet. The watercolor canvas has a finer weave than other canvases and readily accepts watercolor pencils, solvent with regular colored pencils and Inktense pencils. It is best to try to add a base layer of color using one of these methods first to fill in all the texture of the watercolor canvas. This will provide a smoother surface for you to apply regular colored pencils and to achieve a greater level of detail.

About Karen Hull:

Karen Hull has been creating colored pencil artworks for many years and enjoys pushing the boundaries of this exciting medium by using a range of different supports and by combining the pencils with other mediums to showcase their versatility.

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These artworks were published in the May 2024 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the digital version of the magazine for just $4.99, 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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