by Maria Villioti
I live in Athens, Greece. I have been painting since my childhood and in the early 90's during my art studies I met a wonderful art teacher who initiated me into the colored pencils world. My first colored pencils set was a Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor 72. In the years that followed, I had to abandon them and switch to other materials such as oils and acrylics. The reason was that as the pencils in my first set started to get shorter and shorter, I couldn't replace them because it was impossible to find single pencils of this brand in any art supplies shop in my country. In fact, there was a limited variety of colored pencils in my country's art supplies stores and I actually didn't know any artist who used them to complete an art project.
Young Lady, 27x19 inches
“there was a limited variety of colored pencils in my country's art supplies stores and I actually didn't know any artist who used them to complete an art project.”
My artistic life changed when internet came into my life and I started searching to find my favorite colored pencils. A whole new world opened up to me with an incredible number of art materials that could be mine, through electronic orders. I was excited! At the same time, I discovered that there are many artists around the world who use colored pencils and make wonderful works of art with this awesome medium. I was informed that there are organized societies of people working with colored pencils! So, I decided to act. I'm talking about the beginning of 2010 when a lot of contradictory things that offered me both utmost happiness and deep devastation happened to me. At one point my son came into my life and that gave me incredible strength and happiness. On the other hand I was experiencing upsetting situations with the illnesses of my parents that resulted in the loss of both within 2.5 years. My new colored pencils that started arriving in my mailbox, as well as my first exhibitions with colored pencils societies in UK and USA, gave me the opportunity to balance the situations and turn everything that happened into creation, always taking power from my son's smile.
Old Man, 26x18 inches
Today, the Greek art supplies market in colored pencils and their accessories have been greatly enriched. I am very happy and proud of that because in a way I contributed to this. I started to organize seminars and lessons for adults all over my country, 6 years ago. Since 2015, I have been organizing an annual exhibition to display my students’ drawings. During these exhibitions many visitors are impressed when we explain to them that our artworks are made with colored pencils.
The Lighting Shop, 19x14
Today, the Greek art supplies market in colored pencils and their accessories have been greatly enriched. I am very happy and proud of that because in a way I contributed to this.
Apart from colored pencils I work with graphite and sometimes with pastels, mediums that I also love. Although at this time in my studio there are dozens of cases of different pencils brands such as Caran d’Ache, Prismacolor, Derwent and Faber Castell, all kind of papers and other accessories, I always feel that I need more! Colored pencil artworks are not widely accepted like oil or acrylic paintings and this is something that I have faced and I am still facing it in my country. I think that all pencil artists around the world have similar experience towards this matter. Nevertheless, lots of considerable steps have been made so nowadays you can find colored pencils artworks in prestigious galleries and in the most important art books. I wish to be able to paint for many more years, to improve my skills and to spread my love for this medium to as many people as possible. Finally I would like to tell you that I still cherish my first Lyra set, which includes some pencils that have survived all through the years.
Maria is an award winning artist living in Greece. She studied fashion design and freehand drawing. Her favorite mediums are colored pencils and graphite. She has participated in many joint exhibitions in Greece, UK, USA and Canada. She has four solo exhibitions in Greece. She teaches and organizes workshops throughout Greece. She is realist and her artwork includes portraits, still life and cityscapes. She is member of CPSA, of IGOR, master member of CPCAU and silver signature member of UKCPS.
See more at: https://www.mariavillioti.com