The three artists featured in the November 2022 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase – Judith Shepelak, Frank Xiong, and Laleh Kamalian – share the stories behind their beautiful artwork here in our blog.
Nest with Ginger Flower II by Judith Shepelak
11 x 14 inches
Colored pencil on pearl gray 90lb Stonehenge paper
(Artist's own photo.)
Nest with Ginger Flower II was inspired by a nest I found around my home in northern Michigan which is surrounded by woods and overlooks the Grand Traverse Bay. Every year in the spring I find nests which have been blown out of trees and my climbing hydrangeas from the winter gales off the bay. As a result, I have a collection of many different types of nests. I am also a person who collects dried flowers from my garden, from flower arrangements I've received over the years and from flowering plants found growing along roadsides.
I arranged this piece using, I believe, a robin's or a mourning dove's nest, a ginger flower from an arrangement and a dried branch found on the ground. I was attracted specifically to this nest because it included dried flower sprigs from the climbing hydrangea mixed with grasses. I found the nest very attractively and artistically built. This is not the first piece I have done using a bird's nest or dried plants and will probably not be the last. I have some very small and exciting nests stuffed with soft material that are waiting to be arranged with pieces of drift wood and a few very small fake birds eggs I once purchased to include in arrangements.
Writing this has inspired me to think about creating a series of nest pieces demonstrating the beauty, skill, and design abilities of birds.
About Judith Shepelak:
Judith Shepelak's art training began at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, culminating at Northern Illinois University where she completed a BFA in Graphic Design. She worked as a package designer for 15 years before completing a landscape design degree. After 10 years as a landscape designer she dedicated herself to colored pencil and pastel art which sell in galleries.
See more at: www.jshepart.com/
Tibetan Charm by Frank Xiong
16 x 22 inches
Colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol paper
(Artist's own photo)
Tibetan Charm is a colored pencil piece that depicts a young girl wearing colorful traditional Tibetan clothes decorated with jewelry. Throughout my time in China, I saw Tibetan costumes thousands of times, but none of them inspired and instilled within me a sense of passion. One day when my niece showed me the picture of my grand niece wearing a set of beautiful Tibetan clothing, I was enamored with its charm and a creative energy seeped into me and I began to work immediately.
I began to think “Where does the charm come from? My grand niece or the costume?” I pondered this question many nights when it hit me all at once. I came to an epiphany that what she was wearing was not just an article of clothing, but a visual representation of traditional culture that had developed for thousands of years. Every single nation has their own culture. It’s not easy to see the beauty of each culture until you find out the key points that set them apart. My portrait aims to capture the visual representation of Tibetan culture.
About Frank Xiong:
Frank Xiong studied fine arts throughout his life in China. His passion and drive for the arts had burnt out for a long time until it was reignited three years ago when he saw Jesse Lane’s colored pencil portrait drawing in International Artist, which ignited his passion and longtime dream of becoming an artist.
See more at: www.artistxiong.com/
Contentment by Laleh Kamalian
23.6 x 16.5 inches
Prismacolor, Polychromos and Luminance (main subject) colored pencils and Caran D’ache pastel pencils (the background) on Strathmore Bristol 500 series, vellum surface,4-ply
(Artist's own photo)
I am currently working on a series of portraits, with the theme of extreme light and shadow, studying striking character traits and strong emotions. “Contentment” is the second in this series, portraying a character with positive attitude towards life, who is grateful with what they have, but also looking forward to what can be achieved. They are not idle, but they don’t tend to spend their days regretting the past to no end. I designed the portrait thinking of the feeling of contentment when one opens their eyes with the warmth of sun on their face, believing what they need to face the day ahead is nothing but the warmth and the love right next to them. This portrait is special to me, perhaps because this is my most desired feeling.
For the model, I used a person whom I believed had the personality that I was trying to portray. It was Adam, my daughter's boyfriend. With the help of my daughter, the photoshoot was performed in a completely natural environment, with no artificial settings. I would like to thank both for helping me. To create it, I used colored pencil for the main subject and pastel for the background. I used 4-ply version of the paper for the first time, which made a lot of difference, allowing to use more layers of pigment, which is important when creating skin tones.
Laleh Kamalian is a British-Iranian self-taught colored pencil artist, living in Liverpool, UK. At the age of 45, she left a 30-year science career to become a full-time artist in 2020. Her favorite subjects are human and animal portraits. She has exhibited in many local, national, and online international exhibitions, and won a few awards.
See more at: www.lalehkamalianart.com/
Download the digital version of the magazine for just $3.89, or subscribe and save 15%. Each issue is packed with step by step projects, critiques, colored pencil tips, artist profiles and much more.