The three artists featured below in the October 2020 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase share the inspiration behind their artwork for our blog. Learn the story behind each of these beautiful portraits.
Tree Hugger by Giddy Richt
24 x 18 inches
Colored pencil on PastelMat
(Artist's own photo)
My granddaughter and I were outside playing and I realized she had never climbed a tree before! I think I spent my entire childhood in a tree. I have a lot of great climbing trees here on the farm. At first she was hesitant but after a few minutes, up she went... she was laughing and sooo happy! I bet we climbed five different trees! I might add I'm not as nimble as I use to be, but we had fun anyway! I hope this memory will stick with her like mine did for me. My generation didn't have computers, so any time I can get kids outside climbing trees or wading in the creek is a good thing!
About Giddy Richt:
Giddy has been an artist her whole life, drawing and painting everything. However she avoided portraits because. in her words, "I was terrible at it." Once her grandchildren came along, she knew she had to paint them. So she faced her fears and has begun the journey to learn portraiture, which admittedly will take the rest of her life.
See more at: www.facebook.com/Giddysart
Contemplating by Chad Becker
19 x 13.5 inches
Prismacolor on Strathmore Bristol Vellum
(Artist's own photo)
Contemplating is an illustration of a friend of mine who works as an interpreter for a living history museum on the east coast. I was visiting with him a few years ago and on that day the lighting in his shop was perfect for taking some dramatic portrait photos. Recently, during the stay-at-home orders here in Wisconsin, I decided it was time to look back at those reference photos and to draw his portrait. It was one of those drawings that just went by quickly and everything went smoothly. It took my mind off of everything that was happening outside of my studio. I definitely lost myself in my art while drawing this piece. I am happy with the final product and can’t wait to give my friend a print of this illustration the next time I travel to the east coast.
About Chad Becker:
Chad has been a graphic designer, artist, and illustrator for more than 30 years. During that time he has also been an American Revolutionary war reenactor, so he decided to specialize in 18th Century colonial artwork. This enables him to combine his love for history with his love of art. It’s a natural fit.
Twinkle Toes by Margi Hopkins
15 x 12 inches
Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on Fabriano Artistico 140# hot press paper.
(Artist's own photo)
This is a chiaroscuro study using a limited palette. The photo references were taken by me of my grandson when he was about seven months old. We had just given him a bath and laid him on the bed wrapped up in his hooded towel. Evening light streamed in through the bedroom window and highlighted his feet.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was anxious to keep my mind occupied and upbeat. So, I decided to create a portrait using a favorite subject, my grandson. The stay-in-place order issued by our governor was an opportunity for me to try something new with materials I had. Why not experiment with oil-based colored pencils (Faber-Castell Polychromos)? Would my limited stock, left over from a wildlife project, consisting mostly of grays, browns, a bit of pink and some light blue, suffice for Caucasian baby skin? Then there was the problem of surface. My go-to, 4-ply rag mat board, was unavailable. However, I had a drawer full of watercolor paper (140# hot press, Fabiano Artistico) left over from yet another project. Might as well dig in.
The paper held up okay, but required a lighter touch in comparison to the durable and heavily-toothed mat board. Good practice and a rest for my hands. The contrasts were difficult. The darkest darks only went so far. The skin tone was weird until balanced with the similar towel colors. About halfway through, I wondered if this would be a complete failure.
A bonus to using Polychromos for this composition was that they lifted easily and erased well, allowing open areas of paper required for the brightest white to stay clean. The flip side was they smudged, so I had to go back and reapply pigment often. Careful layering and patience paid off. The resulting art has a texture I have never achieved before. The contrasts work well. And really, is there anything cuter than a baby's toes?
About Margi Hopkins:
Margi Hopkins has been creating portraits since 2001. She is owner of Pepper Portraits LLC. She retains a BFA from Denison University, Granville OH, is a signature member of Colored Pencil Society of America, an Associate Member of Society of Animal Artists, and a member of Masterworks for Nature. She resides in Batavia Ohio.
See more at: www.pepperportraits.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.