You Just Never Know

You Just Never Know

by Sherry Goeben

You never ever know where life will lead you! One of the most devastating events in my life became a pathway back into the art world and to discover the most rewarding artistic medium I’ve ever known – colored pencils. It was an “ashes to beauty” type of journey for me.

If the darkness hadn’t come into my life I don’t know if I would have come back to art or not.

“Seal Bicolor Ragdoll Cutie” This is 9x12 and was done on Strathmore Bristol Vellum with Luminance, Polychromos, Derwent Lightfast colored pencils, and Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils (background). Reference Photo is my own.

I had always loved to draw and paint but it had been many years since I had picked up a pencil or brush. I had painted with acrylics, oils, and watercolors but not since my mother’s death in the early 1990’s. I realized just how much her approval and pleasure had mattered to me for my art endeavors. The loss of her stifled any desire to create art for many years. After her death, my husband and I became very active at our church – he was an elder, I was on the ladies ministry board, and we both taught Sunday school in the children’s department. We also worked full time and still had one of our children living at home. Life had become complicated and super busy so art was pushed to the background. The desire was there but time was precious and couldn’t be spared for drawing or painting. I wanted to get back into doing art but the extra time needed just wasn’t there. In 2007 my husband and I moved from Maryland to central Pennsylvania in order to be closer to our eleven grandchildren. We built our dream home and had settled down to a nice but hectic life. My husband had built a gorgeous 13x24 studio over our garage which I loved.

Living happily ever after was not what happened next. In 2009 both of us lost our jobs within a month of each other. Due to the recession and living in a rural area, it took seven long months for either of us to find employment. Neither one of us could find salaries that were even close to our previous incomes. As a result we struggled financially for three long years before finally throwing in the towel and making the decision to downsize to a more affordable home.

In 2012 we put our home up for sale and that summer I started selling off all my art and craft supplies. I knew I was never going to oil paint again so my brushes and mediums were the first items to be listed on eBay. I was thrilled that they sold pretty quickly so I continued to rummage through drawers and bins to find other items to sell. Over the years I had accumulated quite a mass of crafting supplies so there were lots and lots of stuff to sell on eBay.

“Chestnut Racing in the Wind” It's 9x12 on Fabriano Artistico hp 140 lb watercolor paper with Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, Derwent Inktense, Luminance, Polychromos, and Derwent Lightfast colored pencils. Ref photo - Karen Broemmelsick.

While going through some of the bins one day I stumbled upon watercolors that I hadn’t touched since 1995. Wondering if there was any online market for artwork on eBay, I did a search and low and behold I discovered ACEOs, which stands for, art cards editions and originals. They are tiny pieces of art that are the same size as baseball trading cards. The only rule for them was that the dimensions had to be 2.5” x 3.5”. I also discovered an entire community of artists and collectors for this size of art that existed on eBay and Facebook. So, I decided to try painting a couple, list on eBay, and see what would happen. And, to my delight, people started bidding on my ACEOs. A couple of months later I joined an eBay ACEO community group which shortly thereafter migrated to Facebook.

“Parental Control” This is 8x10 on Clairfontaine Pastelmat with Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils (underpainting), Luminance, Polychromos & Pablo colored pencils, and Pan Pastels (grass). The reference photo is from Paul Sherman.

Colored pencils are still my favorite medium and even after six years I’m still learning new techniques all the time!  

If it had not been for the recession I don’t know if I would have ever returned to the art world. It’s been a wonderful journey that started out on such a despairing note but ultimately led me to colored pencils and all the wonderful artists that I have the privilege to know! I have learned not to dread the future when things don’t look promising. You just never know!



Sherry Goeben lives in rural Central Pennsylvania. She is a self-taught artist that discovered colored pencils in 2013. She strives for realism in her work.
She loves to draw animals and her work is best known for capturing the soul of her subjects. Sherry is well-known in the Facebook community where she loves to share her knowledge and techniques with fellow artists.

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Comments (2)

Great article – good to learn about how it all started with you. I’m glad you’re finding happiness. 🌺

Cathy Pascoe - Feb 13, 2019

Great article! What a journey you’ve had and I love your positive attitude.

Randi Mackey - Feb 13, 2019

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