November 2019 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

Posted on October 31, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

The three artists featured in the November 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase submitted stories about their artwork for our blog. Below, you'll find out more about the inspiration behind these outstanding works of art. 

And Thereby Hangs A Tale
by Sharon Kow
14 x 20 inches
Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Drawing "Chinese White" on 140lb. hot-pressed Arches aquarelle paper
Artist’s own photo

This reference picture was taken in an iron factory museum in Nanfangao, Taiwan during my trip there early this year. It was previously an iron factory in the early 1960s. But due to technology advancement and changing times the factory closed down in 2004. And now, with the effort of the owner, it was turned into the Sangang Iron Factory Museum. From the outside, this museum looks like an ordinary old Taiwanese shophouse. If we were not taken in for a tour, I would not have known it was a museum.

It was messy with all kinds of old metals and ironworks. The pathway was long and very narrow; one had to be very careful while maneuvering about. It was overwhelming to see so many things in this tight place: a whole lot of old wood, metal and brass ornaments, rusted chains, boat engine parts, etc., haphazardly filling up every corner.

When my eyes and brain finally began to settle down, I stumbled upon this beautiful setup on this wall behind an antique cabinet. I had walked by it several times but did not notice it earlier. When I actually saw it, I did a double take and my feet did an emergency brake. I stood there staring at it, lost in thought, blocking the walkway. I felt as though I was transported back in time. My eyes were like the camera’s zoom lens, zooming in the scene in slow motion; all surrounding sounds and voices were muffled. I was transfixed! In my head, I was reading made-up memoir of the people whose belongings were on that hanger. It was a lightbulb moment and I knew I found the perfect subject for my next art piece.

About Sharon Kow:

Sharon Siew Suan Kow began seriously pursuing colored pencil art at the age of 43. Her inspiration comes from simple, everyday subjects which she uses metaphorically to create a visual understanding of logic and emotions that are integrated into the fabric of our lives.

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by Jesse Lane
28 x 39 inches
Derwent Lightfast, Coloursoft, Derwent Drawing, Prismacolor, Polychromos on Strathmore Bristol Board 500 Vellum.
Artist’s own photo

"Abyss" was inspired by the feeling of being in love.

The feelings of love engulf us.

Love makes us feel weightless. It's magical. It means stepping outside ourselves into new territory and experiencing someone different from us.

However, love is delicate. Our emotions can spiral. We realize that to love someone means being vulnerable. Even if we’re careful, we can get hurt... so hurt it can feel as though we will never recover.

As confusing as love is, it's something we live for. Whatever feelings we experience, they are often deep, like an abyss.

"Abyss" was one of the most challenging pieces I've made. The drawing took over 1,000 hours.

"Abyss" recently won 2nd place in CPSA's 27th International Exhibition in Brea, CA.

About Jesse Lane:

Jesse is a colored pencil artist from Houston. His work has appeared on the covers of both The Artist's Magazine and International Artist Magazine. He is represented by RJD Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY. Jesse also teaches workshops around the U.S.

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Tree of Witness
by Denise Howard
20 x 15 inches 
Colored pencil on Stonehenge paper
Artist’s own photo

I found this incredible Osage orange tree in Central Park in New York City. It had so much to say with its many details, knots, holes, textures, and subtle colors that I wanted to give it a voice so that many viewers will take time to "listen."

It occurred to me that since experiences change people's appearance over time, maybe they change trees, too. Being in Central Park, this tree has probably witnessed a lot, hence its title. I changed the background altogether to keep the attention on it and suggest an air of both melancholy and hope. Osage orange trees were favored by Native Americans for making bows, and by farmers for making strong fence posts that never rot.

About Denise Howard:

Denise Howard is the author of 101 Textures in Colored Pencil, and a signature member of the CPSA and UKCPS. Her award-winning artworks are inspired by her love for the details in nature.

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These artworks were published in the November 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the 40 page 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.

Posted in showcase

The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - November 2019

Posted on October 31, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

Corresponding with the art gallery that is featured each month in Ann Kullberg's COLOR MagazineThe Pencil Box blog series will give artists a bit more space to share insight and inspiration about their colored pencil art. Make sure to check out FB group links at the bottom of this post. Call for entry is posted every month in participating Facebook groups - join in the fun and your artwork could be featured, too!

Beach Huts, Saunton Sands by Nicky Chadwick
4x3 inches, Polychromos, Derwent Lightfast and Caran D'ache Pablos on Grafix drafting film

We had spent a fabulous family day on Saunton Sands in Devon and, after having fun surfing the waves, building sandcastles and playing beach games, we were packing up to leave. I noticed that everyone had left their beach huts for the day, and a perfect photo presented itself. I loved the colors on each hut so much I was itching to draw them. I don't normally draw on such a small scale, and really loved challenging myself. The Grafix drafting film is also relatively new to me, having only done a handful of drawings on this medium before.

About Nicky:

Nicky Chadwick is a colored pencil artist based in Yorkshire, UK. She specializes in pet and horse portraits but when not carrying out commissions she loves to stretch her skills and work on personal projects. Nicky loves the beach and is currently enjoying working on beach related drawings.

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Untitled by Betty Ford
11x14 inches, Prismacolor and gold leaf on black pastelmat

I love to draw the women wearing The Day of The Dead makeup. I think they're beautiful and the celebration itself is also interesting. The Day of The Dead is usually celebrated October 31 to November 2. Families in Mexico use these days to remember their loved ones who have passed away. A lot of people just know the makeup as being sugar skull makeup and I'm hoping that through my art, I can educate about the celebration. I was drawn to this photo in particular because of the lovely designs on her head cover and the contrast of her makeup to her clothing. 

About Betty:

Betty Ford is a self-taught artist living in southern West Virginia. She is a wife and mother to 6 children. She loves to draw portraits with a dramatic flare and adds her own special artistic touches. She was recently part of The Best of West Virginia exhibit.

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Bob's Chevy by Susan Grimm
12" x 12"  Prismacolors and Polychromos on Grafix Dura-Lar matte film.

This classic old car is owned by a 93 year old,  named Bob, who enters it each year in the local downtown car show. I love the chrome and the radiant red colors when the sun hits it. In fact, the chrome bumper has three reflections: the car owner, the artist and the artist's husband, which were incorporated into the drawing. I noticed this car many times over the years around town and at other shows. I continued to always photograph it, and I finally decided to draw it this summer. Bob is quite the character as he is retired, well loved and a devoted classic car enthusiast who restores many beautiful cars to their original condition.

About Susan:

The artist began drawing at age 10 after her mother signed her up for Saturday morning art classes that she rode her bike to. She continued to draw until college and then took a hiatus to pursue her career and raise a family. Her pencil drawing resumed 10 years ago.

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Ta Tanka Wakan by Denise Milledge
20x24 inches, colored pencil on Strathmore 400 drawing paper

I created this colored pencil piece for a number of reasons. Firstly, to honor the Native American peoples who taught that buffalo medicine is about abundance, gratefulness for that abundance, and freedom. Secondly, I lost my ex-husband this past March to a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor. Buffalo was his favorite animal. He was a strong supporter of my artistic goals and achievements and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. This past July, I realized a dream and opened my own art studio and gallery. This piece was created to hang in that space to honor his memory and bring in the energy of abundance, gratefulness and freedom.

About Denise:

Denise is a self-taught artist who has primarily been drawing horses since she could hold a pencil. She first began working in colored pencil in 1992. Recently she opened her own studio and gallery where she endeavors to share her passion for the colored pencil medium with others.

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These artworks are published in the NOVEMBER 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine.


Posted in The Pencil Box

From Squashed Pooh to the Royal Academy

Posted on October 26, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

by Robert Strange

I am a collector, a veritable magpie amongst artists. However, it’s not just shiny things that grab my attention; rather it is colorful, everyday objects that feed my growing obsession. Things like plastic bottle tops, dice, soft toys, ties, playing cards, toy vehicles, sweet wrappers, the list increases daily. My studio is a museum to ephemera displaying discarded items in jars and boxes, the strata of shelves looking like an art installation in themselves. It is these containers that are the inspiration for my art. As a child I enjoyed rummaging through the ‘odds-and-sods’ drawer that every household possesses; a drawer of paper clips and elastic bands, drawing pins and pens that don’t work.

As an adult I have these useless, thrown away pieces of tack on display, waiting to be immortalized in colored pencil and exhibited for a whole new audience to appreciate and to rediscover the beauty of the ordinary.

Squashed Pooh. Soft Toys in a glass-fronted box.

I start my drawing by randomly casting the chosen components into a glass-fronted container such as a fish tanks, anything that can have a grid drawn the front (using a permanent marker) to act as guidelines for the enlarging process. I use a 1 cm. square grid on the glass frontage and then draw a 2 cm., 3 cm. or larger grid on my paper. Each square is numbered using numbers along the top and letters down the side so I don’t lose my place when copying from the smaller grid to the larger. I draw on a heavy hot-press paper, 300gsm, which I place on a board in front of the container so that I can draw direct from the ‘still-life’. This drawing-out stage takes anything from 20 to 30 hours.

I worked as an art teacher for twenty years, and it was while developing a scheme of work for year eight pupils to help them with drawing skills that I came up with an idea to use the grid system of enlarging. Each pupil would choose objects from home that meant something to them and could fit into a jam jar. I believe in teaching by example, so I also collected some colorful toys, which I put into a larger glass-fronted box and proceeded to start a drawing that the pupils could see develop day by day. That was the first of many drawings in my ‘Squashed’ series of colored pencil work that continues to the present day.

Squashed Dice. Winner of the catalogue award at the Mall Galleries, London with the Pastel Society.

The colorful toys I used created a challenge to create the textures and colors accurately using colored pencil. I love using Prismacolor because they blend so easily, colors can be mixed on the paper, they can lay on top of each other to create translucent effects, they can be scratched into, scraped off and built up in layers to create the textures and patterns that I look for when drawing anything from rust to fabric, plastic to metal. They give an excellent coverage and solid color and I have often equated them to oil pastels such is the feeling I get when applying them to paper.

I recently achieved recognition of my work, and indeed of the appreciation of color pencil, when my drawing ‘Squashed Toy Vehicles’ was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London. It was the only colored pencil drawing in the whole of the show out of 800 works and to say I was delighted would be a vast understatement.

The drawing was from my collection of toy cars many of which have their paint work peeling off, broken and parts missing. It is this theme, of time taking its toll on objects, that inspires me to produce my artwork. When something is new it is treasured and appreciated. As it gets older it begins to lose its appeal and its usefulness. Newer models come along and it is soon put aside and eventually thrown away and forgotten.) What I try to achieve in my work is to rejuvenate those ‘somethings’, to make them important again. Being old doesn’t mean something is useless, unimportant or not beautiful. When my drawing was seen by thousands in the RA it was considered as a piece of art; old toy cars given a new lease of life. The same story can be told of all my 'Squashed' drawings; thrown away objects becoming important once more through the medium of color pencil.

Squashed Toy Vehicles. The only CP drawing at the Royal Academy this year.

The process of creating ‘Squashed Toy Vehicles’ involved using several different techniques: to obtain the patina of the vehicles I layered various shades of Prismacolor ‘Cool Grey’ on top of each other then, using a blade, I scraped them off leaving layers of different greys. I then burnished the surface and repeated this process a couple of times to create a patchy, multi-grey surface. By laying down a light color then putting a darker color on top I could create very thin lines using a scalpel to scratch through the top layer, a bit like sgraffito. Prismacolor are so adaptable but sometimes I needed a thin, hard pencil to draw detail with and for this I used Caran D’Ache Pablo pencils which sharpen to an excellent point and seem to work well with other pencils. I have a large set of 132 Prismacolor pencils which really helps when searching for a color but I had to mix several colors (greens and browns), on the paper itself to create the correct chroma of Khaki for the military vehicles. My next drawing will be toy bricks; a collectors work is never ending.


Robert Strange lives in Harwell, Oxfordshire. He is a member of the Oxford Art Society and the UKCPS. Robert has a BA (Fine Art) with Honours an MA in Art Education. He worked as a sign writer, graphic designer and free-lance artist before taking up a teaching post in a secondary school. He now works as a full-time artist including exhibiting, teaching and demonstrating. He has won the catalogue award from the Pastel Society and shown at the Royal Academy this year.

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Posted in colored pencil artists

October 2019 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

Posted on October 01, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

The three artists featured in the October 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase submitted stories about their artwork for our blog. In their posts below, each artist shares their inspiration for their beautiful art.


HomeSpun CowGirl 
by Cheryl Caro
18 x 24 inches
Faber Castell Polychromos, Luminance, Derwent ProColour, Derwent LightFast, and Pablo Caran d'Ache colored pencils on smooth Bristol (artist’s own photo.)

Homespun CowGirl is a portrait of my sister, representing her journey from city girl to cowgirl. Her pride is reflected in her eyes as she gazes upon her home and land that she and her late husband built together. It was on her land that she learned to ride horses, construct a three stall barn with her husband, pull barb wire fencing, ride their tractor, and even stand in the tractor's bucket to trim their numerous trees. It was on her property that she shared many quiet evenings sitting on the porch discussing the day's work with her husband. Her love for her land and her cherished memories had me wanting to draw her because she truly is an inspiration to me. She doesn't wear fancy clothing, nor get her nails polished or her hair perfectly styled, but she has lived and loved more than many. A woman with true grit. My Homespun CowGirl sister.

About Cheryl Caro:

Cheryl Caro started drawing with colored pencils in 2013 to draw her Basset hounds. Since then, she has become fascinated with drawing people and capturing their expressions while trying to convey an emotion.

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Wet N Wild Grizzly 
by Doris Woodruff
16 x 18 inches
Faber Castell watercolor pencils on Pastelmat (artist’s own photo.)

I loved seeing the grizzlies play in their "river" on one of our many zoofaris! Animals do the most amazing things if you spend time watching them and are quite the challenge to photograph.We return to the same zoos often and see many different animals and activities going on every time! I think it is much more meaningful to paint an animal when I have spent time watching their many antics!

I had never tried to paint water of any kind nor an animal, or used watercolor pencils, so this is a first on many counts. In photographing and painting animals from our zoofari trips, I have become more interested in so many animals which I had no idea were in danger of extinction. We lose the animals, we lose ourselves and our connection to land and life!

About Doris Woodruff:

Doris Woodruff began painting many years ago and has painted in acrylics, oils, watercolor, pastels, and now her new love colored pencils. Art is a form of relaxation but also a progressive interest in the world around her. It is the best way to really "see" the world and gives hours and years of enjoyment both doing art and learning.



Nuba, Egypt 
by Galal Ramadan
23 x 36 inches
Prismacolor Premier, Faber-Castell GoldFaber colored pencils and white SupraColor dry on Stonehenge white 120lb. printmaking paper (photo by Ziad Abdelbasit).

I was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. Nuba, located south of Aswan, right along the border with Sudan, is a land of secrets; a land that bears the charm of the past with a slight modern touch. It is a land whose people are a constant reminder of legends of the past, stories of our ancestors, Nubians' traditions, modest lives and welcoming hearts welcome anyone. A land that will both enchant and intrigue anyone at the same time.

Nubia consists of many islands in the Nile. Nubian families inhabit these islands. However most of these families had to leave their home islands to new places after the Nasser Dam was built and the water flooded their homes. When you travel to El Nuba (as we call it in Arabic), it is highly recommended that you visit most of the islands, as each of them will have a different story to tell.

About Galal Ramadan:

Galal Ramadan is a self-employed graphic designer and marketer. He is an award-winning self-taught colored pencil artist. He was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt and now resides in Boca Raton, FL. He has participated in numerous solo and juried national and international exhibitions and has taught colored pencil classes and workshops at several locations.

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These artworks were published in the 
October 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine.

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.

The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - October 2019

Posted on September 30, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

Corresponding with the art gallery that is featured each month in Ann Kullberg's COLOR MagazineThe Pencil Box blog series will give artists a bit more space to share insight and inspiration about their colored pencil art. Make sure to check out FB group links at the bottom of this post. Call for entry is posted every month in participating Facebook groups - join in the fun and your artwork could be featured, too!

Sweet Little Boy by Yasmin Melean
9x12 inches, Prismacolor on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper

I love the sweet and calm expression of this young child. When I saw the reference, I knew I had to paint it. I have a predilection for portraits and at the time I was looking for a reference with strong and vibrant color contrast which I found in the unusual pinks/oranges of the skin. From the beginning of the painting up till the end I was totally engaged with the process, looking forward to seeing the end result while fully enjoying the journey. As time pass by, this portrait becomes even more special in my heart as the subject and finish of the work invite me to relax. I am very happy and pleased with the final result, it has become a point of inspiration to continue working hard.

About Yasmin:

Yasmin Melean is a self-employed artist located in Canberra, Australia. Her curious nature and love for art and science led her to earn a Ph.D. in Physics and be self-taught in art. She strives on continuous learning and dreams to combine her knowledge from different areas in one place.

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Doorway To the Nile by Heidi Seal
6.5"x10", Polychromos and Derwent Lightfast on White Pastelmat

Traveling gives me the motivation I need to draw and back in 2010 I was lucky enough to spend a week sailing down the River Nile in Egypt and visiting all the historical sites. One of those sites was the Temple of Philae, saved from flooding in the 1960ies and now standing on Agilkia island. This drawing shows part of the Philae temple complex and it was a dream to work on as I could combine my love of Egyptology and drawing. Ancient Egyptian art always fills me with inspiration and I hope this piece will inspire someone to maybe read about ancient Egypt or even visit the temples.

About Heidi:

Heidi is a self-taught artist from West Yorkshire, England, she loves to travel and create drawings inspired by her trips in Europe and Egypt.

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1956 Ford Fairlane by John Guiseppi
10"x17", Prismacolor on Strathmore 400 paper

I took this photo at a local Art and Classic Automobile Show in Bartow, Florida - Bloomin Arts Festival. This particular car attracted me because as a kid, we actually owned a 56 Ford Fairlane. A beautiful Pale Yellow over Cream two-toned classic. I loved riding in this car while growing up in Mid-West America, admiring the craftsmanship of the old dashboard with its dials, knobs and levers. I just had to photograph it and hopefully capture the details with colored pencil. This is one of a series of Classic American Iron - Automobiles and Motorcycles that I'm working on.

About John:

John is a self-taught colored pencil artist and photographer. John’s specialty is photographing wildlife, nature, architecture, and automotive subjects. He uses his photography as reference to create, produce and share an art piece allowing others a glimpse into that secret world of wildlife, nature and the world that he sees.

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Steam Traction Engine No 87964 by Marilyn Theisel
42x30.5 cm (16 1/2 x 12 inches), Prismacolor Pencils on Arches 300 gsm NOT cotton paper

This Steam Traction engine was built in 1937 by Marshalls, Sons & Co, England, for the Tasmanian Public Works Department to crush rocks. It was used till 1957 when steam engines were no longer used. My work is done from my own photograph when I saw this engine at an Open Garden Day, Hadspen, Tasmania. I was struck by its aged, worn colors of reds and blues now disappearing over the years. I wanted to portray how beautiful this engine once was and still is and to document in color a part of our industrial heritage here in my homeland.

About Marilyn:

Marilyn Theisel commenced art at the late age of 61 years and completed an Assoc. Degree in Visual Arts in 2017. A member of local Art Societies and textile groups, Marilyn Theisel uses layers in all her artworks. Colored pencil is a favorite medium due to this process.

These artworks are published in the OCTOBER 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine.


Posted in The Pencil Box

How I Came To Draw Again

Posted on September 20, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 5 Comments

by Kirsten Walsh

I had done a few portraits for family, and they always said “ Oh you should do this, you’re so gifted”, not something I have ever really understood or been very comfortable with. I certainly didn’t think I could make a living from—no way.

Saltwater Gypsy
1100cmx800cm, Grey lead and charcoal pencil on Fabriano Cold pressed

I think as an artist you have a way of looking at things and seeing color and light perhaps differently. You don’t even see yourself they way others see you, I think I struggled with this self-criticism for many years. Not good enough perhaps, not up to the standard that I see as outstanding. It’s that high expectation of your own work, it must be perfect, that you analyse everything you do so much. I still do to some degree, but I’ve learned to be kinder to myself and be more proud of my skills the last few years.

When I picked up pencils again after a very, very long break I was so nervous to start. It took me almost 3 weeks I think to finish that drawing back then. Three years ago. Fair enough it had been about 15 years, I felt like I was starting again. I had only what I remembered, no clue on papers, pencil pressure or other things like blenders and solvents. What were these! So I decided to teach myself again.

14x11inch, Polychromos on Strathmore bristol plate 500 series

I spent hours on YouTube and Facebook just watching other artists work. How things had changed, just being able to study what other artists did fascinate me. How awesome is this I thought. I knew I could do this too, I never had any doubt, I just had to get started and draw something. I still say the same thing to my daughters, you just need to keep at it, see what you can find and study it, and then give it a go.

I did my first pet portrait for a family cousin. It went well, I was happy with the finished piece, she loved it, so I shared it on social media, and then more people loved it! Things just grew from there.

Over the next couple of years I continued to keep up the drawings, I invested in my time and work, I promoted myself through social media and had opportunities to share my work in the local paper and in other competitions. All awhile each commissioned drawing I finished would attract more inquiries. How lucky am I!!

When I discovered my most admired artist, CJ Hendry, I was in awe of the scale and precision of her work. It was not like anything I had seen before, alongside her attitude toward the art industry. After spending two years building and improving my animal drawings into a successful business, which I still love, it was time to test my skills and do something new.

14x17inch, Polychromos and Luminance on Strathmore 500 series plate

I was invited to participate in a curated local art exhibition, it would be in an amazing space and have a really cool vibe, and hundreds were expected to attend. This piece needed to be bold and have a wow factor. Perfect timing! I did the piece, it was big, it was bold, it was beautiful and mostly though it was for me pivotal moment in my journey of the last 3 years. How far you can go if you put your heart into something, what can be achieved and how much your skills can grow and develop. Proudly the show was a huge success and my piece sold shortly after.

“Saltwater Gypsy” is the result of years of learning, hours of drawing and the belief in being able to do it. Drawing again has given me so much more than just a new career, to anyone starting out; I would just say keep going. It’s so much more than art.

About Kirsten:

Kirsten works as a full time artist specializing mostly in pets, wildlife and people. She has studied Art in various capacities but is mostly self-taught in the medium of color pencil. Her work has been published and won awards since going professional 3 years ago. She lives in Victoria, Australia with her 2 gorgeous daughters; husband Brad and two staffies Boofa and Murph, and Ragdoll Winston.

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Posted in colored pencil artists

Photo Tour: SOAR Colored Pencil Workshops

Posted on September 10, 2019 by Ann Kullberg | 0 Comments

In groups big and small all over the country, SOAR students are learning colored pencil step by step with internationally known, award-winning and certified colored pencil instructors. Find a workshop near you and learn more about SOAR Colored Pencil Workshops here.

Paint Horse on Colored Paper with Vickie Lawrence, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, August 2019.


Young Lad Portrait with Rhonda Bartoe, Vancouver, WA, August 2019.


Iris Botanical with Jeannice Gordon, Dallas, TX, July 2019.


Green Reflections with Michelle Sanders, Hamilton, OH, May 2019.


Mountain Landscape with Dan Miller, Keizer, OR, Feb 2019.


Blooming Roses with Rhonda Dicksion, Hamilton, OH, March 2019.


Majestic Cat with Gemma Gylling, November 2018, Bothell, WA.

Find a workshop near you >>

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