C’est Fini!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by Lisa Mills

Finally, I can post a picture of the latest artwork – still untitled at this point.  This piece will be entered in the Colored Pencil Society of America 21st Annual International Exhibition, to be held in Brea, California July, 2013.  If accepted, it would be my second accepted entry in this prestigious exhibition.  I truly lost count of the hours it took to complete this piece.  Needless to say, it was a lot!  Like the Fender guitar piece I completed earlier this year, this painting was entirely colored pencil done on Art Spectrum Colorfix Suede paper.  I love this paper – it really works well with colored pencils and produces a fabulous effect when creating reflective surfaces.  Anyway, here’s the finished piece…more updates to come on the title and progress in the judging process which takes place next spring.

“Reflections on Cool Jazz” – Copyright 2012, Lisa M. Mills, All Rights Reserved
Colored Pencil on Colorfix Suede Paper
18″ x 31.5″


Comrades True…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 26, 2012 by Lisa Mills

My alma mater, Texas Christian University featured me and my artwork in their blog, “Comrades True.”  The blog does features and stories about TCU alumnae.  It’s quite an honor to be recognized by my school.  Go Frogs!


Reflecting on “Reflections”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 14, 2012 by Lisa Mills

“Reflections on Heavy Metal” received the Best in Category (Professional Artist Category) award at CPSA District Chapter 215 Exhibition in Richardson, Texas yesterday.  I can honestly say that I didn’t see that coming.  Our local chapter has many talented artists, both professional and non-professional and my artwork was obviously facing tough competition.  I’m thrilled to have this honor.  I’m even more thrilled for my artwork to be hanging in a gallery with so many artists that I admire greatly.  If you live in the area, take time to go see the exhibit at the Eisemann Center.  The pieces are beautiful, diverse and unbelievably all colored pencil.

For my Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Followers…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Lisa Mills

The Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society has a members exhibit currently showing at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas.  We have a wonderful group of artists, many of whom have had national and international recognition.  The show continues Monday through Saturday each week until November 4th from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.  There is no charge for admission.  The Forrest and Virginia Green Mezzanine Gallery is upstairs at the center.  It’s located at 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson, Texas 75082.

I have two pieces on exhibit:  “Snow Dog” and “Reflections on Heavy Metal.”

I hope to see you there!

Work in Progress…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Lisa Mills

The piece I’m currently working on will be a companion piece to “Reflections on Heavy Metal,” a winner in the CPSA International Exhibition last summer.  I haven’t titled it yet, but it will be a triptych like the Fender guitar piece.  Here’s a glimpse at one of the panels in the triptych.  (This, like all my work, is Copyright protected.)

This piece is 100% colored pencil on Art Spectrum Colorfix Suede paper.  I wanted to challenge myself and so far, so good!  I’m working on the third panel of the piece now and it is proving to be the most difficult.  I hope to have it completed within the month and be able to move on to something else.

Inspiration is…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by Lisa Mills

I find it interesting to talk to other artists and find out what inspires them.  For me, it’s pretty simple.  My artwork is inspired by color, nature and how light reacts to the surfaces of objects.  As far as artists go, the Impressionists have always been my inspiration.  Monet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissaro all bring a fascinating interpretation of how they see the world and subsequently put it on a canvas.  I love how they are able to look at something and see colors that most of us cannot fathom are there.

Claude Monet
Water-Lily Pond

Looking at the above painting by Monet at his beloved Giverny, I am amazed at the diverse range of color in what our eye interprets as a mostly green field.  Now, look at the following photo that I took this summer at Giverny of the actual pond he used as reference:

Giverny – France, 2012

Monet’s dynamic use of color bring the lily pond to life.  The yellows bring light to the canvas.  The blues depict cool shadows.  Texture allows the viewer to feel the leaves.  Reflection shows the stillness of the water.

The Impressionists were not well thought of when they came on the scene in the mid to late 1800’s.  Their style and bold use of color was a drastic departure from the dark, dramatic and realistic styles of their predecessors.  I’m thankful that they forged that path for artists who came after them.  Anytime I get an opportunity to see an Impressionist exhibit, I take advantage of it. I always learn something about how to use color and texture in my artwork.  Who inspires you?

Holy cow! It’s a winner!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2012 by Lisa Mills


I am beyond words as I start this blog entry.  My artwork “Reflections on Heavy Metal” was juried into the International CPSA Exhibition which is displayed at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky through the end of August. If that wasn’t enough, my artwork was one of 19 entries selected as a winner Friday evening at the CPSA Convention in Covington.  I received an Award for Excellence. I was beyond words then too.

“Reflections on Heavy Metal” on display at the Carnegie

There were 537 artworks entered into this year’s juried show.  121 were selected to be on exhibit for about six weeks at the Carnegie.  19 were winners.  As they said in The Hunger Games, somehow the odds were ever in my favor!  I stood among artists that I have admired for quite some time.  I had the privilege of sitting next to decorated and talented artist, Jeff George of California at our CPSA awards banquet Friday night.  It was his 9th straight year to have a piece selected for show. He’s also a past CIPPY Award winner (that’s Colored Pencil speak for Best in Show).  That’s staggering when you think of the fickle finger of fate that judges use to select artwork for these shows.

I got to Covington on Thursday afternoon and allowed myself plenty of time to see the exhibit.  The Carnegie is a beautiful, historic building that provides a perfect venue for the display of artwork.  I was really astonished at the quality of each of the 121 pieces that were selected this year.  Colored pencil artists are somewhat of the Rodney Dangerfields of the art world: we “don’t get no respect.”  I would challenge anyone with a thought of looking at colored pencil artwork with contempt to go see this exhibit.  To me, colored pencil has more potential for diversity in style that any other single medium in art and that diversity shines in this exhibit.  (Please note, that I say more than any other single medium, as mixed media artwork has a great deal of potential for diverse styles and applications.)  Colored Pencil art can look like pencil, colored pencil, pastel, oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage, among others.  It takes a great deal of patience and time to master the medium and execute the artwork.  There are so many possibilities that a colored pencil artist has at his or her disposal involving paper, boards and other surfaces, as well as any number of types of pencils and techniques one can use to carry out one’s vision.

The artists that won this year were both seasoned artists and new to CPSA.  Our CIPPY award winner was a new member and was entering for the first time.  Not only did she get juried in, but she also won best in show!  Quite an achievement.  Here’s a link to the CPSA website with photos of all the winning entries: http://www.cpsa.org/coloredpencilartists/AWARDS/WINNERS2012/awards2012.html

This was CPSA’s 20th annual exhibition and each year, many donors step up and give thousands of dollars to make the awards possible for the artists.  This year over $18,000 was donated for the prize money which comes from art product companies, district CPSA chapters and individuals.  My particular award was an Award for Excellence and it was made possible by the generous donations from CPSA District Chapter 215 (Dallas/Fort Worth – my home chapter) and DC 115 (Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania).  Thank you to both of those District Chapters who contributed funds – I am truly grateful for your generosity!

I’d be remiss not to also thank our wonderful judge, Jamie Markle, Publisher and Editorial Director of F+W Fine Art in Cincinnati.  Mr. Markle was very thoughtful in his process and very accessible to CPSA throughout our event.  He even took the time to speak to our group on Saturday morning with words of wisdom on getting published.  I know our CPSA board was thrilled to have worked with him this year.

I am still trying to grasp the reality of this achievement, which for me has been about three years in the making.  I picked up a colored pencil three years ago…my first time since I was in college.  I didn’t know where I would be headed with that pencil, but I knew I was hooked and a passion was re-born.  One of my goals is to get Signature Status with CPSA, which means that I have to have two more pieces juried in to the International Show within the next 9 years – this year’s entry provided step one.  There is also the CPSA Explore This! show that is featured online in the spring.  It is a mixed media show, and I would like to enter it as well to expand my repertoire.

For those of you that keep up with this blog, I appreciate your interest and support!  I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am.



Work in Progress…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 22, 2012 by Lisa Mills

Even though it’s summer and things should have slowed down, my time in studio has been reduced.  I find myself spending much of my time in the car chauffeuring one certain teenager around to various activities.  This piece I’m posting here is one in progress.  It’s another three-panel (tryptich) study of an instrument and again, I’m taking advantage of bright sunlight and captivating reflections.  The background isn’t filled in yet as I will decide once the whole piece is complete what color the background shall be.  Can you guess the instrument?

Snow Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 by Lisa Mills

Here’s the latest off the drawing board, as promised.

It’s titled “Snow Day!”  In Texas, we rarely see snow – particularly this much of it.  As the scene depicts, the kids aren’t the only ones excited about playing in the snow.  Animals love it too.  These two thought that the snowballs were as much fun to chase as tennis balls and they were about to get into a little skirmish over it.  I love their majestic tails swirling in the air in this scene.  This is done with colored pencils and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II wax “crayons” on Art Spectrum Colorfix Suede paper.

I’m continuing next with another tutorial for Alyona Nickelsen’s website, http://www.brushandpencil.com.  I’m working on tutorials focused on animals for her subscribers.  If you’re an artist or are training as an artist, she has an excellent website and is a master at colored pencil techniques.  Also, check out coloredpencilmag.com this month (May, 2012) for my “Featured Blog” piece.  It was surreal getting the magazine in the mail and seeing my work in print!

The hectic schedule that the end of the school year brings to me as a mom has been challenging as far as getting my work done, but I’m continuing to trudge onward.  Until next time, enjoy Snow Day! as we start to edge into summertime.

The judge has reached his verdict and…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 25, 2012 by Lisa Mills

Woo hoo!  “Reflections on Heavy Metal” was juried in to the CPSA 20th Annual International Competition to be held in Covington, Kentucky this summer.

I stumbled on this bit of news in an unexpected way.  I was perusing through my Facebook newsfeed last weekend and stumbled upon a status update for another CPSA artist.  She said in her update that a work she submitted was juried in to the CPSA show.  While I was excited for her, my heart absolutely sank.  I had received no communiqués from CPSA about the list of accepted entries.  In fact, the list wasn’t due to be posted for another few days.

With my heart racing, I immediately went to the CPSA website.  I clicked on their “news” link and saw that the list of accepted entries was, in fact posted.  One more click took me to the list.  I thought about it for a moment, then begin to slowly scroll down the page.  Since the list is in alphabetical order, it didn’t take too long to arrive at the “M’s.”  Ma…Me…Mi…then I saw it! Mills, Lisa!!!  Something resembling a squeak came out of my mouth.  I couldn’t believe it.  This is a huge honor for my name to appear amongst some really accomplished artists.

So now, my framed work will travel to Covington, Kentucky this summer to appear in the exhibition at the Carnegie Center for about six weeks.  Each accepted entry will be reviewed by the judge and from those, awards will be given to those who he deems has merit.  Last year there were over 700 entries, with approximately 120 or so being juried in.  From that, just over 10% will win an award.  I don’t know where the judge thinks my work fits in this whole puzzle, but I am thrilled to have been selected to appear in the exhibition.

On other notes of exciting news, I have teamed up with fellow artist and my former teacher, Alyona Nickelson in creating online tutorials as a part of her website.  She offers subscribed members access to various tutorials and my first one has been published to the site!  Also, this blog that you’re reading now is the Featured Artist Blog in Colored Pencil Magazine (both online and in print) for the month of May.  Many thanks go out to Sally Ford, editor/publisher of Colored Pencil Magazine for deeming my work worthy of print!  All that said, I must get back to work.  Among the items I’m working on now is a larger piece of my two dogs playing in the snow and I have taken all the photos I need for an upcoming piece that will continue in my “Reflections” series.  Not a guitar this time…but I’ll keep you guessing!

Until then, here’s a picture of a work that I did of Lucy in the snow after I finished “Reflections on Heavy Metal.”  It’s called Snowdog.  Lucy, after her playtime in the snow came up for air with a “beard” of snow.