Archive for colored pencil art

A New Bird for the Nest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by Lisa Mills

I just finished a small piece, Wren in Rome…It is on my favorite paper – Art Spectrum Colourfix Suede paper and I used the entire line of Caran d’Ache pencils: Luminance, Pablo, Supracolor II and Museum Aquarelle. I absolutely love their pencils and have confidence in their quality and lightfastness for fine art works.  I took the reference photo of this little wren early in the morning. The effect of the light on the shrubs in the background was stunning and provided a dramatic backdrop to the little bird. I also loved how the warm light washed over the bird from the back and provided a contrast against the cool hues of the chair he was perched on. The chairs are actually a faded black metal, that when washed with light, appeared blue grey.  This is my first piece as a Signature Member of CPSA, however I didn’t sign the piece as such.

We just returned from San Francisco, where we enjoyed seeing a great deal of art. That is always so energizing to me, but it also makes me realize just how much I need to grow as an artist. I don’t consider myself a truly creative person. I’m able to create art on the page, but I don’t think creatively enough and that is always a struggle for me. So that is my next challenge…to try to connect more with my creative side so that I can produce art that is dynamic and captivating. So in the mean time, here’s the little wren…

Carolina Wren in Texas

Wren in Rome…

Three in a Row…

Posted in Artist with tags , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by Lisa Mills

I was excited last week to find out that Reflections on Cool Jazz was accepted into CPSA’s 22nd Annual International Exhibition in Florida this year. This acceptance was my third in a row and it also earned me “signature status” in CPSA. Signature status is earned when one’s work is juried into the exhibition three times in a ten year span.  This is the fourth time I’ve entered. Year one ended in rejection and was really tough on me as an emerging artist. I had to reach deep to regain inspiration. I also made a conscious effort to try and create art that is different, inspiring and challenging. Reflections on Cool Jazz  was the most difficult piece I’ve created to date. There are close to 150 hours of work put into it and I was definitely challenged. The thing I like about both my Reflections pieces is that they depict the subject matter in a realistic way, yet due to the close-up nature of the view in my reference photos and the bright light, there are great abstract forms within the realism.

 

Reflections Sax Original Copyright

 

 

I’m in the process now of trying to determine my next step in the creative process, which is usually difficult for me as well as time consuming. In the mean time, I’m experimenting with new papers and pencils and creating as I can. I’ll ship this artwork to Florida this month, where it will hang in the exhibition from June 13 through August 25 at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. It will go through the second round of judging – this time for awards – at the end of May. Frankly, I am just thrilled to have met my goal to gain signature status, but I’m not gonna lie – an award would really be nice! I’ll keep you posted…

 

For the Love of a Dog

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2013 by Lisa Mills

Snowdog

Last Friday, November 8th, we lost our Golden Retriever, Lucy. She collapsed in our yard while running and playing and died instantly. She was a mere eight years old and was full of life until that last second. The vet speculated that the cause was cardiomyopathy – a weakening of the heart muscle. The photo you see here is of a colored pencil piece I did of her last year, her muzzle full of snow. It’s titled, Snowdog. She truly was the best dog we’ve ever known in my family and even though it’s been a week, the grief I’m suffering has not abated. Not one bit. I’ve never known a dog with more spirit and character and the house feels empty without her in it. Our poor other golden, Gracie is grieving right along with the rest of us, her leader and playmate nowhere to be found.

Lucy loved her people. She liked to be nearby…I mean really nearby. She’d often times lean on me, or plop her head in my lap in order to get an ear scratched. If that didn’t do it, I was likely to get the paw slapped upon my knee until I paid attention. She knew how to get your attention. She had a little trick she’d do if you weren’t paying attention. We called it “the head toss.” If she wanted to go out, or wanted a bite of what we were eating, or simply needed you to pay attention to her, she would flip her head in the air – often twice in a row. Then she’d stare at you and command the stage. You became her audience and she was on the stage. She didn’t like loud noises and she hated it if I swore at the television when my favorite football team was playing poorly. If you called her over, most times she would go find a ball or another toy to bring to you – an offering. She knew how to make you smile and she loved to please her people.

My artwork centers mainly around two things – the very realistic still life (such as my guitar and saxophone triptychs) and animal art. Many people shun animal art in favor of more trendy or contemporary art. I’ve met plenty of people like that and I don’t understand that mentality. They really criticize works that depict horses, dogs, or even the family cat. If that inspires the artist, then why not a painting of your favorite pet? I think animal art has just as much significance in the art world as a still life of two apples on a table – maybe more. For some reason, animal art is much more challenging to me to portray the animal realistically enough. Often, fur comes out somewhat stylistic, which is not my intent. My therapy in this time of grief is to do a portrait of Lucy. My photo reference is a favorite of mine, her playing in the snow again. I don’t love the lighting in it because it was taken on a cloudy day, but I love the expression on her face. I just hope I can do her justice and capture that expression. My favorite part of illustrating animals is working on the eyes. They really do capture the soul and if I can depict the expression properly, I can capture the animal’s personality.

Hopefully, I can post some works in progress of her portrait. I’ll have to put the work aside for a bit to prepare for the upcoming holidays and get ready for a workshop I’m having in February, but I will endure and see this portrait through. I read something written by Peter King, the Sports Illustrated “Monday Morning Quarterback” writer who lost his Golden Retriever the day before we lost Lucy. He said, “The easiest way not to feel this grief is to never have a dog. And what an empty life that would be.” Rest in peace, Lucy. I hope you have finally caught that squirrel you so desperately tried to catch while you were with us for those brief eight years.

Invitation to Gallery Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by Lisa Mills

If you are living in or visiting the Dallas, Texas area, I invite you to come see two pieces I have on exhibit as part of the annual CPSA Chapter 215 (DFW) Exhibition. The show starts tomorrow, October 30th and runs through December 7th. It is held again this year at the Eisemann Center for the Arts in Richardson. The two pieces I have on display are Reflections on Cool Jazz and Morning Preyer, which won an Award for Excellence at the CPSA 21st Annual International Exhibition this past summer in Brea, CA. I am honored to have my work displayed amongst the talented artists in our Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter.

Reflections on Cool Jazz

Reflections on Cool Jazz

 

Morning Preyer

Morning Preyer

 

 

Did You Ever Wonder?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 5, 2013 by Lisa Mills

Did you ever wonder how colored pencils are made? I was fortunate enough to tour Faber-Castell’s manufacturing facility last summer in Stein, Germany; however, we weren’t allowed to take pictures for the obvious reasons of giving away trade secrets. I also wanted to tour Caran d’Ache’s facility in Switzerland, but they do not give tours. But you’re in luck, because they have a video of the production process! I know I’m a colored pencil nerd – but this stuff fascinates me. Take a look for yourself…

Change of Plans…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2012 by Lisa Mills

After recently completing “Reflections on Cool Jazz,” I discovered an opportunity to enter the piece in a Texas-only art competition.  The competition known as The Hunting Art Prize is held annually in Houston and is one of the nation’s more revered art competitions.  It is limited to artists living in Texas and limited to two-dimensional drawing and painting pieces using only traditional media (pencil, pastel, paint, etc.).  No sculpture is admitted, nor is photography or graphic art (computer generated).  The piece must be available for sale.  Juried pieces are on exhibit in Houston in the spring and only one is selected as a winner.  Even though I was planning on entering ‘Cool Jazz’ in the CPSA International Exhibition in 2013, I have changed my mind and am taking a shot at this prestigious competition.  If it is not accepted, I will then enter it in the CPSA show.  Let’s see how the judges like colored pencil artwork!

Reflections Sax Original Copyright

Last Call!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Lisa Mills

This weekend is the last opportunity Dallas-Fort Worth area art lovers will have to see a great colored pencil art exhibit.  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 through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.  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 hope you’ll come by and see it!