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Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Colored Pencil?

Laure of Painted Thoughts Blog left a comment and a question in response to my last blog post detailing some cp experiments. Laure's question was:

"Not being a CP girl, I guess I'm a little confused. It seems from your conclusions that you are leaning towards the results that look the least like CP . . . . If this is the case, why not just use the acrylics to paint the skin tones? What am I missing?"

Good question! After letting the question sit in my subconscious for a few days, here's the surprisingly simple answer: It feels good! It really feels more like cp picked me, than I picked cp. For some time I'd seen really great cp work on various blogs and though I liked the artwork, frankly, the idea of painting with painstakingly slow pencils that have a point about as big as the end of a toothpick did not appeal to me at all. I think in the end curiosity got the better of me. I just had to give it a try, and when I did I was really quite surprised to find out that I loved the medium. Of course there are times I wish it wasn't such slow going, but most of the time I find the slowness almost meditative and when I settle into a cp piece the world goes away and I'm doing what I was made to do.

I like the fact that with cp the color goes directly onto the support. There's no mixing, no selecting a particular brush, no dipping in water.... just pick up a yummy color that's conveniently housed in a handy pencil and go to it! There's no mess to clean up (I love the look of pastels but dislike the dust and the mess), no fumes that make me queasy (oils), and no brushes to wash up. You don't have to wait for it to dry, nor worry about your painting becoming too dry while you're making up your mind. Plus, if you're afflicted with the "detail bug", cp excels in that area.

Having said all that, even though I love using cp, I don't want to be limited in the finishes and effects that I can achieve. I love an expanse of rich smooth color. I also don't want people to look at my art and say (usually in a dismissive way), "Oh, that's colored pencil"- as if it's somehow inferior to other mediums. I'm convinced that cp is as capable as any other medium of delivering art that can make a viewer's eyes pop and their emotions stir.

If you'd like to see some really great cp art, here's a link to Ann Kullberg's website where you can find a cp art gallery guaranteed to wow you:


Well, that was fun! Thanks, Laure, for asking - I've enjoyed thinking it over and now I'm even more excited about my next cp piece!
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