Colored Pencil Painting

Days End, a mixed media piece Dennis did with colored pencil and pastels.

Marsha Lyons

It wasn’t until sometime in the 1980s when artists began using colored pencils to paint. There were no instructors or instruction books around, but our grade school colored pencils, the hard, lifeless pencils, were now being overtaken with quality pencils that gave rich, transparent colors. It was probably another 10 years before the Colored Pencil Society was formed and another 10 years before it began to be accepted as “real” art. It has come a long way since then. Gary Greene, a pioneer in colored pencil painting, wrote, “This is a medium that offers versatility, control, simplicity, depth, and discovery.” He could also say there is very little set up, no brushes to wash, no mess to clean up, and you can walk away from it as it is and come back the next hour, day, or week and pick up where you left off.

Sandy Kautz, whose painting Blue Agave is on display, says this about colored pencil painting, “For many years my only art medium was watercolor, not the easiest to work with but it dries fairly fast and is one of the least expensive. I have almost given up watercolors after I was introduced to colored pencil art by Marsha Lyons. I like the detail that I can get by using different strokes and techniques and layering various colors to achieve a more vibrant result. I find using them to be calming and almost meditative. They are very portable so you can use them almost anywhere and no setting up an easel. However, if you are the type who wants instant gratification in creating your art, colored pencils may not be for you.”

An artist who is fairly new to colored pencils, Dennis Whitley, said, “I’ve always been able to draw, but only used a number 2 pencil when I was younger. Starting a company and family didn’t leave me time to draw, so I hadn’t drawn anything until I got to PebbleCreek. My introduction to colored pencils was when I signed up for a portrait class given by Barbara Dahlstadt at the CAC in September of 2019. When the pandemic and lockdown hit, I decided to finish the portrait from that class. From there, I decided to take what I had learned and do a portrait of my granddaughter April, which won second place at the last Art Show. Since then, I’ve expanded my work by doing landscapes, flowers, and cars. I find drawing to be relaxing, challenging and rewarding, so I always have something I’m working on.” Look for his Corvette painting, which will be displayed in August.

Since the beginning of June, eleven artists have been displaying some of their colored pencil paintings in the Creative Art Center. On Aug. 1, the display will change with different paintings presented. This display will carry through September.