Monthly Archives: June 2015

Pointing To the Point

To the Point June 2015 Vol 24 No 2 Colored Pencil Society of America

To the Point
June 2015 Vol 24 No 2
Colored Pencil Society of America

“To the Point” is a magazine published twice-yearly by Colored Pencil Society of America.  I cannot let the current issue go by without (ahem!) pointing to the cover which has my “Step by Step” drawing on it.  The drawing is there because it won CPSA’s Explore This! 11 Online annual competition in January.

Inside this issue is an essay I wrote called “The Importance of Backgrounds” which I have retyped onto one of the permanent pages of this blog.

I would recommend to every artist who uses coloured pencils to consider joining CPSA.   Have a look at their website –

I joined CPSA a couple of years ago.  The initial reason I signed up was to get my hands on their CPSA Lightfastness Test Results Workbook.  CPSA continually test pencil brands so that they can report to members which pencils perform best in terms of colour longevity.   For several years I thought ALL pencils were lightfast.  It was a shock to learn that some are and some aren’t.  It was essential, once the bliss of my ignorance was dispelled, to learn which pencils to avoid.  (What coloured pencil manufacturers call lightfast ain’t necessarily so!)

Since I joined CPSA I have enjoyed participating in competitions, learning about new products, reading what other artists have written and of course looking at all the other coloured pencil art.  I even like the advertisements because they are always relevant to my art practice.  (The other day I ordered a set of Caran d’Ache New Museum Aquarelle Pencils from U.K.  I blame the pretty ad in the magazine.  To quote Krusty the Clown, “I’m not made of stone!”)

It is just great to be part of an international coloured pencil community.   I may live in the most isolated city in the world but thanks to social media, coloured pencil Facebook groups and CPSA, I’m as close to the action as anyone else.


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The Only Thing I Ever Got From You Was Sorrow

"Joy" My latest drawing - for the scrap heap

My latest drawing – for the scrap heap

It is ironic that the title for the above drawing was to be “Joy” for, to quote David Bowie, “The only thing I ever got from you was sorrow”.   I have done more to the colours since I took this photo; pushed and pulled, added and subtracted, all the time eroding the integrity of the pencil work.  Some areas by now look like a much-used dishcloth!

Two other drawings have succumbed to the wrecking ball this week.  One was drawn late last year and the other a couple of months ago.  The first, “Greetings” committed the sin of being boring.  Other than that there was nothing particularly wrong with it – except the hand was rather weak.

Greetings Too insipid for my taste

Too insipid for my taste

“Materializing” was a drawing whose problems I thought I had solved until I looked at it more recently.  Viewed alongside three strong drawings from this year, it showed itself to be a poor relation.

Materializing Now dematerialised

Now dematerialised

It was easy to say goodbye to those two drawings.  It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment plus I was already mentally removed from them.  However for “Joy” it was much harder to let go.  I’m not going to put it away for later because I know it is fatally flawed and I’ve spent enough time trying to make it work.  To (nearly) quote our ex-Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, “Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’, because nothing will save this drawing”.

Of course I’m sad but – in the end – it’s only art.


Kraków to Kyoto: a costume drama


When I visited my niece, Marie, in New Zealand a couple of months ago, I noticed that she had an old drawing of mine.  In fact it must be my oldest coloured pencil drawing in existence.  My mother had bought me a set of 72 Derwent pencils in 1979.  I sketched my Polish dolls and gave her the drawing as a thank you present.  When I saw the framed drawing this year I was heartened to see that the colours still looked pretty good after 36 years even though the student-grade cartridge paper itself showed signs of its age.

I was given my first Kraków costume when I was four years old.  Didn’t I love it!  I wore it until it was worn out.  Then in 1970 when Mum, Dad and I visited Poland, I was given a second Kraków costume.  I still have it – though the shiny bits don’t shine the way they used to and bits of it are missing (but could easily be replaced) such as ribbon to tie the bodice.


My Kraków costume was surely a blessing from a benevolent fairy godmother.   It has been instrumental in developing my appreciation of the drama of costume.  Its invisible presence is behind every kimono, obi and kanzashi that I draw.


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