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A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER BETH STEWART

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

I was on Beth Stewart’s site, browsing through a page of delicate drawings of birds, when suddenly this image appeared at the end. It was so unexpected that I did a double-take. Of course I had to look at it up close, and when I did, I fell in love
with it!

Jelly Beans on Broadcloth

Jelly Beans on Broadcloth

This tiny still life (just a few inches long) is, I think, the closest to “Pop Art” I have ever seen in coloured pencil work. Of course it is realism, rendered with care. But it incorporates several things you can often find in classic Pop: bright solid colours, thick black cartoonish lines and something decidedly, cheerfully artificial – in this case, jelly beans.

The first thing I noticed was the colour: flat, bold and upbeat. Stewart’s design is very good. All of the colours are quite strong, but she has balanced them with white and distributed them so that none stands out at the expense of the others. They are all loud, but they get along well together – like a bunch of people at a party, all happily talking at once.

Stewart also plays with advancing and receding colours so that shy violet sits next to assertive red and yellow elbows turquoise out of the way. We know that the jelly beans are three-dimensional, but when you look at them you realize how slight the changes are that make them so. A sliver of shadow, some small highlights and a few careful shifts of hue and value – showing that this work is more subtle than it might first appear.

Then there are the shapes. So much variety in such a tiny space! Of course, the jelly beans themselves are more or less the same shape, but Stewart has found ways to vary them: to make one longer, one rounder, and so on. The rest of the shapes are all corners and angles, as playful as a puzzle. They contrast with the smooth ovals and harmonize without ever being repetitive. Meanwhile, the black line meanders here and there among them like a conscientious host, making sure everyone is having a good time. I know I am!

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER MIKE SIBLEY

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

Bindweed and Hoverfly

Bindweed and Hoverfly

In my opinion, this is one of graphite artist Mike Sibley’s finest and most satisfying drawings. It is like a gorgeous medieval tapestry, or like the florals of 17th century Dutch art, displaying the wonders and mysteries of the natural world.

The thing that struck me instantly when I first saw this work is that everything feels quietly, mysteriously alive. Technically I suppose this is a “still” life, but there is nothing still about it. There are so many curving lines: stems and blooms and heart-shaped leaves. The entire image seems to pulse with life, so that we can almost see the bindweed growing.

To offset this, the artist has added two special elements for ballast: the branch and the hoverfly. These elements work in different but very effective ways. They each suggest a contrast: one of energy and one of shape. The hoverfly, for example, suggests flight. It creates a note of tension, for we know that it will leave in a moment. The branch, on the other hand, is a straight vertical. Placed near the centre of the work, it acts as a kind of anchor to keep us from feeling smothered. Yet even so it has a sensuous quality, leaning into the winding stems as if into an embrace.

Although this is a highly detailed image with a lot going on, there is not the slightest bit of confusion. Much of this is due to the use of value. Lights, darks and midtones are so well conveyed that all the planes of depth are distinct and clear. The midtones create a wonderful visual richness: there are so many of them and they are all slightly, subtly different. The darks are so intense and deep that I want to part the leaves to see what lies beyond. The flowers, although delicately shaded to convey their form, are of an almost creamy whiteness. They stand out without overpowering the rest of the work and without getting lost in it.

The irony is that WE can get lost in it easily: I can look at “Bindweed and Hoverfly” for hours and never tire of it. Many thanks to the artist for this beautiful, absorbing work!

PAS 2016: SEE THE WINNERS ONLINE!

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. We are extremely proud to present to show you the winners of our second International Open Juried Exhibition, including the People’s Choice!

These superb drawings are as unique as the artists who made them. They represent a huge range of styles and subjects, but they do have one thing in common: each was created solely with the humble pencil.

We are so proud to be able to showcase and share these beautiful works with the world. Check out our winners HERE, and prepare to be blown away!

PAS 2016: THE WINNERS!

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

And now for the winners of PAS 2016! Choosing the award winners this year was very hard for our judge. The show is of such high quality, with so many different styles, subjects and techniques – how to decide?? But finally the following works were selected, so without further ado, here is the list of winners for the Pencil Art Society second International Open Juried competition:
 

BEST IN SHOW
Gayla Salvati, USA
The Watcher

FIRST PLACE
Sheona Hamilton-Grant, Germany
Cornado

SECOND PLACE
Alexandra Bastien, Canada
Resurrection

THIRD PLACE
Barbora Konôpková, Slovakia
The Drop

FOUNDERS AWARD
Charlotte Greenwood, Canada
Riddle

PRESIDENT’S AWARD
Bonnie Sheckter, Canada
Old Man in a Green Jacket

HONOURABLE MENTION
Michael Silverstone, Canada
Sean no. 4

HONOURABLE MENTION
Kathryn Hansen, USA
Neighborhood Watch

LEGION PAPER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN DRAWING
Sandra Williams-Crossley, USA
Rush

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Bonnie Sheckter, Canada
Old Man in a Green Jacket
 

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER CHRISTINE KARRON

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

Artist Christine Karron loves combining pencil with other media, and looking at this portrait, it is easy to see why. I was captivated by this little work the moment I saw it. The subject is quiet and pensive, but the work itself is so lively.

Untitled

Untitled

One of the noteworthy aspects of this work is the design. It’s unusual because of the direction of the girl’s glance – she is not looking at us but far to the side, out of the picture. This is a very risky choice for a portrait, because the eyes are such a powerful element. We can follow the subject’s glance and end up falling right out of the frame. But that’s not what happens here, for there are certain design elements that keep us grounded in the work. I think the hair is the strongest of these. Its gently-curving diagonals enclose the face and keep our eyes moving, circling around the work, always returning to the centre of interest.

The colour, though, is what really draws us in. Obviously Karron loves colour and loves putting complements together. She’s done it here and oh, how they glow! I especially love the lights in the hair, rich wonderful violet- and turquoise-blues against dark brown. The shadowed side of the face shimmers with umber and rose, the light with gold and cream. The muted, varied blues of the shirt and background work beautifully with these warm hues, enhancing them and making them sparkle. It is a simple contrast, but so effective! Even the darkest shadows vibrate with light.

Karron also uses another contrast, that of technique: we see that in the background she has kept the washy, abstract-y look of the watercolour, whereas the girl herself, and especially her face, is much smoother and finer. This creates a sense of hidden, incipient energy – an energy kept in the background, as it were. The “unfinished” quality is like an echo of the subject. She herself is “unfinished” – what does the future hold for her? What will she become? In any case, I am glad that the artist has so beautifully captured her as she is right here.

PAS 2016: CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL ACCEPTED ARTISTS!

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

Hey everyone! The results are in, and here is a list of the FANTASTIC artists who’ll be featured at our upcoming International Open Juried Exhibition! A special thank you to Mr. Denis Jacques, our judge – we know he didn’t have an easy time with so much wonderful work to choose from. Another big thank you to all of you who submitted entries. If you didn’t make it in, don’t be discouraged – there’s always next time, and we know you’ll do something incredible!

We can’t wait to see the exhibit! Once again, PAS is truly going to show the world how creative, innovative, and spectacular pencil art can be! And now, without further ado, here are the artists accepted into the Pencil Art Society’s second International Open Juried Exhibition:

1. Carolyn Bain (Canada)

  • Reactions

2. Wilfrid Barbier (Canada)

  • Train à Budapest

3. Alexandra Bastien (Canada)

  • Resurrection

4. Pierre Blanchette (Canada)

  • Chi

5. Serge Blanchette (Canada)

  • Le p’tit chou

6. Daniel Brient (Canada)

  • Sempermelius

7. Line Cossette (Canada)

  • Cheval Blanc

8. Sandra Williams Crossley (USA)

  • Rush
  • World Change

9. Madeline Deriaz (Canada)

  • Vdh_018

10. Paco Martin Dominguez (Spain)

  • End of Game
  • Tangerine

11. Allison Fagan (Canada)

  • Daddy
  • Amazing Grace

12. Isabelle Fortin (Canada)

  • Bouleau

13. Tracy Frein (USA)

  • Surrender to Darkness

14. Charlotte Greenwood (Canada)

  • Riddle

15. Sheona Hamilton-Grant (Germany)

  • Cornado
  • Jumping

16. Kathryn Hansen (USA)

  • Neighborhood Watch

17. Sherry Lamb Heinzle (Canada)

  • After the Rain

18. Sharon Hester (USA)

  • Flock Together

19. Denise Howard (USA)

  • And the World Faded Away

20. Cori Imbery (Canada)

  • Snow Day

21. Darlene Jordan Pfaff (Canada)

  • A Puppy Dog’s Tale

22. Barbora Konôpková (Slovakia)

  • The Drop

23. Sarah Marie Lacy (Canada)

  • Rachel

24. Nathalie Lagacé (Canada)

  • La forêt des âmes perdues
  • Oh My Dear Deer

25. Susan Leite (Canada)

  • 15 Minutes
  • Dead But Alive

26. Erwin P. Lewandowski (USA)

  • Stillwater XV

27. Janis Mattson (USA)

  • The Prize

28. Judy Morris (Australia)

  • Intermingle

29. Colm McConnell (UK)

  • Wild Geese

30. Kathie Miranda (USA)

  • Fruits From Rain

31. Karie Jean O’Donnell (USA)

  • Sarah Entangled
  • Sergeant Study

32. Lisandro Pena (Canada)

  • Acinonyx Jubatus

33. Chantal Pepin (Canada)

  • 1st Degree Victim
  • Breathe It’s Only a Drawing

34. Linnea Pergola (USA)

  • Contemplation

35. Alison Philpott (Canada)

  • Green and Gold
  • Quench

36. Lissa Rachelle (Canada)

  • Rapt

37. Kimberly Ragsdale (USA)

  • Waitin’ on the Boss

38. Gayla Salvati (USA)

  • The Watcher
  • What Cows Dream

39. Bonnie Sheckter (Canada)

  • Old Man in a Green Jacket
  • Second Thoughts

40. Michael Silverstone (Canada)

  • Jennifer Marie
  • Sean No. 4

41. Susie Tenzer (USA)

  • The Finest Kind
  • Shout Out

42. Wendy Thompson (USA)

  • Seed of the Sun

43. Kent Villeneuve (Canada)

  • Lily

44. Kenny Luc Joseph Vuignier (USA)

  • Dark Horse

45. Erica Lindsay Walker (Canada)

  • Besieged
  • The Mask

46. Sandra Weiner (USA)

  • Strength at Rest
  • Vigilance

 

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER DIANE FINE

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

On her site, Diane Fine has a series of charcoal drawings of interiors. For me, looking at them is like wandering through a dream. Everything about them feels both familiar and unknown. The contrast between their “English cottage” look, and the sense that things are not as innocent as they seem, is what makes these drawings so unsettling and so powerful.

Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

“Wake Up Call” is one of my favourites in the series. In this scene, we are looking out of a window at a presumably noisy bird. Bird calls, a ruffled curtain – what could be more homey? Except that this doesn’t feel much like a home. The window is open, but we feel closed in; the heavy dark panelling suggests the bars of a prison. Outside we find no landscape, not even a single tree – it’s all rooftops and brick walls, with just a hint of sky.

The values are ominous too. Fine has made the most of charcoal’s ability to produce intense darks. There is lot of deep shadow touched here and there with gleams of light and things we can’t quite see. The sky is the lightest area, perhaps untouched paper. I find it particularly dramatic: set against the darkest values, it really feels like space, the one area in the work that provides some visual and emotional breathing room.

Although this is a perfectly recognizable scene – we clearly know what we are looking at – there is not a lot of detail. Instead, there is a strong focus on formal qualities that belies the realism. The entire image seems made up not so much of actual objects, but of squares and rectangles, lines and masses, positive and negative space. Perspective seems a bit askew. The window tilts to one side, as if we might be falling. Some of the straight lines bend a little here and there, adding to the dreamlike effect.

It’s as if the artist is telling us a story, but we don’t know how it ends. The end of this story is one we have to write ourselves.

MASTER PENCIL ARTIST STATUS (MPAS) 2016

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

Congratulations to Sue deLearie Adair, Ryan Douglas Jacque and Nathalie Lagacé! We have wonderful news for you! The judges have selected you to receive Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS).

What exactly is MPAS? MPAS is an acknowledgment of achievement. We created MPAS out of a desire to honour those pencil artists who have attained a certain level of skill, respect, professionalism, and mastery. Reaching this level is not easy for any artist, but pencil artists must also struggle against the lack of respect for their chosen medium, both from the art world and the general public. It is an uphill battle, but the more visible pencil artists are, and the finer their work, the more we all benefit.

Such a level as these artists have reached represents a great deal of talent, dedication, and perseverance. You are an inspiration! Let’s all continue to work and grow, and show the world that pencil is a TRULY fine art, fantastic medium!

SUE DELEARIE ADAIR
 

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

February Drakes

February Drakes

RYAN DOUGLAS JACQUE
 

Red Pepper

Red Pepper

Stoned In

Stoned In

NATHALIE LAGACÉ
 

Lost Souls Forest

Lost Souls Forest

Oh My Dear Deer

Oh My Dear Deer

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR THREE WINNING MEMBERS!!

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

Congratulations to Wendy Patrick, Sandi Poltorak and Cindy Wider! The three of you have won the Pencil Art Society’s Member Appreciation Draw!! A $25 Amazon gift certificate will be emailed to you very soon! A big Thank you! to everyone who joined or renewed their PAS membership!!

IT'S HIGH TIME TO JOIN PAS!

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

Spring is in the air and it’s high time to join PAS!

PAS memberships run annually from June 1 until May 31. This time we’re holding THREE Membership Appreciation Draws this month! That means that three of our lucky members will receive a $25 (USD) gift certificate from Amazon! That’s the same value as a PAS membership! Perhaps it could go towards art supplies to create a winning drawing for our upcoming 2016 International Open Juried Exhibition …

Are YOU ready for this year’s International Open Juried Exhibition?

Our second International Open Juried Exhibition is open to pencil artists everywhere – but only our members are able to earn (and keep) points toward their PAS signature status, so if you’ve been thinking about joining us, now’s the time!

Besides our members-only exhibition, PAS membership benefits include: having your own Member Gallery page on our website, receiving our beautiful and informative bi-annual magazine Go Brushless!, and being able to apply for Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS). Not only that, our members also pay significantly lower entry fees for our biennial International Open Juried Exhibitions! So why not join us today and be a part of all the excitement!