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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!

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER MICHAEL SILVERSTONE

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

I happen to love winter. Yes, it’s cold and inconvenient and sometimes seems to last forever, but there is nothing like its light or stillness. I love just standing outside and drinking in the white hush of winter solitude. For me, seeing Michael Silverstone’s graphite drawing was like being transported into such a day. I step into it and I can hear the silence.

Stillness

Stillness

Like nature itself, the drawing might seem haphazard at first glance, but it’s soon very clear how much order is present. Our eyes travel through the various planes of distance and back again, circling both around and through the work. Lights and darks are skilfully balanced, enhancing each other and guiding the eye. Value is a particular challenge here because this kind of even light, the light of an overcast snowy day, flattens space. Shadows tend to disappear. So the artist has made the most of the contrast between the whites and the dark trunks and branches, setting both against the rich textured gray of the background trees.

This work is amazingly varied, given how little Silverstone has to work with. Just a lot of trees and snow – but how much he gets out of this! Basically, the design consists of many long verticals relieved by a few abrupt diagonals and even some unexpected curves – a branch that suddenly bends back, a twig meandering around another twig. Patches and puffs of white make wonderful irregular shapes; the spatters of snow on bark remind me of Jackson Pollock. Every little ball of snow, every branch, is different. You can let your eyes travel and linger throughout the work and you will never be bored.

Another important element is the areas of pure white at the bottom. These larger shapes relieve the mass of fine crisscrossing lines and shapes. They “ground” the work, weighting it and providing a place for the eye to rest. A triangular area of light values at the top of the work mirrors them somewhat. Placed just right of centre, this area is not as bright as the shapes at the bottom, but it counters the others and provides a gentle visual ballast.

Every season, including winter, has things about it that I look forward to every year. This is a drawing of what I miss most. Thank you Michael Silverstone!

PAS SECOND INTERNATIONAL OPEN JURIED EXHIBITION: PAS 2016

a special announcement from the Pencil Art Society

Once again, the time has arrived … the Pencil Art Society is now accepting submissions for our SECOND International Open Juried Exhibition!

We are so excited! It’s always been our dream to showcase the work of pencil artists from around the world. Now that dream is coming true AGAIN! Not to mention the fact that we’ve got some FANTASTIC PRIZES, totalling over $4000 (CAD) in cash. We know we’re going to get some incredible submissions!

ALL PENCIL ARTISTS ARE WELCOME

Our International Exhibit is open to both members and non-members. Every artist may submit up to two (2) works, keeping in mind that both could be accepted. However, application fees will be significantly lower for PAS members. Members who have work accepted into this show will also earn two points toward Signature Status. Ten points and members have the right to put the initials PAS after their name!

PAS 2016 will be held at St Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, right in the heart of Canada’s beautiful capital city, Ottawa.

We are honoured to have the very distinguished artist, teacher and speaker M. Denis Jacques as our judge. M. Jacques is a Master Academician in the International Academy of Fine Arts of Quebec, a Master pastel artist of the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada, and an Honorary Member of the Institute of Figurative Arts of Québec. M. Jacques has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including First Prize of the IAF in 2002, the “Prize of the City 2004” in Quebec and the Grand Prize Socrates AIBAQ.

SHOWCASE YOUR ART TO THE WORLD!

PAS 2016 is our opportunity to bring together the best pencil art. It is going to be a stunning exhibition of creativity, skill, vision and stylistic diversity. We hope you join us, so that everyone can be amazed and inspired by the beauty, power and profundity of art created with the humble pencil. Check out our prospectus for more details, and get your pencils ready!

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER CARYN COVILLE

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

Modern society is a stressful place to be. Everywhere we go we experience noise, visual as well as aural. But classic representational art can be a great antidote for this. It’s refreshing to rest our eyes on something calm and orderly – and if there’s a little humor and energy thrown in, all the better!

Bird's Eye View

Bird’s Eye View

Caryn Coville’s coloured pencil still life, “Bird’s Eye View”, is a case in point. This little work is as gentle as its subjects. It has more contrast in it than one might expect at first glance, though, and it’s these contrasts that lend the work the energy it needs. For example, Coville chooses that most time-honoured of designs, the triangle. The triangle creates automatic stability, and this is also enhanced by the prominent vertical lines in the background. But the bird is perched just a bit precariously at the top. We feel that it might move at any moment. This creates a slight uncertainty that adds life to the entire scene. It is restful, but not dull.

We see more contrasts in the shapes Coville uses. The main ones are very geometric and basic: triangle (the design), square (the blocks), and circle (the marbles). These anchor the work still more, and give it strength. But then the artist gives us some wonderful irregular shapes such as the bird, the chubby cat (whose tail mirrors the shape of the number 2 on the other block), the marble swirls which also echo the curves of the bird’s plumage, and so on. Geometric is predictable, irregular is not, and so again we have a quiet contrast that livens things up.

A cheerful, harmonious palette continues the effect. Soothing blues make up the background, soft yellows and greens predominate much of the rest, but the artist also adds a few punches of bright red. She is careful not to add too much, so everything works together and no one colour jars with or overpowers the others.

Finally, “Bird’s Eye View” does one thing more, at least for me – it makes me smile. The bird and toys bring back my childhood, and I love the happy cat! Classic, traditional art is often supposed to be very dignified and serious, but this work proves that it can have a sense of humor as well. Cheers!

A PAS-SING GLANCE: PAS MEMBER JÉRÔME GUENETTE

written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

Crâne (Skull)

Crâne (Skull)

It may seem odd to some, but I have always liked skulls! I don’t find them unpleasant or creepy. Instead I admire their design. For me they are like brilliant sculptures, every form flowing perfectly into the next, creating wonderful patterns of light and shadow. With this charcoal drawing by Jérôme Guenette I get to enjoy this to the full.

This skull startles us with its presence, having seemingly materialized out of nowhere. It has a powerful three-dimensional quality, as if Guenette has carved it out of the surrounding dark. A lot of this is due to his use of light. Here, light is strong and shadows deep. Much of the skull disappears into the darkness. There are few half-tones, which symbolically is very fitting: we find few “half-tones” where death is concerned.

The sculptural quality is also due to Guenette’s focusing on the large abstract shapes. He has pared things down to the point that we have only the most basic information, but it is all we need. Keeping the shapes so simple and bold makes the skull seem tangible even though there is not much detail. We know how heavy and solid it is, we can feel its weight.

Yet there is a kind of ghostliness about it too, as it is not “finished”. Guenette does not show us everything. He provides certain details that suggest the rest of the form (I particularly like the gleam of light on the cheekbone), but that is all. We must finish it in our minds. Strangely, these two opposing qualities – presence and non-presence – co-exist easily, lending the work an exciting tension. I find myself peering into the shadows to search for the edges that the artist has hidden. The part conveys the whole very convincingly.

What really caught my eye about this little work, though, is its confidence. I love the deftness of Guenette’s technique. He tosses off his drawing with such finesse! Look at the different marks: broad swathes, brisk dashes, a few delicate lines. There is no fuss, just some bold strokes that take full advantage of the richness and textural effects of the charcoal on the paper. It all makes for a lot of drama and energy, which in turn creates a wonderful visual paradox. Technically a skull speaks of death, and yet … the rendering is so lively! There is so much personality. Life and death together in one small drawing – this is why I love the art of the pencil.