Monday, February 1, 2016

Rediscovering My Colored Pencils

One of my goals for this year was to take three art classes (or more if possible!) I checked the first one off the list with a delightful colored pencil technique class with Barbara Hranilovich and now I'm hooked!

Barb is one of those teachers who knows her stuff (she's an accomplished illustrator, can paint like a crazy woman, and yes, she works in clay, felting, makes soap -- she's just diverse!). But what makes her a terrific teacher is that she's so darned much fun, you just want to be there and learn!

And, it was a surprise and delight to discover that my other classmates weren't only my friend Kate, but a former work colleague, the wife of a different former work colleague and a woman I've known since sixth grade!

The class was a four-hour session so we weren't learning how to draw but how to use the pencils in a variety of ways. Our first exercise involved making marks from lightest to darkest to see how various pressure affected the color and intensity of the pencil. Then we moved onto doing a blended circle and square. (I loved the circle!) Again, moving from dark to light or from one tone to another.


Barb demonstrated and I was impressed she could do it backwards and upside down. It reminded me of a Ginger Rogers story about how she had to do everything Fred Astaire did -- but backwards and in high heels!

We practiced this a bit and also experimented on different papers. I was particularly fond of the black paper.

Then it was time to tackle a still life. I'm not terrific at drawing from life (which is why I should probably do it more often).

But it was fun to tackle the shapes of the Japanese lantern flowers and the oil can.

I needed two things from this class. The most obvious was to learn some new techniques for my non-watercolor colored pencils. I wanted to go beyond simply coloring in and really seeing how to make them work for me. I accomplished that goal -- now I just have to practice to refine it.

The second was more personal. I needed to step into the classroom and create in good company again. I've been so down this January -- Beth calls it "a case of the Januarys." No mojo, feeling under par. I needed to pick up the energy of creative people, laugh with like-minded people and admire their accomplishments while learning new ones of my own.

Mission most definitely accomplished!


I need orange said...

Sounds like a great class! Hooray! :-)

Joyful said...

It sounds and looks like a lot of fun. I'm hoping you are feeling much better and on the way to feeling great again!

Sally Wessely said...

This is fabulous in so many ways. The drawings themselves are so interesting and colorful that I think I'd be framing them if I'd produced such drawings. I'm so glad you had some fun and learned something new. Nothing can lift our spirits more.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Sounds like a great class and a lot of fun also.

Don't feel bad I think everyone has the blues or depressed after the holidays. Putting up the tree, parties, opening up gifts being with loved ones and then ...... ugh nothing but cleaning up the house and putting all the bling and pretties away and then into the boring month of January. But Valentines Day and Easter is just around the corner and the comes Spring.
Enjoy your art classes and looks like your doing a terrific job. Have a great wseek.

Joanne Huffman said...

What a fun way to add some cheer in January.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am glad that this class was a pick-me-up for you and that you honed some of your skills at the same time! I really like the cat drawing on black paper - it strikes me as being very whimsical!

Mae Travels said...

Crafting and artwork usually don't appeal to me (I'm no good at them, for one thing) -- but you make this sound like such fun I wish I could do it! I hope you are really feeling better; maybe those antibiotics can do the trick.

best... mae at

Janet said...

This looks like just what you needed. A fun class with people you know...what could be better! I like your Japanese lantern flowers. I hope we see more colored pencil art.

anno said...

This looks like so much fun - and it's wonderful to see you creating again (and I love the cat - so much personality there & fabulous catlike energy)! So glad you had this opportunity for mid-winter creative rejuvenation!

Tracy said...

Ooooo such fun, Jeanie! And an art teach who's a bit or a Renaissance Woman adds to the inspiration! LOVE your kitty sketch on the black paper. (I like using colored papers sometimes--a soft gray is nice to use too.) Colored pencils are kind of the underdog of the creative supplies world, aren't they? When I use them I do have a lot of fun. So that means I should reach for them more. ;) "a case of the Januarys"--so true! I've been there too... :/ Glad this glad helped you get back some zip, Jeanie! And it's a big lift just to see all this--thank you! Happier days in February now! ((HUGS))

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds like you had a great time, and also like it did you some good. *two thumbs up*

Anonymous said...

Your class looked like it was a lot of fun.
I like those colors.

Marilyn Miller said...

The mojo of being around other like minded people is worth it's weight in gold. So glad you stepped out and took this class. Often when I take a class it is for this reason. I loved your cat on the black paper alot. When I was in design school I loved using color pencils, black pens, and watercolors all mixed together doing their own things to embellish the picture. I just don't do art much anymore except with my camera.

Arti said...

Color pencils are trending these days with all those adult coloring books for their calming effects. It's amazing that they are so versatile an instrument for creating art not just for coloring within the lines. Very nice work you're doing here, Jeanie. That looks like a wonderful class.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Your lantern flowers are superb Jeanie!
Keep it up and don't for get to show us your work.
A class is a good way to kick start your art - especially when you've got the January's - I love that word!
One of my dearest friends rang me at the weekend and told me she is doing an acrylic art class. Ange was so good at art at school but hasn't picked up a brush since - can't wait to see her work!
I would love to learn how to draw and paint even though I'm not artistic!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Great way to begin the New Year with color, passion and fine tuning your artistic skills!


~*~Patty S said...

What a lot of fun while you were learning from a great teacher and time spent with friends too = Priceless!
Your colored pencil play is already wonderful Jeanie.
Happy beginning of the weekend.

The French Hutch said...

Hi Jeanie, I think you found just the right place to feel energized again with this group of friends. Your instructor sounds like a fun gal so how could it not be fun. Glad you tackled what you wanted to learn.
Have a great weekend………..

shoreacres said...

The drawing on the black paper certainly brought back some memories. In grade school art classes, we'd use our crayons to make bold patches of color. Then, we'd cover it all with black -- crayon also, I think. Then, we'd take something sharp, and "draw" our pictures by cutting through the black to the color underneath. Since the colored patches were random, it was sometimes very surprising to see what was revealed as we got rid of the black.

Bella Rum said...

You are so talented. I love your Japanese lantern flowers and the kitty on black paper, too. Do you frame a lot of your stuff and hang it in your house?

Houseelf said...

The class sounds like a huge success. Your physalis drawing is very good. January is one of those looking both ways (past and future) months, I keep the walls blank as it is a time for thought and drawing on inspiration for sharing the new year. Have you tried the Unravelling workbook?

I haven't quite shaken off the ice blues and white of January for the soft pinks and reds of February yet. I'm blaming the stormy weather we've been having.

Kitty said...

I thank God that you are feeling better. It's so hard to have the "January blahs". I haven't seen the Japanese lantern flowers in decades. My mom used to grow them in her garden; they were so special. I have a box of colored pencils - maybe I will try some of what you have described. I never really thought about them as being for anything but coloring pictures!

Popular Posts