Wondrous Winner

Hello! The July issue of the Artist's Magazine is out and the 9 wondrous winners of All Media Competition has been announced!

You may have noticed my entry. "Handle With Care" has won first place in Colored Pencil category. I was asked to come up with a written statement about this particular work. So I did. And I'd like to share unedited version of this article. I hope you enjoy!

1. This competition is unusual in that it's organized according to the medium or media that artists use, so we'd like to know why you are passionate about your medium of choice. What makes your medium ideal for what you want to present?

I discover colored pencil after moving to United States in 2002. I lived in rented rooms and I did not have a space to create. My roommate had a box of Crayola's pencils and I often used them to sketched my then 4 years old daughter while she watched TV, that was the only time she could sit still. On my visit to a local library I found few books about colored pencil in the art section. I was amazed that you could actually "paint" with them. I quickly switched from Crayola to Prismacolors and began to draw. I found that I was able to achieve a precision that surpasses any brush covered with a paint and I left no mess behind.

2. Do you have a technique or way of working that is unusual or that our readers would find surprising?

Most of colored pencil artists know the technique called "burnishing", I use this method all the time. The final look is close to an oil painting. People asked me: Is this a painting? This technique requires a number of layers blended together with a heavy strokes of a light shade of pencil or a colorless blender.

3. How and why did this particular work come about? Were there specific challenges? Was there a moment of uncertainty? Did you have to change course at some point? Please tell the story of the prizewinning work.

I stopped by my husband's work to pick up some boxes in the warehouse near his office. I loved the atmosphere, the contrast between light and shadow was an art in itself. This place staged a perfect mood for a piece of art created suddenly in my mind. Later I came back with my (now teenaged) daughter to take some photographs. When I had my favorite one printed out I thought to myself "How in the world I'm going to do this?" I imagined spending a whole year drawing box after box. I get discouraged and I didn't start right away but the more I looked at the photo the more strategy I've build. I started with a pencil and a ruler to create a map of lines. Soon I realized that this is easier than drawing a pattern on a dress! I started to layer colors working from light to dark and switching between my model and her surroundings. The more layers I layed the more pressure I used, eventually covering my board entirely with pencils. I left my lightest areas untouched for my source of light.

After the drawing was finished, I stared at it and wondered "How in the world I was able to do this?"