The Biggest Painting I've Ever Done!

I am currently working on a commission of a stunning water lily.  I have always wanted to do one of these flowers because they look like some eerie, yet beautiful, creation from another World. This flower also reminds me of anemones… you know, the kind Nemo hangs out in. I am thrilled to finally have the push I need to attempt this intimidating flower!  I will continuously update this post, so check back often & feel free to comment!

16 x 20"
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil & Caran d'Ache Neocolor II on Cold Press Crescent Illustration Board


Top 5 List // BEST Technique Books on Colored Pencil

Lifelike Drawing in Colored Pencil with Lee Hammond | By Lee Hammond

Colored Pencil Painting Bible | By Alyona Nickelsen

The Ultimate Guide to the Colored Pencil | By Gary Greene

Masterful Color | By Arlene Steinberg

Painting Light with Colored Pencil | By Cecile Baird


Take Your Colored Pencil Art to an Amazing New Level

Creative Colored Pencil Workshop
By Carlynne Hershberger & Kelli Money Huff

Ok, this book is awesome – especially for those who love to play with their art & supplies as much as they like to take it all very seriously.  This book is not only an excellent springboard for brand new, mixed media ideas to start sprinting into your mind exceptionally fast, but it is excellent for getting those ideas to materialize into something fabulous!

Chapter 1: Basic Skills for Colored Pencil
All of the basic skills for working in colored pencil.  It starts out with the properties of colored pencils & includes a very nice chart so you can easily compare characteristics & each brand’s applicability with colored pencil techniques.  This is incredibly helpful given that every artist has their own style & looks for different qualities.  Five brands are discussed: Sanford Prismacolor, Caran D’Ache Pablo, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Signature, & Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor. 

Following basics on the pencils themselves, the authors explain & demystify the various tools colored pencil artists need to aid in success & avoid frustration.  One of the most helpful parts in this section is that the authors are both honest regarding their preferred brands.  This means a lot given that they each have extensive experience with colored pencils. This book tells you what is preferred & why! 

On to the actual artwork, the authors not only explain each technique that colored pencils are known & loved for, but they give you a detailed, in depth, step-by-step demonstration for each technique alone!  Included in every step-by-step demonstration in this entire book you are provided with a detailed supply list & you’ll learn the technique & end up with a piece of art you can be proud of! 

Techniques you will learn & artwork you will create include:
·       Tonal layering to paint a Magnolia bloom
·       Burnishing to paint a Magnolia bud
·       Using various pencil strokes to paint a Caladium Plant
·       Using solvents to paint weathered brick
·       Blending methods to paint a section of an old fort

What you can, & will, achieve by mastering these skills will give you a serious confidence boost, & your addiction (brand new or existing) is now going to start taking contol…

Chapter 2: Basic Skills for Other Mediums
      In this chapter, the authors provide basic skills for other mediums including: watecolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, graphite, oil pastel, metal leaf, Rub ‘n Buff, & monotype!  Now, there are entire books regarding each of these mediums alone, so know that you are only getting a very basic rundown.  Like Chapter 1, this chapter provides step-by-steps for using each medium, which is awesome!

Skills you will acquire & artwork you will create include:
·       Learning a graded wash to paint a rocky beach
·       Masking to paint a creek
·       Wet-into-wet to paint fall leaves
·Layering and lifting to paint a feather resting on river rocks
·       Washes and glazes to paint desert rock
·       Ink washes to paint a yellow flower
·       Layering and lifting to paint a Gerbera Daisy
Oil Pastel
·       Layering and blending to paint calm river scene
Metal Leaf
·       Learn to apply metal leaf to create a gold & red design
·       Create texture by painting a mountain scene
Rub ‘n Buff
·       Learn tips for using this wax-based metallic paste!

Chapter 3: Surfaces
This chapter is a godsend.  Better than any other book on the subject of colored pencils are the wide-variety of available surfaces described & demonstrated for their interaction with colored pencil & wet media.  You are given the rundown on 29 different surfaces.  YES – twenty-nine.  This might be the best part of the book.  I go back to this book for reference every time I start a new piece.  It is invaluable information for those who love to try new things, but don’t have a money tree in the backyard to supply their endless curiosities!  It gets even better, each of the 29 surfaces discussed includes a picture of what colored pencil looks once applied to it.  It’s the closest thing to actually testing it out yourself!

Chapter 4: Decision Time
This chapter is where the Workshop starts to come in.  This chapter discusses choosing which materials, techniques, & mediums to combine with colored pencil.  The coolest part about it is that both authors give a step-by-step based on the same reference photo on a yellow Orchid.  It is incredibly informative & fun to see the end result of two works created from the same reference.  This chapter exemplifies the differences that can be achieved with different combinations.

Chapter 5: Painting Projects
Now that the authors have taught us how to select & combine mediums & surfaces, even more step-by-steps are provided for the book’s Workshop Projects! 

               Here is what you’ll get to paint by combining colored pencil with….
·       Watercolor to paint a canoe by a lake
·       Watercolor & gouache to paint autumn leaves fallen on rocks
·       Watercolor to paint frog in shallow water
·       Fluid acrylics to paint a stone bridge overlooking the sea
·       Ink to paint a pink & yellow rose
·       Oil pastel to paint a sunny day in the trees
·       Silver leaf to paint an interesting stone tile
·       Monotype technique to paint an bright orange, autumn scene

You will LOVE this book.  It is full of excellent information & technique to get even more out of your beloved colored pencils than ever before.  It is fun, clearly written, aesthetically set-up, straightforward, & incredibly helpful.  Enjoy!  I would love to hear what you think, so feel free to add comments based on your thoughts of this book that fulfills all of its promises!
BUY Creative Colored Pencil Workshop


What Inspires YOU About these Photographs?

I recently went on an amazing trip to Ireland. It's impossible to capture the country's true beauty on film, but I sure did try! Take a look at these photos - what inspires you about them? What kind of questions do they make you ask yourself? Create something . . . anything. I would love to see what you created as a result of your inspiration, so feel free to post!

Below is what I created based on the first photo's inspiration. An array of green, blue, & yellow bookplates on iridescent paper. They are 100% hand-stamped & hand-constructed.


Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils Are Wonderful!

Smooth, buttery, creamy, velvety, blendable, pigment rich, versatile, professional, & ohhhh sooooo soft

I realize that the above description could easily be confused with Red Velvet Cake... HOWEVER, these words describe what the experience is like to use these artist quality colored pencils. Soft & smooth from the first moment their waxy pigments make contact on untouched paper, they actually become creamier with each subsequent layer! Tonal layering is also a pleasure. On the right surface, you can build up to 20 layers of rich, vibrant, translucent color! Layering adds vibrance & a 'glow' to your work. This is a most satisfying reason to use Prismacolor Premiers. Because of their buttery consistency, Prismacolors blend effortlessly on the paper &, if desired, burnish these layers to give your piece a shiny, painterly look. Another nice feature is their excellent dissolvability with the use of solvent.  Prismacolor’s coupling with solvent can produce a watercolor look, or help you block in color fast for a glowing underpainting. Add this to their easy portability, & you have a very simple, mess-free supply kit to pack for a day out Plein Air painting.

With 132 available colors, Prismacolor Premier wax-based colored pencils take the cake for the widest variety of colors among all colored pencil brands. And get this – if you visit Prismacolor’s website, you will find a Digital Color Coordinator which takes CMYK & RGB values and matches you to the closest match they have out of their 132 colors! 

  • Incredibly soft which allows for maximum blendability.  At times seem to be pastel-like!
  • 132 Pigment Rich colors – largest assortment of any colored pencil brand
  • Excellent gray scale
  • Great dissolvability with solvents
  • Can be used with heat for even more blendability
  • Great for tonal layering
  • Colors match Prismacolor Verithin for fine detail work
  • Colors match Prismacolor Art Stix for covering larger areas
  • Thick, 3.8mm core
  • Can be used with Prismacolor Colorless Blender
  • Lightfastness is in accordance with ASTM-D6901-06 Standards
  • Colors match Pantone Matching System Colors
  • Sold open stock to replace colors as you need them

  • Softness means they're fragile, & if you’re not careful the lead can break very easily
  • Wax Bloom due to their high wax content.  This can easily be remedied by gently
    wiping with a paper towel
  • They can leave ‘crumbs’ behind.  Be sure to use a soft brush to light sweep away to avoid smudges on the paper
  • They wear down quickly if using heavy pressure
  • If dropped or not treated with care, the lead will break inside the pencil causing the lead to keep ‘falling out’ each time you sharpen resulting in a wasted pencil and wasted money

Here are a few of the many paintings I've done with Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils:



Top 5 List // Best Gifts to Buy Any Artist

  1. A starter set of a top of the line (artist quality, NOT student quality) brand of their favorite medium. i.e. give a colored pencil artist a starter set of Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils.
    • Why? For the same reason you give your favorite wine-loving uncle the most expensive bottle you can afford – you know that he’ll appreciate it & you know that he’ll love you for it.  Top that off with the amazing time you know he will have, & your purchase has paid for itself with satisfaction.
  2. A photography book of their favorite subject matter.
    • Why? Everyone loves to look at pictures of things that they feel are beautiful or striking.  Not only will they adore the book for what it holds on its own, but they will find new inspiration in a subject they love which could take their work to an entirely new level.
  3. A top of the line (artist quality, NOT student quality) brand’s smallest set of a medium they’ve never tried or have only dabbled in lightly.
    • Why? Every creative loves every art or craft supply that resides on this planet.  However, love doesn’t necessarily mean relationship.  This gift may just make you the adored matchmaker of everlasting love between artist & medium.  And, if you turn out not to be, you know you’ve still successfully occupied this person with many cherished sessions of creative flow. . . and that’s priceless in itself!
  4. An Artist’s SOS Kit.  Think of it as a care package filled with “the right tools for the job”. i.e. erasing shield, low-tack tape, quality scissors, brush cleaner, ruler, pencil extender, vinyl eraser, painter’s tape, drafting brush, etc.
    • Why? As any artist knows (and at times wrongfully & ignorantly prides himself on), it can be a thrill to pull out those MacGyver-esqe devices to resolve all of his creative issues that reside on the technical side of things.  However, any artist, admittedly or not, would be tickled to have a kit full of “right” tools for such “jobs”.  Sorry, MacGyver.
  5. So, you were hoping that I would just say, “give them a gift card to their favorite supply store & call it a day!”?  Really?  Come on!  You can do better than that!
    • Why. . . am I actually about to say those words? You came here for ideas other than the obviousness of a gift card.  If you’re totally unsure of which of the above gifts to shower him or her with, then go ahead, get that gift card!  Just make sure it’s to a shop within reasonable distance & also has reasonable prices.  There is one catch though.   Wrap that gift card tight in a hard copy of my reviews post.  Read it, & you’ll not only learn a hidden secret about the artist in question (admit it, everyone loves a good intrigue from time to time), you’ll find that you’re doing them a fanciful favor. ;)

Supply Reviews Are Coming SOON!

If you’re anything like me, you drive to the art or hobby store with a hankering like no other. This yearning is so strong that you can barely stand it. Every red light is far more annoying than usual because they seem to be deliberately standing in the way of your craving. And a serious craving it is. Yes, what you’re experiencing is the dire need for a creative fix. Minutes later, with your road rage in check, you finally arrive at your shop of choice. You know that two familiar questions will suddenly start to loiter in your mind via tiny voices. “Will I ever make it out of here?” Suddenly, that second voice chimes in, “Make it out of here? Ha, like you don’t wanna stay.” I’ve been known, & I have to assume you are known for this too, to spend an embarrassing amount of time in such shops. It’s okay. You’re not alone. Hopefully I can help you with this page. Instead of pondering for countless minutes (okay fine, hours) on which coveted treasures to bring to the checkout counter & how not to get caught with said treasures by your husband or wife, you’ll walk in with a goal & walk right back out with a goal. And you’ll still have the light of day to get started. Ahhh, you feel good… because that fix was better than ever. I ♥ art supplies.

To put it another way:

With this page, I hope to inform my fellow creative geniuses on books & supplies so that it’s easier to decide what to add to your creative toolboxes & libraries. Feel free to share your thoughts!


As you’ll begin to see, I have a slight obsession with Nature’s astonishing creations. I can’t get enough of the colors, light, shapes, textures, smells, & the intricate design of the various Flora that decorate our Earth.  As an introduction, here is my most verdant painting!

"Foregone Conclusion"