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The Los Gatos Museum Exhibition

This year the Colored Pencil Society of America held its 18th Annual International Exhibition at the Art Museum of Los Gatos near San Francisco. Janet Bishop, the curator of painting and sculpture of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, selected 122 pieces to appear in the museum exhibit which will run until August 20th.


CPSA Convention a Smashing Success

The 2010 CPSA Convention was an unforgettable experience. Here are the highlights:

  • My workshop "Wax and Heat, A Match Made in Heaven" went very well
  • The 67 workshop attendees were an incredible group - attentive, responsive, enthusiastic, and now my friends
  • All the Icarus Drawing Boards sold out and more
  • The exhibition at The Art Museum of Los Gatos was outstanding
  • The CPSA sponsors and corporate members were incredibly generous with all of us - nobody went home empty handed
  • The Award Banquet was truly memorable especially for the slide show that chronicled the twenty year history of the Colored Pencil Society
  • I received my Signature pin - yay!
  • My artwork "The Lightness of Being" was honored with the Sanford Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit
  • Last but certainly not least was the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones

I have so many great pictures and memories to share but I'm staring at a mountain of boxes blocking the light of my studio window. They are waiting for me to unpack them; all my art supplies and tools have to go back into their proper place as soon as possible or I will not get any sleep tonight. I'll post again soon.

July 29, 2010 - Ester's Workshop at the CPSA Convention


CPSA Convention Begins Next Week

I'm so looking forward to the 18th Annual Colored Pencil Society Convention in Santa Clara next week. I can't wait to personally welcome all of you who signed up for my workshop on July 29th and 30th. Whether or not you are already familiar with the Icarus Drawing Board, this workshop will give you plenty to assimilate. I promise you that while you will work hard, you will also have fun experimenting with new and original colored pencil applications.

One of the highlights of the CPSA Convention is the International Exhibition that this year is at the Los Gatos Art Museum. It is always inspiring to take a close look at some of the best colored pencil artwork in the world.

Hope to see you there!

Los Gatos Art Museum Home Page



Happy Fourth of July! I hope you are all celebrating Independence Day with your family and friends.

The 2010 Colored Pencil Society Silent Auction images have been posted online for everybody to preview. This is a show of  "Small Works of Great Magnitude" that will give convention attendees an opportunity to purchase original colored pencil art. My piece "True Colors" is one of the 36 donated artworks. I can't wait to bid on some of my favorites.

CPSA Silent Auction


My Art Studio: Part 2

Organization for me is not a choice, it's a necessity. I was not blessed with one of those brains that can function in a chaotic atmosphere. My differences are not apparent because early in my life I learned on my own how to cope with them. I started using color coding in elementary school. Through the years I have developed many sophisticated ways to organize, categorize and classify the outside world. For example, in my mid forties I devised a color coding system that helped me learn how to read music and play the piano. My 'to-do' list, which I update daily, is arranged in five separate color schemes that correspond to different areas of interest. One of my favorite gift from my husband is a "label maker" - jewelry doesn't even come close.

Several years ago I devised a way to keep my colored pencils, crayons and oil pastels organized. Here are four images to illustrate my system. Perhaps some of you will get inspired to make one of your own.

Shelf Storage UnitSingle Shelf


Materials needed:  3/16" Gator Board for the shelf storage unit, regular foam board for the individual shelves,  removable, double-sided tape, regular tape, and a glue gun. Each movable shelf measures 6" x 20". Several strips of removable, double-sided tape are placed lengthwise on each shelf and secured on the 6" side with regular tape. This results in a low tack surface where the pencils, crayons, oil pastels can stay put and organized by colors.

More ShelvesInventory Storage Unit


The last image is that of my inventory storage unit where I can keep up to 18 colored pencils in each cell. This was built with regular foam board, a glue gun, and a lot of patience.


True Colors

Here is my artwork for this year's CPSA Silent Auction. It's colored pencil (Prismacolor Premier) on Stonehenge paper. As I was working on this piece, Cyndi Lauper's song "True Colors" came to mind. I  ended up playing it repeatedly, maybe a hundred times over. The words describe how I feel about this flower to perfection, hence I decided to borrow the title.

True Colors
11" x 14" - Wax-based Media (Colored Pencil)
Created with the Icarus Drawing Board


My Artwork on the Cover of “Pratique des Arts”

My artwork "The Butterfly Effect" was chosen for the cover of the current issue of  the prestigious French art magazine Pratique des Arts. The Portfolio section titled  "Quand les artistes f^etent le printemps" is a showcase of how artists around the world celebrate spring with their colorful rendition of flowers. Another of my artworks, "Across the Universe", is also featured in the same section.


Sanded Pastel Paper and the Icarus Board

I love working with sanded pastel paper. My favorite is Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper by Art Spectrum. It's a wonderfully versatile archival surface  that "withstands all manner of artistic experimentation." One of these, and not the least in order of importance, is the application of heat.

In the examples below you can see how I develop a flower petal with Prismacolor Colored Pencils and Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Wax Crayons.

Step 1Step 2


Step 1: After finishing the first petal, I'm getting ready to begin the second one.
Step 2: On the cool zone and with sharp Neocolors, I block in all the local colors of the petal. The tooth of the paper easily captures the waxy pigments.

Step 3Step 3 - detail


Step 3: After moving the paper to the warm zone, I begin melting the waxy pigments with a taper point color shaper. It's a simple process that can also be accomplished with a flat chisel color shaper (use the side of the tip for melting). This approach is much faster and gives you more control than adding water to Neocolor II. First of all there is no wait for the paper to dry - the melted pigments solidify as soon as the paper is removed from the heat - and the intensity and hue of the color do not diminish. Besides, it is so much fun I just can't get enough.

Step 4Step 5


Step 4: The petal is now covered by a thin layer of melted pigments that I like to call "wax foundation."
Step 5: On the warm zone, with a sharp white Verithin I penetrate the previous layer and create fine ridges that will become the petal's veins.

Step 6Step 6 - detail


Step 6: Here I'm developing the colors and the details of the petals. The layering of colored pencils is accomplished with Prismacolor Premier using the side of the pencil point. On the warm zone the waxy pigments melt and blend in with the foundation; on the cool zone they will sit on top for optical mixing. Sharp Verithin pencils are used for details and fine lines.