Try something different!

I learned this week that my piece “Better Days Behind” has been awarded Highly Commended at the UKCPS International Exhibition, going on right now in Nuneaton, England.  My first award at an international level!

UKCPS_Award BetterDaysBehind

The thrill is especially sweet because 1. It depicts my Dad’s old truck on the farm where I grew up, and 2. It was my first-ever attempt at using UArt sanded paper and oil-based colored pencils, with a completely different technique than I had ever used before.

The technique involves applying a whole bunch of oil-based colored pencil onto the paper without regard for details, then gently working the pigment and powdery crumbs of pigment into the gritty surface with a stiff-bristled brush.  This also takes care of most of the blending.  Then you blow or vacuum away the excess and go back in with the pencils for the details.  The result is complete coverage with no speckles of paper showing through, and looks more like a painting than a drawing.

I learned the technique in a workshop by Bonnie Auten.  I was way out of my comfort zone when trying it there, but I could see it had potential and I liked the idea of being able to cover the surface much faster.  When I got home with a new set of Lyra Polycolors (a brand of oil-based colored pencils) and several sheets of UArt 800 paper, I decided I’d better try it fast before I lost my nerve.  It’s shocking how fast the paper (it’s really a fine sandpaper) and the technique eats up pencils.  But I was pretty happy with the outcome!

If I hadn’t been willing to step outside my comfort zone and take that workshop, and then take the next step and try the new tools and techniques “for real”, I wouldn’t be receiving this recognition now!

Sometimes you have to shake things up a little bit to get the results you want.  This is true not just in art but in exercise, software engineering, social networking, job-hunting, you name it.  As Nike says, “Just Do It.”