colored pencil

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Art

Enigmatic Sketchbooks Record Visual Stories in Colored Pencil and Ink by Katherine Akmulun

November 21, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

All images © Katherine Akmulun, shared with permission

One way to approach the cinematic sketchbook drawings by Katherine Akmulun is to think about literature. “When we read a book, not only do we look at the characters, but the characters are looking at us,” she says. “And they see much more than we think.” This awareness forms the basis of the artist’s ongoing series of drawings that capture intimate interactions, bold gestures, and momentary expressions. From a young age, a fascination with human anatomy and love of reading inspired a wish to become “a kind of writer,” she explains, and “since I feel insecure about words, the only way out for me was to keep a kind of personal diary with sketches instead of words.”

In ballpoint pen and colored pencil, Akmulun explores the duality of two facing pages by creating images that are distinctive from each other yet empathetic to one another. A close-up of hands grasping lightly at the fingertips complements a joyful scene of two women dancing, or a young child clasps her mother’s hand while gazing across the binding at a man who walks briskly across an open plane. Part story and part snapshot, the mysterious narratives reference historic images and are open to interpretation. “The funny thing is that different people can see different scenes in the same picture,” she says. “And this is incredibly cool, because we all have different life experiences, different environments, and different interests.”

Akmulun travels often and is influenced by the nuances of everyday experiences, which she captures using a minimal palette. She aims to collect and record feelings and memories in the books, but she’s not precious about keeping them intact. “I love to rip out pages,” she says. “I like to realize that the pages of my personal diary can travel the world, and can find their home not only in my sketchbook. I am pleased that people want to have a piece of my personal world in their home.”

Akmulun occasionally makes pages available for sale, and you can follow more of her work on Instagram.

 

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.   A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

 

 

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Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Drawings by David Morrison Reflect the Fragile Ephemerality of Organic Life

October 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Magnolia Series No. 3,” colored pencil on paper, 20 x 20 inches. All images © David Morrison, courtesy of Garvey | Simon Gallery, New York, shared with permission

Artist David Morrison highlights the fragility and fleeting nature of life through fresh magnolia blooms or a parched maple seed pod. With underlying shadows that imply sunlight or an overhead lamp, Morrison’s drawings are deceptively realistic, appearing like three-dimensional organic matter resting atop blank sheets of paper.

Depicting burst pomegranates or an iris on the brink of opening, the colored pencil works reflect the relationship between the whole specimen and the delicate veins, stems, and fleshy material responsible for sustaining life. “I became obsessed with drawing branches and tree trunks by looking at them through magnifying glasses that allowed me to peer deeper into an astonishing world of abstract shapes and patterns. I then realized the complexity of nature and how magnificent it is,” the artist says in a statement. “Every time I start a new drawing the discovery process starts anew.”

For more of Morrison’s still lifes, visit his Instagram and Garvey | Simon Gallery, where he’s represented.

 

“Maple Seed Pods” (2022), colored pencil on paper, 23 x 30 inches

“Chinese Lantern Drawing” (2022), colored pencil on paper, 21 x 26 inches

“Pomegranate” (2021), colored pencil on paper, 18 x 28 inches

“Magnolia Blossom Series No. 1,” colored pencil on paper, 18 x 18 inches

Left: “Firewood Series No. 9” (2018), colored pencil on paper, 24.5 x 14 inches. Middle: “Iris Series No. 5” (2020), colored pencil on paper, 26 x 14 inches. Right: “Firewood Series No. 1” (2018), colored pencil on paper, 36 x 21 inches

The artist in his studio

 

 



Art Illustration

Grainy Colored Pencil Portraits by Uli Knörzer Emphasize a Subject’s Distinct Demeanor

August 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Uli Knörzer, shared with permission

Berlin-based artist Uli Knörzer (previously) highlights the signature grainy texture of colored pencils in his faithful portraiture. Whether for personal projects or commissions from fashion labels and publications—many of the pieces shown here are part of a recent project for Tommy Hilfiger—the richly illustrated works hone in on the emotions of the subject. By positioning the figures against monochromatic backdrops devoid of setting, he accentuates the minute details of their facial expressions and body language.

If you’re in London, stop by Trinity Buoy Wharf to see some of Knörzer’s portraits in the group show for this year’s Drawing Prize, which opens on September 28. Otherwise, follow him on Instagram to keep up with his latest pieces.

 

 

 



Art

Graceful Women in Shades of Blue by Hanna Lee Joshi Express a Desire for Autonomy

June 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“All That Has Come Before” (2022). All images © Hanna Lee Joshi, shared with permission

With long, elegant fingers and brawny limbs, the women that define Hanna Lee Joshi’s gouache and colored pencil works move through the unknown and indiscernible with strength. The Vancouver-based artist renders anonymous figures in motion, whether dancing together or gracefully gliding through water, on their search for greater autonomy and fulfillment unobscured by political, cultural, and social impositions. In comparison to her earlier series, Joshi’s most recent pieces rely more heavily on shades of blue and use more subtle gradients to contour a leg or elbow.

A reference to self-portraiture and a subversion of traditions surrounding nude figures, each of the works is  “a means of reflection, a way for me to distill down the tangible and intangible experiences of my life,” she says. “In a way, they are an extension of myself, portraits of emotions, explorations of unanswerable questions, a way for me to grasp at the immensity of life.”

Joshi has a solo show slated for December at Thinkspace Projects, and “Delicate Veil of Being” is available as a limited-edition print in her shop. Explore more of her introspective works on Instagram.

 

“Wild and Free” (2022)

“Every Last Drop I”

“Belonging”

“Every Last Drop II”

“Every Last Drop III”

“Delicate Veil of Being”

 

 



Art Illustration

Fragmented Blocks of Color and Texture Overlap in Lui Ferreyra’s Layered Portraits

August 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Awear Glasses,” digital drawing for Charmant USA. All images Lui Ferreyra, shared with permission

Curved patches and geometric blocks comprise the layered portraits by Denver-based artist Lui Ferreyra (previously). Working both digitally and with colored pencil on paper, Ferreyra overlaps outlined fragments filled with thin lines to convey shadow and light, creating nuanced portrayals of his subjects. The prismatic works shown here are some of the artist’s more recent personal projects and commissions, which show the development of his distinct style during the last few years, in addition to the contrast he continues to draw between densely composed fields of color and larger expanses of negative space.

Ferreyra is currently a resident in The Ramble Hotel’s Art Can program, and his illustrations will be on view at the Denver location’s pop-up gallery through September 7. A few prints are available in his shop, and you can follow his work on Instagram.

 

“Unfinished Series 1,” digital drawing

“Marc Maron,” digital drawing

“Open Hand,” digital drawing

“Psyche,” color pencil on black paper

“Rainbow Series 1,” digital drawing

“Rainbow Series 3,” digital drawing

“Jasmin,” digital drawing for Scholarship America