A group of artists wants to paint the world in colored pencil, and an inaugural exhibit opening Saturday will illuminate their pastime.
The Colored Pencil Society of America’s Myrtle Beach chapter will open “Wow! Is That Colored Pencil?” with a reception 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Art & Soul, An Artisan Gallery in Myrtle Beach. The show, with about 17 artists’ works, will then continue through Jan. 31.
“Colored pencil art is coming to its own,” said Jolene Stinson Williams of Myrtle Beach, president of the chapter, established last spring and among its roughly 35 members.
She said the discipline first floored her when she saw a book of the art, then gave it a whirl.
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“It’s amazing what can be done with colored pencil in art,” Williams said. “You can make it look like a painting, watercolor or drawing. There are so many possibilities.”
A teacher of colored pencil art technique classes for adults at Art & Soul and in semester sessions through Coastal Carolina University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (347-3161 or www.coastal.edu/academics/outreach/olli/, Williams said she sees individuals of all ages, especially retirees, trying their lot with a pencil set of 12 or 24 colors and that folks steeped in the hobby amass 80 to 100 pencils for more variety and detail.
“People who do it for the first time,” she said, “are very surprised at what they can do. That’s why it’s such a big hit.”
Besides the ease of starting in this medium, Williams said, without the need for water, paints or brushes, “it’s very portable.”
That attracted Kate Lagaly to drawing in colored pencil, after she had just graduated from college, without a huge studio in which to work.
“I was teaching high school art and living in a tiny, one-room apartment,” she said. “I was searching for a medium that was portable, not messy, and required little as far as supplies. Colored pencil fit the bill.”
Squeezing in some pencil art when her young children were napping and later while waiting for them after school or at classes and practices, bided Lagaly’s time ideally, with her supplies fitting “into a small bag” easily.
She got colorful explaining what she finds through “the peacefulness of shading and overlaying colors, adding subtle beauty” when “mingling colors onto paper as it becomes the story I want to tell.”
“Colored pencil is a quiet, peaceful, beautiful medium,” Lagaly said. “I enjoy layering the colors and the ‘feel’ of the pencils on my work surface as I draw. Colored pencil is relaxing and an old friend.”
Besides her membership with Colored Pencil Society chapters in Myrtle Beach and Raleigh, N.C., she said she has shown works in five international exhibits. The resident of Roxboro, N.C., north of Durham, who moved from Myrtle Beach two years ago, stays active with Grand Strand art groups, and she also works in watercolor, acrylic, gouache, pen and ink, and clay.
The subjects to draw in colored pencil are vast, even stretching to landscapes, but objects and still-lifes have been the most popular for the Myrtle Beach chapter’s members, Williams said, stressing the flexibility.
“Almost anything can be done with the colored pencil,” she said, welcoming everyone to check out its meetings on the second Saturday monthly at Art & Soul.
Rita Levine, owner of Art & Soul, voiced her appreciation for displaying the “very, very” talented skills of local colored pencil artists.
“I’m very excited about having them,” she said.
Levine said since the gallery added its cafe last year, one whole wall has been earmarked for exhibits.
“We have a new show every three weeks,” she said.
The new colored pencil class at the gallery also “has been very well received,” as has the monthly gatherings of the chapter since its membership asked to meet there.
“I said, ‘You’re artists and you’re improving an art,’ ” Levine said. “They’re a big crowd ... and we’re so excited to have them for this show.”