Grow With Art Apr 2013

23 April 2013

Coloured Pencil Art 
What it means to stretch your creative abilities and leave one’s comfort zone to venture into new artistic territory.
by Allison Fagan

Our guest speaker for the April Grow with Art meeting was Allison Fagan. Allison’s photo-realistic coloured pencil works have been exhibited and published internationally. A signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, she is a popular teacher of colored pencil techniques.

Allison began by sharing her artistic journey. She started as a manager at Sears in Carlingwood. She arranged many of the displays of merchandise and also created signs using cartoons and caricatures. Someone remarked that she could make a living as an artist and that started everything. Coloured pencils seemed like the most natural fit with her drawing ability so she took courses in that. Allison became involved in the beginnings of the Kanata Studio tour and took part in the first year. Her confidence was boosted by several sales and she says they were not “mercy sales”. From there she began submitting to international art magazines and was featured in The Artist’s Magazine and American Artist Drawing magazine. She was part of a movement that resulted in coloured pencil becoming considered fine art.

Allison taught coloured pencil in schools for many years and still conducts workshops for adults in her basement studio. She also became involved in felting.

After many years and repetitive strain injuries, this year Allison decided to take a year off the Studio Tour. The Tour involves Allison creating 60 original works of art in about four months. She figured on balance she was earning less than minimum wage for all her efforts, so it was time to rest body and spirit.

Allison has been creating mixed media work for the last year – however that involved a real transition from an art form that she excelled in to an unknown. This took some adjustment, but she reassured herself that all the artistic basics were essentially the same. If we could judge from the resulting art work, it is certainly true.

Allison had the audience try some basic coloured pencil techniques. She finished the evening by quoting Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

photos by Josie De Meo