Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas is Just Around the Corner

"Christmas Peppermints"
oil on canvas
12" x 6"

Now that Halloween has come and gone, we're suppose to be focusing on Thanksgiving as the next approaching holiday. However, every mother knows that in reality there's only a few milliseconds between Halloween and Christmas. Above is a small oil that I did last week. It'll be in the December small works show at the M.A. Doran Gallery in Tulsa. I bought several of these 6" x 12" canvases. I like the long format and am looking forward to doing some more compositions to fit.

I've continued doing more little ACEO's this week. I'll not post them all on this blog, but will be offering them on ebay. Just do a search on my name or look for seller drawntoart if you'd like to see them. I'll leave you with one graphite ACEO that I did the other day -

3 1/2" x 2 1/2"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Itty Bitty Paintings

"McIntosh Apples"
oil on canvas paper
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Red and Green Apples"
oil on canvas paper
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

oil on canvas paper
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

I laid down my pencils and picked up my brushes for a change of pace this last week. As a result, I had a great time painting some little ACEO cards. ("ACEO" stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. ACEOs are the size of a baseball card. They are a fun, easy and affordable way to collect original pieces of art.) I got inspired by looking around at some of the great ACEO art offered on ebay. Yeah - there's tons of not-so-great stuff there, but there is also some really good work if you look for it. Just do a search for seller "alabama_artist" or seller "thisthatthose" for two good examples.

While you're there - here's a link to my own seller page ("drawntoart")

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Drawing with Silver

" Windows to the Soul"
3" x 9"

I've made a couple of out-of-state trips since my last post. That's put my zebra drawing on hold since it was too large to travel with me. So, I decided to work on a small piece while away. I didn't get much time to work because of having such a great time visiting family, but I did manage to get this little silverpoint drawing done. The model is my youngest daughter. I liked the idea of cropping in close to emphasize her eyes. I also liked how the silverpoint gives the drawing a hazy, ethereal feel. I'm looking forward to seeing how this drawing evolves on its own as the silver tarnishes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Working on Stripes

Work in progress - graphite

Here's what I've been working on, on and off for the last week. I've done a lot of colored pencil this summer and I've been really wanting to take a break by doing a graphite drawing. My daughter and I visited one of those drive-through wildlife parks back in August. I took lots of pictures, especially of the zebras. We learned that you really can't grasp how big an American bison is until one is standing in front of your compact car and scratching his chin on your windshield wipers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Next IGOR Show

"Pears and Squares"
colored pencil
13" x 26"

I just heard last week that this drawing of mine made it into next year's International Guild of Realism Show. The show will be the fifth annual juried exhibition of the International Guild and will be held next February at the J. Willott Gallery in Palm Desert, CA. I'm honored and thrilled to make it once again into a Guild show - this will be the fourth time that work of mine has been included in an IGOR show.

The International Guild of Realism was founded in 2002 with the purpose of advancing realism in fine art and promoting the careers of representational artists. You can learn more about this excellent organization by visiting their website -

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Smaller stuff

"The Sentinel"
colored pencil
12" x 8"

"The Guardian"
colored pencil
7" x 12"

Here's my latest two colored pencil drawings. Both of these will be in the December small works show at M. A. Doran Gallery in Tulsa later this year. I seem to have been doing a lot of these complementary color schemes in my still life setups lately. I found the little upright English pitcher in "The Sentinel" on ebay earlier this year and had been looking forward to drawing it. At first I tried putting some purple plums with it, but that big orange spot in the middle of the purple flower just kept saying, "No! More orange, please!". So, I remembered the little orange clementines in my fridge, placed them there, and threw up some blue fabric on the wall behind my setup. And voila! Here it is.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rethinking it all

Simple Pleasures
Colored Pencil
20" x 20"

It's been five months since my last posts. For those of you who may have been following this blog and wondering what became of me - well, I've been right here all along. I simply haven't been painting and since the original idea for this blog was to follow my progression from pencil artist to painter, then there wasn't anything to blog about.

Turns out, I still love having a pencil in my hand. I've continued to grow and develop as a colored pencil artist. I continue to be amazed and inspired by what other colored pencil artists are achieving in the medium. I also have been missing my first love - graphite. I still hope to master oils, but I've realized it's going to take more hours in the studio since cloning myself is still not a viable option. I'm just not ready to give up pencil!

So, with that in mind, I've renamed my blog and plan for this to be perhaps not a daily blog, but it least a weekly blog of my efforts as an artist. Note the name "Marks and Strokes" - I'm leaving the studio door wide open. Pencils or brush, I just plan to continue to follow my vision and create.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Colored pencil, 6 3/4" x 10 1/2"
Copyright 2009 Sheila Cantrell

Here's a landscape that I did recently. I bought a little Canon SD camera last year. I have a larger Canon Rebel digital camera that I use quite a bit, but I wanted this little digital camera because it fits nicely in my purse. Although I fit the category of "stay at home mom", it seems that I'm on the road a lot. I've really enjoyed having my little camera handy to grab pictures like this when I come across them. I'm getting a stockpile of landscape photo references. This little drawing was fun to do. I think that I'll be doing more landscapes this year thanks to my little Canon.

I just learned yesterday that I've been selected as one of the artists to display work at the Rockefeller Institute's Arts in the Air Exhibit this coming May. The exhibit will be held at the Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain here in Arkansas. I'll have around six works in the show including the landscape pictured above.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Repetition with Variation

"Asian Pears and Lace"
colored pencil, 8 3/4" x 12 1/2"
Copyright 2009 Sheila Cantrell

Here's my latest colored pencil drawing. In my original setup for this drawing, the lace was on a white surface - another cloth, I believe. Once I started on the reds and yellows of the pears though, I realized that I wanted more of those colors in the drawing. A cedar chest in my bedroom provided the inspiration to finish out the drawing. I really like how the wood repeats the pear colors (though not exactly) and makes the lace stand out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Has It Really Been Nearly a Year?

Arrangement in Blue and White
colored pencil

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since my last post. In my defense, all I can say is that this time last year, I was preoccupied with plans for my oldest daughter's wedding and my youngest son's high school graduation. Much has happened in the last year. I've done a lot more drawing, but I'm ashamed to admit that my painting fell by the wayside for much of this last year. That being said, spring is in the air, the trees are budding, and I feel the desire to turn over a new leaf and attack this painting thing again. I know that January 1st is suppose to be the time to make new resolutions, but I've always felt more like actually doing so when spring rolls around.

Above is one of my more recent colored pencil drawings. This one was juried into the International Guild of Realism's 2009 show which was just held at Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida. I am quite happy to report that it won the 2009 Best Drawing award in that show. It was a real honor just to get in the show - the award was a very thick layer of icing on the cake! Here's a link to see all the award winners as well as the entire show on the Weatherburn's site:

Bear with me... now that I've ventured back into blogland, I'll do my very best to start posting regularly. Any of you out there reading this are more than welcome to post comments. (Otherwise I feel like I'm just talking to myself!)

I just finished up a smaller still life with asian pears - still need to get pics of it but should be able to post it tomorrow.