Sometimes Life . . .
Tales from the Garden . . . x 3

Unraveling . . . On Paper

Although I am tempted to share my progress on my mitered-square project, I've realized that I'm close enough to the actual finish line now (10 squares to go!) that I might as well wait until next week when (I think) it will be finished.

So today, I'll share another kind of finished project for you . . . 


This is a rather large (16" square) colored pencil "portrait" of Tom's Mini, based on a photograph I took while the car was parked in our driveway.

And it has taken me months to finish!

Agonizing months.  (So many times I just wanted to trash the thing.)

In the end, though, I think it turned out just fine.  And I certainly learned a whole lot in the process.  Which was really the point.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the drawing . . . unravel.  Back to the beginning.


We're really fortunate here in Kalamazoo to have the Kalamazoo Institute of Art.  Not only is it a fine art museum, but it also has a wonderful art education program for both adults and kids -- with classes offered year-round in pretty much any art medium.  The classes are semester-based, and the teachers are excellent.

I loved art class in high school, and I even took a few classes in college, but it had been years and years since I'd done any real "arting," and it took a while before I finally decided to face my personal demons (the not-good-enough and who-do-you-think-you-are voices are loud) and sign up for a class at the KIA.  I was totally intimidated to walk through those doors that first time . . . with my little bin of drawing tools!

It's been a great experience, though.  I've taken colored pencil drawing and watercolor and printmaking classes -- finally settling on colored pencil as my preferred media.  (I'm a much better "drawer" than I am a "painter.")  I've made a whole crop of new friends -- and the environment is supportive and encouraging from both the instructors and fellow students.


Although I draw and doodle all kinds of this-and-that at home, for my classes I like to choose more challenging subjects -- so I can learn new techniques and stretch myself a little.  I've done marbles and soap bubbles and a glass of beer with foam and a trout rising out of the water, for example.  Each time, I've frustrated the hell out of myself!  But each time, I've also learned a lot.

This time, I wanted to draw something shiny.

So I chose Tom's Mini.


In retrospect, I really didn't know what I was getting into.  Cars . . . have a lot of detail!  Really specific details.  (And really specific details that . . . say . . . the car's owner notices.  Just sayin.)

The entire time I worked on this drawing, I felt like one of those boys back in junior high school who were always drawing highly detailed dragsters on their notebook pages.  (Remember them?)  


There were many (many) times along the way when it was just too overwhelming.  It felt . . . too daunting.  How would I ever make this red blobby thing look like a CAR?

I whined.

But I also kept going.  And I had a lot of encouragement along the way -- from my instructor (remember this?) and my fellow classmates, and from Tom and my dad at home.


And . . . eventually . . . I had a drawing of Tom's car!

Colored pencil drawing is s-l-o-w.  It's layer after layer of color.  Nothing speedy about it!  

Kind of like . . . knitting.  Y'know?


Even though this post has nothing to do with stitching, I'm still playing the "unraveled" game along with Kat and friends.  Hop on over to Kat's to see what others are unraveling this week.


Want to see the original photo of Tom's Mini?  Here it is . . . 



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Oh my. WOW! all those details. and the SHINE! I really appreciate you including all the photos. It's helpful to see how the layers build. and curious - did you cut out the pieces for the headlights and MINI logo before you colored them?


Wow, Kym! EXCELLENT unravel! Well done! I think it is just gorgeous!


AMAZING Kym! I hope you're particularly proud. xoxo


That is amazing! I liked seeing the steps in the process and how you made that car shine!


I see others drawing, sketching, painting with different forms of paint and always (always) wish I could too. Your process of painting and “unraveling” are neat to read about, I see your thoughts and still wonder how it is done. But, as with any creative process (like knitting) it’s the extracurricular side advantages (like making friends, learning something new/making different brain connections for our older folks) that makes it great individualized fun. So, continue on brave artist/painter!
Side note - as I read in my free early publication novel “Transcriptions” the (parentheses) show the reader the real thoughts - you show us that too, I love such a neat way to add that little extra info.


WOW! So cool, so pretty, so interesting. I still don't understand how you made it so shiny, but loved seeing the various stages and the photo that started the whole process. Well done Kym!


I am very impressed.! What a great piece of work. I too, have taken pencil crayon classes and just about gave up several times. However, my "success" wasn't nearly as obvious as yours! Good on you...Hang it in a special place. Happy Father's Day Tom!!!!


Fabulous!! "Shiny" can be so difficult!

Interesting fact: When I first met Rusty, he was doing big colored pencil drawings, way more than watercolors or anything else.


Wow! You really have talent!


That is an incredible drawing, Kym, and I especially like that you've unraveled it back to the beginning for us. Shine on with your amazing arting!


I think you did an incredible job - I can't believe how you captured the shine of the Mini! I'm so impressed!


That's pretty amazing.


I've heard colored pencil is a layering process and I'm so impressed with how each layer added more of the shape, the shine, and the contours of the car. You really made this come to life, Kym! Fascinating process!


Wow. You did a splendid job. I always thought "shiny" was one of the hardest elements to capture in drawing. Like "water"and "transparency." It's amazing what you can learn in an art class. I once saw the finished product of someone who had just taken a fashion illustration class. She went in only capable of stick figures and came out with a drawing worthy of the cover of a Vogue sewing pattern envelope. Amazing!


Should have added that your ability to bring Tom's car to life is more than just technical ability. Keep going!
(And men are uncanny in how they can take advantage of chore-doing by incorporating more fun time than actual chore time. Do they take secret seminars? How do they all learn this exact same tactic?)

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