Handmade artistic gifts with colored pencils. It started as a simple pastel demonstration of how to make bright, colorful objects. Jelly beans looked like the whole point, so I began drawing, just for fun and just for a display piece. I never expected it to be of much use other than a good lesson in colored pencils. In my mind, it was already in my unfinished folder, waiting for the next group of colored pencil enthusiasts to take part in a demonstration.
But as I added color to each jelly bean, I enjoyed it. I smiled at every highlight I finished and every new shade I said. Each nuance has become a challenge, and each jelly a project in its own right. The drawing took me further.
I’ve been having a difficult time in my own life recently. It was one of these dreaded conditions where everything appeared to dissolve instantly. We all go through it. Life can undoubtedly test us. What do people who aren’t original do in times like these? I ask because, in difficult moments, it is always my art that pervades me. Here I calm down and find happiness. Every time I ran on the Bean drawing, my mood improved. It was indeed the gift of art therapy in full swing. I was looking forward to working on it again at any time.
As the drawing progressed, I connected to it. I no great needed to put it in my endless pile of unfinished drawings that I teach with. It seemed special. But what the trial would I make with it? I kept working on it, and it started taking on a life of its own. I started the slow process of overlaying the background color. It turned into a colorful and happy drawing. Then I realized: I would give this drawing to someone as a gift! The joy I felt was in the process of being created. I knew after all my years as an artist that once done. It would be just another drawing in my home or studio, a design that I would hardly look at again.
Create art with colored pencils
I looked at the colors, and I immediately understood who loved them. My niece Cayla! She loves art, she loves bright colors, and she loves gummy candies. As she approached her ninth birthday, I had a plan. I would customize it and make it especially for her.
Now my happy little drawing with Cayla will live on forever. Let’s hope it’s something that holds on to adulthood and will tell her kids stories about her crazy artist grandmother and her as we’ve permanently colored together. I hope to do the same with their children as I am a young grandmother, and I am supposed to live high rather than see my great-grandchildren grow too!
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I want to deliver my novel about what happened or what will happen in one of Crones’ colored pencil artwork, such as leaving her to the Mountain. Still, I invited him to join us beyond the paper and into his psyche to connect us to his process and entertain us with his plans.
CH: Do you have a result in mind when setting up your scenes, or do you have to move your models and props a lot?
JC: When I organize a shoot, I have the storyboard and the final result in the back of my mind, but I always move my models and props around to make sure I capture the best scenario. Each sad drawings easy takes several hours to complete with the materials I work with, so I need to make sure the source photo is solid before performing many sleepless nights.
CH: Is your process collaboration with others?
JC: The basis of each drawing is laid by my sketchbook with thumbnails and notes on the direction I want to go. Once the setup is complete, and the models arrive, my approach is open to feedback. It can be as simple as whether they feel natural in a certain way or how they might react to a particular situation. After the reference photos have been taken and I’m at the drawing board, I also like to do a mini-critique of my work regarding the contrasts that move the gaze through the piece.
CH: Do you have your interpretations of your film noir paintings, or do you question the characters’ motives just like any spectator?
JC: With the last batch of works, I started the third piece, Salut, with a precise idea in mind. From here, I went back and forth through the story, questioning each character’s motives, even the models in the background. I’ve created a source for everyone to develop another group of works as a secondary story. The drawings look like chapters in a movie, and each has a connection, even if it’s a prop like an ashtray or a suitcase.
CH: What was the biggest challenge that happened behind the scenes?
JC: One of the recurring challenges I encounter when creating the site is the unpredictability of any environment. Whether you’re trying to capture a handprint on a fogged mirror in seconds, or a storm that cuts out when you trifling require it, you need to be on your feet hoping you’ve caught something worth drawing. A classic illustration of this would be the inclusion of references for Room with a View. That particular scene took place on a fire escape when my model was sitting on a railing in the middle of the night. Not only did the sunset, but the first cold front of the season passed through the Midwest, bringing a series of freezing rains.
The dress I wanted the model to wear was not climate-friendly, so we took as many photos as possible to get a proper perspective for scale and proportions. Feeling a little down, we gathered in a nearby studio to have a drink and see what was in the camera roll. With a photo and a jar of wine, we could recreate the fire rescue display with a degree, some of the easels, and a pair of artist support. It was by far the various challenging range to date, but it was worth it.