Highway with Railroad Bridge

A few weeks ago, I posted 12 Reasons Why I Love Colored Pencils. It was one of those fun, end-of-the-year posts that most bloggers do.

As often happens, that simple list started a conversation I’m still pondering. It began with this comment by John, a reader.

You pretty much covered all of the reasons Colored Pencils are wonderful, but I may have one more….

I like CP’s because it feels like taking a journey with an old friend when working on a drawing. Like they say it’s the journey not the destination….

John is right.

The journey begins with a spark of interest in the subject. Just as a distant destination might, something attracts your eye. Line, color, shape all contribute to entice you into considering a journey to a completed piece of art.

The drawing stage is preparation for the journey. You learn about the subject. Is this really something I want to do? A place I want to go? The possibilities seem endless. The prospects of the journey boundless. It’s going to be so much fun!

Drawing completed, the journey begins. By now, you know the subject well enough to have developed a kinship with it. You know the places you look forward to exploring as well as those that might present a rough spot in the road. You have a good idea how to capture the spirit of your subject.

The first few days of the journey are fun and exciting. The subject begins to come alive with your attention. Shapes form. Color blossoms. What a delightful subject! What a wonderful trip!

Alas, as with most long journeys, there comes the moment when you become aware of a creeping thought. Are we there yet? You dampen the thought. Colored pencil is not a ‘quick’ medium. One stroke at a time, one color at a time. A lot of strokes have been made, a lot of steps taken. The destination is in sight.

But there’s still oh so far to go!

So you keep going. One stroke after the last. Sometimes you have to force yourself to work. Thoughts of giving up and starting a different journey multiply. Hounds of discouragement yap at your heels. Get away!

Then one day, you look at your artwork and discover it’s almost finished. Colored pencil is funny that way. It can go from hopeless to complete in an amazingly short amount of time. Almost like going to bed looking at the city of your destination far off on the horizon at night, then waking in the morning to find it’s a lot closer than you thought.

Filled with enthusiasm, you push on. Time no longer matters. The right color, the right intensity, the right detail here or there… that’s all that matters.

By the time you finish, leaving it behind is like saying good-bye to someone you’ve come to know very well and whose company you have enjoyed despite the rough spots and, perhaps, an occasional disagreement.

And you know what? It may not be everything you imagined at the beginning, but it’s the best one yet and you can’t wait to start the next journey.

How about you? What is your colored pencil journey like?