Friday, March 02, 2012

Colored Pencils

When I was about 11 years old my father gave me a set of colored pencils for Christmas.  This was not just a pack of pencils, but a artist grade set of colored pencils in a tin imported from Switzerland.  The pencils were gorgeous.  There were 24 pencils in the tin.  The tin was painted with an image of the Alps and the mountains faded into the colored pencils sketch.
I had all these ideas of how I would use them. I would think about drawings and take out a piece of paper and prepare to make a masterpiece.  Then I would put the pencils away. Unused.  Then I would put the pencil tin back in my desk drawer.
I brought these pencils back to NY from our Christmas vacation.  I would take out the pencils after school, preparing to draw, but didn't want to waste them. When I got up the courage to start a drawing, I would quickly get frustrated as my drawings never looked like the image on the tin.
I didn't let this discourage me from wanting to draw, but I didn't use the pencils for many months.  I thought that they were precious and I was afraid that if I used them, I would have worn they out. I was saving them for when I was a better artist.  
 I brought the unused pencils with me to college!  And that is when I finally broke them out.  I used them on some projects to add color to some presentations and then I started to use them to add color to some sketches I made.
Slowly, I began learning the properties of colored pencils and the techniques that enhance their properties.
Through the years, I studied other mediums and learned other art techniques.  I do a lot of work with paints, but always find comfort in using colored pencils.  Colored pencils are easy to transport so they are great for travel or for keeping a small art bag in my purse for times when I am in "waiting rooms".  Colored pencils don't require water, special paper or brushes.  If I bring some paper, a sharpener and a paper bag for the pencil shavings, I can draw for hours.
Through the years, I learned ways to use the pencils effectively. Now, I have gone through hundreds of colored pencils.  When I look back on the original set of pencils, I regret not using them immediately.  I should have experimented and learned different techniques. I should have practiced, practiced, practiced.
Since I can't change things, I know that I can learn from past mistakes. Now, I don't hesitate to learn things, to make errors and "waste" my supplies on learning.  Gaining knowledge and experience is so valuable and is worth the cost of most supplies.  I am grateful for the gift of the colored pencils and for the many lessons I learned with them.

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