Tri-Valley art lovers can admire a colorful array of hand drawn creations by Bay Area artists, ranging from lifelike to surreal, at the Bankhead Theater Gallery in Livermore through Halloween.
As indicated by the new exhibit's name "Explorations in Colored Pencil IX", the art pieces that have been on display since Sept. 1 are done exclusively in the colored pencil medium.
Livermore Arts, which organized the exhibit, called it "an ideal opportunity for the community to see the beauty of the art that crosses many styles" including realism, photorealism, impressionistic and abstract," as well as "learn about the complexity and beauty that can be achieved with the colored pencil medium."
The exhibit is also the ninth annual show for the San Jose-based District Chapter 210 of the Colored Pencil Society of America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting "the beauty and richness of colored pencil as a medium for creating fine art."
Paula Greer, one of the organizers and artists in the show, became interested in colored pencil drawing after retiring about six years ago.
A total newbie at the time, Greer told the Weekly in an interview on Monday that she grew up watching her mother, who wanted to be a fashion artist, draw. Greer was already into other "crafty things" like cake decorating, but what ultimately drew her -- no pun intended -- to the medium of colored pencils was its mess-free nature and potential for producing a high level of detail.
"Any kind of paint, you're likely to get it on you or on your hands, there's a lot of cleanup," Greer said, citing charcoal and pastels as well. "I like the fact that I can take my colored pencils with me anywhere. I like the fine details that you can get; a lot of artists do realistic photos or drawings, but there's a lot that do abstract too."
Colored pencil drawing also is "a very slow medium because its layers upon layers upon layers of pencil."
"With paints you can mix on a palette, with pencil you're mixing one layer at a time so it takes a lot more," Greer added. "Some of the pieces you'll see, especially the larger pieces, there have been people who have taken 50, 60 hours to do one drawing, and it's very time consuming but it's very satisfying."
Regardless of which style an artist pursues, colored pencil drawing is "very relaxing, it just puts you into a meditative state. It kind of brings back when you were kids and used to color, but there's something way more involved than just coloring," Greer said.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, the Bankhead Theater Art Gallery is open to theatergoers only and not the general public. However, the general public is invited and encouraged to attend a show reception on next Saturday (Sept. 25).
Bay Area artist Patsy Taylor, who has spent more than 14 years both studio and plein air painting, will judge the show. Taylor holds a master's degree in fine arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and has works held in private, local and international collections.
The Bankhead board is working with gallery staff to allow special access on several Thursday afternoons for those unable to attend the reception, with more information coming in the near future.
"Explorations in Colored Pencil IX" is free and open to the public on Sept. 25 from 1:30-4:30 p.m., for ticket patrons during events, and by appointment by contacting [email protected] For more information, visit livermorearts.org.