Saturday, January 30, 2010

Great minds... I can only hope

Waxwing Poetic
Vera Curnow
Vera Curnow

With this being the 20th anniversary of the CPSA, I was thinking back to the beginning of the group and Vera Curnow came to mind. My first contact with Vera was 20 years ago when she wrote an article to the Artist's Magazine wondering if there were any other colored pencil artists out there. I was down here in Florida doing my thing... coloring away. I was thrilled to see that there were other people as in love with the medium as I was so I wrote to her, along with the others who were saying "hi - we're out here". She founded the organization and I've been a member ever since.

Vera has been an inspiration to me on so many levels - her work, her drive and energy, her creativity, her teaching ability and her willingness to take chances. She's the one who taught me to paint with colored pencils using mineral spirits - this was revolutionary for me! It changed how I worked and opened up a whole new way for me to play. Working with a brush again brought me to working with watercolor and colored pencil which led to doing colored pencil on canvas which led to doing..... acrylic on canvas - acrylic without colored pencil, hmmm...

A few years ago Kelli and I had the opportunity to go to Vera's gallery in Indiana and teach a workshop. It was great fun to see what Vera was up to. Not only was she doing colored pencil, she was also doing acrylic. She has the same love of texture that I do and I was thrilled to see that we were going down the same road. I had an argument once with a woman online. She was telling me that you can't change your style or subject matter in your work - that would mean you were unfocused and immature. What a bunch of BS. Of course you can. If you feel the need, then by all means go for it. I still work in colored pencil, I just expanded my horizons to include other things. Vera works in a variety of media, is she unfocused and immature? I don't think so!!! Just take a look at her work above. If you want to see more of what she does visit her at If you want to see what she created when she started the CPSA go to

Thanks Vera for being an inspiration to so many,


Teresa Mallen said...

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Vera at the CPSA convention last summer. She is a delightful woman - intelligent, funny and very talented. She has indeed been an inspiration to many!

I don't see your email here Carlynne (could be right in front of me) but if you would like to email me (a link to my address is in my blog sidebar), I can tell you how to get blogger to put in the spaces you want. Yes, it is very maddening but I managed to crack the code!!! Woo-hoo.

Carlynne said...

Hi Teresa,

Please email your magic solution to That way Kelli can see it too, we've both had issues with this. You're an angel!

Itaya said...

I agree! We can do whatever the heck we want. We're artists for goodness sakes! :) I've tried to put myself in nice neat little categories with my artwork and it just doesn't work. So I branch out and am constantly trying new things.

Thank you for being an inspiration to me and for encouraging me to express myself in whatever way fits for ME! :)

Carlynne said...

Absolutely! Keep experimenting, that's how we grow as artists and find our voices.