Mak­ing pen­cils mat­ter

A group ex­hi­bi­tion takes rich and vi­brant coloured pen­cil art­works be­yond the or­di­nary.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Art - By QISHIN TARIQ star2@thes­

COLOUR pen­cils aren’t just for chil­dren and colour­ing books.

Three artists in­tend to prove that in their group ex­hi­bi­tion Yes! It’s Colour Pen­cils, with each bring­ing a unique ap­proach to the of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated medium. The show is on at the Re­fin­ery Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

Ira­nian artists Sol­maz Mo­ham­madi Pes­sian and Faranak Masih­pour, and Pe­nan­gite Sharon Siew Suan Kow ex­plore the range of colour pen­cils through their choice of sub­jects, re­spec­tively na­ture, por­trai­ture and still life.

Sol­maz re­veals it started as small idea to show the public how colour pen­cils could be fine art, lead­ing her to rope in fel­low en­thu­si­asts Faranak and Sharon, then find­ing a will­ing gallery.

In this case, the Re­fin­ery Art Gallery has set up its space to host the 23 works from the trio.

“I chose colour pen­cil art be­cause it is a very soft and gen­tle medium just like na­ture. So the bright­ness of colours in na­ture is eas­ily pre­sented with this medium,” says Sol­maz in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“I can sit for a whole day and gen­tly build up colours and tex­tures of a flower with colour pen­cils,” she adds.

The self-taught artist, an IT engi­neer by train­ing, be­gan ex­plor­ing the medium full­time after mov­ing to Kuala Lumpur from Tehran a decade ago.

Sol­maz, 41, pri­mar­ily fo­cuses on the sub­ject of na­ture – draw­ing flow­ers, but­ter­flies and birds. How­ever, she oc­ca­sion­ally also uses her two chil­dren as sub­jects.

She notes that in ad­di­tion to the sub­ject mat­ter, what makes each artist unique is their tech­niques of blend­ing colour to layer tex­tures.

“Colour pen­cil brands are not as wide (in va­ri­ety) com­pared to oils and acrylic paints,” she men­tions.

Faranak Masih­pour, who prefers to go by the name Fara­mas, says her collection – com­posed of four por­traits of el­derly men and one of a child – runs on the emo­tional con­cept of liv­ing life to the fullest.

“As peo­ple travel through life, time writes its di­ary on their faces in each wrin­kle, crease and blem­ish,” says Fara­mas.

Though Fara­mas never learned to paint for­mally, the ex­pe­ri­ence she gained in il­lus­tra­tion while study­ing fash­ion de­sign, led to an in­ter­est in do­ing por­traits. Her strengths lies in how she cap­tures the soul of her sub­jects through their eyes.

“I’m try­ing to dis­cover the emo­tions of each in­di­vid­ual in their por­traits. As an ex­pres­sive way to high­light emo­tion in a face, I look at their eyes as the gate­way to the soul,” she ex­plains, adding that colour pen­cils are her main medium.

Siew, how­ever, prefers to draw ev­ery­day items, and you’ll find things like peb­bles or key­chains on her list.

“My inspiration comes from ev­ery­day things that peo­ple would recog­nise at a glance.

I also want the work to be more than just a beau­ti­ful pic­ture, so I have to put more thought into the mean­ing be­hind the piece,” says Siew.

The 47-year-old is rel­a­tively new to the colour pen­cil medium, pick­ing it up in 2013.

Siew be­lieves there is a per­cep­tion that colour pen­cils are for chil­dren.

“Even teenagers pre­fer to use graphite or poster colours,” she says.

“When I say I’m a colour pen­cil artist, peo­ple think I just fill up colour­ing books.”

To broaden the ap­peal of colour pen­cil art, the three artists will be or­gan­is­ing a free work­shop at the Re­fin­ery Art Gallery on June 10, where at­ten­dees will be able to see how these artists get the most out of their colour pen­cils.

Yes! It’s Colour Pen­cils ex­hi­bi­tion is on at the Re­fin­ery Art Gallery, G-3A, d6, Jalan Sen­tul in Kuala Lumpur till June 15. The gallery is open daily, 10am to 6pm. For more info or to book a space at the June 10 work­shop, call 012-205 0716 or visit www.face­­fin­ery.

Siew’s Head Or Tail (Faber-Castell Poly­chro­mos colour pen­cil, on Arches Aquarelle water­colour pa­per, 2016).

Sol­maz’s inspiration comes pri­mary from na­ture, and in Pure Vel­vet (colour pen­cil, 2010), she fo­cuses on cap­tur­ing the tex­tures of butterfly wings and flower petals.

Fara­mas’ Faces Like Books IV (colour pen­cil on acid-free pa­per, 2016) fol­lows her phi­los­o­phy that faces act as the di­ary of one’s life, telling what a per­son has done with each wrin­kle and de­tail.

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