“The only way to truly understand something is to draw it.”
–Jean Le Corbusier
This is the center of my work—an attempt to sincerely grasp what I see around me through the tip of a pencil and a piece of charcoal. At its root, the act of drawing necessitates a concentrated study of not only the physical attributes of the subject, but the emotional as well. Every line and crease in a face tells a story, and rendering these requires the artist to touch and explore each facet of the subject’s existence.
My work focuses primarily on portraiture at a monumental scale. I am fascinated by the intricacies and commonalities that we share as humans, and search for moments when our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible. I pursue ways to peel back the protective veils that we all display to the outside world, striving to capture the unbidden spontaneity of experience.
Central to this search is a focus on the significance of narrative in human existence. Our lives are not linear, with one instant leading solely into the next, but rather circular, with each experience formed and defined by others. A portrait functions in the same manner, teasing out emotions and truths that inform not only the particular instant captured, but more importantly the story leading up to it.
A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form—it is the capturing of the vulnerable, un-invented narratives that make us human. Seeing and understanding these is my ultimate goal.
My work is focused on the individuals that I encounters at a unique street corner of San Francisco - 6th and Mission. The ongoing series 'NoRegrets in Life' is an exploration of the particular nuances of the people I meet there who are willing to pose for references.
My process begins with photographs and conversation. In particular he searches for subjects who allow me to peel back the veil of first impressions and glimpse an un-projected, vulnerable sense of who they are. These reference photographs are then brought back to my studio where I spends weeks exploring the individuals at a 1-to-1 scale through the tip of his pencil.
Brian Scott is a self-taught artist and feels that it shouldn’t matter what your artistic history or education is, but that you love what you are doing. He has always been interested in art and took classes at night school, but found he did not enjoy the strict, regimented routine.
At first, Brian tried oils and acrylics but didn’t feel that he was successful in those mediums. In 2009 he turned to colored pencils where he found his niche and never looked back.
When asked why he prefers this medium, he replies that they are a lot cleaner and require less room. Once he started to use colored pencil, he was challenged to make his pencil work look more like an oil painting rather than a traditional drawing as he found at times people had a preconception that colored pencils were for kids. That’s when he began to develop his signature style.
Brian began drawing for his own personal enjoyment but as he grew and found his audience, he realized he could actually make sales as well as enjoy the camaraderie that the internet can bring by allowing viewers to respond to his art through comments and emails. “It keeps me going and always striving to do better!"
Reference and permission to use from Bara Vavrova
Heather Victoria Held is a freelance calligrapher residing in St. George Ontario with her husband Chris and their daughter Holly. Heather's passion for Spencerian Script was kindled when she met her friend and mentor Master Penman Michael Sull. Early in her ornamental penmanship endeavors she was guided and encouraged by Dr. Joe Vitolo through the Ornamental Penmanship discussion group and IAMPETH. She is a member of Master Penmen Brian Walker's Spencerian Study Group of the UK and is thankful for Brian’s guidance in her penmanship journey.
Heather's work has been published in Bound and Lettered, Somerset Studio, The Penman's Journal, The Spencerian Review, Romantic Homes, Pen World, Good Mail Day and 1000 Homemade Cards. In 2009 Heather was awarded the Spencerian Heritage Award by Michael Sull and is honored to take her place as a storyteller of the Golden Age of American Penmanship and specifically offhand flourishing as she teaches throughout North America.
Some of Heather's favorite art materials to use are: the pointed steel pen, pastels, watercolors, gold gouache, vellum, 24 K gold leaf, drawing ink, colored pencils, hot foil and hot fix crystals.
Sara's love and appreciation for art started at a very young age. Her childhood dream was to one day become a lion, but when she realized that wasn’t the most attainable goal she settled for drawing them instead. Graphite as a medium was her first love and she filled sketchbooks with animals, people, and landscapes. More recently she has enjoyed discovering all the unique possibilities different mediums have to offer. Her newest explorations include soft pastels. She appreciates the special nuances and techniques that come along with each individual medium.
In addition to art, Sara has always had a passion for playing sports, traveling, and learning about other cultures. She had the time of her life playing college soccer and studying abroad in Peru while at UW Oshkosh. Her travel and sports team experiences are often reflected in the artwork she creates.
Sara graduated in 2010 with a double major in Marketing and Spanish and minor in Global Business. She currently lives with her husband and K-9 fur baby in Wisconsin, and works in a Marketing role.
See more from Sara on Instagram:
Sarah Becktel grew up in the suburbs of Southern New Jersey and began drawing and painting at a very young age. At age 10, she began studying classical realism and found her calling as a representational artist. Sarah graduated from the Tyler School of Art with a BFA in painting, and afterwards, continued her studies of figurative drawing and painting. Sarah's focus is contemporary realism and she has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions across the United States. She currently resides in Jersey City, NJ and works out of her studio in Newark, NJ.
When Sarah is not working in her studio, she is educating artists and students about art materials. She works as an Artist Educator for Strathmore Artist Paper and Gamblin Artists Colors, and currently serves as Product Research Director for the Colored Pencil Society of America. Sarah is also a member of ASTM International's subcommittee for artist materials, where she helps to maintain and revise standards related to colored pencils and lightfastness.
Sarah's artwork can be seen at her website www.sarahbecktel.com.