The end of July marked approximately 6 months worth of weekly art classes. I had learned lots but as all perfectionist know, lots never seems like much.

I had learned the basics of identifying light and dark values within source material, the art of gridding, monochromatic layers and the list goes on.

But by August it was time to put everything I knew together and trust myself to begin learning the art of “colour mixing”. With  only a month to go, I needed to identify a theme and/or series of work that I would complete for the Tenth Annual Sharon Wilson and Students Show entitled “Just Pastels”.

I couldn’t dare be left out of this amazing opportunity. This years theme is “Gold”. As I searched through various source material, I found myself drawn to numerous Pre-Columbian relics which eventually became my focus for the show. The bold yet intricate shapes are beautiful.


© Vanessa Turner

Pastel on Paper

11 x 14 inches

An abstraction of a stone relic depicting the deity Quetzalcoatl, known as the boundary maker and transgressor between earth and sky. This piece is one seven works belonging to a series entitled Pre-Columbian Gold.

I completed 7 pieces in total for the show. Each piece began with a charcoal layer, followed by monochromatic layers before moving to full colour. The transition from monochromatic to full colour was not an easy one. Artists are not born with the knowledge of “colour mixing”. On the contrary, they learn it through experience, mistakes, and practice. I took a risk and figured “better now than later”.

As I worked through each piece, I experimented to see what methods resulted in what effects. I learned a great deal about colour mixing and balancing. But more importantly, I learned that it’s ok to take risks because often, that’s how we grown. The fear of failure often limits me from trying various things but I’m seeing that failure is not an option because when you try, you learn so much from the journey alone which is rewarding in itself. It does sound cliché but, despite being an artist who loves to express themselves freely, there is a large part of me that struggles with this concept.

Nevertheless, I am very pleased to say that the 7 pieces turned out very well and I’m surely happy with them!  You can view each piece by visiting my gallery. The show was received very well and had a lovely turnout.  All of the artists were present to discuss their various philosophies and  focus.



  • Rosalind Kinlaw September 14, 2010

    Wow Vanessa. This is so awesome. I cannot wait to see all of your work that will be on display. You really keep me inspired. Keep doing what you do. It’s wonderful.

    Oh meant to tell you thanks for stopping by my blog. I will be updating this month with a couple of things.

    Take care

    • Vanessa September 14, 2010

      Thanks Ruby! I will likely load the new series soon to my webpage, along with an update of how the exhibition went. Hope you are finding time to do some artwork too. I’ll definitely pop by your blog again to see your new creations.


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