UK Coloured Pencil Society

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Barbara Boxshall

I live in St Albans, Hertfordshire, so I am lucky to have Roman Verulamium nearby and some picturesque ancient streets, as well as some beautiful countryside and parks nearby, in fact no shortage of inspiration for my artworks. We are on the edge of London too, where I enjoy using the stately buildings, including the scaffolding and cranes as a source of subject matter.


I didn’t study Art at School or anywhere else. A dear friend introduced me to watercolour painting in 2002, as a stress buster, from my hectic job working with teenagers. I was quickly hooked and soon discovered acrylics, pastels and oils, more recently water based oils.


It wasn’t until a year ago I watched another artist friend using coloured pencils for a portrait, I relished the attention to detail and gentle patience required. I bought a few Prismacolor pencils and some Windsor and Newton Cartridge paper and fell in love with this wonderful medium. I have finally settled on Derwent Coloursoft as my preferred pencil, enjoying the soft velvety texture and my base I use Stonehenge in bright white or ivory shades depending on the subject. My husband invested in a splendid wooden box set of 72 of these excellent pencils for my birthday, an amazing colour range.


I have a fondness for landscapes with buildings, barns, fences, walls gates even telephone masts capture my imagination. My other love is portraits I find coloured pencils are perfect for capturing the minute personal detail in faces. The pictures here show my two sons and their wonderful wives. I find it very moving and intimate pondering over family members features as I work, I feel as though I am getting to know them all over again. I have family in South Africa and I visit as often as possible, where I take pleasure in wildlife photography, to use as reference material with my Derwent Colour Soft pencils, which are great for fur and feathers.


I work from photos or my iPad, and always in 100% coloured pencils. I occasionally use a colourless Derwent blender or burnisher, but prefer to blend with white or a pale version of the colour underneath. My Derwent battery operated rubber is very useful for highlights. A trick I have learnt is to blend background colours with a piece of scrunched up paper kitchen towel. This softens the background when I want the focus to be on the main subject.


I joined nearby Bricket Wood Art Club, ten years ago and have been entering my paintings for sale in local exhibitions for five years and have sold several, but not yet in Coloured Pencils. A few months ago there were two of us using coloured pencils, but it is infectious, now I see many more enjoying the medium, for a huge variety of subjects.


I entered a competition run by the local village residents association, it was my first outing for a coloured pencil picture. I chose a local pub scene from 100 years ago. I was stunned to win first prize. You can see my entry here.


I visited the 2017 UKCPS exhibition at the Menier Gallery and was stunned by the high standard and quality of work, my enthusiasm went through the roof so I joined the society, as a source of inspiration and support so I too can present my coloured pencil work for exhibition one day.

May 2017

The Red Lion, Park Street, Herts circa. 1916 - 7 x 9". Derwent Coloursoft and Prismacolor Pencils on W&N Cartridge Paper

Mark & Heather - 9 x 12". Derwent Coloursoft on Stonehenge paper

Paul & Anita - 9 x 12". Derwent Coloursoft on Stonehenge paper

© Barbara Boxshall

The Red Lion