GUEST ARTIST: “My Artistic Journey – Colored Pencil, Watercolor and Brush Painting” by Caryn Coville

Marbles, Colored Pencil - C. Coville - Doodlewash

My name is Caryn Coville and I live on Long Island, New York. Art has always been a part of my life. I come from a family of artists. My mother studied fashion design and is an oil painter. Her brother was a clothing designer and pastel artist. Both of my grandmothers were creative; one did crewel embroidery and the other one knitted. My brother does woodturning.

When I was young, I took oil painting lessons and later studied printmaking at Rochester Institute of Technology where I was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I love the Impressionists and the Old Masters.

I worked as an executive secretary until I had my two boys (who are now grown), but I always continued drawing and taking classes in different mediums. Currently, I am taking a sumi-e class and enjoying taking art workshops.

My work is inspired by the world around me. I have been very fortunate to have lived in London with my family for several years as my husband’s job moved us there. His most recent job opportunity took us to Rome for a few months while my husband was teaching. All this traveling, which I love to do, helps to inspire much of my work. I have taken thousands of pictures and generally work from photo references.

Farm Fresh, Colored Pencil & Water-Soluble Wax Crayons - C. Coville - Doodlewash

Farm Fresh, Colored Pencil & Water-Soluble Wax Crayons

I am primarily, a colored pencil artist who works realistically. My colored pencil paintings start with a line drawing; and using a heated Icarus painting board, I begin the process of applying pigment. Working with a light touch, I slowly build up and blend the color, sometimes adding up to twenty layers. My preferred pencils are Caran d’Ache Luminance, Prismacolor Premier and more recently I’ve also started using Faber Castell Polychromos.

In addition to colored pencils, I might also use Prismacolor Art Stix, Caran d’Ache Neocolor II (water soluble wax crayons) or PanPastels in a piece. My painting, ‘Morning’s Reach’, above left, has a watercolor wash underpainting. My preferred paper is Legion Stonehenge. Some of my colored pencil paintings are on drafting film using a ‘drawing by subtraction’ method that I learned in a workshop with Tracy Frein.

I have enjoyed extending my artistry into other mediums. For the past several years I have enjoyed East Asian brush painting. I love the contrast between the very slow process of creating a colored pencil painting layer upon layer and the spontaneity of brush painting where I try to convey the essence of a subject by using minimal strokes of ink and watercolor. My latest journey has been into the world of alcohol ink painting. I also enjoy knitting and reading.

I have studied watercolors on and off throughout the years as I’m drawn to the soft effects you can achieve. I painted botanicals in watercolors but found it too exacting and then I discovered East Asian (Sumi-e) brush painting. Sumi-e can be very challenging, as it’s not very forgiving. The way you load your brush is extremely important.

I work on rice paper, preferring Dragon Cloud, which is a semi-sized mulberry paper that has fibers showing throughout its surface. When a painting is dry, I sometimes work on the back side of the paper to add a background to my painting. I paint with either Japanese or Shinhan Korean watercolors, but any watercolor paints can be used. I use sumi-e ink. I have several different brushes, but I generally use a soft brush.

Return of Spring, Ink & Watercolor - C. Coville - Doodlewash

Return of Spring, Ink & Watercolor

I was awarded ‘CPX’ signature status from the Colored Pencil Society of America in 2017. My award-winning work has been featured in numerous art publications, solo gallery exhibits, juried shows and group exhibitions and is in corporate and private collections throughout the United States and Canada.

I have studied colored pencils with Arlene Steinberg, botanicals with Rose Pellicano and East Asian brush painting with In K Kim, Carolyn Clarke, Sungsook Setton, Sally Feng Fader and Gladys Stewart.

I have participated in several colored pencil, East Asian brush painting and alcohol ink workshops.

I hope you enjoy my work!

Caryn Coville
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Fine Art America

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
22 Comments
  1. the #1 Itinerary 7 months ago

    Great post 😁

  2. Squirrellyartmama 7 months ago

    Hi Caryn, I grew up in LB, Long Island… its been over 30 years since I moved from there but do visit when I can….. your painting is amazing.

    • Fatima Chamkha 7 months ago

      Caryn you work looks photo realistic and stunning also the asian brush paintings this of course you style as you mention in you story that the old masters inspire you that you educated in fine oil painting so keep working and lots of success!

  3. Mary Roff 7 months ago

    Beautiful work, thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 months ago

    Caryn, I am stunned by your talent and the extraordinary paintings you’ve created. A true pleasure to see, and one to bring wonder to an otherwise ordinary day. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Sandra Strait 7 months ago

    Caryn, your work is wonderful! I’m amazed at how you can go from such incredibly detailed and realistic work to such loose and flowing sumi-e paintings. Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

    • Caryn Coville 7 months ago

      Thank you, Sandra! When I first tried brush painting I thought it would be very ‘free’ but in its own way sumi-e is as controlled as colored pencils.

  6. Laura Kate 7 months ago

    I do enjoy your work. You have some of the same interests as I do, but unfortunately, I don’t know how to paint yet. I am a very good knitter.

    • Caryn Coville 7 months ago

      Thank you, Laura! (I mostly knit scarves and blankets – nothing too complicated.)

  7. June Hadaway 7 months ago

    Beautiful painting. Thank you for sharing your story and artwork.

  8. Sharon Nolfi 7 months ago

    Wonderful work in all three mediums!

  9. Janneke Booister 7 months ago

    Beautiful work! I prefer the Sumi – e, maybe because I think that such work is something I cannot do myself (something about patience) 🙂

    • Caryn Coville 7 months ago

      Thanks, Janneke! Colored pencil takes a lot of time but I (mostly) find it relaxing. 🙂

  10. JA Wilson 7 months ago

    Beautiful work

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