Today, for my Summer Spotlight Series I have Artist Becky Eileen. She is a wonderfully talented artist, who also happens to be my cousin and best friend.
Becky Eileen has been creating art since she was a young child. Over the last six years, she has participated in numerous online courses to hone her craft and expand her experiences with a multitude of different medias. Her colored pencil drawing, “Wendy’s Cholla,” was chosen for publication in CP Hidden Treasures, Volume III by Ann Kullberg in 2016. She is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA), and the CPSA District Chapter 224 in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. She lives in Apine, TX with her husband Roger. When she isn’t creating new masterpieces, you can find her caring for their dog and four cats, practicing her photography skills, reading, spending time outdoors, hiking, and taking road trips with Roger to explore the Texas countryside.
How long have you been creating art? Basically, for as long as I can remember. My first memories of art center around times spent with my Gramma when I was very young. We would sit together on the floor with a notepad, and I would ask her to draw something, and then try to copy what she drew. I had a couple of drawing lessons when I was around 6 years old, and a few oil painting lessons when I was 12. I just remember that I always had a longing to draw. My parents made sure I had a steady supply of graphite pencils and sketchbooks, but I would draw on any available surface. I was always sketching horses and barns and cactus in the margins of my notebooks, and the edges of the church bulletin.
When did you first decide that you wanted to pursue art as a profession? That has been a fairly recent decision for me, I would say in the last year or so, and I am still working out the details as far as which direction I want to take my artistic career and how best to pursue it.
How would you explain or categorize your style of art? I guess I would have to say realism. I love to create realistic drawings of just about any subject found in nature. Although lately I have played around a bit with a more illustrative style with some quick little mixed media drawings that I refer to as “sketches.” I have done a couple of cactus sketches recently, and I enjoy them for the break that they give from realism. Working realistically with graphite or colored pencil can often take weeks to finish a drawing. These sketches can be done in a couple of hours, using any media I want all mixed together, and are very fun and freeing. I have also been dabbling with abstract art recently, and in fact, my current work in progress is slightly abstract. I have enjoyed this little detour, but plan to stick mostly with realism in the future.
What is your favorite media to use, and why? Pencils! I love all kinds of pencils. I work mostly in either graphite, or colored pencil, including water soluble colored pencils. Graphite is my first love when it comes to art. There is just something awesome about the stark contrast and level of detail an artist can achieve working only in black and white. However, I discovered colored pencils several years ago, and became instantly hooked. As a realistic artist, I love tiny, tedious details, and colored pencils allow me to get absorbed in every little detail of a drawing while creating a final result that looks like a painting.
Do you use any other media in addition to pencils? Yes, I am always open to trying something new, and like to dabble with other media. I have been trying to learn how to use watercolor, and will occasionally use it in a background for a colored pencil piece, like my drawing “Texas Paintbrush”. I also love to use it in mixed media pieces like my quick little sketches. I also occasionally use acrylics, usually for things like hand painted ornaments, but I recently bought a set of artist grade acrylic paints, and plan to try my hand with them on a canvas in the near future. Some other media that I enjoy playing with are Neocolor II, artist’s quality water soluble crayons; Gouache, a paint similar to watercolor, but more opaque; Micron pens, a black waterproof ink perfect for sketches; and India Ink and Acrylic Inks, these come in a bottle, and can be applied with dip pens or brushes. I also occasionally use gel pens for highlights and accents on my sketches.
Do you have a favorite subject that you like to draw? Animals, flowers, cacti, basically anything found in nature.
Where do you find inspiration for your drawings? I love to spend time outdoors, and am inspired by nearly everything around me in nature. Because I prefer to take my own reference photos, I have developed an interest in photography, which has led to my learning to be a better observer of the world around me. I am often inspired by the way the light or shadow is hitting a particular object, or the pattern on a moth’s wing, or the intricate veining in a leaf. There is beauty all around us, and sometimes we can find inspiration in the most mundane of objects if we just slow down and observe the world around us.
How long does it take to create a masterpiece? There is no set answer to this question. It all really depends on several factors. How big of a piece is it? How intricate is the detail? Which medium am I working in? Every single drawing is going to take a different amount of time.
What is your personal favorite work that you’ve created? Right now, I would have to say my favorite piece is my colored pencil drawing “Wendy’s Cholla”.
Who are your favorite artists? I have always had an affinity for art depicting cowboys and the western lifestyle. Two of my favorites from the time I was a child are Frederick Remington, and Charles Marion Russell. I have also been an admirer of Jack Sorenson’s art for years. I was admiring, and collecting his art on “Leanin’ Tree” greeting cards for years before I even realized who he was. I also love the graphite work of artist Karmel Timmons. Seeing her work in a horse magazine for the first time about seven or eight years ago is one of the things that inspired me to pick up a pencil and start drawing again after almost a 15-year hiatus. I have the art of Mikel Donahue to credit for getting me started with colored pencils. He has some phenomenal colored pencil pieces that look just like paintings. I was amazed at the realism and detail he was able to achieve, and after seeing his work in a horse magazine, I ran out and bought my first set of colored pencils.
When you’re not creating art, what other types of activities do you enjoy? I love spending time outdoors, going for long walks or hikes, or just hanging out in nature and exploring the woods and listening to the birds. I am obsessed with taking pictures, although I am still very much a beginner when it comes to photography. Reading has been a passion of mine since I was very young. Nothing is quite as satisfying as losing yourself in a good story.
What are some of your future artistic goals? Right now my biggest goal is to get my website set up and going. Beyond that, I would like to be more involved in my local CPSA chapter, and I plan to start entering more drawings in competitions in the future.
Where can we find your art for sale? You can purchase fine art prints on paper, canvas, or metal, and a range of gift items with my art on them, at my Fine Art America store at http://becky-eileen-eller.fineartamerica.com . Prints can also be purchased directly through my Facebook page by clicking the “Shop Now” button under the banner picture. www.facebook.com/BeckyEileenArtist
Do you have a website or social media accounts where we can follow you and keep up with what you’re doing next? I am in the process of building my website now, but if you “like” me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BeckyEileenArtist or follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/beckyeileen you will be the first to know when my new website goes live! Also, those are great ways to keep up with what I’m working on, and follow where this art journey leads me.
Thank you Becky for being with me today! If you love Becky’s art like I do, please visit her sites listed above. I think you’ll agree with me her art is stunning!