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Welcome to my Blog! So glad you could join me.

I added this page to my website to tell you more about the pictures I create, their history, their importance and, hopefully, their impact. But first, some thoughts...

Drawing seems to be a lost art these days. Too many people in too big of a hurry to slow down and enjoy creating something new and fresh. When some people see my pencil pieces, they say "I have no talent. I wouldn't be able to do that". It's so sad to hear this statement because I know that 'talent' has absolutely nothing to do with creating. I tell them  it's all about Passion, Patience, Process and Perseverance. And that's it. And if you are not inclined to create, simply being a lover of art is a good thing!

NOTE: All drawings and paintings can be viewed in larger format in their respective portfolios, under "Galleries"

To order a picture, go to the "Contacts" tab on the menu (above) and tell me what you are interested in and how I can contact you. Originals and prints are available for sale. Prices vary according to size.

© 2022 CaraFandel.com, all rights reserved, all content is copyright protected.

OK! So let's dive in with the most recent entry, working backward!

SXSW (South by SouthWest)



I saw the photograph of this drawing online and it simply jumped out at me! I knew I had to draw it. I have been working diligently this past year on utilizing values and texture to produce a piece where the viewer felt they were there. So this would be a good lesson in practicing these techniques.  

Usage rights are a consideration in this type of situation. Most artists would just go ahead and do as they please and there would  be no legal repercussions. Move something here...remove something there... But as a former professional photographer, I understood the importance of respecting the work from the original photographer by contacting them first. 

Natalie Heller (Lonecone Photography, Ridgway, CO) was  good with it. In fact, she connected me with an event venue where I will be showing a lot of my work to the public this summer.

This 12"x18" original was drawn with graphite and charcoal pencils on 140# Stonehenge polar white paper.

Crystal Mill

Crystal Mill charcoal and graphite

January 22, 2023

Crystal Mill, also known as Dead Horse Mill and Lost Horse Mill, was built in 1893 as a power station for a nearby mine, providing air ventilation for the miners. The power was created from the rapid waters below, utilizing a turbine. When the Sheep Mountain mine closed in 1917, so did the use of this mill. It has been a major Colorado attraction, located in the Rockies near Marble, and accessible via 4-wheel drive (recommended: ATV or dirt bike).

This drawing is similar to another drawing I did of Crystal Mill. However, this one was done with charcoal and graphite pencils on a different paper. The other was done in graphite only.

Tack Room

Tack Room

December 3, 2022

While I was living in the Colorado mountain town of Westcliffe, I spent a very cold winter morning at Music Meadows Ranch with my camera gear. My goal was to capture as many images as possible, depending on what I saw. They didn't disappoint! I came away with a bucket-full of strong images, ready for the drawing board. This was one of them.

Naming it Tack Room was a no-brainer, despite other strong images I captured in that room. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful juxtaposition of the saddles, reigns and ropes. Different in size, texture and form, it all came together beautifully. I didn't have to rearrange anything to make it work...it just worked. 

Drawing anything related to horses, ranching and other animals seems to be easier to visualize in black and white before the drawing process begins. That's not necessary so with people or landscapes. There's something organic, simple and harmonious about drawing horses and ranching.



October 10, 2022

These past few months, I've been  diligently working on exploring new techniques with charcoal on a larger scale. I recently finished this drawing, which I call "Breakfast", using only charcoal. I love the deep, rich blacks it provides,  giving it depth and emotion. I used a white charcoal pencil  (sparingly) to highlight specific areas around the eye. With the curvature of the trunk, I'm hoping the drawing flows in circles and holds your attention! The final dimensions of the drawing are about 13.5"x20". Framed out, it will measure about 24"x30".

Before I began this drawing, I completed a drawing called "Horse Talk". Also a larger format drawing (about 16"x20"...framed: 26"x30"), it called for quite a bit of charcoal as well. Not posted in this blog, you can view it in the Drawings portfolio. Please check it out if you have a moment.

Please check out all of my pencil works in the Drawings portfolio. All are for sale, whether it's the original or a print. If you are interested, let me know through my Contacts page. 

Mt. Lion

Mt  Lion

June 23, 2022

This drawing was the most challenging one I've done to date. First, it's the largest I've drawn (16"x22"), which can be intimidating. But I also had to put down my pencils after finishing only 25% of it in order to move to another city. Despite taking extra precautions, the move did some damage to it. Then I couldn't touch it until I had my new studio set up and our move was complete. Work it. Don't work it. Work it. Don't work it. Work it. And although certain shadows and highlights differed between drawing and original picture, I had to constantly step back and decide what should be muted and what areas will be pronounced with contrast. Whew! I'm tired. 

But I loved this photo so much! I need to re-draw it after this settle down. Maybe early next year? I'll keep you updated.

This was drawn on 140 lb. Arches hot press watercolor paper using both graphite and charcoal pencils...and lots of patience. Also, this drawing came from a photo taken by photographer Paul Marcotte. Thank you, Paul! You do great work.

Lookin' Back

Lookin' Back SM

February 1, 2022

Last summer, I attended a small, local rodeo which included some amazing female riders. I could only hope that I would capture a few good camera shots to work as a pencil artist. Well, I got lucky! I captured a number of good, clean, usable shots as templates for my upcoming works...including this one.

Lookin' Back took a bit longer to draw than normal. Ropes can be a challenge. Hair direction and its values can be a challenge. Then, when it's done, it's not quite done.

I am pleased with the results as I continue to grow and learn as a pencil artist. I'm always seeking feedback from other artists, then my Facebook friends and family. Are they biased? It's OK if they are! My thanks to them for supporting my work.

This piece was done on Arches hot press watercolor paper with charcoal pencils and graphite pencils. it measures 12" x 18" and, when matted and framed will be about 20" x 26". I will be submitting this piece in a couple of upcoming exhibitions/competitions/shows. Meanwhile, prints are available, if you are so inclined...please see pricing in the description above. Thank you for visiting my website.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle FB

November 14, 2021

Every time I draw a new picture, there are always lessons learned. Since I returned from my Texas pencil workshop, I've been focusing on the deep blacks in pictures that only (messy, messy) charcoal can give. More importantly, it allows me to give greater depth and a wider range of values to my work! I see such a difference when I compare the past few drawings to earlier ones. This picture allowed me to showcase the darkest of blacks next to the whitest of whites. With all the contrast you see, I can only hope that your eye is continually led back up to the Bald Eagle's eye. I contemplated adding something  else to the stark white backdrop. But I kept coming back to the thought that it would only make the picture too "busy" and might draw your eye away from the Bald Eagle.

Using Arches bright white hot press watercolor paper, I also used graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, Cretacolor Nero pencils and Staedtler pencils. The original drawing measures 11" x 14".



October 31, 2021

This little gal spoke to my soul, so I had to put her to pencil. I wish I had taken this picture! Rather, it was posted on Facebook's National Park Service page. I received the photographer's permission to draw it (If I had written down their name, I would gladly give them credit. If I run across it again, I will make sure to adjust this posting). This is my second attempt at incorporating the 'Buchholz" pencil method into my drawings...utilizing darker darks with charcoal, then giving more contrast to the point of interest by blending the surrounding area. Grasshopper has much to learn, but I feel good about the direction I'm taking. The journey continues...

This drawing was done on Arches bright white hot press watercolor paper. Pencils used included Derwent graphic 9B and 4B, Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black 6B and 4B, Cretacolor Nero 01 and - for the deepest of blacks - General's Carbon Sketch no. 595. Although I have charcoal willows, I didn't use them often due to the mess they create!



October 4, 2021

To the left is a recent drawing, thanks to pencil artist Mary Ross Buchholz. I recently attended a 3-day pencil workshop in San Antonio, Texas with this master pencil artist. This was the piece I chose to work while there and finish at home. 

I probably learned more in this workshop than any other workshop I've attended. I was hesitant at first, wondering if I would get anything out of it. However, Mary's workshop more than exceeded my expectations. She and I have similar approaches to drawing...we both draw in realistic terms, we both work upper left downward in order to prevent smudging,  and we both truly enjoy the process of taking our time and enjoying the relaxation that drawing provides.

Mary excels in drawing anything ranch related - horses, cattle, cowboys, etc. She has been drawing for nearly three decades and her attention to detail is unparalleled. Important techniques I learned include not to be afraid to use charcoal for the medium and deep blacks, draw from what you see and know, and an artist always has artist's prerogative.

Personally, I found Mary to be a good listener, kind to all, sharing any and all techniques she can, and answering every question as thoroughly as possible. To say her work is amazing is an understatement. And she is just as lovely as her work. Thank you, Mary.

September 17, 2021

The world of drawing is alive and well in my little corner of the universe!

I recently attended a three-day workshop in San Antonio, Texas with instructor and pencil artist Mary Ross Buchholz. To say she is a phenomenal artist would be an understatement. During the past 30 years, she has perfected her pencil work featuring ranch scenes...horses, cowboys, you name it. She presents in a couple of galleries and competes in multiple cowboy and horse-related competitions around the country on a regular basis. She has also been featured in numerous magazines while her work is sold to private collectors for large sums of money. She is the epitome of a very successful artist. If you visit her website, you will understand (MaryRossBuchholz.com).

Mary focuses on realistic interpretations of everyday ranch work. This was a good match for me as I try to match picture to drawing as well. Many of her "quirks" are, oddly enough, the same "quirks" I have as an artist. However, she approaches her work much more aggressively, utilizing charcoal in the early stages. My background has been predominantly graphite. 

After seeing her work up-close as well as listening to why she approaches it a particular way, I understand her charcoal usage and am working on incorporating this into my work. I know...it will take some time before it comes together. But that fire has been lit and the lightbulb turned on.

Thank you, Mary!!!



June 25, 2021

An aquaintence  of mine was a wilderness and international trekking guide in remote outposts in Asia. This included riding camels, handling extreme heat and cold, and sleeping on the hard ground. It also included meeting some of the most amazing people in the world, including the children of Nepal.

JASMINE is a fairly common names for Nepali females. In their language, it means "Flower", which, I believe, was an appropriate for her. I truly enjoyed drawing this picture! It was drawn on bright white Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, 140#  and using graphite pencils.

Hearts Akin

Hearts Akin

May 25, 2021

A favorite animal of mine, elephants are very unique animals. They are unassuming, protective, sensitive and incredibly smart. The earth's largest land animal, their tusks are actually teeth and their trunks have nearly 150,000 muscles. Holy cow! They communicate through trumpet sounds, body language, touch, scent, and even the earth's vibrations. They are also family-oriented and can fight fiercely if needed. They also play an important role in our eco-system. Sadly, more than 90% African elephants and over half of the Asian elephants have been victims of poaching due to (mostly) the ivory trade and land development. 

This is the second drawing I've done of elephants, and probably not the last. They are beautiful, wonderful creatures that we need to protect before it is too late. Translation: please do not purchase anything with ivory from elephants.

Comparing this drawing to my earlier drawing of elephants, I can see a difference in the final products. With all the drawings I've done in-between both pictures, I think my drawing style has improved and moved toward a more realistic manner. At least, I hope so.

This 11"x14" drawing was done on Canson Colorline Cream paper with graphite pencils (2,5,8 B's) and touched up with Nero Cretacolor extra-soft black in the darker shadows.

Salida Bike Co.

Salida Bike Co

May 4, 2021

Earlier this year, I was wandering the historic downtown streets of Salida, Colorado and discovered a quirky little bicycle shop. I was heading east on Sackett Avenue toward F Street - home to plenty of quirky artwork! This truck was parked out back of the shop on the corner, complete with rustic signage and an old bicycle in its bed. I took a number of photos of this relic and began drawing Finders Keepers (see below, March 30). The images I took and the drawing I finished a couple of months ago gave me such a nostalgic feeling, that I decided to draw another picture from this scene.

"Salida Bike Co." was much more involved and took longer to draw...plenty of details to keep me busy. I drew this picture on a totally different kind of paper than Finders Keepers - Strathmore Watercolor 500 Series, hot press, 140 lb., 11" x 14" bright white archival paper. Working on this paper was a double-edged sword. The upside was that erasing unwanted lines was easy-peasy. The downside was that it would give me a waffle effect at times, especially when the pencil was at a certain slant. The pencils were mostly Derwent graphites. The deeper, darker areas were touched up using Nero Cretacolor extrasoft black pencil.

Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers

March 30, 2021

While in Salida, Colorado in early March, 2021, I was walking around the historic downtown area, looking for anything interesting to possibly draw or paint. Coming up Sackett Avenue toward F Street, I saw an old, beat-up truck that Salida Bike Co. uses to transport bikes (or maybe just for show?). I loved everything about this antique...rust, dents and all. A perfect subject for drawing!

This 11" x 14" drawing was done on 14" x 17" Bristol bright white paper with graphite pencils.

March 20, 2021

Like many people, this past year was more frustrating than anything else.  I couldn't move forward with  much in my life, including  paintings and drawings. In a new town, I met a few people but couldn't socialize because of...well...you know. There's that five-letter word, again!

Once word was out that a vaccine was soon to become a reality, I actually began reflecting on art I've completed and the direction I wanted to take. I dove into drawing about four months ago as a way to distract myself from NOT painting (and feeling guilty for it). A good artist friend in Montrose, Colorado told me to simply follow that feeling. To see where it lead me. 

And she was right! Since then, I've discovered the amazing feeling of holding a pencil in my hand and seeing what it can create. It has reinvigorated my desire to be as creative as I can be, not just in drawing but also in painting. I'm working on a larger painting now, hoping I don't screw it up. But, hey, if it happens, I'll throw it away and pull out another sheet of paper. If it works, I will share it with you.

So if and when you're feeling down about what you're working on, whether it be art or something else, share your thoughts with someone you trust to give you good, solid advice. Sometimes, we can be too close to a subject to see the solution ourselves. That's the beauty of having good friends we can trust. 



March 12, 2021

After a long flight to Atlanta, GA in July, 2018, I found my bus stop that would take me to Athens, GA to see my family. It was about noon and it was quite warm outside. As I sat down on the bench, I saw this little guy in a deep sleep, so tired from traveling to even remove his hot jacket. None of the hustle and noise penetrated his slumber. Oh, how I envied him!

This drawing can be better viewed from my Gallery - Drawings section. It was done on Canson Bristol XL Recycled 14" x 17" bright white paper, smooth side. The drawing measures 11" x 14". The pencils were graphite 2B, 5B and 9B

Bourbon St. Blues

Bourbon St  Blues

February 17, 2021

In 2013, I was in downtown New Orleans doing a photo shoot for a client in the lovely month of blistering-hot June (the only time in my life when I got heat stroke). Periodically, I had some breaks to enjoy the  sites and sounds of this historic city.

One time, I wondered to nearby Bourbon St. in the French Quarter and saw some young musicians sitting on the edge of a sidewalk, jamming as if nothing in the world mattered to them. This young woman captured my interest immediately, so I focused on her. Now, 8 years later, she's the center of my latest drawing - Bourbon St. Blues.

This drawing was done with graphite pencils on Strathmore 400 series paper, medium surface, off-white, 14" x 17". I made a few small changes to the background to give it better direction. Otherwise, she's pretty much right-on!

Note to self: Consider another visit to New Orleans...but not in June!



February 14, 2021

Bailey is one of our two canine babies. He is an American Brittany...lots of energy and a fabulous personality. He is independent, loving and always begging for people-food. Say, what?

This picture was drawn from an image I shot of him when he was barely one year old. Living in western Colorado at the time, hubby and I took off for the day to drive the back roads and see what was there. We found a pull-off area by a stream and attached his leash to his collar. Bailey loved playing in the water and I felt this drawing captured his happy little spirit. It was drawn with graphite pencils on Bristol bright white paper, smooth side, 14" x17".

Old Crystal Mill

Crystal Mill

February 14, 2021

Old Crystal Mill, formerly a power plant built in 1893, is a well-known scenic spot for locals and tourists. Also known as Dead Horse Mill, it sits on the Crystal River near Marble Colorado on the western slope of Colorado. It is accessible only by hiking (looong), ATV (preferable) or jeep (narrow in certain areas). This drawing was done with graphite pencils on 14" x 17" Strathmore series 400 paper, medium surface, off-white. However, I plan on drawing it again, next time using charcoal and going for greater range in values! When and if that happens, I'll be pulling this and replacing it.

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