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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 draw and paint...their history, their importance and, hopefully, their impact. But first, some thoughts...

Drawing and watercolor painting seems to be a lost art these days. Too many people in too big of a hurry to slow down and enjoy the thought (and action) of creating. More often, I hear "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 good drawing, painting, or ???. I tell them - as I'll tell you - it's all about Passion, Patience, Process and Perseverance. And that's it. 

It  starts with Passion. If the interest is there, if you look at someone's artwork and say "that's cool! I wish I could do that", then you've got a good pad to launch from. You have to have the desire to want to do this. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the work of others. That's cool, too.

Let's say you have the passion...then it takes Patience... patience to slowly see it develop and grow into what you want it to be. You're not going to create a masterpiece overnight, so get over it. With each picture, you learn something new that you can consider in another picture you create later. There's always "I should have done it that way" when a piece is completed. I say it all the time.

Now, let's talk Process. It's all about how you feel as you're working it. You turn on the right music, turn off distractions (i.e. phone), and slowly get into a "ZEN" frame of mind. It's a matter of simply taking your time and enjoying the process and not focusing on the end result. The end result will come when it's supposed to come. 

Then there's Perseverance. Just when you think you're never going to do this again because it doesn't look anything like what you wanted it to look like. STOP! You need to slow down your busy mind, figure out why it's not doing what you want it to do, decide how you can rectify this situation, perhaps have a cup of coffee with something chocolate to eat (works every time for me), then get back to it. Work through the problems and...Persevere!

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

To order a picture, email CaraFandel@gmail.com. Originals as well as prints are available at the size you choose.

© 2021 CaraFandel.com, all rights reserved, all content is copyright protected.

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



October 4, 2021

To the left is my latest 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!!!

Hobbit House

Hobbit House edited

August 23, 2021

What another fun picture to draw! Who isn't fascinated with Hobbit Houses? And if you wanted to live in a 1,000 sq. ft. Hobbit House, it would cost about $40k. Sign me up! For the kids...goodbye, tree house, Hellooooo, Hobbit House!

This drawing included a number of "firsts" for me. I found a variety of  textured paper in Santa Fe, N.M. called Canal paper. Canal paper is used in pencil and pastel drawing, bookbinding, watercolor painting, and acrylic painting...to name a few. Much thicker than normal drawing paper, it is made with cotton rag, straw, and sisal, and comes in a variety of colors. Challenging!

Pencils used were also new to me. I used Carbon Pencils (Staedtler Mars Lumograph black #2, #4, #6), Cretacolor Nero Carbon Sketch extra soft (an oil-based charcoal), General's Sketch #575 (charcoal pencil...sorta messy), and a touch of Derwent Charcoal dark pencil. 

I didn't think I would ever work with charcoal after a mess I made a few months ago. But these pencils were wonderful!!!



July 26, 2021

This drawing came from an image I took about 14 years ago. I was doing a photo shoot of this "Colorado Singing Cowboy" who needed pictures for his soon-to-be-released CD. I took a number of images over the course of a few weeks. Locations included his ranch, the recording studio, on his horse, etc.

When the shoot was complete, I was pretty satisfied with most of the images I captured. But this was the one that I favored over the others. I liked the feel of the atmosphere, his relaxed body language and the movement of the viewer's eyes. 

This drawing was done on Canson Bristol Vellum XL, bright white, textured-side paper and Derwent Graphite pencils, topped with Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black carbon pencil for the deepest blacks.



June 25, 2021

A friend 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: do not purchase anything with ivory.

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.

Aspen Rainbow

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April 8, 2021

Aspen Rainbow might look familiar! I  drew this picture first (see Gallery: Drawings), but liked it so much that I thought some color would be interesting. This painting was submitted and juried into the Colorado Watercolor Society's 2021 State Exhibit, held in Central City throughout most of April and May, 2021. I shot the picture of this scene about 10 years previously while driving over Kebler Pass in western Colorado (east of Paonia and NW of Crested Butte). It was in the fall, so many of the trees were losing their golden leaves.

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

Another Day

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March 11, 2021

This is one of my favorite watercolors. It  was completed in 2019 and was done by combining a number of photos, then dabbing in last-minute thoughts. I liked the finished product for a number of reasons: the colors are complementary, the  circular "movement" keeps the eye on the picture, warm and cool colors were placed next to each other, and the older gentleman had a classic look on his face. And I've always loved anything that parallels a European lifestyle. Yes, drawing and painting in Europe is on my bucket list.

David's Catch

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March 4, 2021

I was on the internet one day, looking for inspiration, when I came across a set of images shot by a photographer based in Washington D.C. The set included a fisherman at work. The colors and "movement" grabbed me.  Based on these images (as well as his permission), I created a picture that I felt had good "movement" of the viewer's eye as well as complimentary colors that gave the feeling of being at sea. After a period of time, I came up with David's Catch, named after the original photographer...David!

David's Catch required multiple layering, especially the face. The painting took about five months to complete. It's acceptance into the Colorado Watercolor Society's annual show (2020) granted me Signature membership status.

Recently, this painting was accepted into the 2021 Pikes Peak International Watermedia exhibit, held every other year at the Pikes Peak C-21 Library for two months. It will be held April 2 - May 27 and the judge is well-known painter Alvaro Castagnet. This "juried-in" painting allows me to now apply for Signature membership with the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society.   

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".

Looking Up

Looking Up

February 14, 2021

Kebler Pass (in western Colorado) is well known for its abundant supply of Aspen trees and is arguable the largest living organism in the world. It stretches about 30 miles and is home to deer, cattle and any other critter you can image.

With green leaves in the spring and summer, then gold leaves in the fall, many people say they produce a musical sound as the wind flows through them (myself included). Looking Up was drawn from an image I shot in the fall, just as the leaves were beginning to change color, yet continuing to 'sing'. I loved this drawing so much that I also painted it (see my watercolor portfolio).

Using graphite pencils, this was drawn on bright white, Bristol recycled paper, 14" x 17".

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.

Gullah Sweetwater Basket Weaving

Gullah Sweetwater Basket Weaving

February 14, 2021

In 2019, I visited Charleston S.C. and Savannah, GA - two cities I hadn't been to in years but was anxious to spend time in again. Gullah  basket weaving is an unusual art centered in this part of the country and mostly made by members of the Gullah community, descendants of the enslaved west Africans. These basket weavers stretch along the coast from North Carolina to northern Florida. Watching and photographing them at work inspired me to draw Gullah Sweetwater Basket Weaving. This drawing was especially difficult due to the darkness in the weaver's hands. Similar to Bourbon St. Blues (above), I had to lay in multiple layers very carefully. This is a 7" x 11" graphite drawing on smooth Bristol paper, bright white.

African Elephants

African Elephants

February 14, 2021

African Elephants was one of my first drawings, mainly because this is a favorite animal of mine. I also loved the 'wrinkles' I needed to produce. More important, I loved the connection that mama and baby expressed. I found this particular image online, wishing I had been there, in person, to see it up close and personal (I guess that's on my "bucket list").

This graphite drawing was done on 8" x 10" smooth Bristol paper.

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