Featured Artist Rhonda Dicksion

Award-winning artist Rhonda Dicksion present a collection of bold and graphic colored pencil drawings. Find more of her captivating art by visiting her website.

 

color pencil drawing of Maui flowers by Rhonda Dicksion

“The Colors of Maui” colored pencil, 12″ x 16″

 

I always thought you needed an art degree to be an artist. You had to have tamed the color wheel, live in a loft somewhere, smell like turpentine and know what all those funny-shaped brushes are for. So, imagine my surprise when, one evening a few years ago, I went to a paint-and-sip workshop, did a little sipping and a lot of painting, and discovered–holy cow! The sunflower I painted really looked like a sunflower.

 

color pencil drawing of a saguaro cactus by Rhonda Dicksion

“Desert King” colored pencil 18″ x 13.5″

 

Now, this sunflower wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it was art. And I had created it. Yeah, me.

 

colored pencil drawing of a canoe floating on a mountain lake by Rhonda Dicksion

“Journey to Shangri La” colored pencil, 10″ x 10″

 

This blew my mind.

 

colored pencil drawing of a lizard on a flower

“Aloha!” colored pencil, 14″ x 9″

 

A few days later on a whim, and with a lot of enthusiasm and an old set of colored pencils, I decided to see if I could just draw something simple—an apple and an orange. When I was done, I sat back looking at my drawing for a few minutes, truly puzzled, not knowing how that apple and that orange happened to get on the paper. They looked pretty convincing. I didn’t know where the ability to create them came from, but it excited me, and in the following months I dove into making colored pencil art full of life and color, challenging myself with each new creation.

 

colored pencil drawing of an ear of purple Indian corn by Rhonda Dicksion

“Fall Color” colored pencil, 9″ x 12″

 

I was having fun. Consumed. When I was away from the pencils, I was thinking about them. It was as though a lifetime of pent-up art making was busting its way out of me.

 

colored pencil drawing of a mountain lake by Rhonda Dicksion

“Wanderlust” colored pencil, 16.5″ x 12.25″

 

But something wasn’t quite right. After a while, I began comparing my work to what other colored pencil artists were doing. Mine was quite a bit different. I was failing to master the photorealistic look that most colored pencil artists favor. The art I created was bold and graphic, with dark outlines. And, as one critic dryly pointed out to me, “Mountains don’t come with outlines.”

 

colored pencil drawing of red tulips by Rhonda Dicksion

“Bring Home Tulips” colored pencil, 12″ x 12″

 

Then one day I was able to show my portfolio to a very successful artist, who put things into perspective. She asked me why on earth I was trying to make my art look like everyone else’s. “You have your own unique style,” she said, “Most artists work years to create that. Why do you want your art to look like everyone else’s?”

 

colored pencil of rain hitting a puddle by Rhonda Dicksion

“Raindance” colored pencil, 18″ x 12″

 

That question made all the difference. When I gave myself permission to create artwork in my own style, the world exploded. I accepted my style, and myself as a real artist.

 

colored pencil drawing of a motorcyle with an apple by Rhonda Dicksion

“Still Life with Harley” colored pencil, 12″ x 12″

 

Since then, my work has won many awards and been featured in magazines and newspapers. I’ve done group and solo shows, taught workshops nationally, and was hired on as editor-in-chief of COLOR, an international magazine for colored pencil artists. Every day, I fall even more in love with colored pencil. And best of all, every day, I get to share art with others and encourage and empower people who create.

 

color pencil drawing of blackberries by Rhonda Dicksion

“Wildberries” colored pencil, 12″ x 12″

 

It’s magic when you find that thing in life you are meant to do, and give yourself permission to do it.

 

Artist Rhonda Dicksion invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. Loved your story, as it is much the same as mine! Why do we not allow ourselves do what we love? Why are we so stingy with that joy? I’m glad you, and me, and all those others out there who create, have given themselves permission to create. Just think how bleak the world would be without all this beautiful artwork.

    • Rhonda Dicksion says

      Thank you so much! I think it’s easy to feel a little guilty for doing something we love because we are so conditioned that we must either be doing “serious” work (anything we don’t enjoy but puts bread on the table), or that it’s selfish to spend time on something for ourselves instead of for others. There is amazing freedom and joy when you can move past both of those expectations, and just allow yourself to follow what your heart says is right.

  2. Such a beautiful and inspiring article. I loved hearing how you evolved over time and accomplished as an artist with your own distinctive style. Thank you for sharing your story!

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