This week's blog is written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art. Carl's wife Kristi is a bronze sculptor of western themes as well as a two-dimensional artist with oil, pencil and ink. Kristi's work is known for realism and projects her intimate knowledge of horses, dogs and the cowboy way of life.
Since before her first piece was published in the Clatskanie newspaper at the age of 12, Kristi has enjoyed graphite art, that is, drawing with a pencil. Of course that first published picture was of a horse, as horses have played a part in much of her artwork, with realism a most important element.
An attraction of graphite art is its simplicity and also portability. Heavy, smooth bristol paper is available at most art stores, as well as #2, #4, and #6 art pencils, tortillons (stumps for blend-ing), a good eraser, and Blutack to help with erasing and cleanup. Blutack is a brand of putty for mounting things on a wall without nails that can be shaped into a point and works for delicate erasing.
Kristi admits working with graphite is more relaxing than sculpting or painting and lends itself to pet memorial commissions, making a perfect photograph into a lasting piece of art, or releasing that hidden sense of humor. Kristi has even done cartoon strips illustrating people, places and events.
It’s been decades since her first drawing, but more than any other art form, Kristi’s life as an art-ist can be followed best with her pencil drawings. Walking into her oldest son’s home is an ex-ample how the perfect gift from grandma is a drawing of a beloved dog, a scene from the woods of Central Oregon, or a portrait of a grandson smiling from the back of a horse.