Holly Siniscal has always loved drawing. In fact, she told us that it defines who she is. Holly is the 2013 Best of Show, “CIPPY” winner in our international exhibition in Brea, California. When we asked her how she felt about winning the award, she said she felt, “incredulous, proud, blessed, all at once.” She continued, “This award is a very special kind of encouragement and I am forever grateful to CPSA for giving us colored pencil artists a venue to share our love for the beauty in the details.”
Holly’s love for “the beauty in the details” allows her to pursue her artwork in several different forms: colored pencil, pen and ink, and hand-sewn dolls. She told us about her background in art and how she arrived where she is today. “My first influence was an old book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales with black and white engravings. As a child I would try to emulate the tonal qualities of the illustrations, first with pencil, then later with pen & ink,” she explains. Driven, her experience landed her work. She stated, “With my self taught use of mechanical pens I obtained my first job at [age] 17 as an apprentice for an architectural firm. This led to freelance illustrations, then magazine production, and finally teaching art at a private Christian school. I also attended classes at Art Center
in Pasadena, Otis Parsons, and a series of
community colleges on a part time basis.”
Holly Siniscal, CPSA (NV)
Holly’s “go-to” tools are Prismacolor Premier and Prismacolor Verithin pencils. She just acquired a set of Derwent Inktense pencils, which she is enjoying immensely. Most of her work is completed on Stonehenge paper, but she is currently experimenting with Arches watercolor paper in order to “find a way to create larger drawings without the exhausting amount of hours (months) it takes to lay down colors.” When she does her black and white artwork, she uses Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens, and sometimes Microns on a good Bristol board or Stonehenge paper.
Holly starts her creative process with her sketchbook, drawing a rough idea, while adding notes about lighting, color and mood. She expounded on the process: “Then I cajole my favorite model and muse, my daughter Abigail, to pose for an often elaborate photo shoot. We work very well together because I’ll set the stage and mood then let her interact with the setting. I always try to stay open to the moment because spontaneity will sometimes lead me down another path even better then my contrivances. I’ll take a hundred photos and after going over them continually will narrow it down to a few references. I then make a final sketch combining my reference material and work out the composition.” We asked her how she got started working with her daughter in the process and she said, “We all love to document our children; I got blessed with a wonderfully creative soul who shares my vision, my daughter Abby. We started out with me helping her with her own photo shoots, me being the tripod and she directing me. Then it occurred to me that I could follow my own aesthetic using Abby as my model – a kind of “aha” moment that allowed me to actively pursue my vision, rather than just struggling along. And as an added bonus to all this attention it has garnered me a new and ‘willing’ model… my son Gabriel, equally creative and quirky.”
If you haven’t seen Holly’s “Art Dolls,” you simply have to go check them out on her website. When we asked her about them and how she got started creating them, she replied, “Ah yes, the ‘creepy’ dolls, as my family calls them. I like to sew, and again my fascination with faces brought me to dolls. Also being dyslexic, this becomes a Mount Everest of backwards patterns, but I enjoy the challenge. The dolls are made from leftover fabrics, buttons, ribbons, yarn and old jewelry. The faces are sculpted out of paper clay then covered with fabric. I use my colored pencils to draw the face.”
All of Holly’s artwork including her Art Dolls can be seen on her website at: http://www.hollyarts1.com. All the artwork from the 21st annual international exhibition is on display at the City of Brea Art Gallery through September 13th. You can see images of the award winners at: http://www.cpsa.org/coloredpencilartists/21/aw2013.html.