© Gwen Kitching

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I have drawn and painted since I was very young. I first used blue biro on cheap writing pads from “Woollies” and then when I was old enough I changed to watercolours as that was all that was available to then. I was not good at them and thought that I would try watercolour pencils as I could draw better than I could paint. I got a tin of them from an art fair at Skipton and tried them out but didn’t like the results. But I liked drawing with them. This was probably early 1980’s. I kept quiet about using them as they were a joke to most people – just kids crayons with no artistic value. One day I found the book by Bernie Poulin “The Complete Coloured Pencil Book” and my artistic life changed forever. Later I found one by Bet Borgeson and though I didn’t like her style I found her instructions useful.

It was about this time that I learned of the CPSA and remember searching for a British version. I had internet by this time and searched high and low but to no avail. One day I received an email from a Bob Ebdon who I didn’t know from Adam. Neither he nor I have ever worked out how I got it as he didn’t know me either! But it was about setting up a British version of the CPSA. I jumped at the chance to join in and became one of the founder members. Later I became the publicity and sponsorship secretary. During that time we held our first exhibitions at Keswick and Patchings as well as committee meetings. I became a signature member also. I even did articles for Leisure Painter and reviewed cretacolor pastels for them. Sadly I had to give it all up as my late husband was diagnosed with MS and for almost 20 years I made little or no art.

About 3 years ago I felt able to pick up my pencils again and added pastel and graphite pencils to my range of media. Now I am enjoying using pencils to create animal art, my first love. I do the occasional commission but most of my work now is for my own pleasure. Although I find pastels much quicker to do my first love is and I think will always be, my coloured pencils