Original Pencil Paintings

The process I use involves good quality rag paper or museum mount mat board, a range of graphite pencils from 2h to 9B, and Faber-Castell colored pencils. Each drawing consists of multiple layers of graphite building from the harder to the softer pencils adding value and depth to the image. Usually the colored pencil is added as a layer between graphite layers. The graying of the color gives it a unique hand-colored photo effect which invokes a dream-like experience. Each piece is then matted with 100% Rag museum mount mat board and framed. 

To purchase available images, please contact me.

A Rusty Tin Coat Hanger Hanging in Space

These drawings are based on a quote from the Dr. Seuss book “Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?”

“Thank goodness for all of the things you are not! Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot, and left all alone in some punkerish place like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.”

This is one of my children’s favorite books. We read it so much to our children when they were young—we had all memorized lines from it that are still used today by family members, in that kind of family way of communicating that no one else understands.

The last line of this verse—like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space—has been in my mind for the last few years.  The vision of this coat hanger created a great deal of emotion in me. This started me thinking about things that are lost and or left in some distant space, and what the emotions might be that would be attached to the object specific to what the object was. 

How do we feel when we find a missing object?

What is our attachment to it? 

What and how does the particular item invoke feelings and emotions even when it does not belong to us?

How does our past experience relate to the item and what emotion can it stir within?

In other words can we relate to this thing hanging in space and what personal meaning can we find from such a simple image? This could probably be the basis for books and dissertations by Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Philosophers about loneliness, abandonment, and loss. Wow all that from a coat hanger!

is a drawing in graphite and colored pencil of an old crocheted glove left hanging on the line. Worn fingers and stretched out fabric remind us that life can be brutal sometimes. But we still carry on.
is a graphite and colored pencil drawing.
I saw this piano hanging above a target at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the question attached to it was how much do you trust what you can’t control? How far on to the target are you willing to go? A young child was sitting on a bench below the piano oblivious as to what was over his head. In this drawing he sits instead on a bullet being fired from a gun within a gun.
We are born trusting and through life experiences we move further and further out of the target circle unable to sometimes even trust ourselves.
This watercolor was the first in this series that ended up being called A Rusty Tin Coat Hanger. Having 4 sisters of my own and several sisters by other mothers, plus two daughters, I know that often it is that sister that stands with you no matter what is the best way to get through life.

“Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”
is a graphite and colored pencil drawing. Coming close doesn’t count.
“Life Goes On”
Some of us charge through life, get battered and worn, but life goes on and we keep on finding new ways to move forward.
“Hanging on to the Last Mask”
is a graphite and colored pencil drawing.
Be real! They say, what does that mean? Let go of your mask, don’t put on airs, get to the point.
I find it very interesting, we do not really share the dark parts of who we are. We hide them and suffer them in silence. Even with our best friends we do not share. We may talk about it after we have survived it. However we suffer it in silence. We keep it to ourselves as if we do not want to inflict our pain on those we love. And yet they feel our pain whether we share it or not. If they really know us, it becomes obvious. Why can we not share as we are experiencing it? Is it vanity? I don’t want you to see me cry or in distress? Or is it that it is too precious a part of our soul that we cannot share it- only after the moment is passed and the walls of protection are back in place, and our soft sweet center is safe from any possible harm, even from those who love us. It is our culture as strong women we cannot let our vulnerability show. It is too painful and too scary.
And yet I wonder if we are not able to share this vulnerability can we really be shed of all of our masks? Can we be really authentic? If all we can share is our happy and positive side, how can we be real with each other? No one is perfect and we know that. We know that because we all experience it in the darkness of the night, when we are alone. Sometimes it is like a blanket covering us. Protecting us from what might be an even harder truth. I may be safe in my own pain, it is my own reality and that in itself can be comforting.
The point is there is always one more mask.

Natural Icons

The Natural World is a never ending source of inspiration. These pencil painting are from my observations and sometimes from dreams.

Tide Pools
Graphite and Colored Pencil
the world flows in and out of consciousness like tidepools
my intensity is uncovered, my feelings bare and open
i feel fragile and raw, the sensations grow
waves of emotion, intense and sharp
i am ready to explode.
the dream-the world washes in over me covering me like velvet soft and warm until the next low tide.
“Ode To Georgia”
Graphite on Watercolor
Sand Castles”
Graphite and Colored Pencil”
Life is like building a sand castle,
Lot’s of fun and never permanent.
Enjoy it while you can.
“Pink Waterlily”
Graphite and Colored Pencil
“Desert Bones”
Graphite and Colored Pencil on Tinted Paper
It’s a question of balance
It’s a balancing act
How do you know?
Are you in balance or out of balance?
Life is a precarious thing,
Maybe we all just need a little rotation
Graphite Rendering of a Native American Petroglyph

Other Pencil Paintings

“Path to Serenity”
Graphite and Colored Pencil
“Coming Together”
Graphite and colored pencil on tinted paper
He and She come together, perfect fit
strength and sensuality
pregnant with possibility
like body and spirit or a hand in water
no seams-no creases
“Letting Go”
graphite and colored pencil
I spread my wings high above the clouds
Letting go of all that binds me
Death, Fear, and Greed are no more
I am free
“The Journey”
Life is just a series of dreams,
layered together in an unending stream.
Eye Wonder by Cheryl McDonald
“Eye Wonder”
Graphite and Watercolor
To see through the eyes of the artist
is to express many things.
An artist’s vision brings to the world a different reality
a true reality
The vision of the future.
“The artist is an instrument
through which the universe unveils itself” (Author Unknown_)
A Pebble on the Beach by Cheryl McDonald
“A Pebble on the Beach”
Graphite and Colored Pencil
Even a Pebble on the Beach Causes Ripples in the Sand
The Disappearance of TaiPei by Cheryl McDonald
“The Disappearance of TaiPei”
Graphite and Colored Pencil
Resting in the Grace of Creation”
Graphite and Colored pencil
The power of God rests in each one.
As each flower unfolds,
So can we bloom in peaceful beauty.
“My Heart”
graphite and colored pencil on tinted paper
You don’t have to be young to be innocent and naive
just inexperienced
“Don’t practice unprotected sex”
What about unprotected love?
How do you protect your heart?
We often disrespect each other without even being aware of it.
Each little barb adds another brick to the wall, and another layer that deadens the intensity of each sensation until love becomes just a romantic memory of what was once a tantalizingly sensuous experience.
“Free Will”
God and his mother have set us free
We dance to our own song
“Can I Ask a Question?”
Graphite and colored pencil
I want all the answers!
I thought I had them until you came into my life.
A Study in Orange by Cheryl McDonald
A Study in Orange
Graphite and Colored Pencil
Turmoil Ahead by Cheryl McDonald
“Turmoil Ahead”
Graphite and Colored Pencil
“Honey I Love You But I Need My Space”
Graphite and Colored Pencil