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HER Magazine | Colored pencil artist finds success with new medium

by Neil Abeles, Texarkana Gazette | January 29, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.
Sharon Cromer’s first work to be showcased in Ann Kullberg’s Color magazine is her portrait of Raydeen Edwards of Atlanta. She titled it “Raydeen’s Contagious Smile.” (Photo by Neil Abeles)

Sharon Cromer's "Mountain Men Crossing a Stream" is the first oil painting she's done in eight years. She's working in colored pencil medium now. But those five riders and horses have an air of being. They seem to be coming out of the painting and into one's lap.

There's a story here. The viewer makes it up. It's what Cromer wants you to do. Art is to be lived and paintings are alive, this one is especially so.

What do you see in the men and horses and mules? Where are they going and why? If you put this painting on your wall, you might ask yourself these questions day after day. The answer might only be that you are part of this adventure.

The work is called "Mountain Men Crossing a Stream at Bent's Fort in Colorado." The work took Cromer three and a half months. Working in oils is much slower than colored pencil, she tells.

But she is working on another feature at the moment. She has been asked to create a Step-By-Step feature for the national colored pencil teaching magazine Ann Kullberg's "Color."

Every step she takes in detailing a pair of cowboy boots she must write about so that others can learn. It was, indeed, one of the ways she studied to improve her own skill.

The work of a colored pencil artist is often so realistic and heightened in intensity that some memorial portraits of loved ones may bring tears upon presentation.

"In this art, there is such a joy in connection with people. It can be such a heartfelt moment. Even if the work brings tears from the family, I feel I did what I needed to accomplish," Cromer said.

Sharon is originally from Dallas and is a graduate of the W.W. Samuell High School Class of 1967. She studied art at Dallas Baptist University and has been a graphic artist for Learning Resource Center at Dallas Community College District. She retired in 2021 from Marion Central Appraisal District in Jefferson.

As one who has taken up colored pencil herself just recently, what would she tell a person who might wish to make art in this manner?

"Tell them to practice, study what they want to work in and not be discouraged. And do so continuously. The more you work in it, the more comfortable you become. I was intimidated by graphite at first. I had to tell myself to get over it.

"I've just finished a work of my great-grandson looking lost in a pile of pumpkins, and I couldn't get the face right. I barely kept myself from throwing it in the trash three times. Now it is one of my people's favorites."

Cromer has just submitted works to be in her first juried art show. She's sent four works to the Pearce Museum with Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Only two per artist will be accepted.

"I'm nervous if any will be accepted for showing," she said.

photo This painting by Sharon Cromer of Linden shows, and is titled, “Mountain Men Crossing a Stream at Bent’s Fort in Colorado.” (Photo by Neil Abeles)
photo After at first being intimidated by creating art with graphite pencils, Sharon painted her first work, her pet cat. (Photo by Neil Abeles)
photo Sharon Cromer’s second pencil work was of her husband Barney. He likely shared similarities with the mountain and western men she would soon paint more of. (Photo by Neil Abeles)
photo Sharon Cromer’s studio is the “home of a thousand pencils or more.” The drawers at left are filled with color and graphite pencils. Now retired, she’s here daily. (Photo by Neil Abeles)

Print Headline: HER Magazine | Colored pencil artist finds success with new medium


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