A little peek inside the sketchbook and mind of artist, Kristie Vargo


Finally. I gave in! “That’s it,” I said, “I’m doing it all in colored pencil”. It was a complete retrain of my brain. I had to go back to my school days and relearn how to layer pencil pigment, which in the case of the ones I use is oily, and blend them to create the perfect mix. It amazed me the richness and depth of color. I was enjoying it so much that I set aside my paintbrushes…and my mom gifted me the full set of Prismacolor pencils. Even better than the box of 64 WITH the sharpener.

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Even as a child, I was fascinated with stones. I just called them rocks back then, but I would pluck them from the ground whenever I saw one that caught my eye . . . or beg my parents to let me buy some while on vacation near the beach. Fast forward a whole bunch of years and I’m still drawn to those shiny rocks I now know as crystals. It was no surprise that I had the inspiration to paint them. And then I could not stop. So far, I’ve completed 13 watercolor paintings with a longer list waiting their turn.

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And then there is Mrs. Surtz, my high school instructor. She had a reputation of being a perfectionist. A teacher that didn’t just teach. She challenged. Looking at it through students’ eyes, she was tough. Looking at it now, she was still tough but she also inspired. She knew your strengths. She knew how to push you on to get the absolute best out of you. She challenged you to dig deep into that talent. And most importantly, she believed in you.

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