The Power of Self Esteem!

Eileen Sorg is Cole Gallery’s First Glance artist this month. Eileen uses colored pencils to create her witty and whimsical pieces.

Eileen’s work is collected internationally and is known for its complexity and vibrancy. Of her work, Eileen says, “My work is a visual representation of the stories in my head. I enjoy collecting old objects and weaving a tale around them. Birds are the main conduit for these stories but insects, amphibians, and mammals are also frequent players. The story is really the subject matter of my work, supported by a solid structure of composition and light.”

Consisting of six new pieces, each piece (which we refer to as paintings because of the overall effect), represents weeks and weeks of exacting precision as she designed and detailed each wonderful, delightful offering in this show “The Power of Self Esteem”!

In addition to creating art, Eileen is also an author. She has written a number of art instruction books on using colored pencils. Her most recent titles include:

You are invited to stop by Cole Gallery in April to see Eileen’s show. We know you will be delighted with her new pieces.

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Once again we have some terrific ground for bragging rights about one of our fabulous artists, Eileen Sorg!

This month she was featured in The Artist’s Magazine as the 3rd place winner of the annual artist competition in the animal/wildlife category. Over 7,000 entries were submitted, and Eileen’s Tea Service wowed the judges. Read what The Artist’s Magazine wrote below.

Eileen Sorg brings her background in zoology to her mixed media art. She depicts animals with precision and accuracy while presenting them in a surprising tableau. “The impetus behind Tea Service was really the crow and its relationship with other birds and its own environment,” Eileen says. “I enjoy crows very much, but they can be the playground bullies at times, a bit push and overbearing.” In this painting she turns typical crow behavior on its head. The large black bird bows to a tiny wren as another wren rides on its back holding a make shift bridle in its mouth.

Sorg refers to objects and photographs set up in her studio, including a collection of feathers, bones and skulls. She works out her composition on newsprint and then using a light table transfers the line drawing to 140 lb hot-press watercolor paper. She applies ink with pens and brushes for the dark areas. “I then have my darkest darks (the ink) and lightest lights (the paper) already in place,” she says. After quickly applying watercolor for mid tones, she moves into the final stage—rendering details with colored pencil—which she calls “the longest and most satisfying phase of the process.”

Congratulations Eileen!

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Art and Humor with Eileen Sorg

This week we are interviewing Eileen Sorg in our continuing series on Cole Gallery’s artists. As you get to know our artists, we hope it will draw you to become more involved in art.

Q: When did you start painting?

A: I was always a drawing kid and enjoyed it enough to keep at it into my adult life. With no formal art training, it is all these years of practice that have brought me to where I am today with my work.

Q: What are your favorite mediums to work with?

A: Because I am primarily a draftsperson, my favorite medium is ultimately the pencil in all its many forms. Virtually anything that can make a line on paper from Silverpoint to charcoal. I have recently begun using oils which I am really enjoying and I am curious to find where this new medium will take me.

Q: What do you want people to get from viewing your work.

A: I want people to get my sense of humor and dedication to the process of creating art. I am somewhat under whelmed by a lot of the art that is out there. Art shouldn’t be easy in my opinion. When people view my work I want them to stop and let their eyes roam around the piece, to wonder about how it was done, how long it took, and ultimately, to lose themselves in the story it tells.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: I am often inspired by random objects that intrigue me. I collect odd items from antique and thrift shops that I keep around my studio where I look at them, and try to come up with ways of weaving a story around them. Old audio cassettes, vintage hair dryers, tattered books, they all can be elevated to another level when the light hits them just so, and they are drawn with a little care.

Q: What artists are you inspired by?

A: I have a mad love affair going with the Dutch painters of the 1600’s for their dark moodiness and just the sheer magnitude of their craftsmanship. Rembrandt, Vermeer, Anthony van Dyke were all superb. As far as current artists, I have been inspired by Wayne Thiebaud for his use of color, as well as Jeffery Larson, Robert Liberace, David Jon Kassan, Jeff Hein, Jeremy Lipking, and Burton Silverman to name a few—all very thoughtful, trained, and sensitive artists producing timeless work in modern times.

Q: What is a recent work that you have produced?

A: The Trouble With Butterflies is a piece I completed this summer that was particularly gratifying for me. That story lived in my head for a couple of years, the idea of such benign characters as butterflies, being a little bit naughty and tying a young girl’s shoelaces together. Plus, it gave me the excuse to draw Converse tennis shoes, and who doesn’t love an old pair of Converse?

Q: What else do you do besides create art?

A: Not much these days. I do enjoy vegetable gardening, reading, and horseback riding when I can. I also have a great husband and large network of wonderful friends that keep me from becoming a hermit in my studio, not an easy task.

Q: How do you think Cole Gallery differs from other galleries?

A: Cole Gallery is different from other high-end galleries in that they maintain their approachability. A person can walk into Cole Gallery and be made to feel welcome at all times thanks to Denise and Shannon. It is a warm and inviting space where folks can view art created in a variety of different mediums spanning an even wider array of subject matter. Patrons can easily ask questions and learn about the work and the artists they see from knowledgeable people who enjoy what they are doing.

You can view more of Eileen Sorg’s work on Cole Gallery’s website.

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Northwest Whimsy

We all need a sense of play in our life.  When something brings a smile to our face we feel a little lighter.  Most of us don’t experience that often enough.  With the fall months upon us, a skip in our step is just what we need.

Cole Gallery welcomes a new artist who does just that.  Northwest colored pencil artist Eileen Sorg brings joyfully whimsical works sure to make you smile for the month of October.

Eileen delights the eyes with her contemporary subject matter.   “There is so much beauty out there that is often overlooked in our busy lives,” She explains.  “If my show allows people to stop and slow down a bit, then I am happy.  If I inspire people to look at their surroundings a bit differently, then I am thrilled.”

Differently being the key word.  Eileen Sorg takes the simplicity of a bird chirping and creates a world where that same bird sings through a vintage microphone to its meal in “Singing for Your Supper.”  “My head is full of images and stories, so my drive as an artist is to visually tell those stories and get them out there for people to explore.”

Sorg masterfully crafts every detail of her pieces showcasing her skill as an artist.  Every feather, every hair, every shadow, seems realistically touchable.  “My work is labor intensive and can take many weeks to complete, so it is always a race to get to the studio each day,”  Sorg remarks.  “I really feel that I have been working at this my whole life, so in a way each new piece has taken me 40 years!  It’s easier to think in those terms for me than to acknowledge the fact that I can spend 150 hours on a single drawing.”

When each day is precious, what brings us joy and makes us smile should take priority.  See Eileen Sorg’s beautifully cheerful works at Cole Gallery from October 1st-31st or online at

(Contributed by Shannon Black, Gallerina)

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