LAKE PLACID — Last Saturday a group of potential new artists under the guidance of color pencil drawing professional Mary Francis discovered their hidden talent.

This was the first workshop Francis held in Lake Placid at the Caladium Co-op. She is a co-op member having many of her art pieces for sale there.

Francis is retired from IBM where for 30 years she wrote contracts for the government. “My job was high stress, so I was looking for an outlet and that became art. I fell in love with it.” She is now a professional teacher and works in oil, acrylic, qouache and colored pencil drawing.

She lives in Lake Alfred, Florida coming to Florida via Longmont, Colorado. Her birthplace is Ladysmith, Wisconsin. As a member of the International Society of Decorative Painters, she attends their conferences to learn new techniques. “Learning to use pastels is my next challenge,” she said.

Participants at the workshop in pencil drawing paid $28 and the cost included the guidance of a real professional. All the supplies were included and each participant took home a newly created masterpiece. The drawing they replicated was a beautiful daisy on a greeting card. Francis even supplied a number of personal messages they could add to their drawing. One read, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a Butterfly.” Another simply read, “Thinking of You.”

Marcia Poirier from Lake Placid brought her friend Claudia Reynolds who said, “I’d like to learn to draw.”

Co-op President Joni Warner joined the group and commented “I’ve tried to do art self taught but wanted to learn from an expert.”

Myssi Veronee also from Lake Placid said, “The daisy print looked so pretty that I had to give the class a try.”

Her friend Donna Tolbert came saying, “My friend Missy asked me to come.” She was happy she did.

All the ladies went home proud of their creations.

Francis guided the group by showing them how to use a colored pencil in a linear motion, spikey motion, how to darken the vein lines of the flower and then use white to mute the darker colors blending them using the technique, “burnishing.” The final touch was completed by learning tinting to create reflections.

The group was taught to hold a colored pencil in various subtle ways, which created different effects. Tolbert, as she watched Francis, exclaimed, “Wow. What you do looks like magic.” And all the women went home after they too proudly did their magic with colored pencils.

Francis reminded the new artists that they could continue to learn more techniques of pencil drawing via the internet. “There are venues using flowers, animals, crystals and just about any other subject that interests you.”

The Lake Placid Caladium Co-op offers many diverse classes by a number of local art teachers. Stop by at 132 Interlake Blvd., Lake Placid, to pick up a flier describing all the upcoming classes as well and shop for a unique art piece for yourself or as a gift handmade by local artists.