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The expressive & realistic images of Candace Slager

Art Lovers | 7 February 2020

Written by Anna Itkonen


Candace Slager is a Gold Coast based artist whose expressive and realistic drawings captivate the gaze time after time with new, intricate details. The layers of fine details speak of great technique, commitment and skill. “My technique for drawing has become [such] second nature I don’t tend to think how to explain it all that much,” Candace said.


Candace Slager in her studio

Candace’s body of work consists of both black and white and colour drawing. “Generally, I select colour when I want to delve into a piece and take my time to layer. Colour pencil leaves little room for error as it cannot be erased easily. This forces me to focus on my technique. These pieces can sometimes take upward of 2-3 weeks in order to layer to a satisfactory saturation and hue. I build up the pigment using blended colour layers, with some pieces requiring around 20 layers,” she told. “When the hand cramps set in, I know it is time to switch to graphite! Graphite produces high contrast detail that can be completed in a shorter timeframe. It also allows me to be loser with my technique.”


Mondays (Ltd. Edition Print)

“I don’t consider my work photorealistic, although, my realistic style is born from awesome reference photos. Many pieces are inspired by snapshots from my overseas holidays. Other subjects, such as This is not a drill, is just sparked by a little everyday idea,” she described when asked about the origin of the detailed, incredibly realistic images and how the detail is formed.


Lionel (50 x 70cm, Colour pencil on black pastel paper | Unframed)

Candace has a charmingly “down-to-earth” approach to her own creative skills and talent. She does not consider her skill to be something unique or unattainable but a result of dedication, hard work and passion. She lists five factors as main contributors to her artistic skill and talent; practice, practice and more practice; getting on with drawing and treating it as discipline; taking time and having patience with both the artwork and her own artistic development; creating interest with contrast and detail and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.


Depth (50 x 70cm, Colour pencil on fresh grey pastel paper | Unframed)

Candace Slager’s drawing This is not a drill is the winning artwork in this year’s Art Lovers Australia Prize. “This firefighter is a demonstration of how art can take on new meaning with the passing of time. Drawn in August 2019, a cool time of year on the Gold Coast, no one could predict the devastation that would occur in 3 months’ time. Part of the process of selling our house included upgrading our smoke alarms and this sparked a vague notion of drawing fire and smouldering embers.”

This is not a drill (56 x 73.5cm, Graphite & black colour pencil on watercolour paper)

By November last year the context of the drawing had taken a completely new meaning and the interpretation of the artwork had changed for both the artists and the viewer. The hidden face of this firefighter, possibly putting on or taking off his gloves, began to echo the brave nameless heroes of who put themselves in harm’s way fighting the Australian fires. The mask portraying the hazardous air quality that firefighters and residents still live through.

The original drawing has been sold via Art Lovers Australia, fittingly enough to a firefighter and his wife. Limited edition prints however are still available to purchase.


Zorro (29.7 x 21cm, Colour pencil on watercolour paper)

Framed Captive Resilience


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