Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joe - Faces of Love Series #3

Here is the next in my Faces of Love shelter animal series. His name is Joe. Don't worry, you won't need your tissues for him.

Joe is a lively and friendly beagle that came to the shelter seeking a new home. As you can see from the painting, Joe is a fun little dog who loves kids and a good romp in the grass! He was a very popular dog at the shelter during his stay, and thankfully did not stay long. Soon a loving family came and fell in love with Joe and adopted him. He now lives in a good home.

I might be making a few tweaks here and there on some things I've noticed in this pic, but it's pretty much finished. And, yeah, I'm still toning down the grass a bit. Told ya I can't do grass. Brenda Mattson gave me a tip on what to do to help me fix the grass. It's working, if I can just do it right. I need some more pencils. I ran out of kelp, one of my favorite colors (and no there is no kelp in the grass, but there should have been).

Medium: Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Support: Avocado Suede Board
Size: 14" x 18"
Accessories used: None

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Study in White I

This one is just about completed. I think I will tweak the shadows a bit, deepen them some more to bring out the highlights, but otherwise, I think it's done.

Okay, now this doesn't really seem to be a study in white, what with a red canister sitting smack dab in the middle of the picture, but it is. I added the canister in order to liven up the pic a bit, and to get the interesting red reflections off the white.

The whites on the right side of the painting I did in cool grays (my favorite grays!), sky blue light, white, and poppy red for the reflection off the canister.

The white cloth the canister is sitting on I did mostly in periwinkle, sky blue light, white, cool gray 10% and 20%, and indigo.

The white wall I did in cool grays and sky blue light.

The canister was done in deco pink, poppy red, scarlet red, crimson red, crimson lake, tuscan red, jasmine, cream, indigo, black, and white.

This piece was created for a member exhibition on Ann Kullberg's Ezine "From My Perspective."

Size: 5" x 7"
Medium: Prismacolor colored pencils
Support: White Pastelbord
Underpainting: Light blue Neocolor II
Accessories: Stencil & bristle brushes for blending
Ref Credit: My own photo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Study in White 1 - WIP

This is a new study I'm doing. I set up this still life with drapery in white as the main focus. But that was a bit boring, so I decided to add a colored object into the mix. This small canister seemed to do the trick. Not only did it liven up the composition a bit, but it also added very nice colored reflections onto the white drapery.

The white cloth the canister is sitting on I did with several blues and some white. That part still needs some work. The drapery on the right side is being done in cool grays and white. The wall in the background was done in grays also and will be darkened up some more to bring out the white drapery on the right.

This is being done on white 5" x 7" Pastelbord. I used light blue Neocolor II as a watercolor wash on the Pastelbord first, which you can still see on the right hand side. Then I transferred my drawing to the bord, and began adding colors. I am, naturally, using my stencil and bristle brushes to blend.

This should be done this weekend. Not too much more to do, then I'll just have the tweaking.

Jessica Completed

Here is Jessica all done. I didn't get a good pic before I had to send her off for an exhibition, but she is back now. Jessica won first place in the professional division of Colored Pencil Portraits.


Support: Pastelbord
Medium: Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Size: 8" x 10"
Ref Credit: My own from a photo shoot

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Golden Retriever Final!

This is the second shelter animal in my Faces of Love shelter series. I'm not sure the colors are quite right here. I think my large display is a bit off, both in brightness and in color.

This lovely dog had a beautiful golden glow about him when I took this pic as he soaked up the sun outside the shelter. His pensive look reveals his apprehensiveness over his future. I do believe that the animals in shelters realize their situation is critical and desperately want a place to call home and people to love them as much as they are willing to love in return. This big guy arrived at the shelter happy and full of life - ready to play - yet was able to calm down and sit quietly when necessary. He was able to completely capture the hearts of not only the shelter workers, but the visitors as well. He was adopted so fast, the shelter didn't even have time to name him. I barely had time to include him in the photo shoot!

The slight bit of background you see in the upper corners are actually the color of the board. I decided the color complemented the dog and left it at that. I will be spraying permanent fixative and varnish on it so it can be framed without glass or mat.

Finally , here is a close-up of his eyes for those of you who like close-ups.

Support: Gray Pastelbord
Size: 5" x 7"
Medium: Prismacolors Colored Pencils
Tools: Stencil brushes for blending.
There is NO watercolor underpainting on this one.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Golden Retriever WIP 2

Got quite a bit done yesterday. The colors I've used on the fur so far are: cream, jasmine, yellow ochre, light umber, dark brown, mineral orange, pumpkin orange, white, black, indigo blue, sienna brown, and burnt ochre. I have several other colors I'm considering adding as well. This dog is one of the more colorful golden retrievers rather than just plain blond/buff colored.

I can see a few adjustments I need to make, like the left eye. I know exactly what I need to fix there, so I'll work on that this weekend. I don't have a lot of detail included in this painting yet. I always put in the detail at the end.

We'll be away to our church's homecoming this weekend. Nine preachers in two days!!! Now that's church! Especially when they are as good as these guys are. I'll be taking my laptop with me, but not sure if I'll be able to do much on the painting while I'm gone. I will try though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Golden Retriever Shelter Animal - WIP 1

The second in my "Faces of Love" series to raise money for my local shelter, is this beautiful Golden Retriever. He didn't have a name at the time I did the photo shoot, unfortunately. He was a sweet, calm, and loving dog. Thankfully, he did get adopted.

I started this on white Pastelbord. I used steel grey Neocolor watercolor stick to put a couple of light layers on the bord as an underpainting to start. I then transferred my sketch with white transfer paper. I am using only Prismas .... so far at least.

I began the dog by applying the highlights and shadows first.

Then, as usual, I began the first layers on the dog's nose and then his eye. From the eye I began to spread out, covering one section at a time.

I am using bristle and stencil brushes to blend the colors and smooth out the surface of the bord. I am spraying it with Krylon Workable Fixative after each session on it to prevent wax bloom. After I'm finished I will spray it with a permanent fixative and then varnish.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review of MultiMedia ArtBoard With Colored Pencils

Here is the latest ATC I have done. It's on a new support for me: black MultiMedia ArtBoard.

According to the MultiMedia ArtBoard website, the ArtBoard is an innovative combination of paper and epoxy resin provides an exceptionally durable product that has few limitations. I find that it is very rough on the surface, rougher than it appears to the eye. You don't realize just how rough it can be until you put a pencil to it. Here is what pencil marks look like on it. The marks on the far left are burnishing on the board with sky blue light. The marks to the left are single pencils strokes. You can see how you really cannot get detail on this surface due too its roughness. The final marks on the bottom are cross hatching. As you can probably see, this support is a real pencil eater!

I was expecting a solid board like a heavyweight illustration board or Pastelbord. Surprisingly, it appears to be very thin and fragile, and yet it is somewhat strong. I tested its strength on a small piece. I tried bending it to see just how much it would take and what the resulting effect would be. It gave quite a bit before breaking. Well, it did not exactly break. It was more of a snap which usually left behind messy edges. When it snaps, a whole piece of is broken right off, completely. The ArtBoard can also be torn, surprisingly easy, and that does lave a mess behind! In the photo below you can see the results of my experiment. On the left is the result of when I snapped the board in half. The piece on the right is what happened when I tore the ArtBoard. You can see that is a mess! You can also get a glimpse of the texture of the ArtBoard.

It was very difficult for me to get any detail on this support or to even attempt to fill the tooth. I don't think I will be using this support with pencils anymore as it simply is not appropriate for this surface. I will be experimenting with pastels though, as I think it will work much better than pencils. In the photo below is a close-up of the puppy ATC. You can see the trouble I had trying to get the type of detail I like to have in my artwork.

I'm a bit disappointed. I was hoping for another support I could use in the heat and humidity of the summer here in Eastern NC. Worse yet, I could only find MultiMedia ArtBoard in packages of five, so I purchased a 5-piece package of 11" x 14" of black and a 5-piece package of 18" x 24" tan colored MultiMedia Artboard. The ArtBoard also comes in white. Guess it's back to the Pastelbord for the summers, except for pastel work. I'm now wondering how well pastels will adhere to this surface. That will have to be my next experiment.

If you interested in purchasing the MultiMedia ArtBoard, it is available from the websites listed below. Not all of the websites have all of the colors or the sizes. You will simply have to explore each site to find one that meets your needs. I can say, however, that Daniel Smith was the only website that had the ArtBoard in tan.

Dick Blick
Jerry's Artarama
Cheap Joe's
Daniel Smith

Friday, September 11, 2009

Art Shows & Festivals

Well, two down, one to go. I turned in my two entries for the Landmark Art Show & Competition yesterday. They called me this morning to say they couldn't find them and asked me to describe them. One half hour later they found them.

Show two is the NC State Fair. I have two paintings for that, and they are now packed up and awaiting transport.

Show three is the Chowan County Fair. I have four so far for that competition. Still getting those ready, have to finish two of them!

I always plan to enter the big national art shows, but end up never having anything finished in time for them. I decided it was time I got something in a show, even if it is a small local one or two..... or three. At least I will have at least seven paintings out there, all at the same time!

I have also started two additional paintings. Another shelter cat and a portrait of a very special person to be revealed later. I got in about ten hours on paintings this week and about six hours in preparation time for the shows. That's a total of 16 hours in the studio. BAD!!!!! Need to get much better for next week!!!

The weather is gorgeous here. Raining off and on, makes it difficult for doing yard work, but the temps are soooooo nice!!!! Tonight I trimmed tree branches from the trees lining the driveway. Spent about one hour straight doing that and my arms were a bit tired, but after an hour's rest, I was fine.

Tomorrow, I'll be going to a horse show and to the Edenton Indian Summer Festival, and Sunday is the Currituck Wildlife Festival. That's what I love about Fall - all the fairs and festivals!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How Did I Do In This Week's Challenge?

Considering I didn't start the challenge until Wednesday of this week, I did okay, but should have been better. I got in 6 hours, and completed 95% of a painting, but I need to pout in more hours next week. However, I have a bit of a jump start on next week's challenge. I just out in three hours in my studio and finished a complete underpainting of a new shelter animal piece! I will be putting in more hours later on, but not too many. I have to be at my step-daughter's house later tonight to help her prepare for her son's b-day party which will be held on Sunday.

I have my two paintings for one show all prepared and packed up, ready to go. I just need a frame and I'll be all packed up for another show. The third show for this month is still in the works. I have two paintings for it completed and two more I'm trying to finish up. Busy show month it is!!

So, how did all of you do in the studio this week??? Did you accomplish a lot? Finish any paintings? Let me know how you did and all the problems you ran into that prevented you from putting in more hours in the studio. I want to hear your stories!!

Finally, I've done quite a bit of work on Treat, but still have a lot to do to finish this one. Here is an update. She looks a little funny over on the left side, but that's because it's still not completed there. More hours yet to go!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Food for thought and laughter

Tonight I read two very different blogs that made me both think and laugh.

The first was a blog by Jack Speight called Knuckleball. His writing will keep you laughing and wondering how you never thought reading about toilet troubles in room #16 could be such good reading, or how you never knew the "Freedom Leak" was so popular among men (this one had me crying it was so funny). I realize this is not an art blog, but we all need a good laugh now and then, and this guy can write!

The second blog was the 20 Hour Studio Challenge Blog. The challenge is for artists to make a contract with themselves to spend at least 20 hours per week in their studio. Since I have been extremely lazy toward my artwork lately, I thought about it for awhile. I can do 20 hours a week ....... I think. I used to all the time, but my passion for art seems to have been waning of late, much to my dismay. It gets a good kick start every now and then and I get inspired and fairly quickly whip out a painting or two and call it a success. If I were honest, I would realize that what I am doing is simply not cutting it. I'm getting no where fast.

Thus, I have realized that I am at a cross roads of sorts. If I want to continue being an artist, and I do believe that this is what God wants me to do, then I need to discipline myself better so I can accomplish more. Yes, I said the dreaded "D" word. I didn't need to worry about disciplining myself for the first three years I was a professional artist. I was obsessed with creating artwork. I couldn't seem to stop, no matter what. If I could have I would have been drawing while doing my business in the bathroom. From the moment I woke up until I reluctantly closed my eyes at 2:00 AM, I would eat, sleep, and drink art. Thank God my husband was very supportive and understanding, or who knows where we'd be right now. I learned more than you can imagine during those three years, but now I seem to always be struggling. I think it's time for the dreaded "D" word. Yes, I need to discipline myself.

I have come to the conclusion that the best way to initiate this discipline is to join the 20 hour studio challenge. If I can spend at least 20 hours in the studio - doing artwork not on the computer or reading, or organizing art supplies, or going through ref pics, but actually working on art - then I can get get an amazing amount of art done in a short period of time!!! Since I have three quite large pieces I'm working on, that is a good thing. I will need all the time I can find to complete them.

So, I invite all of you to do one of two things, or possibly both:
One - follow me on my journey and make sure I spend 20 hours per week in the studio and then you can be the first to see the results of those hours of labor; or
Two - join me in the challenge! Sign up at 20hoursstudiochallenge Web Site and begin your journey as a "D"isciplined artist and see how much artwork you can create in your 20 hours in your studio every week!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Featured Artist on IBX Arts Website

Wow! I just read a write-up on me as the featured artist on IBX Arts website.

IBX stands for Inner Banks as opposed to the Outer Banks. supports and promotes the 22 county Inner Banks area of North Carolina. The majority of the tourists in Eastern North Carolina go through the Inner Banks, but rarely stop except to get gas while headed on out to the Outer Banks. Thus, Inner Banks artists do not receive nearly the attention, business, nor the opportunities that the Outer Banks artists do. Tom Kilian decided to change all that. An artist himself as well as a preacher, Tom created and works hard to promote artists who live and work in the Inner Banks. He is even going to be holding an IBX Arts Fest, free of charge to Inner Banks artists, in the Spring of 2010. The Arts Fest will be a way to bring attention to these artists, and hopefully business too.

For the month of September, Tom chose me as the featured artist, and what a write-up he did! Excellent! Thank you so much Tom!!!!! I look forward to seeing you for the Arts Fest in May.

Treat WIP 2 and an artist link you have to check out!!

Still working on Treat. Pretty much finished with the background although I'll make a few more adjustments to color. It doesn't look like much progress, but you wouldn't believe how many hours I put into the background! Dreary day today, so no photo update at the moment. Sorry.

I ran into a wonderful artist all of you should check out. His name is Teddy Wayne Smith. He paints and draws even though he only has partial use of one arm and is wheelchair bound due to a handicap. He's amazing!! You have to go see his work.

The weather has finally cooled, at least for a few days!!! I'm excited about being able to get more artwork done now that it's going to start getting cooler. I'll be able to test out my new papers I got from England too! Yay!

Will post an updated photo of Treat tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Treat WIP 1

Okay, I have started on a painting of my cat Treat. She's a tortie, so she's very colourful. Now, this is rough since I haven't finished any parts yet. Still deciding on the background. And yes, her fur really does look like that. It's VERY thick and long and often looks like feathers rather than fur.

This is on Uart 600, which I'm still not thrilled with. Using Prismacolors only. It's 8" x 10"

Remember, it's only a start.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Upcoming Artwork & an Announcement

I know, I know, I haven't posted much lately. I've been away for the past two weeks going to the Atlanta CPSA convention, which was fantastic as usual (pics to be posted later). We then dropped down to Florida for a quick visit to my son, then onto Texas to visit more family, and finally home to NC. Home to nothing but rain ever since arriving including about 6" in the last 24 hours!! And our lawn is almost two feet high and we can't mow it until it dries out. So, I guess we have an african savannah outside our door for awhile longer.

I have actually been working on some artwork. I just finished the sketch of one piece I would like to enter into CPSA next year. It is a 14" x 18" piece, which grew from 12" x 16". I had wanted to do it for this year, but I'm glad I waited because I just added something extra to it that I think really gives it a bang!

Then I have my 18" x 24" piece that I am still sketching out. Almost have the subject sketched out, but then have to figure out the background. *sigh* How I dislike backgrounds, especially if they involve grass (which this one probably will).

I also have a 16" x 20" piece that I have started but reached a point where I just don't like part of what I've done but can't figure out how to fix it.

AND I have the "Faces of Love" series I need to continue to work on. Of course, there are also some other side pieces I need to work on, but these are the major pieces I am going to be doing over the course of the next year.

I can see how I am suddenly working on much bigger sizes than usual for me. I like big sizes except for all the pencils it uses up with pastelbord. But that's okay, just need to stock up!!!

Now, for an announcement. a friend of mine, Jennifer Rose of Fuzzy Dragons, is celebrating her blog's first birthday, which will be on the 26th of August!! To celebrate she has decided to giveaway two items, but she has some very specific rules for entering the giveaway, so read her blog entry carefully. You must go look at her Etsy store as well! She has some wonderful drawings there you need to see!!

Okay, now I guess I need to get back to my artwork. I'll post pics of the convention later on, so be sure to stop by later to see them!

Happy creating everyone! :D

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ATC #1 for Atlanta!

I just finished this ATC for the ATC trade at the convention in Atlanta. Obviously, it's a tiger (at least I HOPE it's obvious).

This was done on a new support for me: Multimedia Artboard; this was the black board. It is much different to work on, even from sanded surfaces and Pastelbord. Lots of tooth that is impossible to cover up completely, I suspect, unless you use a watercolor wash first. I'll have to try that next.

It's, of course, 2.5" x 3.5" in size and I used Prismas & one coloursoft and one pablo. I hope to get at least one more done before I leave for Atlanta.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Veggie Still Life in Pastel

It's finished! I completed it in less than a day, but couldn't get a decent pic until now.

This was fun and a great learning experience! Hopefully, I will build up my confidence in pastels so I can try larger paintings from my own ref pics. We'll see.

For now, this is finished and I am back to working on my shelter puppy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Veggie Still Life

I decided to pullout my pastel pencils and do a quick painting with them today. This is from a ref pic by Nicole Caulfield. Thanks Nicole!!!

I'm using my Derwent pastel pencils on gray Pastelbord, 5" x 7". I have a couple of hours put into it so far. Hoping to finish either today or tomorrow, then back to my shelter puppy.

I kind of like this so far. At least my husband recognized all of the items in the painting, and that's saying a lot! What do you guys think?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pinky & Rosie - A Memorial

I have started a series called Faces of Love: A Shelter Animal's Journey. This series is being created due to an agreement between my local animal shelter and myself. They gave me permission to come in and have several photo shoots of all the resident animals. I then turn those photos into paintings. When the paintings are done (approximately 10 or more paintings total), I will hold an art show to sell them and give 40% of the proceeds directly to the shelter. You can read all the details of the project on the Faces of Love page on my website.

Here is the first painting completed: Pinky & Rosie.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Jessica WIP

As you can see, I am pretty much done with Jessica's hair. I will tweak her hair and still add stray hairs here and there, but for the most part, it is done.

Now onto the rest of her lovely face! Hopefully I'll be done within the next week!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here are updates for two paintings I am currently working on. First is the update on the soldier. I have pretty much finished the flag, except for the stars, which I haven't even started yet. I need to tweak the flag's colors a bit, but I guess it's okay for the most part.

As you can see, I have started on the soldier, but will also work on the stars little by little at the same time as I work on the soldier.

Second is a new portrait I'm working on. This is Jessica, a young lady of 13 years who goes to my church. She's obviously a beautiful young lady and I've been wanting to paint her for a few years now. I was fortunate to have a few moments of photo shooting with her a couple of weeks ago, and came away with fantastic shots!! I just had to paint her right away! I need to see if I can set up some more photo shoots with her. She's a natural model.

This is on white Pastelbord with Prismas. I really have developed a preference for working on gray Pastelbord, especially for portraits, however, I do not have any gray bord at the moment. So, I used Neocolor II steel gray to create the gray underpainting instead. I would lay down a layer of Neocolor, brush it, let it dry, and do it again. I put down probably five layers total, one at a time. It worked out beautifully! I was worried about the tooth with using that much Neocolor, but there's plenty of tooth left. Lesson learned: I can buy white Pastelbord and use Neocolors for the underpainting instead of stocking up on all the different colors and sizes of Pastelbord! Of course, this also used up most of my Neocolor as well, but that's still cheaper in the long run - I think.

I have been using Ann Kullberg's tips on doing hair from her Portrait CD, because we all know I stink at doing hair. I think it's coming out okay, although I will still be tweaking it and adding some stray hairs, etc. I'll start on the other side of her hair next.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Okay, I'm calling this one done! I will wait until tomorrow to spray and varnish it, just to make sure I don't see anything that needs fixing. I'm posting a close-up to, just for fun and for anyone who might be interested.

I'm ready to move onto the next one! I'm starting to get anxious to get more paintings done. I'm tired of not producing anything! :D

This was a fun piece though and I enjoyed doping it very much. Now, onto the next one!

Correction: The horse's fur is not as red as shown in the full size photo shown here. It is closer to the color in the close-up pic. Don't know what went wrong there. Digi camera didn't get it right. *shrug*

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Soldier Portrait & Equine Bling-Bling

I have finally completed my most recent portrait commission, and am currently working on two other paintings.

The first is SFC Adams. This soldier portrait is of a man who was killed in action in Iraq, leaving behind his three children, his wife, and his mother. The original photo had the soldier leaning forward, elbows on knees and hands together, almost in an attitude of prayer. I received the photo with the soldier's hands partially cut off. I asked my client if I could turn the portrait into a landscape view so I could see all of his hands. In addition, my client wanted to have a flag behind him. So, this is what I came up with.

So far I have only been working on the background, which is not nearly finished. I haven't even begun the stars yet. This will take awhile, and because it is on paper and we are entering into the hot and humid season, it may not be done for several months. Because of this, updates may not be very often.

This portrait is being done on sand colored Colourfix paper, 11" x 14" in size, and using only Prismas (with bristle & stencil brushes for blending). This photo is appearantly not quite as good as I thought it was. I'll get a better photo for my next update.

For more information on Soldier Portraits, a non-profit organization made up of artists who paint portraits of fallen soldiers for free, please see Fallen Heroes.

The second one is a fun piece!! I have been wanting to paint a picture of a very detailed and decorative horse bit and bridle, but have had a great deal of trouble finding just the right ref photo. Whenever there is a rated horse show around here, I either can not get close enough to the horse, the lighting is too poor, or the horse will not stand still long enough for me to get a good photo. So I went to WetCanvas' Image Library and found a very nice photo that I could use.

This is on gray Pastelbord, and is 8" x 10" in size. I used a watercolor pencil wash for the background, with Prismas over the top. The rest of the painting I am using only Prismas with bristle and stencil brushes to blend.

The background is just about done (although in this photo it looks a bit blotchy. In real life it is nice and smoothly blended together), but nothing else is even near completion.

I have been working on this quite a bit today and should have an update tomorrow.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bird of Paradise

I have been able to finally spend some more time on my art. I still have a commission I am desperately trying to finish for my incredibly patient client. As you all know, I also work several pieces at one time so that when I run into a kink with one, I can move onto another until I figure out what to do about the problem.

Here is a small piece I whipped out in just three hours. It is not colored pencil however - it's in soft pastels. The size is a mere 6" x 11.5".

If you remember my last piece, "Morning Devotions", was done on the new Mattson sanded pastel paper and I had a terrible time getting the details I wanted with my pencils. I also deemed it not appropriate for colored pencils unless you want a more painterly effect, in which case it's fine. So, I decided to try out my new Rembrandt soft pastels on the paper and see what happens. I chose the terracotta colored paper (Mattson pastel paper comes in four colors) for its rich color.

I started by using my new Richeson semi-hard pastel sticks to draw and block in the colors. These are brand new pastels Richeson came out with and I grabbed up one of the first sample sets. The main difference between these and Nu-Pastels are that Richeson's are lightfast whereas the Nu-Pastels are not. Very important difference. I love the feel of the Richeson's. They are just soft enough to lay down the color comfortably, but hard enough to get nice solid lines. I highly recommend these new pastels! They come in 120 colors. I've shown below a sample of a 12-piece set.

After getting the color blocked in I pulled out my Rembrandts and began in earnest applying the local colors. The Rembrandts have an absolutely delicious range of colors and were perfect for this flower. I added deeper values and highlights using Rembrandts, Richeson, and Mungyos. At the end, I added the highlights.

I think I probably could have sharpened the edges on the yellow petals a bit more, but otherwise, I'm fairly satisfied with this piece and am calling it done.

BTW, there is another 1.5" of background to the right of the flower in real life. My photo of the painting cut it off unfortunately.

Sorry, no close-ups. I still do not have my new graphics software yet, so I am having problems with editing my photos.

Hope you all like it! Comments and crits are always appreciated.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Morning Devotions

Well, FINALLY, I have finished my latest inspirational painting, and it has been entered into a Christian art competition called Art4God.

This painting was done on the new Mattson pastel paper by Richeson. For colored pencils, I do not recommend this paper. It is far too rough in texture for pencils. I had a terrible time getting the detail I needed in the painting, such as the letters in the Bible. I do plan on trying out my pastels on it next; I'm sure it will work just fine with them.

I set this composition up one afternon and took many photos of it, trying to get the elements and lighting just right. However, it wasn't until the sun started to set and the beautiful colors of the setting sun were shining into the kitchen that I realized it was truly just right! I had to use my photos for reference because it was the only way to keep the lighting while I was painting it.

Originally I had designed the painting to be a 6" x 12". Then I changed it to a 9" x 12", which I did not like at all, so I switched it to a 7.5" x 12", and that seemed to be just right.

I apologize for not showing any detail or close-up shots, but all of our computers are down and out at the moment and I am having a devil of a time trying to crop and adjust my photos. When one of our computers comes back, I'll post some more pics for all of you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Making Primer for Sanded Supports

Well, here's what I have been doing lately. I have been interested in preparing my own surfaces for artwork, but didn't know how to go about it until recently. I found an outstanding book on pastels that gave me a recipe for making my own primer. The book is called Painting with Pastels by Maggie Price. I have had a lot of fun making the primer. It has allowed me to make my own colors as well as have control over the amount of texture in the primer. It saves me money from having to go out and buy sanded paper all the time (although I can't see myself giving up Colourfix completely). I've been using mat board as the surface I paint the primer onto.

I use a large spoon with which to mix the primer. When I paint the primer onto the mat board, I use a foam roller rather than a paint brush. This is mostly because if I want to use pencils on it, the paint brush does not produce as even a surface as a foam roller will. These are the foam rollers I use:

First thing I do is to paint a light layer of HP gesso or Liquitex matte medium on the back of the mat board, being sure not to use too much. After the back of the board has thoroughly dried, I turn it over and mark off the part of it I want to paint the primer onto. I make various sizes, the most common being 11" x 14" and 12" x 16". To mark it off, I use blue painter's tape. I then proceed to paint the primer onto the surface, being careful not to paint beyond the blue tape (although I am not always successful). However, if I go beyond the tape, it's okay because that part will end up behind a mat anyway.

I have learned to apply the primer in thin layers or the primer will not come out with an even texture usable for pencils. It is very difficult to get an even surface on the primer if you apply it in layers that are too heavy. Make sure you let the layers dry completely before adding another layer. Generally I use only two layers. If I apply much more than that it may end up saturating the board.

After the primer dries completely, I gently peel off the tape and place the boards into resealable plastic bags. Then I set very large, heavy books on top of the boards and leave them there for several hours. This simply makes sure the board lies flat.

Here are the results:

The first mix I made came out so-so. I used 1 cup gesso, 6 tsp. pumice powder, and acrylic color. It ended up being very coarse. I tested it and found it worked fine for soft pastels, but would not be appropriate for colored pencils. I did sand down the primer a bit, but it is still quite coarse. I call this color sandy beige.

The second mixture I made was much better! I mixed 1 cup gesso, 1 tsp pumice powder, and acrylic color. It came out much finer in texture. Although I haven't tested it yet because I just mixed it this afternoon and it needs to set for a bit. I call this color sky blue.

And finally, I mixed a medium coarse primer. I mixed 1 cup gesso, 2 tsp. pumice powder, and acrylic color. This also seemed to come out well, though, again I haven't been able to test it since I just made it. I call this color Raw Sienna.

CAUTION: When handling Pumice Powder you MUST wear a NIOSH approved nuisance dust respirator mask that will not allow the fine pumice powder to be inhaled. Pumice powder is made from volcanic ash and is a cancer agent if inhaled and will cause lung damage. It is also recommended that you use the pumice in an exhausting hood or glove box. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the pumice. In addition, I have nearby a set of goggles to wear.

When mixing the pumice into the gesso, gently fold it in so as to avoid creating any dust that might become airborne. Clean up your work area thoroughly after using the pumice. Do not use near food, cups, utensils, etc. I keep any utensils I use for mixing separate from my other utensils and only use them for mixing primer, nothing else.

I hope this article has been of interest to some of you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Morning Devotions WIP 3

Here is an update on my new inspirational painting.

The yellowy area on the cup will be getting toned down a bit. Worked on the saucer quite a bit, but I can see I still need to do some more work. I'll have to go over the placemat some more on the left side. You can see where it is still so rough looking. I'm having a very difficult time trying to even coming close to filling the tooth, and I usually don't have a problem with that on sanded paper, so that tells you just how coarse this paper really is. You can see the coarseness in the close-up pic I provided. I also provided greyscales of both pics.

I still need to work just a bit more on the back part of the napkin too. Not too much, but some tweaking needs to be done there.

I have done some more on the book since the photo and I will be starting on the grapes this weekend. I didn't get too much done this week. It turns out I worked a full week afterall. Next week I'll probably have my hours cut. If so, I'll have more time to put into it.

Anyway, it's coming along. I hope to be near completion within two weeks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Morning Devotions WIP 2

Here's an update on this painting. It's coming along, thought I still have much to do on it. The pic is a bit blurry because it's cloudy & rainy and I didn't want to use a flash. Nothing in the painting is done yet; still working on values, colors, etc. I hope to be done soon. I don't look forward to working on the Bible. The lettering is going to be very difficult to get right, and it could cause me to mess up the entire painting! Ugh! I just realized that a competition I wanted to enter it in has their deadline next month!!

I'm still undecided on this paper. It's quite rough for pencils. I need to try it with pastels too and see what happens.

Here's the update and a smaller detail pic. In the smaller one you can see how rough the paper actually is.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year - New Artwork!!

Happy New Year everyone!! I hope this Christmas season has been wonderful to all of you!

I have been playing with my pastels, teaching myself how to use them. I bought about 20 pieces of Mi-Tientes paper to practice on. Here is my first practice piece. I am attempting to figure out how to layer pastels and mix the colors (and NOT get mud). This one was good practice in not getting mud. The original ref pic had a very dark, almost black background, but I didn't like that, so I changed it to this. The red in this digi pic is a bit deeper and as a whole the pic is darker than in real life, but it's very close.

I also tried another experiment. I have read so much about how pastelists hate to use a fixative on their work because it tends to change the colors but I thought I'd try it and see what would happen. In this case, I not only sprayed permanent fixative, but then got real crazy and decided to go for broke and spray varnish on it - just to see what would happen. When I spray varnish on my CP pieces, it tends to deepen the colors and bring them out more. Thought I'd see if it would do the same to the pastels. It did seem to a little. I like the result very much, but I think it worked okay for me because I really push the pastels into the paper when I blend and don't leave them sitting on top of the surface of the paper. *shrug* Don't know, but it didn't ruin it at least. :D

I am currently working on my fourth inspirational piece, but this one is special. The others I followed a ref photo, this one I created entirely on my own from scratch. I put together each item in the painting on purpose. Unfortunately, tomorrow begins two weeks of 10 hour days at work. So, I will try to update this blog as often as I can. The biggest problem I will have is being able to get good pics of the piece to post.

Here is the beginning of the piece. It is called Morning Devotions. I have a full pic and a close-up for those of you who like those. You can see how rough the paper is on the close-up.

I set this up on my kitchen table at sunset rather than sunrise (the only part of my house that gets the morning sun is my bedroom, so I figured sunset would work just as well). I got very inspired to start it while visiting my step-daughter and her family in Texas for Christmas, and I got much more done than I expected to.

I'm using a new sanded pastel paper named after Brenda Mattson and made by Richeson. They have four colors, which are much like Colourfix colors, but the paper is much rougher. It eats pencils way more than Colourfix does! I'm using the dark gray color for this painting and Prismas, plus brushes for blending. I have only just begun and I'm kind of jumping around rather than following my usual routine of almost completing small parts individually. The cup needs tons of work. You can see the gray of the paper where there is no pencil (which gets confusing around the cup, since there are so many grays in the cup).

I don't like how the napkin looks yet. I'm trying to get a smooth look and smooth transitions from one value to another but it is proving to be difficult. I think this paper may definitely be better for pastels than pencils, but it was yet another experiment.

Originally, I designed this painting to be 6" x 12", but then realized that it would cost me a small fortune to get it framed, so I thought I might try to turn it into an 11" x 14". Don't know what size it will end up as though.

First time trying this kind of composition so C&C's are welcome!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Two completed Pieces!!

Hey everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Believe it or not, I have finally completed some new work. I have finished the Purple Tulip, which I now officially call Welcoming the Day Break. It's all ready now for a show this month.

I have also finished an a miniature piece I call Mini-Moo. It is 3.5" x 2.5", it's all Prismacolors, and it's on green suede board.

Lots of work on more paintings as we speak!! Hope to be posting again soon.