Sunday, October 22, 2017

Scratchbord Cat in Macro - WIP 2 and Future Videos Announcement

Here's some news that I am very excited about: I have purchased the necessary items to operate my son's video camera and I am planning on making videos of some of my WIPs to post here and on my Youtube channel. Only problem is, I do not yet have any video editing software. My son has a really good editing program since he used to make videos and stream online. He really likes the software, so maybe I will have to borrow his computer to edit the videos until I can get some software of my own. Hopefully, by the first of the new year, I will have some videos up and running for your viewing pleasure!

Now, onto the art!

I've been trying to get some time into this piece, but it's coming along very slowly. Once I get to the fur, it will go much more quickly.

So, the left eye is complete except for touch-ups. I decided not to paint a layer of black repair ink over it though, at least not at this point. I may decide I need to darken the values a bit later on though.

I started on the right eye (as we see it), but just barely. I hope to have it completed both eyes by next weekend. After the eyes I usually go onto the nose, but I may decide to just start in on the fur and do the nose when I get to that section. We'll see how it goes.

So here is the piece: First a close-up on the left eye. I can see a few spots where I need to touch-up the values a bit.

And here is a shot panning out and showing most the picture:

You can see where I have begun the eye on the right. I haven't decided yet if I will add color to the eyes or not. What do you guys think????

Hope you enjoyed the update and  .........................

........................HAPPY ARTING! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Macro Cat in Scratch Art - Work in Progress - 1

Supplies Used:
Ampersand Scratchbord 8"x 8"
Exacto Knife #11 blade
Horsehair drafting brush
Ampersand Black Repair Ink

I just started a new piece: A macro view of a cat on Ampersand Scratchbord. As always, I have started with the eyes. When looking at a cat face on, or any animal for that matter, it is through their eyes and face that their personality and liveliness is reflected. Get the eyes wrong and the whole picture looks wrong.  So I start with the eyes. That way, if I completely ruin the eyes to the point of no return, then I can scrap the board and start over before putting in too many hours on the rest of the cat.

So, my technique with doing the eyes in scratchart is to use tiny little marks with my knife. I barely touch the scratchboard at all. Also, I turn my knife backwards and use the back part of the blade.

I have to change the blade regularly because for scratchart you need to have a very, very sharp blade at all times. If the blade gets just a little bit dull, it will not slide across the scratchbord smoothly and could end up causing damage to the board. Mistakes in scratchart are extremely difficult to fix. I'll probably go through at least six blades for this piece.

Here is a full picture of the cat I'm working on. You can see the eye that I've begun on, and you can also see the outline I have on the scratchboard of the cat. The outline came from white transfer paper. Normally, I would do a close-up, but with scratchbord, it's hard to see the details, at least I couldn't get the details to come out well. I apologize for that. With my next update I will try to get a close-up for all of you to see.


I am using another photographer's photo from "Photos for Artists" Facebook page - Kairen Jamieson. This piece will take me awhile because I work very slowly and I only have an hour or two most days to work on it. The most time will be spent on the eyes and nose, then the rest will go fairly quickly. I will post updates after I've done a significant amount of work since the previous post, so look for weekly updates.

If you would like to see what my tools look like, look below.  

Please feel free to post your comments below, and as always ..............


Monday, October 2, 2017

Understanding Values in Art: Part I

One of the most difficult concepts to grasp as an artist, especially new artists, is value. I know when I first started out, being self-taught, I had no clue what "values" were.  Whenever I asked for a critique of my artwork I was always being told that I needed to work on my values. I was pretty sure they were not talking about my personal, moral values, so what were these "values" I needed to work on???  In frustration, I practically begged someone, anyone to explain to me what these "values" were.  I was directed to a lesson about values on an art forum of which I was a member. I read it and got the basic idea, but it wasn't really a lesson in it's truest sense. There was no real explanation, just what I have since learned is a "value scale" lesson. It helped but it was not enough for me. I really wanted to understand, so I searched for more information. Remembering how difficult it was for me back then to figure out this basic idea of values in art, I wanted to write some articles that I hope will be of some help to artists.

In this multi-part article I will help you understand what values are and why they are so important in art. I will include a couple of exercises for you to do, give you some examples, and at the end of the second part of the value lessons I will give you a list of some books that I think you will find helpful for more personal study.

First, let's start with defining what values are:

Values are the degree of lightness and darkness of a color, with black being at one end of the scale and white at the other and all shades of gray in between.

So, what purpose do values serve? Well, let's take the example of a shape, in this case, the shape of a circle. Look at the circle below. It has all kinds of possibilities of becoming something, but at the moment it's just a plain, flat, empty shape, right?


Let's add some values to that circle.


It's the same exact shape and the same exact size, but now it looks like something real. The shape has become a ball, complete with shadows and highlights. It has roundness to it. You can see shadow. You can see where part of it is in the light. The shape is no longer a flat outline on the paper. It now has depth and dimension to it.

Now that you've seen the difference values can make to a picture, let's do an exercise to help you understand more about values. The next lesson will then take what you've learned here and help you to apply that knowledge to an object that you will draw.  First, lesson one:

Values have different ranges. Cartoon artists often use a range of only three values: Shadow, highlight and mid-tone. It's enough to give a little more shape and make the figures not quite so flat. However, the average artist, especially one who creates realistic art, uses many more values - usually a range of ten.  Below is a scale of ten values, with the first box (on the left) being black, or the deepest shadows. The box on the far opposite end is white, or the brightest highlight. In between you will find a range of grays that subtly shift from one value to the next. Can you see how subtle the shift is?                                             

10-Value Scale

Now for your exercise:
Create for yourself a value scale like the one above. Use these dimensions: Ten boxes, each one being 1" x 1". The value scale will be 10" long by 1" high total.

Tools you will need:
B or HB grade pencil - A regular everyday pencil won't work well because they are usually 2H and you will not get very far trying to build up shadows with a 2H pencil, no matter how many layers you do.
Drawing or sketching paper without texture or at the most very little texture - do not use computer or printer paper). I prefer white or bright white paper, but off-white is okay as well.
Tortillion - to help blend and smudge the graphite.
Kneaded eraser - helps to clean up your drawing and also helps if you need to lighten an area a bit.
A clean, unused piece of paper - place this under your hand while you are drawing. Graphite is very messy and you will spread it all over your paper if you are not very careful.

Start on the far left box and shade it in lightly with the pencil. Always use a light touch with your pencils. Do not press down hard. I always teach my students to use a feather light touch. You can always add more layers to the drawing but removing graphite once it has been put down heavily on the paper is difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

For the first box, softly add layers until you achieve the degree of darkness you need for that box, which should be almost black. This is the one box you should complete before moving onto the next because you will use that to judge just how dark you need the next box to be. Once you have completed that box, move onto the next box and color it slightly lighter and so on until you get to the last box. The last box you should leave the color of your white paper. Always look ahead and keep in mind that by the time you get to the second to last box you should not be laying down much color at all.

Do not complete each box as you go because if they are too dark when you get to the last box you will have a lot of erasing to do.  Erasing graphite is messy and can ruin the paper if you have to erase too much. You can always go back and add more layers to darken a box later on. This is why I say to use the pencil softly using many layers rather than pressing down hard and making it very dark from the start. I realize that adding graphite softly and doing many layers is slower and more tedious, but it is the best way you make sure you do not go too dark. Be sure to use the above value scale as your reference.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section. I will try to check on these articles frequently and answer your questions as soon as possible.

* If you do this exercise, I'd love to see it. Please feel free to post here or leave a link to where I can go and see it. *

I hope this lesson on values has been helpful for you. Next we will go onto part II of values. Be sure to join me!

And as always .................

............... KEEP ON ARTING!!

NOTE:  The value scale I used in this lesson is a computer generated one. It is very difficult to take a photos of a value scale drawn in pencil and have it clear enough for you to see all the subtle shifts in range.  The circle and ball I drew myself.

Monday, September 25, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 25

My day 25 mini-canvas. The letter K complete with drops of water. Pink water. Lol!

Tools used:
2.5" x 2.5" mini-canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink

In other news, I am writing an article that will have multiple parts. It's about values and includes a couple of exercises in it for the readers to do. I should  have part I ready and posted in a day or two. My hope is that it will help self-taught artists who wish to learn more about how to make their art better.

Enjoy this little mini-canvas! And as always ......

.........  KEEP ARTING!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge: Day 21

So we are 3/4 of the way through this challenge. Whew!

I've been sick the last two days. I couldn't possibly make one yesterday, but I was determined to get one posted for today. Still not 100%, but feeling better. It's back to work tomorrow.

Hope you enjoy this little one!

Tools used: 
2.5" x 2.5" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma Archival ink

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge: Day 19

So, back to my little canvases and hand lettering. I had enough time at lunch today to get this little canvas done.  I used Dick Blick Iridescent Rich Gold for the background. I mixed it with another color, but can't recall which gold color it was. I did the background at home and gave it several days to totally dry before taking it to work to complete. No glitter was used in the paint or on the background. The iridescent quality of the paint makes it sparkle naturally.

Tools Used:
3" x 3" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink
Glitter ink

Hope you are liking this collection!

..... and as always ..

....  KEEP ARTING!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 18

So, I did something different for today. I went looking in my studio for lesson information I wanted to post on this blog and I found this piece along with other unfinished pieces. I have this bad habit of sometimes not finishing a painting or drawing I begin. This is one. I had actually done two of these pieces. One was done for a class I was teaching to show how to use the grid method as well as learning basic values . The second one I never finished.  This is the second one. I got inspired to complete the pear instead of doing one of my theme pictures for this challenge today. So, here it is.

This was done with graphite leads HB and 4B and a tortillion, plus two of my fingers. Lol!

Tools used:
Graphite leads HB and 4B
Lead holders
White Faber-Castell eraser
Kneaded eraser
Size: 9"x12"
Paper: Strathmore Bristol Vellum

Enjoy and as always,

....................... HAPPY ARTING!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge: Day 17

Well, it seems I did miss a couple of days in this challenge. I will try to do better for now on. Meanwhile, here is my day 17 painting.

This was painted with plush purple pearl acrylic paint for the background with some glitter brushed on over it. Everything is acrylic except for the black lines. The back strip across the kite is black sequin acrylic paint. The black lines are Pigma archival ink.  You can, of course, see the glitter much better in real life.

... and make sure you .....

........... KEEP ON ARTING!! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 14

So, today is another day for simplicity.  The background is lemon chiffon pearl. No glitter at all this time, not even in the letters or decoration.

I had a hard time trying to figure out what little design might go with "peace".  I just came up with something super simple.

Tools used:
2.5" x 2.5" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink


And as always ..............


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 13

Here is my day 13 post of the 30-in-30 challenge.  Just a little praise and a little music. This time I used Interference Gold (fine) acrylic paint from Golden over the china blue. The colors are glitter inks.

Tools Used:
2.5" x 2.5" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink
Glitter inks

Now to finish the design of my painting for tomorrow..........


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Days 11 & 12

So, to make up for missing the challenge yesterday I have done two mini-paintings today.

The first one is called Believe. The background is a baby pink with glitter. The word is done with Pigma archival ink.

The second one is called Hope. The background is pink chiffon, no glitter. The word is done with Pigma archival ink.

Tools used:
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink

Enjoy, and as always .........


Sunday, September 10, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge: Day 10

I got back on top of things last night and this morning and got this little one done for today's post.  I think the words say it all. Appropriate post for a Sunday, don't you think?

Again, it's a bit shiny, but I think you can see it all clearly. This time there was no glitter used. The colors of paint I used were iridescent rich gold  (Dick Blick Series 3) and Holbein's quinacridone gold. Love those colors!

Tools used:
Acrylic paint
2.5" x 2.5" canvas
Pigma archival ink

I hope you are enjoying this series of small pictures. Thank you for visiting!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 9

Good evening everyone! Yes, I did miss yesterday, sadly. It was a rough and busy week at work and I had a few nights of insomnia so by Friday I was exhausted. Sorry guys, I just didn't get it done. I plan on making an extra one to make up for my missing day, however. For now, here (barely) is day 9.  It doesn't look as shiny and glittery as it really is.

The dark looking things on the canvas is actually gold glitter, but in the lighting it seems to look like it's dirty. Lol!  The colors are a bit off too, but it's pretty close.

I thought I was going to have two done today, until my second one had to be partially redone, so maybe better luck tomorrow.

Tools Used:
2" x 3" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma Archival ink

Thank you for visiting and as always ......


Thursday, September 7, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 7

I definitely need to practice this lettering. I don't have a steady hand apparently, but then again writing on canvas - especially with glitter in the paint - is not easy. Well, I am just learning this hand lettering after all. I have a lot to learn. Learning something new during the 30-in-30 challenge gives me a really good opportunity to do a lot of practicing. By the time I reach day 30 I should be a bit better, don't you think? At least miniature canvases are not too expensive. Lol!

I used a musical scale to the right because "joy" makes me think of singing.

Tools used:
2" x 4" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma archival ink

NOTE: The colors are much richer and a bit darker in real life. My photos seem to be failing me lately.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 6

Good day everyone!!!  Here is the post for day 6 of the challenge. It's a bit simple. I did not have time to put letters or words on it yet, so this is all I have for today. I'll fix it up at a later date.  Hope this will be okay for now.

Again, sorry for the glare on the canvas. I have to take these photos at night and with the glitter, etc., it's hard to avoid the glare completely.

Tools used:
2.75" x 2.75" Canvas
Acrylic paint

And as always...........   HAPPY ARTING EVERYONE!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 5

Day 5 painting for the 30-in-30 challenge. This one was not the easiest painting to do. I kept doing it over and over.  Here is what I ended up with.  Sorry for the glare on the painting.

Day 5

2"x4" canvas
Acrylic Paint
Pigma Archival Ink

Monday, September 4, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day four

Woot! Four miniature pictures done, 26 more to do.  Here's another piece of hand lettering.

I hope some of you are also taking part in the challenge. If not, well, I hope you are at least creating a little something everyday to keep your creative juices flowing.

Can't wait to see what I will do for tomorrow. Even I don't know .... yet.

Tools Used:
Acrylic Paint
Pigma Archival Ink
2"x2" stretched canvas

And as always ...


Sunday, September 3, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Day 3

Here is my day 3 post for this month's challenge. You can actually see the glitter this time.

I think I'll be starting to do full names and maybe make them more illustrative.  Still having fun, though, experimenting with all this!

Acrylic paint
Pigma Archival Ink
2"x2" Stretched Canvas

Hope you're enjoying this challenge as much as I am!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - Second Day

Here comes day two of the 30-in-30 challenge!

Day 2 of the 30-in-30  Challenge

Today is a much simpler little canvas. Very basic.

3"x3" canvas
Acrylic paint
Pigma Archival Ink
Sharpie Gold Metallic Pen

Tomorrow gets a little fancier, be sure not to miss it!

And as always, Keep on Arting!!!

Friday, September 1, 2017

30-in-30 Challenge - First Day!

Okay folks, this is the first day of the 30-in-30 challenge! For those of you who are reading about this for the first time, the month of September is a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. In this case, however, I am including clay creations as well, that is small ones that can be done in a day; like jewelry, small statues, etc. Afterall, that IS art is it not? For the rules, please refer to this article explaining everything.

So, one of the suggestions I made to everyone was to come up with a theme for the month, which can make creating so many pieces of art in such a short time a little bit easier.  My theme is something different for me: hand lettering.  I started doing this (not knowing it was a thing called "hand lettering" at the time) last Christmas when I came up with the idea of creating miniature canvases to be used as gift tags with peoples names on them.  The idea went over well with the recipients so I've decided to do it again this year.  For this month, however, since I work so much outside of my home, I am making it a bit easier on myself by doing some "hand lettering", i.e. fancy letters often times accompanied with a picture or illustration. So, some days will just be a letter, some days a whole word or name, and maybe some days something else entirely. So yes, I am winging it.

 Last year I focused more on the background and just wrote the letters out as stylistically as I could. This time I have done some research on hand lettering and have practiced a wee bit ahead of time.  Hopefully it will all turn out all right in the end. This way of doing fancy letters is totally new to me, so let's just see where it leads me.

Posted at the beginning of this article is my first miniature canvas for the month. As you can see, I am not going in order of the alphabet. Again, winging it. I may not even do all of the alphabet, who knows? This was made on a 3"x3" miniature canvas with an acrylic background and Pigma Micron archival ink. I added quite a bit of glitter to the acrylic paint so it was rough going to use the pen over it to make the letter and dots. Lots of fun to make, simple and fairly quick.

I hope you enjoy this month of art, but I hope even more that some of you will join in with me!

And be sure to check out Leslie's 30-in-30 blog, which is the group I have joined in this challenge. So I will be posting my work here, and I invite any else who wants to join in to post theirs here as well. I will also be posting my painting each day over on Leslie's blog as well, and I will try to remember to include my facebook art page too.

Please enjoy and feel free to add your comments. After this month is over, I hope to go back to adding more drawing lessons to this page as I had been doing in the past. So be sure to come back in October to check them out!

As always .........

~ Happy Arting!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Join Me in the 30-In-30 Day Challenge, Sept. 1, 2017!!!

All right, here is the official announcement of the 30-in-30 Challenge starting on Sept. 1, 2017!  I am joining Leslie Saeta in her challenge and I hope to bring as many of you guys with me as possible! Leslie is co-host of Artist's Helping Artists Art blog talk radio show; a terrific art show where you will learn a ton of things concerning art! 

Please register, read the instructions and make sure you plant your flag on the map, then be ready to start posting your artwork on Sept. 1st.  For those of you who decide to join me, please leave me a message here and then be sure to post or at the least tag me in all your posts so I don't miss them and I can comment and share them.

I am adding to the instructions that you can also create a drawing as well as small pieces of clay as long as a complete piece you create in one day.  Please don't post previously made artwork. This is a challenge for us to create right here and now everyday for 30 days.

So let's have fun together in this 30-day adventure! Go to the link here to Leslie's 30-in-30 blog.   Ignore the fact that it says January 2017. I don't know why it is saying that. Just click on the link and it will take you to the blog for the newest challenge, Sept. 1, 2017.

~ And as always, HAPPY ARTING!!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Oil Rub Experiment with Colored Pencils

This past week I heard about an illustrator who uses oil rubs for her backgrounds for some of her illustrations. It sounded like an interesting idea and I thought I would give it a try. So, this weekend I did an oil rub on three 6" x 6" canvas panels with three different colors, waited for them to dry, then drew an outline on two of them and started working on one. I was determined to complete one of them this weekend, and complete it I did.

So, what is an oil rub? It is oil pigment rubbed into your support until it doesn't wipe off anymore, so it ends up being a light layer of oil pigment on the support. For the painting I completed, I started off with Winsor & Newton's Artist's Oil Colors Olive Green, but I really did not like the way it looked. I went over it with Lukas Studio Earth Green and left it at that.

Oil Rubbed Canvas Panels

So, I decided to work on the green canvas, and I drew a very simple picture (an unusual one for me) and went to work. I used Prismacolor colored pencils for their buttery soft, waxy quality, plus a Luminance white pencil.  Polychromos pencils are far too hard to be used on a canvas panel.  Because of the very rough texture I could only get so much detail. All of you know I love details, but I also know it is impossible on canvas with colored pencils. I will be trying this experiment on paper as well.  I used bristle and stencil brushes to blend, with sizes varying from very tiny to a 6 flat.

This is where I ran into trouble. I had started working on the little designs with the shoe before painting the shoe itself. That was a mistake because when I blended, colors ran together and I ended up with an odd color on the shoe. You can't erase colored pencils on canvas panel, so I took my exacto knife and scraped the pigment off. The part of the shoe with faint color on it is where I scraped the color off, then started again doing it in the correct order and being more careful.

This is where I ended today. The only thing missing is the final shading on the front shoe and the little gold spots within the black marks, also on the front shoe.  

All in all, working on canvas panel with colored pencils is difficult and a bit loose for me. I have worked on plain canvas with ink washes, sizing it myself, and using colored pencils on top of the ink and that was fun! But I'm not entirely keen on working on canvas panel again with pencils.  The oil rub was interesting though. Can't wait to try it on paper as well and see if I can get as good a result as the illustrator I mentioned. 

Happy Arting Everyone!!

Photo credit: Janet Herman, Photos for Artists, Facebook
Podcast I heard the illustrator  talking about the oil rub: "Colored Pencil Podcast;" new shows post every Monday. You can check it out at 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Journey to Using Pastelbord With Colored Pencils

Jessica  -  8"x 10"

It occurred to me recently that I don't think I have ever explained why I love Pastelbord and why it is my favorite surface. SO I thought  I'd take the time to talk about it now and show ya'll the paintings I've done on Pastelbord.

It all started when I lived in Shiloh, North Carolina out by the outer banks. It is very hot and humid out there and we did not have air conditioning. Yes, I did say NO AC! It was my husband's house of 30 or so years and we moved into it our second year of marriage, after my son graduated high school. I initially worked on paper, mostly Colourfix paper by Art Spectrum (which, by the way, is STILL a favorite of mine!). In the winter it wasn't so bad working on paper, but once winter was over, I discovered I couldn't do it. Heat and humidity do terrible things to paper, and I certainly couldn't sell any of the artwork done on paper in that humidity. I had to come up with a new plan.

I did some work on wood. One was a squirrel that by brother claimed right after I finished it and he still has it displayed in his living room. I don't have any pictures of it, but maybe I can go by his house and take a quick photo to show you.Working on wood takes a certain technique, and while I like the look of it, it wasn't how I wanted to do most of my work. So I searched for more options.

Pinky & Rosie  -  6" x 12"

Illustration board wouldn't work because ultimately it is still paper and thus would still get ruined. I tried canvas board and although one painting I did on that surface sold quickly, it was not the surface I wanted to do the bulk of my work on.

Equine Bling - 8"x10"
THEN, I found Pastelbord! I don't remember how I came up with the idea, but I had bought a 5" x 7" board to try my pastels on and since I like to use pastel surfaces for my pencils, I decided to give it a try. I immediately fell in love with it.  I still had to experiment to come up with a technique for this new surface, and find it I did.

I was looking for a way to blend my layers of pigment that would give me that smooth painted look I loved, and one day I just grabbed a bristle stencil brush and started brushing my pencil pigment. It worked perfectly! From then on, my technique was to lay down several layers of pigment (minimum of four) then blend with a bristle brush until all the colors blended together. Then I'd lay down more pigment, then blend, etc., until I got the look I wanted for that painting. It's really much like
Golden Retriever - 5"x7"
the way I work on Art Spectrum's Colourfix paper. When I'd finish a painting I would spray it with several layers of varnish and it truly looked just like it was done in acrylics or oils. Everyone who ever saw these paintings were shocked to find out they were done in colored pencils, and Prismacolors are the perfect buttery smooth, wax based, pigment rich colored pencils to use on it too!

Now I had found a surface that was literally impermeable to heat and humidity! I could work on it year round if I wanted to and did not have to worry about it getting ruined. When I needed to stock up on pastelbords, I usually did so in November when Jerry's Artarama had their yearly trade show in Raleigh, NC. I would call Ampersand and tell them what sizes and colors of pastelbord I wanted to purchase at the show and they would pack them up and bring them to the show for me. I did this because I liked to get the off sizes that many stores, Jerry's included, did not typically carry. Sizes like 6" x 12" and 14" x 18". Ampersand is a great company by the way! Texas based, fantastic products, and super customer service! I highly recommend them.

Study In White  - 5" x 7"

So, that is my story of how I came to use Pastelbord for my colored pencils  artwork and how it came to be my favorite surface to work on. If you have any questions I would be most happy to answer them.

Until next time, Happy Arting!! 



Elegance  -  8" x 10"

NOTE: All paintings seen on this article were done on Pastelbord.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge in September

I have a new challenge for y'all. On September 1st I will be taking part in a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge with Leslie Saeter and her blog followers. Leslie is a blog talk radio show host for  "Artists Helping Artists." Leslie is from Artist's Helping Artist's blog talk radio show. You should go check it out. It's a great show and I have found it to be very inspiring and helpful as an artist. I would like to invite all of you artists out there to join me in this challenge and we can do it together, supporting each other each day. There is a great deal that we all will learn from this challenge, and you won't be sorry for taking part in it.

For those of you who would like to take part in it but are concerned about the time involved, let me relieve you of those worries and explain it it a bit more. The 30-in-30 Challenge is where you paint/draw a picture everyday and post it online. The main purpose is to get the artist in their studio/work table and get them creating everyday. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

First, you can do some of your work ahead of time to help you out with your time crunch. If you work full-time like I do, that is a serious issue. I am planing and designing my pictures ahead of time. It saves a ton of time.

Second, you don't have to post something everyday. The purpose of the challenge is to try to get you into your studio and creating everyday. It's not meant to consume your day. It's perfectly understandable if you miss some days. At least you are trying and doing as much as you can. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Third, best thing to do is work small. Helps with the time factor and can help you not feel so anxious about doing your art. Small is good. I plan on working in miniature size, 2" x 2" and 3" x 3", but 5" x 7" is great as well. Maybe 8" x 10" works better for you. Just pick a size that is easy and quick for you to do.

Fourth, you might want to pick a theme. It usually helps you to plan and design more quickly. Also, pick a theme that excites you. One that you love. This could also be a time to try something fairly new, to allow you to experiment with technique, size, and color without worrying about every little detail or worry that it won't turn out all right.

So, if you decide to join me, and I hope you do, just reply to this post telling me you want to take part. Then be sure to post your painting/drawing, whatever you have decided to do, on your blog or facebook page and if you could, tag me please or at the least drop me a message with a link letting me know so I don't miss any of your pictures!

So, please join me! It will be a fun time creating your art and supporting others in their challenges as well!. You have 30 days to plan and to purchase any supplies you may need. I will post more information and ideas in the days to come.

 Leslie Saeter Blog

 Artists Helping Artists

And as always..... HAPPY ARTING!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rembrandt - An Inspiration in Art

Recently I've been listening to an art radio station, which is also a podcast, called Artist's Helping Artists. I've been getting a lot of really good ideas from this show, and one of them got me to thinking about artists who inspire me and whom I admire.  So, I decided to write a few articles about these people in the hopes that maybe they will inspire you too.

The first artist is Rembrandt. He was born in 1606 in the Netherlands and died in 1669 at the young age of 63. He produced art in the realistic style, painting mostly Biblical scenes and portraits, though that did not make up all of his work. One of the techniques he used is called Chiaroscuro, which I find fascinating.

                                                  Rembrandt at 34

The chiaroscuro technique allows your subject to emerge from the shadows and into the light. It's all about high contrast and tonal effects. You can get an idea of what this technique is all about in my scratchboard piece "Into The Light."

                                 Into The Light - Nancy Pingree Hoover

In it you see Tooki, my senior citizen cat, just emerging out of the deep, dark shadows and into the sunlight. He was standing in the shadows on my bed in the early morning hours and slowly walked over to the window where the morning sun was shining brightly through and onto the bed. You see the front of his face brightly lit up by the sun, but the rest of his head and body fades little by little back into the shadows.

Chiaroscuro not only draws the audience's attention to the subject, but also helps an artist to model their subject and make it jump off the support due to the high contrast between the shadows and light. Done right, the subtle tonal changes, occasional hard edge of strong contrast along with a few disappearing edges and a bit of detail brings shape and depth to the subject giving it the effect of jumping off the support.

Rembrandt was a master at using this technique. Just look at one of Rembrandt's paintings, "Descent From The Cross."   

                                 Descent From The Cross - Rembrandt

In Rembrandt's painting, "Descent From The Cross," you notice the very dark, almost black sky forming the high contrast in the painting and setting the backdrop for the illuminated Christ and the man lowering Him down from the cross, most likely Joseph of Arimathea. Within the illumination you find areas of deep shadows that help model and shape the bodies. The dark contrast on the left side behind Christ dramatically draws attention to His brightly lit body. This painting is an excellent example of Chiaroscuro, and the dramatic effect such a painting can have on the viewer. 

I always loved the muted colors that Rembrandt seemed to like to use in his backgrounds, and I developed the same kind of background for a few of my portraits. However, I then learned that he really used some wonderful colors in his paintings, colors that were hidden by layers of varnish that had been put on his paintings year after year. So much so that it literally changed the color of his paintings making them look more muted. Nonetheless, I do like the look of a muted background for some portraits.

                               Fallen Soldier - Nancy Pingree Hoover

There are many other great qualities of Rembrandt's paintings, but I've only covered the ones that I like the most and have inspired me. Here are a few more paintings of his that I really like:

 Abraham and Son - Rembrandt 

                                      Apostle Paul - Rembrandt

   Next blog article I'm going to cover a current artist whom I admire a great deal and who's work inspires me continuously.