Sunday, May 26, 2019

Handmade Accordion Book With Etchings

Last fall my husband and I took a trip to Amsterdam Holland and I was really intrigued by the wonderful characteristics of the Amsterdam canal houses; colors, shapes and how many are leaning forward or against each other. It was explained to us that property is taxed on its width not height - thus the reason the houses are so narrow and so tall. We were also told that canal houses were built on swampy land along the canals many years ago. Time has passed and many are starting to sink into the wet land as well as their support beams are decaying causing them to begin to lean. We saw construction on many houses that foundations were being replaced and newer support beams were being added for support.

I took many photos of the different houses and returned home thinking of how I could create art  with images of these wonderful houses. I decided to create an accordion book illustrated with colored intaglio etchings. I enrolled in a solar plate etching class and created six etching plates from graphite drawings that I had done of the Amsterdam canal houses. I even added a car, mini bus and some bikes. I experimented by printing the plates with different colored inks and on different types of papers. I created some with  chine-collé rice papers (glued) onto the printmaking paper as I ran the etching through the press.

I took the finished prints and cut out the canal house shapes and hand colored some of the windows, door and facades of the houses for added interest. I then decided on an arrangement and glued the canal houses onto a house-shaped accordion paper. The top photo shows the many cutouts I worked with as I decided on a layout for the pages.

The final step was to create a "house" shaped box in which to fit the accordion book. I shaped and glued book board into the box and covered it with handmade book cloth. I added a little door knob to the box.

I worked on this project from January though April of this year. It took me a while to create and execute the concept but I really enjoyed it and probably have enough prints for another book. 

I hope you like it also! It will be part of my upcoming exhibit at the Providence Art Club, Providence, RI opening Sunday, June 2nd in the Castelnovo Gallery.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Handmade Books & Book Sculpture Exhibit

I'm really excited to be exhibiting just my handmade books and book sculptures in an exhibit titled Bound and Unbound at the Providence Art Club, Providence, Rhode Island from June 2-21, 2019. I have my own small exhibit upstairs in the Castelnovo Gallery, which is a small intimate space perfect for my books.

Other exhibiting artists are Marilyn Saabye and Roberta Segal in the Maxwell Mays Gallery and Donato Beauchaine and Lorraine Bromley in the Dodge House Gallery. It will be a lovely exhibit of all the different artworks!

Please join us Sunday, June 2 from 2-4 pm for the artist reception. I would love to hear comments and feedback on my book sculptures!

I named this book Inner Circle. I created it from a book I purchased in Prague that is in another language and I'm not quite sure what language. The shapes of the letters intrigued me to create a sculpture in which the type could still be read. I folded pages, punched large circles and added buttons to create this hanging sculpture. I had great fun creating it over the last several weeks. I hung it and added pieces and took away pieces until I liked the finished result. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

One Handmade Book & One Book Sculpture

Here is a book sculpture I created from this book on butterflies that I found in a used book store. I liked the large butterfly image on the cover of the book as well as the colorful illustrations of the butterflies inside of the book.

First step, I tore out all the pages containing the butterfly illustrations so I could use them later. Next I glued all the edges of the pages so they would form a "block". After the glue was dried, I cut out the inside of the book by cutting through all of the pages (as neatly as I could) with a sharp utility knife.

At this point I spent many hours cutting out all the butterflies with small scissors. I would do this in the evenings while watching TV to make the task more fun .... I started by inserting and gluing the edges of butterfly wings between pages of the book starting at the back and working forward. Butterflies in the center were glued to bits of paper to make them stand out. Finally my husband looked at the book and said "stop! you have enough butterflies in there." I was just having so much fun inserting more butterflies!

My final step was to create butterflies that would pop out when the book opened but would fold up when it was closed. I glued backing paper to folded butterflies in order to give them additional support and to allow me to glue a few together.

It takes patience and time to cut and glue. I had the idea when I started but the book just evolved as I began working on it!

This second creation is a handmade book in which the idea had been in my head for a long time. I was taking a handmade book making class at the Providence Art Club. We created several small handmade books and in the last few classes we created a box in which to hold our books.

I took the project one step further and decided to use my box in which to hold a handmade accordion book of my own and make it into a sculptural piece of art. I chose the theme of local birds partly because I had a beautiful nest I could add to the top of the box.

I drew the birds on tan toned drawing paper using only black and white watercolor pencils both dry and wet using a brush. I chose to create a variety of drawings of local birds, feathers and parts of nests.

The box I created is with book board and book cloth that I made myself. I spray painted parts of the birds nest on top with black and added the feather. The box opens and the accordion drawings of the birds fits inside when closed.

I am working toward my art exhibit featuring my handmade and upcycled book sculptures at the Providence Art Club opening Sunday, June 2, 2019.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Boys in Surf

I have finished this commission drawing of the little boys running in the ocean surf. I added the boys to the drawing focusing first on each piece of clothing, it's folds and highlights to make it look realistic and form around the contours of their bodies. The details in the bathing suits took a little bit of time to add – I didn't want it to be overly busy and detract from the picture so I kept the marks simple. Next I added their hair in various shades of light browns and finally the skin tones and shadows in the skin tones.

For skin tones, I used Prismacolor pinks, warm yellows, Pumpkin Orange,  Burnt Ochre, Imperial Violet and Luminance Manganese Violet & Ultramarine Violet. I wanted to create highlights and shadows on glowing skin, making it look realistic in flesh tones.

After I finished the boys I went back and adjusted the tones in the water, making some of the waves in the water darker. I added colors such as Prismacolor Clay Rose, Nectar and Burnt Ochre and the Luminance violets to the sanded area in the foreground. I burnished the sand and the waves with a bristle brush to smooth out texture.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Boys in Surf - Beginning

I have been asked to create a colored pencil commission piece of the two little brothers jumping into the surf at the beach. The reference photo is below and the top photo is step 1. The drawing is approximately 11x14" and I am working on Legion brand Stonehenge paper in Pearl Gray. I chose a neutral for the paper, I thought white might be too bright underneath for the boys' skin tones. The Pearl Gray will be a nice tone for under the waves and beach and I can add the amount of white on the foam that I wish. The paper is beautifully soft and builds layers of the pencil nicely.

My first step is created with Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Luminance and one of the new Derwent Lightfast pencils in Deep Blue. I received this pencil from the Colored Pencil Society of America convention in 2018, the color is perfect and I like that this pencil is lightfast. I may choose to add another brand of colored pencil also but these three are working fine for now.

The waves, the surf, reflections and beach are somewhat daunting so I decided to tackle them first before the figures. I have laid in colors and shapes first and will surely go back in and adjust contrast, tone and color. I will want the boys to be the main focus so I will have to be sure the water and surf doesn't overpower the figures.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Harmony, Colored Pencil

 I began  working on this piece back in the summer and posted the top image previously on my blog. While I was working on writing the colored pencil book, I was also learning or brushing up on the structures of artworks such as composition, design and color theory. I was intrigued to try working on some colored pencil drawing in harmonious colors. Harmonious or analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. I had taken this photo of cabbages growing several summers ago and was curious to give it a try using only harmonious colors – green – blue  violet. I began by layering colors to create a blue/violet underpainting. I added various greens over the blues and violets but not covering up all of the blues and violets or allowing them to show through layers of green.

I am thrilled to say this finished piece received a Merit Award in the Providence Art Club Winter Members' Exhibit going on through February 15, 2019. Approximately 175 pieces were submitted and only thirteen awards were given out so I consider myself very fortunate!

Scroll down to see the piece in various stages and also one photo of my color notes on the borders.  I layered Faber Castell Polychromos under and over Prismacolor and Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils. The Polychromos are a harder pencil and mix nicely with the softer Prismacolor and Luminance pencils. Polychromos will help to fill color so less of the paper will show through. I burnished with a bristle brush and also a Prismacolor colorless blender pencil. This drawing is on Strathmore Drawing paper.

I used a mixture of different brands of colored pencils: Prismacolor, Faber Castell Polychromos and Caran d'Ache Luminance and made color notes to choose colors and help me remember which colors I had used.

Monday, January 28, 2019

My Newest Book Sculptures

 I have been negligent about writing on my blog this past year. In May I was contacted by GMC Publications in London asking me to write a book on colored pencil for beginners. This book will consist of basic colored pencil information, step-by-step projects and a few focus features and should be published sometime by the end of 2019. In a period of six month, I have written all of the content, drawn all of the illustrations and diagrams which was quite a lot of work. But I was really excited to have been asked to write the book on colored pencil for GMC's fine art series of books! And will be more excited to see the finished project so bear with me as we are still in the editing phase.

Meanwhile ... I have also been working on a different sort of books ... recycled book sculptures.The top two photos are a sculpture (front and back) that I created from a sportfishing book I found in a flea market in Maine. I was intrigued by the illustrations of all of the different fish. I cut out fish from the pages and then folded the remaining pages and glued the fish back onto the sculpture with a few added extras including fishing line, netting, bobbers, flyfishing flies.

I am very excited because this book sculpture was accepted into the Newport Art Museum Annual Member Exhibit 2019. Only 90 entries were accepted out of 265 entered. The opening is Friday February 1 from 5-7 pm and I am excited to attend and see all of the works.

 This book sculpture is created from a book I found that is all about growing fruits in the garden. I liked the colorful illustrations of the different fruits. I cut out many of the fruit and leaves and folded the pages then glued the fruit back onto the pages.

I exhibited this book at Imago Gallery's Community Exhibit in January and was thrilled that it won a Recognition Award. 

 The two sculptures above, lady bugs and butterflies were created for two different ladies in memories of each one's mother. Every time Judy sees a lady bug it reminds her of her mother and every time Ann sees a butterfly it reminds her of her mother. These two books will be permanent memories to be displayed in their homes. Both the ladybugs and the butterflies were cut from book pages that I had watercolored in various colors. I added the black paper and cut out spots with a hole punch for the ladybugs. Some of the bugs and butterflies are suspended on wire and some are glued onto the pages.

If you look closely in this cabinet you will see my two masted sailing ship book sculpture (on the left). I created this book sculpture of a ship riding the waves and a whale diving into the waves. My customer who purchased the book sculpture is displaying it in this cabinet and I think it looks perfect with all of her lovely curios!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

One Day Colored Pencil Workshop

I am teaching a one day colored pencil and watercolor pencil workshop in Keene, New Hampshire on Saturday November 10, 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm. For more information, see the flyer below or the Monadnock Area Artists Association website.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Color Wheel and A Harmonious Color Drawing

 I have been looking at colors and color relationships and decided to do create a colored pencil color wheel. The colors in the outer ring are the 1) three complementary colors: red, yellow and blue, 2) three secondary colors: orange, green and violet, and 3) twelve tertiary colors: red orange, yellow orange, yellow green, blue green, blue violet and red violet.

The second ring of color is the tints of each color, this is white added to each color. The third ring of color is a layer of black pencil added to each color to create the shade. The inner ring of color is the mixture of each complementary which are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Mixing complementary colors creates colorful dark values.

I am working on a new drawing of cabbages in which I am using only analogous colors. Analogous colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. I am keeping my palette cool and working with colors on the color wheel between blue violet and green. I started with a blue violet to blue green underpainting and am working the green hues over the blue.

The initial drawing stage took quite a bit of time as I wanted to draw in each highlighted vein. I am striving for abstraction and movement in the veins and the overall piece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Exhibit at Gallery 175 Pawtucket, RI

Here are photos from our opening reception Sunday afternoon May 6, 2018.  Our exhibit is titled Three Draw and the following is the press release sent out by the gallery:

Gallery 175 will be showing artwork of three artists who use drawing to make highly creative visual statements. Drawing is often a tool used by artists to sketch or explore ideas that lead to finished works of art in another medium. But the drawings of Mary Dondero, Tatiana Flis, and Kendra Ferreira are developed as finished works of art that stand on their own.  Joan Hausrath, who curated the exhibit, selected the trio of artists based on their unique ways of working both technically and thematically. 

Mary Dondero’s drawings capture energy through gestural movements that convey a fundamental human quality that transforms feeling into meaning. Filling the field of her paper, Dondero choreographs a buildup of spontaneous marks into complex webs, tangles and patterns that connect with the viewer at a powerful, instinctual level.

Tatiana Flis, on-the-other-hand, draws delicate forms and images that explore relationships between the human psyche and moments of chaos, solitude, tension, excess and absence. Employing a surrealist language, she combines diverse imagery of the built and natural landscape in unlikely ways. The meshing of the fluidity of water media with the tightness of ruled architectonic forms hovering in empty spaces infuses her drawings with intrigue.

Skillfully working with colored pencils, Kendra Ferreira depicts ordinary subjects in focused, heighted and extraordinary ways. Colored pencils permit her to fuse the expressiveness of painting with the control of drawing, and by doing so, she is capable of conveying emotion, luminescence and compositional rhythms. Her drawings are bold and delicate, transparent and sturdy.

The public is invited to enjoy the art work at Gallery 175, located at 175 Main Street in downtown Pawtucket in the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center.  The gallery is open daily free to the public; the hours are 10 am to 4 pm.  

Pictured below are Joan Hausrath (gallery director) and the artists Mary Dondero, 
Tatiana Flies and myself.

Tatiana Flis graphite pencil and gouache works (above). 

Tatiana Flis and Kendra Ferreira works. 

Works by Mary Dondero
My artwork, shells and beach stones.

More works by Mary Dondero

My latest colored pencil work focusing on wrapped candy apples.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Watercolor Workshop

I haven't worked in watercolor for a while but here in Florida a watercolor workshop at the Society of Four Arts caught my eye. It was being taught at the Society of Four Arts by master watercolorist Sue Archer. The description intrigued me as it was for advanced artists and focused on color theory, composition and design. Feeling like I could use a "tune-up" or refresher in these areas, I signed up for the workshop and was not disappointed. The workshop consisted of five intense days of lectures, demos and working on our own exercises and watercolor compositions. I found myself coming early and leaving late because I was so inspired to work and mingle with the other participants. 

We worked using a limited palette of transparent or granulating colors only. The colors I used were: Hansa Yellow, New Gamboge, Quinacridone Red, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Manganese Violet, Cobalt Blue, Indanthrone Blue and Sap Green.

Here are some of my studies done in class. The top image are three simple (or not so simple) value patterns using three values only to merge shapes together. We then picked the value study we felt was most successful and added color in the fourth block.

Just below, we chose two white objects and set them up in order to see light and cast shadow. My first piece was worked in values of gray only. I went back in afterward and added some areas of reflected light in various grays. The lower piece is the same principle only using wet-on-wet technique with Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue and Manganese Violet to create colorful shadows. Afterwards we created rich darks in a wet on wet background. 

The bottom six small paintings are wet on wet watercolor skies using transparent and granulating washes. I later took the next step and added a horizon and more detail to the washes. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Garden of Dreams

This is my reference photo (above) for my colored pencil drawing. I saw this photo of a friend's baby boy, Julian, on social media and just loved the cozy wrapped baby against the colorful background quilt. I loved the sweetness of the little face and wondered if I could incorporate the background pattern onto the baby's blanket sleeper. This has been a work in progress for the past six months, working on it slowly and developing my idea. The images are taken on my iPhone at different times so there is discrepancy in colors and tones. 

I drew out the baby but have to admit, I transferred the quilt pattern onto my Stonehenge drawing paper because I just didn't feel like free handing all those designs. I began with some underpainting of color on the baby's skin. I used Prismacolor and Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils choosing a blue, a green and a pink and now I don't recall exactly which pencils I used. 

I went on to develop more of the baby's face with some pinks, yellows and Prismacolor Burnt Ochre.  I also began incorporating I began some contrast on the baby's sleeper with green, blue, Black Grape then began adding warm yellows (above and below photos). 
I kind of like the beginning photo as it is (above).

I added colors to the baby's face and sleeper bringing the baby almost to completion and then began working on the designs and quilt itself. I added shadowing in blue and violet beneath the baby.

Next I began to gently incorporate the design from the quilt into the baby's sleeper one element at a time to make it work. I am also adding more shadow and color to the baby's sleeper and 

Here I continued to add the pattern softly onto the baby and softened the dark shadows and folds on the quilt, I found them somewhat distracting. I like my result of the sleeping baby wrapped in a garden of little dreams!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Demo at Francesca Anderson Gallery

On Sunday March 18, I gave a hands-on demo and drawing class at Francesca Anderson Fine Art Gallery in Lexington, MA in conjunction with our 19 on Paper exhibit at the Gallery. Eight participants from the area signed up and came to learn more about colored pencil.

I began by talking about materials: I began with the different brands of colored pencils and their qualities when used individually or together. Next I talked about different methods of erasing, pencil sharpeners, colorless blenders and other means of blending and burnishing. We moved on to talk about various surfaces; paper sanded and boards. As students began to understand the medium and how it can be applied on different surfaces, we then talked about combining different mediums and using other materials such as solvent with colored pencil.

For the second hour I invited the students to try different pencils on some different samples of surfaces I had brought with me. I had brought small items they could draw such as my pears, shells and small ceramic bottles. One lady showed us her colored pencil sketchbook and the more abstract drawings that she likes to create.

It was a fun and rewarding day for me as an instructor, I enjoy introducing the medium to new people and encouraging them to try it. Francesca Anderson has a fantastic gallery with many talented artists and beautiful works of art. I encourage anyone in the area to visit the gallery, enjoy the art and definitely be inspired.