Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mural Repair Work

I was asked to repair a mural that was painted in a clients' home, the signature at the bottom noted it was painted around 1952 or 1953 and hadn't been touched since then. The paint had begun to chip and flake off in several different areas and the owners were hoping it could be repaired. I've painted a few murals but am not versed in the best way to repair chipped paint so I conferred with a fellow artist, experienced in mural painting and received suggestions on how to proceed. First step was to carefully wash the entire mural surface and there was a layer of a grimy substance especially near the top which had most likely developed over the years.

Next I sanded off the areas that were flaking, which subsequently lead to more flaking paint as I sanded so I needed to be extra careful not to disturb more paint. For sanding, I used very fine sandpaper, 320 grit. Pictured below are the several problem areas.

Once the areas were sanded and clean, I sealed and preserved them with a layer of Liquitex Matte Varnish, to stop any more flaking and preserve the surface to be painted. Once the varnish was dry, my task was to mix the correct colors and touch up the chipped areas. I used several brands of acrylic paints and added Golden Molding Paste added to some of the raised areas to create texture.

This is the finished piece, repainted areas and a coat of Liquitex Matte Varnish applied to the entire mural to seal and protect it for future years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Colored Pencil Talk in Jamestown, RI

Tomorrow evening I will be speaking about the fine art of colored pencil drawing and demonstrating colored pencil techniques in Jamestown, RI. The presentation is free and open to the public, everyone is invited. All information is on the flyer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Commission Work

I have been working on this colored pencil drawing of a bouquet of roses for a customer. She sent me photos of the roses and I chose the reference photo (top) which was the best to work from. I added three more roses to fill out the composition and make it more interesting. The middle photo is the drawing in progress. I worked this on Honeysuckle (?) Canson Mi Tientes paper, size of drawing is 7.5x10.5" The Mi Tientes paper is quite textured so I used the harder Faber Castell Polychromos pencils on top of Prismacolor Pencils to burnish or fill in space. 

The bottom is the finished piece, loosely drew the bottom area to blend and abstract the stems and leaves allowing the roses to be the focal points. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Exhibit at Providence Art Club

 I've been a bit negligent with posting on my blog. I've been working towards an exhibit at the Providence Art Club in Rhode Island with fellow artist and oil painter Jeanne Sturim. Here are photos from the opening reception.

My 2D work is all colored pencil. I have also been upcycling old books into folded and embellished book sculptures, the book sculpture with the origami stars is my newest. I also have created three handmade books, my latest is a star book titled The Meaning of Koi and themed around koi fish and their environment (second to the last photo).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Image Transfer with Gesso

 Here is another type of image transfer I have been experimenting with. I begin with a black and white image reversed and printed out on my laser printer, this can be a photo or a line drawing scanned into the computer. I have brushed a generous layer of gesso on top of my 6x6" Ampersand Claybord and I lay my printed image face down on the gesso. I gently roll the back of the image with a (Speedball) breyer to adhere the paper to the gesso, evenly covering all edges and allow the gesso to dry overnight. For more in depth instructions, see Dana Brown's demo on the Ampersand Art website.

When the gesso is dry, I add a little water to the back of the paper and gently rub with my fingers. Layers of the paper will come off leaving the black and white image on the gessoed Claybord surface.  This process takes a while and you must be patient and remove the paper gently as to not remove the image itself. As you see in the photo, I work small parts of the image at a time and brush off the paper flakes with a soft brush.

 Here is my image with some texture from the gesso, it creates a unique surface in which to add color with colored pencils or watercolor pencils. The gesso alone is a bit slick and won't take colored pencil but the image itself will hold the waxy pencil.

These are my nine 6x6" cradled Claybord panels that will hang together as a series. The seaweed, the nautilus shell and the sea urchin are gesso transfers and the other six are image transfers with CitraSolv as explained in my last blog entry.

I like both of these methods as a quick alternative to detailed line drawings as a base for color. I will varnish these pieces and they will hang just as they are shown here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Image Transfer with CitraSolv

 I'm working on a series of nine 6x6" ocean themed images to be hung together in a series. For the supports I am using Ampersand Claybord blocks (3/4" cradled). Instead of a drawing on each 6x6" piece, I am using image transfer with CitraSolv and a second image transfer process with gesso.
For this blog entry, I will talk about the CitraSolv image transfer. To begin, I cut a piece of white drawing paper to 6 1/2 " square to allow for extra on the edges, here I used Strathmore 300 series Bristol paper, vellum finish. I also like to use Stonehenge drawing paper by Legion Paper Company.

I take the computer black and white image which I resize to 6 1/4" square and reverse it in Photoshop and print it out on my laser jet printer (won't work with inkjet). This piece is a photograph from a scuba diving trip I took. The photo had a intricate background that I didn't want so I hand cut around the image with scissors. Next I lay my reversed image on my square of paper and tape it on one side so it won't slip. I put a little Citrasolv in a container and brush it onto my reversed image to transfer the ink onto the Bristol paper. Careful not to get the brush too wet so it creates a puddle on the paper. I lightly burnish the image with a bone folder (the off-white tool on the right of the picture) to transfer the ink evenly.

 Here is the reversed image on the paper carefully transferred with the CitraSolv.

 When I take off the laser copy, here is my image transferred onto the Bristol paper and I can work directly on top with colored pencil. I want to warn anyone who tries this method: the CitraSolv does have a strong odor and it takes about an hour or more after the image is transferred to go away. Also, depending on how much CitraSolv is used, it could leave some wet spots on the paper so I will wait an hour or more to begin laying colored pencil on top.

Here is my finished drawing, hand colored with colored pencils. A quick way to skip the drawing process under the colored pencil! Plus you have somewhat of a value study underneath to help with values.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hide and Seek

I meant to take photos of this piece in progress but just kept working and now it's finished. I titled this drawing Hide and Seek because I felt stones were taking on a  life of their own by hiding behind others as I worked. I started by working from the left to right, stone by stone, shell by shell. I started by putting on the dark lines and markings of each stone's individual characteristics and letting one flow into the next. One big challenge was getting the shadows just right, in my photo they appeared much darker and overpowering (photos can do that). I used some Indigo, Black Grape, Dark Umber and Warm Gray 90%.

Creating the sand is also a challenge. Here are my scribbles on the side of the paper, these are all of the (Prismacolor) colors I used to make the sand and probably a few I didn't name.

I am also happy to announce that my piece Winter Glow received an honorable mention in CPSA's ArtSpectations Spring 2015 on line exhibit. Take a look at the link, there are some really nice colored pencil works for inspiration.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Newport Art Museum Class in Colored Pencil

Just a quick note to say my colored pencil drawing class starting Friday, February 20 9:30 am -12:30 pm (tomorrow) will be running. There are only three students signed up and space for more if any local prospective students are reading this! Here is a link to Newport Art Museum Coleman Center for more information.

The class runs for 5 weeks, Feb 20 - March 20: Fridays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Cost is $140/members and $165/non members.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

New Colored Pencil Work

On my drawing table, or rather on the kitchen table. I have been working on this new drawing of rocks and shells on the beach while spending time in Florida away from the cold. The piece is 14x18" on Stonehenge drawing paper. I started by laying in the sand and the shadows beneath the rocks. Sand is more difficult than I thought, I've layered many colors in an attempt to capture the colors and textures of the sand. I'm keeping the layers light because when I put colors and values on the rocks, I know I will have to adjust the values of the sand and shadows.

I am working rock by rock! It takes time and patience. I'm drawing in the marks on the rocks and then surface colors and textures. I keep adjusting sand, shadow and rocks themselves as I go along.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pet Portrait of Arnold

This is a pet portrait I just finished for a customer of a beloved dog, Arnold. This portrait is 8x10" and I worked on UArt 800 grit paper. I started out using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils because they aren't waxy and can be burnished/blended into the surface of the paper with a brush. The UArt paper is very textured so I like using the Polychromos pencils especially for the first layer because they become powdery and will blend right into the surface for me. After I have a good layer of color on the surface, I will continue using the Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils to layer color on the piece and render the fur and features. To finish, I sprayed a fixative over the piece and framed it under glass.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Metropolitan Art Museum

Today I spent four hours viewing art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I walked until my feet hurt and my brain was over stimulated from all of the diverse piece of art. This is the main gallery of the armor and weapons gallery. I wasn't planning to view any of this exhibit but wandered through the gallery and was amazed at the intricacy of the coats of armor, padding, helmets, etc; even for the horses. And the design of every piece was so complex, they should be in a museum (as they are) instead of on a battlefield.

Here is a section of the Met's Christmas Tree. I walked though this central gallery several times and each time, I could not get close to the front of the tree. There were so many people standing, viewing and taking photos. There were so many incredible artworks, below are just a few that interested me today.

 I was awed by this painting The Weeders by Jules Breton, I'm not sure my photo captures the light and the dusk, the figures are reflected in the orange glow from the setting sun while the crescent moon shines in the distance. I stood and stared for a long time, he captured the peasants pulling weeds with such emotion. 

This figure study by Manierre Dawson intrigued me, each figure is a series of shapes as well as the background. It creates an intricate design which interests me. 

Here is another realist painting by William Merritt Chase, serene beach scene with colorful umbrellas. The bright umbrellas fascinate me, pulled me right into the otherwise quiet painting.

This beautiful drawing is by a woman artist, Adelaide Labille-Guiard, titled Study of a Seated Woman Seen from Behind, it is black, red and white chalk on toned paper. It is very inspiring as I have been thinking quite a bit about creating a tonal drawing on toned paper. 

While I walked through the Met I looked at people as well as the art. I stood back at a distance and watched viewers behold the art and I was pleasantly surprised. There was a variety of ages; young to old and a variety of nationalities. Each person was quietly beholding the works of art, many were sitting on benches in the galleries and staring at pieces of art. As an artist I am really pleased to see art appreciated and valued in this way.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Student Work

I'm proud of my colored pencil students from my Newport Art Museum class who put work in the student exhibit at the museum's Coleman Center. The three pieces in which I've posted are also from three different lessons. Cindy's piece on the top is from our lesson that was drawing a variety of autumn leaves on colored paper. We used Canson Mi Tientes paper in which to work on.

The middle piece by Donna is from another lesson where we drew all white objects. The students had a set of 48 Prismacolor pencils in which to work and the 48 set contains only one or two grays so we mixed colors in order to achieve the values and color changes we needed.

The bottom piece is by Helen, our assignment was to work with colored pencil and odorless mineral spirits (solvent) on 5x7" Ampersand Pastelbord. I chose a simple still life of a few cherries on a colored surface so they could focus on the technique as well as the composition. Helen chose a fun frame for this piece also.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Oscar and Cooper Pet Portrait

This is the latest pet portrait I just finished for a woman in California who owns these two lovely cats, Oscar (left) and Cooper (right). I worked from a variety of individual photos she sent me of the cats to put them together in one 11x14" drawing (apparently these two aren't friends!). I could tell by her photos that Cooper likes to pose for the camera so he was easy to draw. I looked at several pictures of Oscar in order to get his face, body and coloring right. I drew this piece on Strathmore Artagain toned paper, in which I like the tones but the paper is very smooth and doesn't take enough layers of colored pencil. The piece is worked predominantly in Prismacolor pencil with a few Luminance added.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Student Work and Inspiration

I am teaching a colored pencil drawing class at the Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI and I thought I would share our lesson on Friday.  My students are beginners to working in colored pencil although most have taken other art classes and open to trying new techniques with colored pencil. For this class, I had them work on 5x7" Ampersand Gray Pastelbords using colored pencil and odorless Gamsol solvent. They each have a set of 48 Prismacolor pencils and we work within the colors contained in the box. I chose cherries as a subject for them and let each person choose the background. They each began by deciding on their composition and then sketching it out. Next adding a layer of colored pencil and working in the solvent with a brush, afterward adding more layers of colored pencil to the wet solvent and later more when the area had dried.

On Saturday I went up to Boston with a friend to visit the Richard Schmid, Nancy Guzik and Kathey Anderson oil exhibit at the St Botolph Club and the Boston Fine Arts Expo. Besides being back in my old Copley Square neighborhood from my college days, I really enjoyed and was inspired by all the wonderful art at both events and the American Art Collector magazine I picked up on the way out. Although, there are mostly oils at the Fine Arts Expo, there were some pastels and watercolors but a very few drawings and no colored pencil. Much of the work was from the 19th and early 20th centuries, although some contemporary artists mixed in. Still inspiring but got me thinking how can professional colored pencil works become included?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Two Pet Portraits and an Award

These are two 8x10" commissioned pet portraits that I just finished, Bella is on the top and Ruby is below. Both are worked on Ampersand Pastelbord, Bella is on Sand Pastelbord and Ruby is on white Pastelbord tinted with brown tones of watercolor. Both pieces are worked in colored pencil. I have added odorless mineral spirits to the colored pencil to smooth out the texture in the background to compliment the fur textures of the dogs.

I am very excited because my colored pencil piece Seafoam has won the Frank C. Wright Medal of Honor Plus award in the American Artist Professional League's 86th Grand National Exhibition. I was honored to have been accepted to this wonderful exhibition shown at the Salmagundi Club in NYC, now I am doubly honored to have won this award. Seafoam is 16x18" colored pencil on rag illustration board.