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.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Colored Pencil Classes

I'm teaching one Colored Pencil Drawing class right now at Newport Art Museum in Newport, RI. Below are two of the class drawing assignments. We are using the Prismacolor 48 pencil set which limits the color range and is forcing us to mix colors to achieve a local color or value we may not have a pencil for. Below are my examples as I draw along with the class.

Drew autumn leaves on a colored background, using Canson Mi Tientes paper. Here I am allowing some of the yellow tones to show through my leaves and using limited colors. I haven't done much layering, just juxtaposing colors by laying them side by side.

This class assignment was to draw white objects on a blue gray background, also Canson Mi Tientes paper. It was a bit more challenging because the easiest thing to do would be to reach for a set of gray valued pencils to render a white object. We were  forced to create colorful grays with the pencils we had in our Prismacolor 48 color set. This is my small drawing of a milk carton and the colors I used along the bottom. For the lightest values I used White, Cream, Gingeroot and Light Cerulean Blue. Medium values I used  are Yellow Ochre and True Blue. For the darker values I used Burnt Ochre and Peacock Blue and for the darkest areas of value I used Indigo Blue.

All of these colors except Light Cerulean Blue are warm colors which worked well together, I chose Light Cerulean Blue because I needed a light blue value, but used it very lightly so it wouldn't stand out against the warm colors. The blue shades and yellow/orange/brown shades are complementaries and I layered to create colorful grays for the different values.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Invitational Pastel Exhibit

 Key Largo Palms

 Scarlet Vista

 Torreone Village, Tuscany

Cortona Hillside, Tuscany

Here are my four pastels that I have put into the invitational pastel exhibit at Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, Rhode Island. The top two abstracts were started in a workshop with Casey Klahn through the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod last October 2013. I had tucked them away and enjoyed completing them just recently. Casey challenged the class to work abstractly and in shapes and to sometimes change from using local colors.

The second two pastels were painted plein aire while in Tuscany, and also finished in the studio. I've learned to make good color notes because when I come back to the studio and try to finish from a photo, the colors and values have changed from working on location.

The exhibit is on through the month of November and includes nine other pastel artists: Rick Cardoza, Shelly Eager,  Sarah Fielding-Gunn, Janet Gendreau, Diane L’Heureux, Priscilla Malone, Kelly Milukas, Evelyn Rhodes, and Jeanne Tangney.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Works on Paper at South Shore Art Center

My book sculpture Homage to Aunt Helen was accepted into Works on Paper at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA. The exhibit runs from October 24 through December 21 with an opening reception Friday, October 24 from 6-8 pm. Only 100 entries out of 800 were accepted so I was thrilled to have gotten into the exhibit, I also am fortunate to have won an Honorable Mention in the exhibit.

Also on display until October 19 is a wonderful printmaking exhibit with some fine examples of different types and combinations of different types of printmaking.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Plein Air Pastel

My husband and I rented a villa in Tuscany and I brought along my pastel box and my pochade box which took up almost my entire suitcase. My thought is if I took the time to bring my supplies, it would force me to get outside and do some sketching in pastel. We stayed in Cortona, coincidentally right next door to Bramasole, the Under the Tuscan Sun house. Our villa was on a hillside with beautiful views so I didn't have to go far to find a nice spot for inspiring views. I was nervous because I hadn't picked up my pastels in almost a year. The last time I worked in pastel was last October, Columbus Day weekend when I took a wonderful workshop with Casey Klahn. The day that the workshop ended, my dad became ill, went into the hospital and he died a few days later. This has been a tumultuous year trying to settle his estate plus the normal grieving process.

So .... happily, but nervously I picked up my pastels in Italy and started working. The top photo is how I like to start my pastel pieces, just large shapes and a watercolor under painting. This piece ended up somewhat of a disaster and was wiped off the board a day later.

This is actually my third piece, which was right across the street from our villa. I stood on the side of the road and looked down into the valley. My photo doesn't show too many variations in the landscape but there were many shapes of trees and shades of green. The larger house on the left is owned by a watercolor artist who was teaching a class while I was drawing her house. It was too far away to see, I learned this when she walked up the hill and talked to me later on. Her students were looking at me in binoculars because they thought I was one of their artist friends!

This piece needs a little more work so I am finishing it in my studio.

This is my second piece. This little corner "village" is called Torreone. I was standing up the hill in the church yard and sketching the cafe down the street. My camera made the cafe look farther away than it actually is. The owner of the cafe walked up the hill to look at the drawing and he liked it very much. He didn't speak English and I don't speak Italian so we couldn't really converse. But he kept saying "bella, bella" meaning he liked the drawing and then said he wanted to pay me. My husband can speak some Italian and helped me negotiate the sale with the cafe owner. I am really excited to have sold a piece of art in Italy!