Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Newport Art Museum Tiny Tours Feature

I posted and wrote about my handmade book Amsterdam earlier in the year (blog link here) when it was accepted into the Newport Art Museum Annual Juried Member Exhibit in January. Unfortunately, the exhibition was unable to be viewed when the Art Museum closed for several months due to Covid. So the folks at Newport Art Museum created what they called Tiny Tours, one for each exhibiting artist in the exhibit. Each Tiny Tour is a narrated and recorded video so folks could still view and enjoy all of the artwork on-line on Vimeo. NAM is also using these videos as teaching and learning resources for students. I am really thrilled to be a part of this sampling or artworks!

I am sharing a link to the tours here, scroll down to find my tour. Hope you enjoy viewing them:

Newport Art Museum Tiny Tours

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Balancing My Tea Cups

I haven't been writing on my blog too much lately and mainly because I have been working on my colored pencil drawings and a few other things. Since the Covid began and I found myself spending more time in the studio, I decided to work on a series of drawings using tea cups as my subjects. I am working these drawings where I am stacking tea cups and also another group of drawings where tea cups are reflecting polka dots, linking to a previous post here.

Many of these tea cups belonged to my (late) mother in law who had them displayed on a shelf in her dining room but later on dismantled the display and gave me the cups. I kept them wrapped and tucked away for many years with thoughts of drawing them in colored pencil. My favorite is the Dragon Tea Cup which is at the very top of the above drawing. Over the years I have collected several others including the colorful bull (just below) from Barcelona Spain and the butterfly cup sent to me by a favorite cousin. 

The first drawing A Fresh Start (19x11") was accepted into the Colored Pencil Society of America's 28th Annual International Exhibition (click on the link to see some incredible colored pencil artworks) and sold shortly after the exhibition came on-line. The second drawing (below) Precarious Balance (18x10") was shown at the Providence Art Club Fall Member Exhibit. 

Both drawings were worked on Strathmore Series 500 Illustration board using a mixture Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Luminance and Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils. The Polychromos are a harder pencil and good for rendering smooth glassy surfaces by filling in the paper's "tooth". Prismacolor and Luminance have such rich color, Luminance being more fade resistant so I tend to use them more. 

Here I go again with a third drawing. This time I attempted to stack nine tea cups and photograph the stack. I use my hot glue gun and fishing line to hold the stack of cups in place. I glued the spools of thread between cups in order to give each one the correct height. As you can see, this group tumbled and I had to superglue one tea cup back together. As I draw, I work from my photos and shortened stacks of two or three cups to get perspective, color and shading. 

This is a quick photo of my start for this drawing, beginning with the top cups. I draw the design and shading on each but I will go back later to adjust and evaluate each cup before the drawing is finished. For this drawing I decided to try Arches Aquarelle Hot Press Watercolor Paper to see how it would compare to the Strathmore Illustration board. 


Monday, September 28, 2020

I am a Contributing Author of this New Book!

I was very excited when asked by GMC Publications to be included in the newly published Painting & Drawing Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner book. Some of my tutorials and lessons from my previous colored pencil book have been included with the works of five additional artist authors Paul Clark, Adrian Burrows, Noman Long and Richard Rochester

This book includes some really good information with beautiful illustrations and easy to follow steps about how to draw in charcoal and pencil, and how to paint in watercolor, acrylic and oil painting. It is a great resource for artists who wish to learn about these different mediums from supplies to lessons and it's all included in one book. 

This book is available through at this link.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Colored Pencil Shell Study on Wood Panel

I drew this colored pencil piece on an 8x10" Blick Studio Wood Panel  with a 7/8" thickness. I like the smooth surface of the wood and it does not have to be sanded or primed to accept colored pencil. I selected three shells with different shapes and colors and decided how to arrange them on the surface. It took a little bit of figuring how I wanted them to look compositionally. 

First I drew the outlines with lead pencil and added some of the details to help me when adding color. I used Caran d'Ache Luminance and Prismacolor colored pencils to create this piece. The wood is soft so a softer pencil works really well on the surface. I was also able to build up layers easily. 

My drawing kind of evolved, I intertwined the shells and later put in a soft background suggesting sand and sky. 

The fixative/varnish is a three-part process. First I spray the drawing with Krylon UV Resistant Clear, two coats letting the first dry for 15 minutes. Secondly I spray the drawing with two coats of Krylon Kamar Varnish letting each dry for about 30 minutes in between. You may stop here and perhaps spray one more coat. I like a glossier finish so I add a third step. that is to apply Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS. I mix one part varnish with two parts of water to thin the varnish so it can be easily brushed on with a soft bristle brush. I work in one direction when brushing on varnish and let it sit for about two hours until completely dry before adding another layer. The layers are thin and I keep adding additional layers until I like the shine. This drawing probably has about 8 layers of the polymer varnish. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Studio!

I had to take a little break from creating art because we moved in June into a wonderful new house and I am even more excited because I was also able to move my art studio back and right in the lower level of our house. I have two big rooms and a covered patio outside. In the past two months, walls have been painted, cabinets and shelves installed and I have bright new lighting. I also have an inspiring view of the water and lots of inspiration in our yard. I'm hoping to offer small group art classes in the near future while still being careful during Covid.

Our dog Bandit is still a little unsure of the new space, I think he misses the old studio and seeing the other artists!


Other sources of inspiration - we have a koi pond and lots of colorful plants and flowers!

Monday, August 24, 2020

One Week Remaining to See My Exhibit

I am exhibiting artwork and illustrations at the Barrington Library in conjunction with my Colour-Pencil Drawing book through the month of August. The library is open and limiting capacity of guests. Please wear your mask and practice social distancing while viewing the exhibit. 

Hope you are able to see the exhibit and enjoy it!


Monday, May 11, 2020

Reflected Dots - Colored Pencil

At my studio and wondering what to draw next. I really had fun with the tea cups and polka dots that I finished recently and posted here on my blog so decided to try another. I put a few reflective and shiny objects together for a small still life and positioned everything to reflect the dots over and over. I thought the green leaves and organic shapes were a good contrast to the other objects.

I am working on UArt 800 grit paper and my own reference photo (see bottom) as well as working from the objects themselves. I started by layering Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and blending them into the surface with a bristle brush. The Polychromos are an oil based pencil so less waxy and blend better as the surface layer. As I continue to add color, I will use Prismacolor Premier Soft Core colored pencils and Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils along with the Polychromos. Both Prismacolor and Luminance are waxy and build strong color as they are layered.

This sanded paper is so textured that it smudges easily, so I have to clean often with a kneaded eraser. I keep a piece of blank scrap paper under my drawing hand to keep my from smudging colors while I draw.

To work on the surface I put down a layer of Black Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft  watercolor pencil and then blended it with water for a smooth surface with no paper texture showing through. 

I did the same for the background using Grey Supracolor Soft watercolor pencil and blending it with water. The Grey took a little more work to even out than the Black. 

Here is my finished drawing, I used several blue, gray and violet pencils to complete my background. I also added a few dark gray colored pencils to the black surface in order to lighten it up. I also added the whites to the dots. The piece is almost complete so I can punch up some of the colors, add light and dark values/tones to different areas. I also used Prismacolor Verithin pencils on top of a few of the areas where I wanted rich darks and no paper texture showing through. These are the darkest areas on the coffee pot, the black cup in the front and the two red vases.

This is my reference photo, I chose to eliminate the blue reflections in the coffee pot. I found them to be a bit distracting to the rest of the composition.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Book Sculptures: Fold • Cut • Glue

Here are a few old books that I have been creating into book sculptures. The first is a book about fresh and salt water fishes. I cut out many of the fish illustrations before I folded pages. 

The fold pattern for this book is to alternate: 1.) page folded in half vertically with 2.) page in which corners are folded inward from the edge to form a triangle. Keep folding these two patterns until the whole book has been folded. Below is my sample book to demonstrate.

I glued decorative paper to the end pages of the book, then positioned and glued on my fish. For glue, I used a glue stick for fish on the end pages, white craft glue and a glue gun for other areas. I also added some fishing line, lures and bobbers for embellishments. 

I had been thinking about a circus tent of a a book and finally found this fun circus book in which to create it. I liked the end pages so I didn't have to cover them with paper. I cut out many of the illustrations to use and glue back on. The pattern for folding is to fold down the tops of each page to form a triangle creating the point. To make the entrance, I folded some of the middle pages inward. I created red flags out of paper and added a gold ribbon to hang the flags. I really like the way this one came out!

I had found an aquarium book with colorful fish and corals so I wanted to make a book that appeared to be an aquarium. First I glued all of the ends of the pages with gel medium and when the glue was dry and the pages glued into a "block" I could hollow out the insides with a utility knife. This is not easy and takes a while to do. Your hands will tire quickly! Next I glued turquoise Lokta paper to the backgrounds and started adding in fish. 

 Here I have added black handmade paper with gold flecks running through it (I'm not sure of the name) and glued more fish on top of the black paper and coming out of the cut pages inside.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Spring to Life

I created this book sculpture using one of my dad's old engineering books from college in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I had saved several of old books that belonged to my parents that didn't seem to be classics and have given them another life by creating book sculptures out of them.

I cut a template for my flower vase/base and then cut sections of book pages with a utility knife (see below, template on the right). This can be a tedious procedure and take a while, I needed to use about 3 paperbacks for this vase, I could not use the pages from the engineering book because they were too thin. I tore them out and saved for another project.

I used marbelized paper I had previously created for the end pages and put together paper flowers cut and folded from other book pages, some previously colored with watercolor paint. I construct a variety of different flowers and some curly leaf shapes to compliment them.

Friday, April 3, 2020

A Drawing of Colorful Artichokes

This is my most current colored pencil drawing and it is a drawing of various artichokes. I have been interested in the various, shapes, sizes and colors of various artichokes and decided to create a long vertical drawing of a variety of artichokes. I worked on Legion Stonehenge white paper using Faber Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Soft Core and Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils. 

My finished drawing will be 6x24" but my paper size is 7x25" because I will have to trim edges (scroll down to read more about that). I began by sizing my reference photos in PhotoShop and printing each one so that I could determine size and placement for my composition. As I was happy with the layout, I sketch in all the artichokes and some of the details on the paper with lead pencil. 

Next I began adding color, I like to start with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils as they are a harder pencil and work well for the first layers of color. I layer Prismacolor and Luminance pencils on top. I used Luminance pencils for all of the pinks and purples because they are the most lightfast. I did use three purples from my Polychromos box and Black Cherry from my Prismacolor collection. 

My finished piece is 7x25" and I will mount it on a 6x24" 2"-cradled Ampersand Claybord panel. You can use other brands of gessoed panels, I just happened to have the Ampersand panel in the correct size at my studio. I apply a sheet of Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film on the back of my drawing and – this is the tricky part – very carefully line up my drawing with the panel so when I stick it down, the image is straight and I have about a half inch of the paper border on all edges. This is tricky because once the sticky film touches the Claybord surface, it is not repositionable. 

I turn the piece face down and carefully trim the edges with a sharp knife. Some of the edges may be rough so I will carefully sand them with sandpaper. I also may need to touch up edges of the drawing. Next I spray two even coats of Krylon UV Resistant Clear and three coats of Krylon Kamar Varnish.

Below is my finished piece hanging on my studio wall. Not the best photo but you get the idea!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Hot Spots!

What I am doing while the Coronavirus spreading and scaring us all is working on new drawings. I started and finished this colored pencil drawing within two weeks, however the idea as been percolating in my thoughts for about two months. I have been working on some new drawings with stacked tea cups as my subject matter (I will post the others later) and wanted to create a drawing with dots reflected from the surface onto the cups. I wanted to achieve a design with brightly colored cups against a dark background.

My reference photo is the last photo, I couldn't find a dotted paper for the tea cups to sit upon so I created my own in Adobe Photoshop, printed them out and taped the sheets together to form the surface. The next step was to place the tea cups in order to achieve interesting reflections on the cups themselves. I moved them around and pulled down window shades so less light was reflected onto the shiny surfaces of the cups. I took many photos and later chose the one I liked best. 

I chose UArt 800 grit sanded pastel paper for the surface. This paper holds many layers of pencils and builds brilliant color quickly. It also smudges easily, you can see the marks on the paper below. I used Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils for the first layer of color. Polychromos are an oil based pencil and keep a harder point than some of the waxier brands. They are perfect for this sanded surface and for burnishing the color into the paper with a bristle brush in order to create a solid surface of color. I continued with Polychromos for subsequent layers but also used Caran d'Ache Pablo and Prismacolor colored pencils if I needed other colors I didn't have in the Polychromos box.  Pablo pencils are also oil based and keep a harder point, Prismacolor are wax based and softer so they are better for top layers of color. 

I spray the drawing in between layers with workable fixative to keep the color in place. 

To create the solid background, I used a Staedtler Karat Aquarelle black watercolor pencil. I loosely and lightly apply the strokes to the surface without worrying about putting them on evenly. I keep the layer light because when I add water with a brush, it becomes a vibrant black (the surface behind the cups). Add just enough water to dissolve and move the pencil around, try to keep it as evenly toned as possible.

I have a solid black surface and after it dries I will add lighter colors that will give me a variation in colors and tones for my background because I don't want it to remain a solid black that will overpower my tea cups. I used three colors predominantly for the background: Polychromos Caput Mortuum, Pablo Greenish Black and Pablo Dark Gray. I spray with workable fixative.

I work on my light colors last because of all the pencil dust that moves around. I add my white dots and punch up all the light colors just before the drawing is finished.

I am excited about this piece! Maybe I should create a series!

Below is my reference photo I took from my still life set up:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Colored Pencil Pineapple

Happy Valentines' Day!

I have been working on this unique pineapple plant I saw while visiting Mounts Botanical Garden in Palm Beach Florida  last year. I liked the different colors and tones of pink, red, yellow and purple in the pineapple and the way it was nestled into the plant leaves. It intrigued me because the colors made it so different from the usual pineapples I see in the grocery store.

Using Stonehenge drawing paper, I drew my 8x10" image, adding more details to the pineapple. I looked up what I would call little leaves in the pineapple surface but they’re actually called flowers. Those little flowers are so intricate containing little books and crannies that can get confusing. I began by laying in the darks with in and around the flowers with Prismacolor Black Raspberry. I chose Black Raspberry as a base tone because I saw purple/brown in the colorful darks. I am working the whole area of the pineapple.

Next I chose to lay in the small purple blossoms so I wouldn’t confuse them with other parts. As the base color I chose Caran d’Ache Luminance Manganese Violet.  The next step I decided to lay in my lightest areas. I am using the white of the paper for my lightest areas so my next lightest tones are Prismacolor Limepeel & Luminance Yellow Ochre. I used Prismacolor Chartreuse for the top brighter leaves.

Next step I am adding various greens and browns to the flowers to establish medium values/tones and different shades of colors in the pineapple flowers and help them to read as a whole together.

As I am happy with color choices, I continue to work on the lights, darks and colors of the pineapple until I am pleased with how it looks.

I think I skipped a few steps in between, I was trying to take photos as I worked but sometimes get caught up in the drawing process and forget! After working the pineapple I began to draw the surrounding leaves but creating the colors and shapes of the leaves so they would support the pineapple and allow it to be the focal point of the drawing. I started by laying in large areas of color and then shaping the leaves and rendering the tones/values.

Here is a progression of images. My last image is scanned into my computer so the colors are more accurate.