Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Pet Portrait of Nikki

 I was asked to create this pet portrait as an anniversary gift for the owners of this beautiful Golden Retriever Nikki. My customer asked for a small piece that could be hung or displayed on a stand. We decided on an 8x8"image in colored pencil that would be mounted on Ampersand Clayboard 3/4" cradled panel to be unframed and varnished.

I chose to work on Fabriano Tiziano paper, the color is Felt Gray. This is one of my favorite papers for pet portraits. I like the textured and flecked background so I will let the paper show through as the background behind Nikki.

My first step is to layout the drawing and put in the outlines in graphite pencil. I don't have to add a lot of detail to my initial line drawing but I want to be sure I have important features such as the eyes, nose and mouth in the proper positions. Using a sgraffito tool (has a blunt pointy end that will impress lines into the paper) I have impressed lines into the paper where the whiskers and some of the hairs will be. That way I can add color over the area and the whiskers will remain the color of the paper.

Using Prismacolor, Derwent Drawing and Luminance colored pencils I add white, cream, warm yellows, red browns, browns and warm grays to the drawing building and layering colors on the paper. Some of the areas have been burnished with a bristle brush; particularly the eyes, nose and tongue. My customer asked me to leave the drawing somewhat "sketchy" and simple and I did that by letting the drawing softly flow to the edges.

I did receive feedback from the owners and they love the piece. It's small enough to fit in a small space on the wall and enjoyed every day!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Accordion Book and Colored Pencil Workshop

I am going to be teaching this 2 day workshop in October. Please contact me if you would like more information or to register. It's going to be a lot of fun. Although I realize many of my readers aren't in the area! 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Colored Pencil Portrait of Six Goats

I was asked by a customer to draw a 'goat' portrait of these six goats for their owner's upcoming birthday. The drawing is going to be a surprise! I was really excited about the idea so the customer and I jumped into her car and drove over to the see the goats. We went into the barn area and I was able to take multiple reference photos of the goats to use when creating the drawing. The goats were so curious! You can see the looks on their faces.

The drawing is approximately 8x16" and is drawn with Caran d'Ache Pablo and Prismacolor brands of colored pencil on Oyster colored Canson Mi Teintes paper.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Relief Monoprint Workshop with Frieda Dean

I've been regrouping after curating the Bristol Art Museum Fine Points exhibit so I am finally getting around to sharing these photos and writing about a Relief Monoprint workshop I took with artist Frieda Dean at the Providence Art Club in July. Frieda Dean is the sister of Angel Dean who - besides being an artist - coordinates Event Planning and Member Services for the Providence Art Club.

Frieda began by explaining her process of inking small, medium and large stencils on two sides and layering them between two sheets of printmaking paper (like a sandwich). We learned that we needed to plan out our composition and layer different sizes, thinking about both front and back as they would be sandwiched between two sheets of paper. This allowed us to pull two prints at one time.

The workshop was great fun!

 Here is my inking area, I was experimenting with different oranges and yellows on my artichoke stencil.

 Above is one of my stencil layouts on paper ready to print, below it is lying on the press ready for me to add a top sheet of paper before running it through the printing press.

 It is a messy process and takes up a lot of space but great fun! Below are three of my finished prints. I have added some colored pencil embellishments to all three. The bottom print is created on Asian rice paper with a texture.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fine Points Drawing Exhibit at Bristol Art Museum

I am really excited to have been asked to guest curate this drawing exhibit at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island. I invited six artists who are proficient in their mediums and profound in their works of art. They are Deborah Friedman, Holly Bedrosian, Elizabeth A. Patterson and Susan Tait Porcaro (colored pencil), Kathie Miranda (colored pencil, silverpoint) and Tatiana Flis (graphite, colored pencil). You can click on their names to see more of their works on the individual websites. 
I am also exhibiting some of my handmade books containing colored pencil drawings. 

The exhibit opening reception is Friday, July 26 from 6-8 pm. I am hosting a Curator's Chat at 5:30 mp just before the opening on July 26th. 

The exhibit is open for preview Bristol/Warren Art Night Thursday July 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. See the flyer below for more information and all of the Art Night stops.

The works of art in this exhibit are amazing, please stop in and you will surely be impressed by the wonderful drawings! Five of us are members of the Colored Pencil Society of America.

The exhibit runs through September 1.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Collecting Shells - Handmade Book in a Handmade Box

I just finished this handmade accordion book that folds up into a handmade box. I drew the seashell and sea life illustrations with black and white Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and Caran d'Ache Supracolor watercolor pencils on Strathmore Toned Tan drawing paper. I wanted to create this artwork using only tones of black, white and grays.

I built the box using book board and made the book cloth with this lovely fabric I found at a local fabric shop. The accordion book folds up into the box but can be displayed on it's side with the pages fanning out.

I enjoy creating small sketches and drawings and looking for new ways to present them instead of just in a sketchbook. I decided that I can create the drawings into handmade books and display them. This piece is going to be exhibited at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI. I am the guest curator of an upcoming drawing exhibit that opens Friday, July 26. More about that in my next post!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

My Colored Pencil Drawing Book

 I'm really excited to announce that my book about drawing with colored pencils is available for preorder on Amazon – just follow this link. The book is written and illustrated by me with the help of a variety of editors and designers who work with the publisher GMC Publications in London, England. It was such an exciting project to work on, much thought and hard work.

The beginning of the book consists of information about materials, techniques, color theory, sketching and composition. The remainder of the book has ten step-by-step projects and three focus projects to help the reader learn all about drawing with colored pencil and refining their skill.

The publish date is September 2019 and I look forward to book signings/demos and teaching workshops in colored pencil in collaboration with the book. Please contact me for any additional information at

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Three New Folded Books

Here are three new folded books that I created last week. I'm teaching an altered book workshop at Providence Art Club in a few weeks so I decided to sit down, fold a few more books and write down all the instructions for my students. 

I will credit Johwey Redington's website for the instructional videos to create these three sculptures. Click on the link and you can see the different folded books on her website. I added my own ideas to the books I created. The Yin-Yang book (middle) was a colorful book containing some maps and map images on the inside covers. I tore out a few pages so I would have just enough to fold so the end inside cover illustrations would show. 

I did the same for the last book here with the red end pages, I tore out a few pages so the red would show at either end.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Altered & Handmade Book Talk Tomorrow

Everyone is invited to my book talk tomorrow Monday June 17 at 3 pm at the Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas Street, Providence, Rhode Island. It is free and open to the public. I will be talking about my process of altering used books and turning them into book sculptures. I will also be talking about my handmade books that incorporate mediums such as colored pencil, watercolor, printmaking and collage into the illustrated pages. I will also be showing a PowerPoint presentation of my works and examples of other artists' works to show just what can be done with the art of books!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Handmade Book & Book Sculpture Exhibit

I had an incredibly exciting and well attended opening reception at the Providence Art Club last Sunday afternoon. I have been working so hard on writing the book on colored pencil (coming out in October!) and preparing for this exhibit, plus doing commission work for clients - so I haven't had my own art exhibit in quite some time.

This exhibit of my handmade books and books sculptures allowed me to talk about my work and interact with all of my guests at the opening reception. I had forgotten how much I enjoy connecting with people, talking about the exhibit and listening to their stories, their comments and feedback on my work. I talked continually to guests for two hours straight and never even left the gallery for a glass of water! Here are a few pictures of my work in the Castelnovo Gallery at the Providence Art Club. For those of you unfamiliar with this gallery, it is a small, intimate gallery upstairs at the Art Club and a perfect space for exhibiting my works of art.

I was also thrilled to already have sold 8 of the 15 exhibiting works of art!

For anyone who is reading this and in the RI area, I will be giving an artist talk at the Providence Art Club on Monday, June 17 at 3 pm. I will be talking about my work and my process as well as showing a short presentation of other book artists' work that I have seen. The talk is free and open to the public, so please come if able!

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.