Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ocean Waves

I started this piece last week and I'm really excited about working on it. We're getting a ton of snow right now but I'm happy to be housebound with my colored pencils! This piece is on a 16x16" gessoboard square with Storm Blue and White Colourfix primer mixed and applied to the surface. Like the candy apples I just finished, the colored pencil easily flakes of so I have to be very careful putting it on the surface and making sure it stays. Thus, I decided to work from the top down. The sky and ocean above the waves are done with colored pencil and solvent. The solvent helps the pencil flow more like paint. I even use my fingertip to smudge the pencil into the solvent to make it apply evenly. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Colored Pencil Classes

My early part of 2009 teaching schedule thus far:

Providence Art Club, Providence, RI:  Monday, February 23 and Monday, March 2, 9:30-12:30.
Must be a Providence Art Club member. Contact 331-1114

Portsmouth Arts Guild, Portsmouth, RI: Six weeks; Tuesdays, March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21; 9-Noon. Contact Portsmouth Arts Guild 293-5ART.

Studio classes to be announced later.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Larger than life candy apples

I decided to try working on a larger size 12x24" cradled gessoboard and was inspired to draw more candy apples! I really  had fun with the colors and reflections in the apples which you can't see all that well from the photo I took on my easel. I worked on the piece on Terra Cotta Colourfix primer and tried something  new with the background. I used Caran d'Arche Neocolor II and Cretacolor and water. The reason I used the two brands is because I only bought small sets and liked a various red, a blue and a brown. They are at my studio so I can't recall the exact colors but if anyone wants to know, I will get the names. It was a real challenge getting the dark background smooth on the sanded surface. I also had trouble with the flakes of the crayons getting all over the drawing and the color running into the sticks when I added water. I think next time I try this method, I would put the background on first rather than last. Another thing about working on a large sanded surface is that flecks of pencil go everywhere, all over my drawing table, my skin and the floor. I almost need to vacuum as I work! Also, I found the pencil was brushing right off the piece so I had to stop and apply Workable Fixative to keep the pencil in place. It was a learning experience. I am not quite finished, the piece is standing on my easel so I can look at it and tweak as needed before I varnish.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lots of Waves at the Beaches

I've been walking my dog at Easton's & Second Beaches (his favorite places) and have become inspired by the waves and the high surf on blustery days. I started to notice that on cloudy days or days when the sun is barely peering out of the clouds, the most beautiful blues, grays and purples are created on the ocean and the waves as well as the sky. I've taken dozens of pictures for inspiration and I look at them every day. I am planning to work on a series of colored pencil pieces of bits of the surf or maybe the whole scene or maybe just a small part of the ocean and large part of the sky. Its making me realize how beautiful the ocean and the beach can be on gray wintery days and this is what I hope to portray in my drawings. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holly & Berries

I drew this little piece with my class last week. I have them working on gray Pastelboard. However, I didn't have enough Pastelboard so I made my own little experimental ground. I took a 5x7" piece of gatorboard, sprayed a layer of gesso and then rolled on a layer of blue/gray Colourfix. The surface is more textured than the Pastelboard but worked well enough for me to demonstrate the process to the class. I'm going to frame it and stand it on a small easel for the holidays! Crafty ...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Painting Donuts!

Debbi, this one is for you! I'm working with "sweets" again! Today Judy and I painted donuts in the studio just for fun. I was going to work on my colored pencil piece but then decided to give Judy's method a try. She took a workshop with a painter, Ed Carson, who works in oils with lots of color and lots of medium. Thus creating some juicy vibrant paint. We stacked the donuts and spent a few hours working on them. I am always amazed how easily I forget the basic principles of values, composition, and putting down color when I switch to a medium that I am not familiar with. If I did this still life set up in colored pencil, I would feel much more comfortable with all of these variables. My donut piece is on the left and Judy's are on the right. The bottom picture is mine too. You won't ever see my piece in a gallery but it is fun to experiment and I always learn something too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today I had my colored pencil class draw donuts on Uart 800 grit sanded paper. It was more of a challenge for them than I thought it would be but they all did a great job and everyone's style was different. I should have taken a picture. 

Here is my donut piece. I'm working on the gessoboard square because I need to replace another piece that sold at the Providence Art Club.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Providence Art Club Little Picture Exhibit

These are the two halves of my wall space in the Maxwell Mays Gallery at the Providence Art Club. My colored pencil pieces on the gessoboard squares are getting quite a bit of attention because they are so different. At the opening reception, I sold the little tarts that I previously posted on the blog. Hoping to sell a few more in the next month!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Completed shells

After the last scan and post of the shell piece, I started working on it again and decided to brush off some pencil crumbs with my little brush. Well, I brushed off more than pencil crumbs. Half the drawing went away. Thus, I learned that I have to be really careful when working on such a coarse surface, the pencil doesn't adhere as well as it can. I found a solution, I sprayed the piece with workable fix and then added more pencil. I think I've done just about all I want to and its time to move on to the next drawing!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shells ... continued

I've given each element color and value and covered the surface with pencil. Next I'll work on the background and then details on the shells to make them stand out. This is a fun piece to work on and I'm liking the rough sanded surface. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I started this drawing on 8x8 Gessoboard. The ground is made with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastel and Golden Gold Irridescent Acrylic paint. I got ideas and learned how to make different grounds from a pastel workshop I took with Susan Ogilvie. The thing about colored pencil, is that it doesn't often go on as well as the pastel over some of these very coarse grounds. The pencil flakes all over my drawing table and .... boy ... do these grounds eat up the pencils quickly! On the bright side, I really like the "painterly" approach of working on the coarse ground and the fact that I can't get overly detailed with each little shell. Its helping me loosen up a bit! 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Orchid Series

This is my completed orchid series hanging in the Art League of Rhode Island Annual Member Exhibit at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI. I was finally able to take a picture and post it. My piece received lots of good feedback at the opening reception, viewers can't believe it is colored pencil.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lucky Stones

This 6x6" piece of colorful stones is done on Gessoboard covered with a black ground that is (or was) made my Golden. I received a sample of this ground from one of the CPSA conventions but I can't remember the exact name and can't find it on the Golden website. Anyway, its just another experiment with different surface textures and colors!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Colored Pencil Exhibit at Spring Bull Gallery

Our New England chapter of CPSA is holding a theme show & silent auction at Spring Bull Gallery, Newport, RI during the month of November. Our theme is H2O ... the artists' interpretation of water. Here are two pictures from the opening; me with one of my pieces "Memories of Sanibel" and viewers looking at the works of art. The 5x7" "Candy Apples" is my silent auction piece. Call the gallery (401) 849-9166 if you would like to bid. Current bid is $100. Proceeds will go to our chapter for our membership, special projects and community outreach.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just about finished

I got carried away and just about finished the piece. The surface is really gritty because I made my own ground and I think I put a little too much pumice powder in it. I'm having a difficult time getting the pencil go lay smoothly and fill in the grooves. I've tried burnishing with a hard pencil and also with a colorless blender and its not working. So I will put it aside for a day or two and go back to it and see if I come up with any other ideas. The background is done with several shades of blue and solvent. The solvent helped smooth out the background. I suppose I could use the solvent on the whole piece but I'm afraid it might give the apples a heavy, possibly muddy look.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Candy apples in progress

Working on the apples and the reflections first. This surface is so gritty and textured that it will take many layers of pencil. It also eats the pencils rather quickly. I like this surface because I can burnish light colors over dark colors. This really makes the colors vibrant and gives the area luminosity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Candy Apples

I started this piece today on a 6x6" gessoboard. I've sold all of my candy apple pieces so I'll start a few more.

I am experimenting with making my own colored grounds. This ground is made from Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastel + water + red acrylic paint + orange acrylic paint + a little pumice powder. Don't ask for precise measurements, I mix like I cook ... I never measure! I like this ground because its very textured and takes the pencil quickly. I've chosen to begin by laying in the colorful highlights. 

finished tarts

Here are the finished tarts. I the finished piece, although it has an overall pink tone. I'm still trying to decide if I would try that again. I may just look at this piece for a few days or a week and make some changes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This is a small 6x8" piece I'm working on for a holiday small picture show. My reference photo is from a bakery in Italy with the most delectable little pastries that caught my attention in more ways than one. I'm experimenting with a different surface which I prepared myself. I started with a gessoboard, then mixed white Colourfix liquid primer with red & yellow acrylic paint and rolled it on the gessoboard. To that I added pumice powder to add more grit to the surface texture. The result is a hot pink background that is taking the pencil very quickly. I've done this much of the drawing in only a few hours today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More cherries ....

I drew this piece earlier in the year. Its colored pencil on the Ampersand Cradled Gessoboard with a layer of Colourfix Primer (Storm Blue) on the Gessoboard. Its been sitting in my studio and I've been looking at the cherries and wanting to make them brighter. So one day I picked up a paint brush and put out my oil paints and decided to experiment with putting oils over the colored pencil. Since I had a light layer of varnish on the colored pencil, the oil paint brushed on smooth. I was able to achieve some really bright reds, oranges and highlights on the cherries and am pleased with the result. Its kind of fun experimenting & combining the mediums. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Popham Light, Rhode Island

I did this piece for one of my fellow artists at Spring Bull Gallery. He commissioned each artist in the gallery to draw or paint a Rhode Island lighthouse in which he will mat and frame together as a collection. I was given Popham Light in East Providence. I've included my reference photo which is a pretty basic photo; regarding color and structure of the buildings. I took the photo at the time of day when the sun was hitting and creating strong shadows. What attracted me the most were the red roofs so I decided to accentuate the red by working the drawing on red paper. This will also make the whole piece glow and give it a warm, unified look. I chose to work on red Canson paper and decided to give the piece a painterly effect while still showing structural detail in the lighthouse. Here is the final outcome, I left the drawing uncropped so you can see the color of the paper.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Here is my grouping of 9 orchid drawings which will hang just like this (although I have to straighten them out!) I am still working on the two white orchid drawings, which I started on white backgrounds. All of the other pieces were worked on colored backgrounds and I find it easier than working on the white. I'm still putting finishing touches on the pieces and making color adjustments so they will be more uniform as a group.

Monday, September 15, 2008

These are two of my oil paintings from my trip to Maine. I'm just having fun with oil paint .... they are no where near as detailed as my colored pencil work and I like it that way. I realize more and more how much easier it is to see color and value when painting from life as opposed to working from photos which flatten the image and dull the colors. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stonington & Deer Isle, Maine

I am spending a wonderful week in Deer Isle, Maine with three artist friends and its so inspiring. Before I left, more than one person (who is familiar with this area) said to me, "umm ... you know there is nothing to do up there ...!" But that is so untrue, there is just so much for this Worn Out Woman to see and do that I could easily spend another week. We've been painting, sketching, reading novels, eating fresh lobster, drinking wine and just plain relaxing and regrouping from our hectic lives. We rented a house overlooking a lobstering cove and early every morning (through my sleep), I can hear the lobster boats leaving the cove. The weather has been perfect. I have put the colored pencils aside to work on oils this week. Next entry I will post my work.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Series of Orchids

I'm working on a series of orchids on 6x6" Ampersand Gessoboard Squares. There will be 9 total and they will hang together as one piece in rows of 3. I have completed 6 of the pieces so I decided to post them on my blog. I've worked these almost to completion but when all 9 pieces are finished, I will set them out together and make adjustments in colors and values to create uniformity. The remaining 3 pieces are predominately green, yellow and white and will be interspersed with the warmer toned orchids.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

candy apples

I worked this piece on 8x10 RTX300 board. This is a still life of candy apples that I set up outside in my yard. I like the background greens as a complement to the red apples. The dark greens make the red apples pop forward. The apples were done purely with pencil, using hard pencils over soft to burnish and fill in the texture of the board. I worked the background in pencil dissolved with solvent. In parts of the background, I painted with my fingers to blend the color into the board. I think I'm going to frame it in a shadowbox type of frame to allow the edges to show.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shelly's pears

My friend, Shelly, asked me to do a piece for her that is very similar to the Pears on my website. The other Pears are done on Stonehenge paper, but I chose to work these on 8x10" Ampersand white pastelboard. I chose white to get the luminosity of the light areas on the pears. The background was a bit of a challenge but with solvent and dark pencils I covered the white background. Shelly plans to stand the piece in an easel in her kitchen as it is without framing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Almost finished

I worked on this piece for a few more hours today. I found that burnishing helped smooth out the pencil problems that I was having. Its jut about done now, I only have the sky left to work on and maybe the underside of the umbrella needs more depth.

Cafe in Santorini

I have been looking at my photos of this cafe in Santorini Island in Greece @ 3 yrs ago and thinking about doing a colored pencil piece ever since. I love all the fun elements in the cafe; the leaning candle sticks, the toys for children, the books to read and the scraggily geraniums growing in the heat. It looks like such a peaceful place to sit in the shade (it was a dreadfully hot day).

I chose to work this drawing on rag illustration board; and I'm not sure what brand but it is taking the colored pencil layers terribly. If I apply too many layers, I'm getting a thick waxy build up with little pills of wax on the paper. I can actually scrape them off with an exacto knife. The small elements in the foreground are going on well, its the larger walls and sky in the background that I'm having trouble laying the color evenly. So I decided to apply solvent to dissolve the pencil and make it flow more easily. However, even the solvent is sitting on the surface and not still not smoothing out the pencil. Oh well, this piece has been a challenge and will continue to be ... I'll just keep experimenting with it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to work

After participating in Nicole Caulfield's mini workshop of working on pastel board at our district chapter of CPSA May meeting, I decided to try working on the pastelboard. The size is 12x12" and the background color of the board is gray. I've been out on our boat quite a bit so I'm inspired by all the sailboats that I see. I'm working from photos that I took of sailboats one evening at sunset. My palette is primarily blues, purples and pinks so I'm throwing in a few reds, greens (turquoise) and yellows here and there to create some zing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Studio Update

This is my new studio, presently. It looks a little empty, doesn't it? Where is all the artwork?! Between getting the studio finished and dealing with a few health issues with my dad, my artwork has been put to the side. I hope to be back in the groove by next week.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm in a colored pencil book!

I just received a copy of this book in which I have 4 pieces of artwork displayed and I'm really excited. This is the first time my work has been published in a book! Above, is an image of the cover and also one of the inside pages containing my work. The cherries on the upper left and the group of pears on the upper right are both my work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Studio

My main focus these days is having the new studio finished shortly so that I can move in along with 4 other artists. Here is a view of my space, its very open and I have two big rows of windows that overlook Easton's Pond and Easton's (1st) Beach in Newport. What beautiful views! The bottom photo is of my side view of Easton's Beach and Cliff Walk in the distance. Very inspiring. Today I'm heading to the studio to paint the walls, all the brush work.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot Peppers & Tomatillos

Here is the completed piece. I softened the texture on the plate by burnishing a little with a bristle brush and worked the peppers and tomatillos in order to be very vibrant in color. 

Hot Peppers &

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hotter Peppers!

I've worked color onto the hot peppers and I am finishing up the green pepper & tomatillos now. The RTX300 surface takes Polychromos pencils very nicely, it has such a nice light texture to work on. The peppers are so vibrant because of the Supracolor pencil underpainting I did first. Next I'm going to turn my attention to smoothing out the surface of the plate so it doesn't look so grainy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hot Peppers

Moving on from the cherries, I've decided to try some colorful hot peppers in a plate. I'm using the Rtistx RTX 300 board especially for colored pencil. After drawing the peppers, I've done a colorful underpainting with Caran d'Arche Supracolor watercolor pencils and water. I want the peppers to be very vibrant because the plate behind them is colorful and I really want the peppers to stand out. I've worked the plate in subtle tones of colored pencil for now. As I work on the peppers I will adjust the values and colors on the plate. My next step is to go back into the peppers with colored pencil.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Blue Plate Special #2

This is the 12x12" piece I began last month for the Newport Artist Guild Demo. The surface is gessoboard with a coat of Terra Cotta Colourfix primer applied. I worked the colored pencil with solvent in order to apply the color thickly and remove most of the surface texture. I'm now going to varnish this piece and frame it without glass.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Completed Cherries

I like the qualities of this board. It has an even surface but quite a bit of tooth and takes the colored pencil easily. The colors move around almost like pastel and its easy to work dark to light. The colorful reflections in the cherries captured my eye and my goal was to achieve the bright colors and shiny reflections in the cherries.