Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm a Winner in the Grafix Dura-Lar Contest!

I submitted this piece "Lazy Afternoon" to the Grafix Artwork on Dura-Lar Contest and was just notified that I am one of the three top prize winners. I'm so thrilled that my piece has been selected as the cover art for the Matte Dura-Lar tip and technique guide which will be on display in art and crafts stores worldwide. Grafix states that "one of the motivating factors for this project is to promote and educate artists in many applications, both traditional and non-tradtional, of Dura-Lar film. My artwork on the giude will be instrumental in sharing this message with peers and retailers - especially those unfamiliar with Dura-Lar film." Here is a link to the site which shows my artwork.

Please bear with me as I am in the process of moving right now. I haven't been blogging or even working on any new art as my husband and I are in a state of total confusion trying to make this move happen, during the holidays no less. We are only moving to the next town but we are downsizing from our large house into a condo. It's amazing how much stuff we have collected in the sixteen years that we lived in the house. I've donated a ton of things and could probably go through everything again and find more to donate. I'm hoping to be back to my artwork very soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finished Class Drawings and a Dog Portrait

Here are 6 of my students' colored pencil drawings on wood; 4 are from the morning class and 2 are from the evening class. It's always fun to look at how each person's variation of the same subject. Most used a variation in color and even the orientation of the finished piece. They all look wonderful and I'm proud of all of them!!

The morning class went out to lunch yesterday, we are saying goodbye to our two Australian friends who are both moving back home within the next two months. We're going to miss them, we've been learning about their culture, customs and most importantly their desserts while we work on colored pencil drawings. It's really been fun!

I'm working on a portrait of my dog, Bandit. I'm working on UArt 800 grit sanded paper. I still have quite a bit more to go, I'm starting by laying on color roughly and then will go back and refine. I've started with just Prismacolor pencils for now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Class Drawings on Wood

I have seven students in my morning colored pencil class and here is what we've been working on for the past two weeks. I gave them all 6x8" 7/8"-cradled wood panels from Utrecht as a surface to work with pencil. I let the students transfer the drawing onto the wood rather than have to struggle with trying to draw the intricate patterns. After which we began with some light washes using Derwent Inktense pencils and water. Derwent was very kind to send me a set of 36 Inktense Pencils to try with my students. This establishes a colored ground in order to work with colored pencils on top which can also intensify colors and give a nice base so the wood grain doesn't show through. Next we applied Prismacolor colored pencils starting with the cherries and then working on the background. You can see from the top photo of everyone's work that they work at a different pace. The second photo is the reference photo we worked from and you can also see that each person has their own interpretation of colors.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blue Bottle & Cherries

Here is the finished 11x14" piece, Derwent Inktense and Prismacolor colored pencil on wood. After I finished the drawing, I sprayed it with Lascaux twice and then varnished with Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS - gloss which I diluted 3 parts to one part water and brushed on with a large, soft, flat, bristle brush. I learned using the UVLS from Ester Roi's blog entry glassless framing and also by talking with her. The result is a beautiful glossy finish which intensified the colors of the pencils.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Art I've Done This Weekend

I'm continuing on with my drawing of the blue bottle, cherries and silver dish and I find the colors are so vibrant over the Inktense pencil washes. I'm just about finished, the only part left is the background and then I may tweak some of the other areas.

On Friday, I taught a colored pencil workshop for a group of decorative painters in Westborough, Massachusetts. I am told that colored pencil is very popular right now in decorative painting. Most of the students have used other mediums such as oil paint or watercolor and one lady told me that she works with colored pencil on porcelain. I may have to try that myself.

This group considered themselves beginners to colored pencil and asked if I would lead them step by step, color by color in this workshop using Prismacolor pencils. We worked from a photo and a photo of my drawing. I preprinted a line drawing of the composition on Stonehenge drawing paper for each student so they could concentrate on working with colored pencil for the entire workshop, not have to take time to pencil draw the composition out first. For the subjects, I chose the same blue bottle and silver plate that I'm using in my drawing on wood above, but instead of cherries, I added tulips. The drawing proved to be a little challenging for beginners and took us the whole day to get through each element but I like to challenge my students and I think a good challenge helps a person to learn and grow. I was very happy with each person's (almost) finished piece and I hope they were also. At the end of the day I told them that if they go home tired, I've done my job. To which one person replied "if YOU go home tired, we've done our job!"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Colored Pencil on Wood and Trip to NYC

This is the second piece in which I'm working with colored pencil on wood. The photo just above shows my beginning. I decided to try starting the darker areas with a watercolor underpainting so I drew in areas with Inktense watercolor pencils. Afterward I gently added water to the pencils and worked them with a brush like watercolors. I found that I had to add very little water otherwise the water would puddle and seep into the wood grain taking the colors in areas I didn't want it to go! The very top photo shows where I have begun working with colored pencils. The colors are much more intense with the watercolor wash underneath, as I mentioned in the last post of the pears on wood, the wood is relatively smooth and will only take so many layers of colored pencil which is why the watercolor wash will help me achieve the color I want.

Debbi Friedman and I spent the weekend in NYC. Our main purpose was to attend the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's annual awards dinner. While neither of us were receiving an award, we both had a piece in the exhibit and had enjoyed attending the dinner so much last year that we decided to go again. On Friday afternoon, we were able to get tickets and view the new World Trade Center memorial. The two footprints of the towers have been constructed into beautiful reflecting pools and waterfalls surrounded by all the names of the people who died on 9/11 and the 1993 bombing which killed six people.

On Saturday we braved the snow and rain and walked to the Chelsea area of art galleries. On the way, we passed the Fashion Institute of Technology and noticed there were two fashion exhibits on display so we wandered in to see them. One was the history of sportswear from early 1900s to present and the other was a collection of unique clothing and shoes belonging to the famous heiress, socialite and fashion stylist Daphne Guinness known for her flamboyant personal style. The shopper that I am really enjoyed this exhibit, videos and slide show shown along with it. If you want to read more on Daphne and her collection, here is a link.

The two photos above are of work by Luisa Caldwell in the Bertrand Delacroix Gallery on 25th Street. The top piece is called "Smile" and is constructed of thousands of colored candy wrappers hung on threads in the colors of a rainbow. If you look at the flowers very carefully in the bottom picture, you will notice they are made up of various little stickers that are on fruit when you purchase it from the grocery store. Ever wonder what to do with all those empty candy wrappers or stickers when you peel them off fruit?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Neo Color & Colored Pencil Workshop

Yesterday I taught a one-day workshop on working with Neo Color II watercolor crayons as an underpainting and colored pencil on top. My five students had done little or no colored pencil in the past but are all artists working in different mediums. I've included the reference photo of the pears to show the colors and composition we would be working on. The surface we used was Ampersand Gessobord primed with Terra Cotta Colourfix. Pictured above are their drawings. This could actually be a 2-day workshop because there was not enough time to complete the work in one day.

We began by lightly laying down one layer of the Neo Colors and next adding water with a brush and disolving the color to look like an underpainting wash. After this dried, students began working with the colored pencil and again adding some of the Neo Colors letting them blend with the pencil, not adding water this time. I love all of the results! A few of the students commented that their work didn't look like mine but I was happy that each person developed their own style and I could see influences of the other mediums they work in coming through. I was really excited with each of their drawings and hope they all take the time to complete them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Colored Pencil on Wood

I was walking through our local Michael's craft store when I spotted the Artist's Loft (brand) Unprimed Wooden 1" Cradled boards. While at the CPSA exhibition and convention in Dallas this past summer, one or more manufacturers gave similar cradled boards as door prizes. I've seen some colored pencil work done on wood, so when I passed the display at Michael's, I decided to take a 9x12" board home with me to try. I need a slight break from my Angel's Trumpet piece and all those flowers and leaves so I was excited about trying a simple composition on the wood. I looked up "colored pencil on wood" on the internet and found a few ideas. One person said to lay down a very thin coat of gesso on the wood before using pencil and another person said the wood won't take many layers of pencil because it is so smooth. I decided to work directly on the wood with my colored pencils. I began with light layers of pencil knowing the pigment could build up too fast and then I wouldn't be able to apply more layers. I crosshatched in different several directions because the wood grain would show through the pencil, by crosshatching I could cover the grain pattern. I used Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft pencils which both applied nicely. My finished piece was nice but subtle and I couldn't get the pears to stand out from the background with just colored pencil. I remembered that someone had written about using Derwent Inktense pencils and water as an underpainting when working with colored pencil on wood so I decided to apply the Inktense pencils on top with water. I wet a small area with a brush, applied some of the Inktense pencil, then moved the pigment around with the brush. As a result, I achieved richer colors in my pears. I'm wondering about other brands of the wood and if they differ. I will have to try it again. This is a quick and fun way of drawing!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Working on the Angel's Trumpets

One negative aspect of taking a long vacation is that when I come home it can take me up to a week to get myself mentally back into my work. At first there are tedious duties to attend to such as unpacking suitcases and restocking the refrigerator and then frustration when I try to sit down to draw. I finally eased into my work again yesterday and I began by studying my Angel Trumpet flower drawing and deciding to add more flowers and foliage to the composition. I am adding a large blossom at the top left corner and four more flowers at the bottom, varying size. I've decided to leave the flowers and leaves for now and start to work on the Chinese lantern on the right.

I am very excited to learn that this piece "Round About" won the Martin Hannon Memorial Award in the Salmagundi Club Fall Auction and Exhibition in NYC. It's very small, 8x9" but has been one of my favorites. I submitted three pieces to the auction and all three currently have bids. If you'd like to view the on-line auctions here is the link.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Treasures in Paris

One of the highlights of my trip to Paris was viewing Monet's huge waterlily paintings in L'Orangerie Museum. The L'Orangerie is one of the smaller museums of Paris but quite a gem. The bottom floor contains the collection of Paul Guillaume who was a gallery owner and patron of the arts who aquired many works by the well known artists of Paris. The second floor large oval room displays Monet's paintings presented with natural light coming in from the ceiling. It's impossible to take a photo of the entire painting so I photographed a section of one. It is amazing to stand in the center of the room and behold the surrounding paintings. Wish it was in my house!

This picture is a view of one of the main gallery spaces of the d'Orsay Museum. This museum is a gem and seems to be everyone's favorite. The museum is a converted train station and it is beautifully renovated with two floors of the main galleries and smaller galleries off to the sides. The museum contains many impressionist and post impressionist works by favorites such as Degas, Bonnard, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Seurat. After taking this photo, I saw signs everywhere saying no photos allowed and I didn't photograph of any of the art works.

My one disappointment was that I had hoped to see Monet's cathedral series of the Rouen Cathedral and they weren't currently on display. I found out later many of the impressionist paintings had been moved into storage while some of the galleries are being renovated.

I enjoyed this Van Gogh painting at the Rodin Museum in which Auguste Rodin's sculptures and his paintings are housed in a mansion and gardens (Hotel Biron). What I found interesting is that Rodin "traded" art with several famous painters and their works are also displayed. Such is this piece by Van Gogh. I am drawn to this painting for it's wonderful composition, such an interesting and intricate background which does not overpower the figure in the foreground. I also love all of the bright colors and bold strokes.
The last museum we visited was Center Pompidou which is the modern art museum with quite a collection. I have to admit, it was the end of the week and I was on information overload so I skipped most of the most recent works which I believe are right through the 1960s or 1970s. What we did spend time looking at was the special Edvard Munch exhibition at the museum. I have never seen an exhibition with so many of Munch's works before. Munch himself was a troubled man who dealt with depression all of his life and even checked himself into a hospital for several years of treatment. His works were often disturbing and he often painted a subject over and over.

One of the tidbits of his life I found very interesting was that in 1886, Munch exhibited a painting called "The Sick Child" in which his style transformed from the traditional impressionism to a style of his own. He received negative comments from the critics saying his work was scratched and unfinished. However, the exhibit stated that this only served to help his career as the public wanted to see what all the fuss was about! I learned years ago in college about critiquing art that a negative reaction is better than no reaction at all.

Oddly enough, none of Munch's Scream paintings are included in this exhibit. There was only one reference that mentioned like many of his other subjects, he painted a series of the Scream paintings.

The above painting is one of Munch's last self portraits titled "Self Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed". He stands between time and sleep, his final resting place.

This small sculpture or vase was displayed in a gallery window and I couldn't help but stop and admire it. The top of the piece is constructed of colored felt-tipped markers. It started me thinking of what could be done with colored pencils in this fashion!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Few Treasures From the Louvre

My husband and I spent about four hours at the Louvre last week mostly looking at all the paintings and sculpture. I don't think I missed one painting gallery and by the time we left, I was in a state of confusion. I could barely remember what I had seen in the first galleries and I guess that's what happens when you try to take in too much at one time. Here are just a few of the pieces that captivated me. Above is Winged Victory by an unknown sculpture from approximately 190 BC. It is an amazing piece of work to behold, the gracefulness of the pose and the perfect lines of the body and drapery and created so many centuries ago.
I had to include a photo of the Mona Lisa which is very small (30x21") and behind glass. It is also very dark, much darker than reproductions I've seen on the internet. Good luck getting close enough to view it, we had to push and bump through the crowd in order to try to see the painting up close.
I've always liked Guiseppe Archimboldo's work and was happy to be able to view The Seasons up close. The subjects in his paintings are comprised of vegetables, plants and fruits and very intricate and I like intricate.
Here is Ingres Grand Odalisque which is a lovely and large painting but criticized because the figure does not appear to have muscles or bones. Many of her proportions are incorrect; right arm longer than the left arm and she has extra vertebrae. Yet she hangs in the Louvre and is famous just the same. Next time I'm working on a figure drawing and my proportions aren't quite right ... I won't feel so bad!
Lastly, here is a snow scene by Monet. It's one of his earlier paintings Snow Near Honfleur
and I don't believe I've ever seen this one before. My camera gave this painting a pinkish glow but what I really like about this piece are the many subtle colorful grays in the scene.

I'm going to post a few more images tomorrow from other museums.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So Much I Want To Do and Just So Many Hours in a Day!

The current drawing I have been working on is a composition Angel Trumpet flowers and Chinese landern on Rtistx white board. Above is a portion of the drawing which wouldn't fit in my scanner, the size is approximately 11x15". Below I have put my reference photo so you can see the basic composition although I am planning to make some changes, mainly simplifying the background (no bricks) and changing all the dark greens in the bottom third of the drawing perhaps one or more flowers. The elements in the photo which enticed me to draw this scene are the sunlit flowers and the blue/orange complimentary colors of flowers and lantern. I started with the Angel Trumpets (my focal points) and then letting the drawing evolve around them.
The image below is one of my printmaking experimentations. As I mentioned in the previous blog entry I have been taking a solar printmaking class one day a week for a year now. There are 6 students and the instructor in the printmaking room and we literally shut ourselves off from the world and print to our hearts' content. I enjoy it so much because the printing process is a completely different than working on my colored pencil drawings and sometimes I just want to try another form of art that is different and hands-on.

So after a year of classes I have ended up with many experimental etchings in all different colors and styles, particularly etchings of my Koi fish prints which I experimented on for the portfolio project. I took my various prints and cut them up into different shapes and sizes then gluing the prints onto notecards. This card below is an etching with textured rice paper chiné colléd onto my printing paper and then painted with watercolor on the fish when the print was dry. Thus I have a group of little handmade notecards in which I can to people who will hopefully enjoy them!
While putting together notecards, I got to thinking about art and how I can spend hour upon hour creating (when I have the free time), thus I am never bored. I recently had dinner with two of my close friends who both work in another industry other than art. My two friends were discussing being "empty nesters" with adolescent children going to college or having graduated from college hereby leaving my friends with less household duties and more free time. Both were contemplating what they were going to do with all their time. Of course my first (selfish) thought was ... hmmm, can I put them to work helping me? I did suggest they come to my studio and try their hand at some form of art.

After the conversation, I thought about how lucky I am that I will never be bored because there are several types of art mediums I would like to try and several more I would like to be proficient at. Even when I'm not creating, I'm teaching art classes or looking at art at galleries, exhibits and museums. And I can do all this for the rest of my life, so how lucky am I?

With that being said, I am off to Paris tomorrow and will be towing my somewhat reluctant husband to all the art museums I can see in a week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Impressions Printmaking Portfolio

Over the past year I have been taking a solar plate printmaking class at the Providence Art Club and was asked to participate in a portfolio project to raise funds to purchase equipment for the art club's studio spaces. Twenty-two artists participated and in the words of the Providence Art Club; "the work showcases various printmaking techniques, from traditional processes to new 21st century technology." Above is our postcard invitation to the exhibit.
Each of the twenty-two artists produced 35 prints, one for each portfolio, shown above presented in a red clam-shell box. Each artist chose his or her own design and method of printing and we all worked on them in the print studio, most under an instructor's guidance. Each of our prints have been created exclusively for the portfolio project.

Each participating artist will receive a portfolio to keep and the remaining 13 portfolios will be sold to raise the funds. We have already sold 6 with only 7 portfolios remaining.

This is my print which is a solar plate etching with chiné collé onto a Tamarind rice paper with leaves and grasses from Thailand. I titled it "A Floating World". Printing this particular piece was quite a process which required a template (for positioning) because I chose to print my etching plate, printing paper and chiné collé paper all in one step. I had to cut and pre-glue the rice paper, soak printing paper, ink plate then lay each component on my template on the press, dampen with more water and run through the press. It was a lot of work and at times I was grumbling because I had many mistakes but all in all I'm happy about what I have accomplished and excited to be part of the portfolio.

I was a printmaking major in college ... believe it or not ... and never really ever did anything with it post graduation. Let me explain what draws me back to printmaking now. Other than the fact that my instructor is fabulous and I enjoy the camaraderie of other artists at the art club, I can create drawings to be made into prints. All of my prints thus far have been from pencil drawings I have created. I also enjoy printmaking because it is a hands-on type of art. Rather than just drawing, I can have fun trying different papers, different materials and various techniques. I like the physical work of inking plates, cutting paper and running the press. It gives variety to creating my artwork.

The exhibit opened today at the Providence Art Club. We framed one of each artist's print in the portfolio and we also able to submit a second print of our choice for the exhibit. The two above photos are of some of the prints displayed. This may also lead into being a traveling exhibit.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Drawing of Bandit

I enjoyed working on the Ampersand Pastelbord (size 8x10"), the surface takes the layers of pencil so easily and quickly. As I mentioned in the last post, I really like the ability to layer light colors over dark. There are so many colors and values in the fur that I like having the ability to keep going back and adding to what I've already drawn. I am using all Prismacolor pencils for this piece and decided on a blue/gray background to compliment the warm tones of Bandit's fur.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I've done more work on Bandit and what I like so much about the pastelbord is the amount of layers I can apply. As I'm looking at Bandit's fur and all the different colors in the strands, I'm finding that I have to keep going back and applying different colors or I find an area that needs more highlights so I can easily add them. I just have to keep my pencils sharp because these sanded surfaces eat them quickly! Went on a 30 mile bike ride yesterday and I'm too lazy to work on him today!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Portrait of My Dog and Hurricane Photos

For the longest time my family has been asking me to draw a portrait of our beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Bandit. Seeing that Bandit is the spoiled baby of the family I have oodles of photos of him but not a single photo has inspired me to draw him, I keep pondering. However, earlier this summer, I took a close up head shot of Bandit with his fur blowing in the wind and decided I would start a small 8x10" portrait and just have some fun with it. The surface I'm using is Ampersand Pastelbord.
I've included some photos I took immediately following "Tropical Storm" Irene which was thankfully downgraded from a hurricane 1 category. We lost power for 26 hours between Sunday and Monday but there are still many areas in our town and nearby towns that still don't have power and may not have it until after this weekend. The above photo is a tree that fell into a field at the end of our street. The funny part is that this big heavy tree is merely resting on the stone wall which is still completely intact.
This is the dock a little way down the street from us. As the hurricane passed, the danger became the dangerously high "moon" tide and what damage it would cause. Water is almost to the top of the dock and usually about 5 or 6 feet of supports show, the water has also covered the beach and come up into the grassy area. Incidentally, movie scenes were filmed on this dock back in May, its titled "Moonrise Kingdom" and actors include Bill Murray and Bruce Willis. I saw all the traffic and security and had no idea at the time that Bruce Willis was right down the street.

These two photos are of Sandy Point Beach on the Sakonnet River. We rarely see waves, Sandy Point is a very calm, sheltered beach so this was exciting to see. Again, due to the high tides, the sand on the beach is completely covered. I like the atmosphere, the deep grays and the strength of the waves in both of these photos. Future colored pencil piece? Maybe!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Five Colorful Koi

Today I finished my koi drawing in the midst of Hurricane Irene which was, fortunately, downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit Rhode Island. We lost power early this morning and have been without it all day. The nice part about being a colored pencil artist is that I can still work without power (as long as it is daylight!) all I need are my set of pencils and battery operated pencil sharpener.

Over the last few weeks, I fussed with the colors and patterns on this piece, toning down the bright colors in the water so they wouldn't overpower or detract from the koi fish. My favorite fish is the large white one on top although another artist who saw the work in progress liked the two at the bottom because they had more contrast. I was hoping to create some of the koi with more detail than others and all of them to have an abstract quality. I'm happy with it and ready to finish it and deliver it to the gallery this week.

I'll spend the rest of the day going through photos and notes, trying to decide on my next piece. I prefer to have the next piece in mind before I even finish the current one but preoccupations with the coming hurricane this week kept me from that. We were really worried about how hard we were going to be hit and watched the Weather Channel every day. However, it's difficult for any of the weather authorities to predict the path until it's almost here!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Koi in Colored Pencil

The current piece I'm working on is a second long vertical drawing of koi. Bristol Art Gallery sold the first rather quickly and requested another. I'm putting together the composition from koi photos I took during a trip to Napa Valley, CA a few years ago. The koi at one particular winery were so colorful and plentiful, I took about 50 photos to work from. The surface I'm working on is Ampersand 2" cradled Gessobord with Raw Siena colored Art Spectrum Colourfix Pastel Primer (surface color shows around the koi). I've worked the koi fish almost to completion and next I'm going to add the water surrounding them and then I'll re-evaluate the composition and maybe add more colors or dimension to the fish and work them into their surroundings.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finished Drawing for the Workshop

Today I finished the background for the drawing the students are going to tackle at the November 11th one-day workshop. I used four colors trying to keep it as simple as possible. I'm not a patient person when it comes to backgrounds, I tend to get bored and start scribbling. What happens next is an uneven coat of pencil and a messy background, but this one came out fine.

Here are the workshop details if anyone local is interested in signing up: The date is Friday, November 11, 2011 from 9:30 to 4:30. It will be held at the First United Metodist Church, 120 W. Main St. Westboro, MA. The cost is $75 and the contact person to register with is Bonnie Frederico and Bonnie's email is

On the topic of backgrounds .... this week I splurged and ordered the large Icarus Drawing Board developed by Ester Roi. I'm hoping it will make some of my backgrounds easier to apply! I'm looking forward to trying some new techniques with the board.