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.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Upcoming Workshop

I have been asked to teach a one-day colored pencil workshop for a group in central Massachusetts. I am penciling the composition (above) and making a list of all the colors I have used for the students. It has also been requested that I do a line drawing of the subjects and photocopy it onto the paper for the students so they don't have to spend time drawing the layout, they can concentrate learning how to apply color and layering color. The class is going to be working on Stonehenge paper in 100% colored pencil, no solvents, etc.

Above is the drawing in progress, I've begun laying down colors and doing some layering of color while making a list of each color I use. I'm enjoying the drawing and hope that it isn't too complicated for the students but I will have plenty of instructions in case they can't finish in one day. I tend to be rather "ambitious" with the complicated subjects I choose! I'm also attempting to minimize the list of colored pencils that I use and that can a challenge in itself.

My next step is to add in the background and smooth the reflective surfaces, bottle and dish.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Upcoming Exhibits

My pastel "Tuscan Vista" has been accepted into Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club 115th Annual Exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York City. The exhibit dates are October 4-28, 2011.

I have also been accepted into the Mystic Arts Center 55th Regional Juried Exhibit in Mystic, CT. The piece I entered is below, the paint tubes in colored pencil titled "Well Worn". The exhibit runs from August 5 - September 24 with the opening reception on Thursday, August 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is always an interesting and diverse exhibit to view and I would encourage anyone local who is reading my blog to try to get to Mystic to view it. Mystic has several nice galleries to visit as well as the Maritime Art Gallery at Mystic Seaport.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Retrospective Exhibition at Spring Bull Gallery

Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, the cooperative gallery I belong to, is have a retrospective exhibition opening this Saturday evening, August 6th from 5 to 7 p.m. We have invited all previous gallery members from the past 20 years to exhibit with us so it will be a creative and diverse exhibit for the gallery. I have chosen to exhibit my tulip colored pencil piece titled "Reaching Out" and this new piece I just whipped up in the past week (*laugh*). We've been on the water boating quite a bit this summer and I decided to draw a water scene. My choice is a traditional lighthouse drawing, this one is Rose Island Lighthouse right at the entrance to Newport Harbor. Once in a while its fun to just put together a local scene for the local audience and tourists that come into the gallery. Maybe this one will sell?? So I worked from a photo I had taken last summer of the lighthouse at sunset. I started the drawing by laying in the basics but then put the photo aside and had some fun choosing my own colors. I especially enjoyed the clouds; adding some bright pinks and purples. I also got creative with the wave patterns and shapes to add contrast to the soft textures of everything else. My camera bumped up the contrast in the red buoy in the front, it's not quite as bright in the drawing. Being a big fan of red, I enjoyed the drawing the buoy!