Friday, December 21, 2012

Dog Portrait of Bentley

Just finished this 9x12" dog portrait for a customer who called me a few weeks ago but we ended up meeting just last Friday. He asked if I could do a portrait of his recently deceased Yellow Lab named Bentley. The portrait is going to be a surprise for his wife for Christmas. I was really nervous about this commission for two reasons: first I had never met the dog. If possible I like to try to see the pet in person but of course this wasn't an option. Second, I only had a week to work on the portrait along with all of my other holiday preparations. I suppose I can say that I work good under pressure because I finished the portrait and met with the customer yesterday and he was very happy with the finished piece and the likeness of his dog. I breathed a sigh of relief.

The portrait is on 9x12" 3/4-cradled Ampersand Gessobord. The customer requested that I add the colored pencil to the sides in the event he and his wife didn't want to frame it. I applied gesso to all of the sides of the Gessobord, then coated the top and sides with light blue/green color of Art Spectrum Colourfix primer (which it appears they don't make anymore) mixed with Ultramarine Blue Art Spectrum Concentrated Ink to achieve the background color I'm looking for. I worked on the surface with colored pencil and solvent (odorless mineral spirits) so the pencil will adhere like paint and I can move it around and remove surface texture. 

After the holidays, the customer is returning the piece to be varnished. He is asking for a flat matt finish in a varnish with no sheen on the surface. The varnishes I use are somewhat shiny and  have a little bit of a sheen so my next step is to find another varnishing product to use. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trying My Hand at Encaustics

These two 6x6" encaustic pieces are a surprise gift for my sister in law, Lori, who lives in Florida. If she happens to be reading this blog before they arrive, she's not going to be very surprised. Last spring during a visit to Florida, Lori and I went through galleries in her town of Mt. Dora. In one of the galleries, she noticed similar encaustic pieces and mentioned that she liked them. It seemed like a project I could handle, especially with several other artists in my studio who work in encaustics so I came home with a plan. Of course, the plan took months to actually come to life but here it is.

My process is to choose two of my photos that I felt Lori would like, resize them and print them out on my inkjet printer. I purchased two 2" cradled Ampersand Claybord panels and affixed the photos to the Claybord with gel medium. After it dried, Felicia Touhey helped me learn how to brush on layers of hot wax, smoothing the wax out with a heat gun, filling in grooves with a palette knife, and so on. I even got creative and tried green wax on the sides of one piece. It was fun, maybe I'll try this again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Colored Pencil Magazine & Current Exhibit

I was really excited to be asked to be a contributor in the December issue of Colored Pencil Magazine. The article features my colored pencil boxes and how I created them from Ampersand Claybord boxes and colored pencil drawings. To purchase a copy of the December issue, go to this link.

Here are pictures from my recent exhibit at Angelina's Coffee in Bristol, RI. Above is some of my artwork pictured in the cozy sitting room complete with a record player and albums. Now how often do you see that anymore?

Julio Amaro (pictured) and Larry Lawrence played for the Art Night reception last Thursday night. My friend, Sharon Holmes, who is a fabulous singer sat in with Julio to sing a few songs.

The two photos above show m two candy apple photos next to the door and part of the counter and holiday tree, everything was so festive. Notice the walls are painted aqua blue above the white chair rail and red below, so warm and inviting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Different Kind of Portrait

I had forgotten to share this photo of a portrait I had been commissioned to draw so I'm going to post it now. This portrait was done as a surprise for it's likeness, Angie, pictured here with the drawing. I had been asked by one of Angie's friends to draw a portrait of her from this self portrait photo that she took of herself and present it to her at my Providence Art Club exhibit. Pictured here, she is seeing the drawing for the first time. And since this was a surprise for Angie, I didn't post the image as I was working on it and then just got busy, absentmindedly forgot, so I'm doing it now.

The photo was black and white but had a sense of color to the gray tones. I was intrigued by her pose, the colors/values and the body art on Angie's forearm which reads Harmony, a tribute her young daughter. I used only a few colored pencils to achieve this the values: Slate Gray, Cool Grey 50%, Tuscan Red, Indigo Blue, Black Cherry, Black Grape and Black. While I wanted it to read as a black and white photo, I chose to give it warm tones of colorful darks. I worked on Strathmore rag illustration board which has a texture so I used bristle brush to burnish the colors into the board as I was working. The most difficult part was the top left which is a solid dark. I achieved this by layering color over color starting with Tuscan Red, adding a second layer of Indigo Blue and a third layer of Black Grape using a light even pressure then burnishing between each layer of pencil. This combination was too colorful and not dark enough so I added a layer of black on top letting the bottom layers of color show through. It took several layers and a lot of burnishing to achieve the rich dark I was looking for.

Our Art Boot Camp ended yesterday and I have to say it was a rewarding session for both students and instructors myself and Felicia Touhey. I have to share one comment that was made at the end of class when the students were laying out their work for everyone to view. One of the students said to Felicia and I with a big smile on her face: "You must be so proud of us and all that we achieved in this session!" Yes, we are absolutely proud of the students. To me that is the biggest reward an instructor could want, helping students to learn, to grow and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Three Boats, Three Apples

Here are three small pieces I've done for a local small picture show at Spring Bull Gallery, Newport which opens Saturday. They are all 5x5" and will be framed in 12x12" frames with a wide mat. I chose a boat theme for tbe Newport scene.

 Illusion 5x5" colored pencil on gray Fabriano Tiziano paper. This reference photo is from Nantucket, MA

 Primary Colors 5x5" on UArt 800 sanded paper. I took this reference photo in Malta.

 Reflecting the Sky 5x5" on UArt 800 sanded paper. I believe I photographed this boat is in Wickford, RI.

My newest candy apple pieces (I don't think I put these on my blog yet) On the Chopping Block 12x12", Three Apples 6x8" and Melting 8x8". All on 2" cradled Ampersand Gessobord. These three pieces are hanging in Angelina's Coffee, Bristol, RI.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teaching Pastel and Selling Work

Felicia and I are continuing on with our 8-week session of our Art Boot Camp and so today was my turn to teach pastel to our students. I was a bit nervous because I love working in pastel (it is my first choice when working en plein air) but I have never taught it before. I wanted to be sure I could give good instructions to my students and help them choose shapes, hues and values which can sometimes become confusing when picking up so many pieces of pastel to create a vibrant drawing. We're working from a large fall still life set up, which can be seen somewhat in the background of my photos. I encouraged each person to take a small part of the still life this week in order to become familiar with the medium, not try to tackle too much and get really confused. I started the class with a short demo and then ran around the table for 3 hours helping each person! Time went by quickly and they all really enjoyed it, I saw a lot of smiles at the end of class. Including me! I'm thinking about teaching a pastel course. If anyone local is reading this and is interested, please let me know. You can email me through my website or send me a message on FaceBook.

My exhibit at the Providence Art Club has ended and I picked up my work today, minus these four pieces. I am saying goodbye to Fragments of Time, Well Worn, Uplifted and Keepers of Mystery. They have all found a new home. Uplifted is going to live in Brazil and I have to admit I was sad when I heard it had sold, it was my favorite and much of my soul is in that drawing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Working with Dynasty Brush Company

In the above photo I'm using a Dynasty Brush Mongolian Sable flat brush to add odorless mineral spirits to my colored pencil so I can move it around like paint. This is a commission piece I am working on for a customer, it is 6x24" on 2" cradled Ampersand Gessobord coated with Terra Cotta tinted Colourfix Primer which gives it a nice texture to work on.

For another totally different method of working with colored pencil, I'm using Dynasty Brush Deerfoot IPC (ink, pastel, charcoal). This rounded brush has a flat angled end (like a deer foot) which is perfect for burnishing my colored pencil work and pushing the pencil into the grooves of the paper. I'm using UArt 800 grit sanded paper with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. The Polychromos are less waxy than other brands and lend themselves to being applied to the sanded paper in a similar method to working with pastel.

I may have mentioned previously that Dynasty Brush Company has offered me an opportunity to experiment with several of their different types of brushes and has featured me, my artwork and recent accomplishments in this blog entry on their website, the link to my article is here. I'm really honored to be chosen to be able to try the various Dynasty brushes in my colored pencil work, and also a little bit with oils and watercolors. I am always trying new methods and materials when working with colored pencil in which to work quicker, as we all know that colored pencil can be timely and require much patience. I also look for ways in which to smooth my colored pencil work when using a very textured surface which I often do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Colored Pencil Home Study Course

I am excited to announce that I was just selected at one of TEN TOP Colored Pencil Masters to be featured in a brand new Home Study Course called"Sessions with Colored Pencil Masters". My work will be also be featured on Nov. 13, 1 p.m. EST, in an International webinar which gives a sneak peek of the course with tips, tricks and shortcuts from top Masters. To sign up for the FREE webinar click here: if you are unable to watch it live, sign up so you will get a link to the replay.

If you want to purchase a copy of this new course at a special low price, go to and use the discount code: KendraF. You will get $10.00 OFF (even a SALE price).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fragments of Time

I have just finished this colored pencil drawing which is done on UArt paper and is 29x24". I start with Polychromos pencils which can blend really nicely into the sanded paper with a stiff brush then I add Prismacolor pencils on top. They don't blend as well because they have a more waxy consistency.

I've been working larger lately and just having fun being creative with the larger format. After working on Uplifted, Keepers of Mystery, and The Woman in the Window, I have been enjoying working on the old crumbling walls surrounding my subjects. Something about the passing of time and seeing the old beneath and mixed with the present is attracting my attention. Perhaps it is because I have been somewhat emotional lately assisting my elderly father who is declining rather quickly and is difficult to observe but no regrets that I can be of help to him. So maybe this is why I am incorporating history into my works.

My reference photos for this drawing came from a trip I took to Tuscany with eight other artists. We rented a villa and travelled around the area. This scene is from Siena, as we were walking down a narrow street an elderly woman poked her head out the window for a moment. I quickly snapped some photos before she noticed and ducked back inside. I was also intrigued by the other elements in the photo, the round window, the shrine to the madonna and the wires and pipes running along the facade.

This piece is also going to be included in my exhibit at the Providence Art Club, Providence, RI which opens this Sunday, October 21 from 2-4 p.m.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ampersand Art Supply: Featured Artist: Kendra Ferreira

Ampersand Art Supply has featured me and my current colored pencil box project on their blog!

Ampersand Art Supply: Featured Artist: Kendra Ferreira: Box Lids for the upcoming show at the Providence Art Club Rhode Island artist, Kendra Ferreira, is currently working on a series of Cla...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ocean Life Claybord Boxes

Here they are, my nine finished boxes. Each are 5x5" with a colored pencil drawing on the top and a smaller drawing on the inside. Inside drawings were done on Strathmore illustration board, outside drawings were done on Stonehenge white or cream paper attached to the claybord surface with Grafix double tack mounting film. I had so much fun with this project, pardon the pun but it was "out of the  box" for me. I like the idea of creating 3D art, doing something a little different other than work that hangs on the walls. I will be exhibiting these pieces at my Providence Art Club exhibit opening Sunday, October 21st and am excited to get feedback from the viewers. Also, I will be selling the boxes individually or in a grouping.

This last photo is a better look at the nine inside drawings.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pet Portrait of Frasier

This post is going to have everyone thinking of the holidays and it's much to early for that however here is a pet portrait I just finished of a cute little West Highland Terrier named Frasier. The drawing is 11x14" done in colored pencil on charcoal gray Canson Mi Tientes paper. It is exactly the pose my customer wanted, she also chose the winter or holiday themed scarf and wanted pine trees in the background. Fortunately she gave me several good photos to work from, although this pose wouldn't have been my first choice. Commission work can be tricky because the artist is drawing or painting the customer's ideas and impressions and not the artist's own. It can often take me a while to mentally get into the drawing I've been asked to do and to put it down on paper as the owner sees her dog. I find that it always helps to talk in length to a customer about his/her dog and also to meet the dog in person and understand a little about the dog's personality. I feel as if I did okay with this piece but I do see a few areas that could be improved upon. Of course I'm not going to point them out to my readers!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Karen Rosasco Watermedia & Composition Workshop

This week our studio is hosting a 5-day experimental watermedia workshop with NY artist Karen Rosasco. The focus of the workshop is to work in a rather abstract manner using techniques such as layered acrylic, charcoal, collage, relief printing, layering mixed media and textured gel medium.  On the first day we began by coating large sheets of watercolor paper with gloss medium, then layers of thinned acrylic afterward adding textures into the wet surface and/or spattering rubbing alcohol for  interesting effects in the paint. On the second day we cut the paper into smaller pieces and started to think more about composition, taking away areas with rubbing alcohol for whites adding more paint for darks, deciding on compositional values, perhaps adding more textures. Today we collaged a variety of papers and objects onto our papers, added more paint and more lines. At this point we take the plunge and really think about our final composition for each piece. As you all know I work very realistically so this is a stretch for me. I came home exhausted today because my brain is working so hard! I must say Karen is a wonderful instructor, she is pushing me in new ways of thinking and creating. She teaches several new techniques from her each day which we can use now or incorporate into our own work at a later time.

 These are some of my beginning compositions that I will continue working on. I have used some of my drawings, my etchings, tissue paper and colorful paper cocktail umbrellas collaged into these pieces.

  Here are some of the gals working
 Examples of one students' work, lots of collage and textures.
 Here are Karen's abstract "drag figures" which I can't explain. If you want to learn her technique, take one of her workshops, you  have to see her demonstrate.
This is Karen showing us examples of her works.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ampersand Clayboard Boxes

I purchased nine 5x5" clayboard box kits from Ampersand with the intention of doing a series of drawings on the tops of the boxes and inside the boxes when the covers are lifted. I've chosen ocean life as a theme and worked on the drawings for the tops of the boxes shown here, placed close together. Because the clayboard is too smooth of a surface to draw on, I'm using white stonehenge paper or white bristol paper, although the turtle is drawn on cream stonehenge. The mediums I have used are image transfer and colored pencil. Image transfer is a process in which I take a Xerox copy of a drawing or photograph and transfer it onto the paper with a Chartpak colorless marker. Of course the image will come out in reverse so I have to switch it accordingly. Next I add colored pencil to the transfer and around. Some of the backgrounds I chose to leave white and some are colored.

My next step is to decide what smaller images I want to place inside each box and work on those. I'm doing this series for my upcoming exhibit at the Providence Art Club in October. I will show these boxes on pedestals as 3D artwork and most likely in smaller groupings.

Also, Ampersand has used my colored pencil piece on Gessobord Patti's New Bowl in a recent blog entry for the company's fall sale on the different boards.

Friday, September 7, 2012

End of Summer

While sitting on Surfside Beach in Nantucket with friends right after Labor Day two years ago, I took several photos of this scene. It's taken me that amount of time to finally dig out my reference photos, review them and decide on a composition. It's fitting for the time of year and my reflections on summer so I came up with this simple horizontal scene. Just a quiet, end of summer afternoon, two guys on the right looking out at the water and possibly reflecting on the day or on the season. In the middle, the girl holding the surfboard is photographed by her boyfriend with the waves in the background. It's a quiet, tranquil scene. Reminds me of happy days spent at the beach.

This drawing is 9x24" on UArt sanded paper. Same colored pencil techniques as I explained in my Edge of a Dream post.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Edge of a Dream

The Edge of a Dream is what I've titled my latest colored pencil drawing. I may  have mentioned in previous posts that I love walking on the beach any time of year and taking photos of the surf, the waves breaking on the beach and the clouds. I've worked several drawings of beach scenes from my photos but never incorporated any other subject into the scene.

Subsequently, earlier in the summer my husband and I were invited to a fashion show fundraiser in which we were lucky enough to be seated directly next to the runway. As the models sauntered past I whipped out my little camera and started snapping away, my thoughts of incorporating these tall wiry women and their interesting costumes in some of my artwork. This young woman was exceptionally tall and exceptionally thin and I had been pondering what type of interesting scene I could drop her into. After much thought I pulled out some of my more dramatic beach photos and decided to create a scene in which she is walking along the beach, stormy clouds and colorful waves behind, her skirt flowing in the sand. My intent is to give the the figure and the scene a dream like quality, as I was working I would put myself into the scene, perhaps she is me.

As in my past several drawings, I am using the UArt sanded paper with Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils. The Polychromos pencils blend and sink into the paper when burnished with a bristle brush. The Prismacolors blend also but not quite as well because they are much more waxy. The paper is very textured with distinct horizontal lines and I find that burnishing vertically and horizontally helps blend out those lines. The sanded paper eats up brushes in no time so I purchase cheap, flat bristle brushes and cut the brush hairs to about 1/4" so they will be stiffer and better for burnishing. I enjoy working on the UArt because it takes the colors so quickly, I can achieve deeper values and brighter colors on this sanded surface.

On another note, I am going to be leaving Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, RI at the end of August. I have been at the gallery since 2005 and enjoyed it so much. Spring Bull Gallery is a cooperative gallery  in which the members share in the expenses and duties. I have really enjoyed my past seven years at the gallery and I love the family of artists in the gallery with me. Leaving the gallery is bittersweet, I am sad to go, however new opportunities await and are in the works. Customers are welcome to contact me and see my work at my studio in Middletown, RI.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Woman in the Window

Time is slipping by all too quickly and I've been spending a lot of time on this drawing while getting a bit anxious as I look at the calendar and realize I only have two months left to prepare for my exhibit at the Providence Art Club. October will be here too soon and I still find myself with several more drawing ideas that I hope to complete.

For this drawing, I chose the photo reference from the seemingly hundreds of photos I took while in Budapest in May. A few of us had just finished coffee one mid afternoon and were walking down a narrow street when a woman walked into a cafe directly in front of us and sat down in the window. The sunlight was falling over the building tops and down at a sideways slant and illuminated her so perfectly. The amazing play of light and dark but also the sense of intimacy of the figure had us photographers were clamoring all over each other to get the perfect shot. And thank goodness this woman didn't turn around, she would have thought we were all nuts jumping over each other pointing cameras in her direction.

Now I have been working on this approximately 24x24" drawing over the past few weeks trying to capture what I saw on the street in Budapest. I've taken out irrelevant details and played up the contrast of lights and darks keeping the surrounding window and broken wall but hoping they won't detract. The surface is UArt 800 grit archival sanded paper which is very textured, lots of texture is still showing through the dark areas. I like this paper because of it's gritty surface, it takes pencil color quickly but the textured lines in the paper can be challenging. I find Polychromos pencils work best and are easily blended or burnished with a bristle brush to smooth out the drawing. But I also like to add Prismacolor pencils which are more distinct and waxy and Prismacolor Verithin which have harder points to fill in small areas.

(My camera has distorted some of the straight lines in this picture of my drawing, the woodwork and trim around the window and wall aren't warped as they appear.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CPSA Convention and Exhibition

 I had a wonderful time last week spending time with good friends, Lynda Schumacher, Debbi Friedman, Elizabeth Patterson and Dianna Soisson and our happy and wonderful CPSA President Cindy Haase (on the left). It was nice to see so many friendly faces and reconnect with members I hadn't seen since last year. The exhibition was exceptionally fabulous this year with 120  amazing works of art in the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky.

 Here is a portion of the CPSA silent auction table. Debbi Friedman's piece is on the left, my piece "Flying Away" (Bird of Paradise) is in the middle and Shawn Falchetti's drawing is on the far right.

While at the convention, I took a one-day workshop with John Ursillo. John works very successfully on canvas and taught us all about his techniques. He works on Fredrix Watercolor Canvas boards or Fredrix watercolor canvas paper which comes in a pad. He explained that you could actually work on regular oil paint canvas however, the weave of the canvas for oil painters is more coarse and not as tightly woven making it a little more difficult to achieve fine detail. The photo above shows my choice of a reference photo of the hummingbird and some of my materials. After I drew the outline of the hummingbird in regular pencil, I began drawing lightly with watercolor pencil and then blending it with water to create and build underpainting washes. John suggests spraying each layer of dissolved watercolor pencil with workable fixative before adding subsequent layers of washes. This is a helpful tip but I also found the workable fixative changes the surface of the canvas, makes it less absorbent for subsequent washes.

Next I added color and detail to the bird with regular colored pencil. I like the texture of the canvas, it is smooth enough for detail yet gives the appearance of a textured painting. The bird isn't finished but we were running out of time in the workshop so I began to work on the background and learn how to use solvent on the board. First I laid down a layer of Cool Grey 90% and then a layer of Indigo pencil on top of the grey. I tried John's technique for applying solvent to smooth out the background. I took the yellow brush (bottom left) dipped it in solvent and "pounced" all over the background to melt and blend the pencil. It was a bit of a challenge for me because I'm used to brushing solvent over pencil on other surfaces yet found it resulted in streaks if I used that method on this canvas. I found I just had to keep "pouncing" away to cover the area, it takes some patience and time. To work around the edges of the bird, John suggests sticking post-it notes on the edge as you work so the edge stays clean. My background wasn't completed by the end of the workshop, I hope to finish it in the studio and try working on canvas again. Also, to frame and present work on canvas, John sprays it with coats of Krylon UV Resistant Clear.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Moths, Moths, Moths

Another assignment for my sketchbook class was to create a drawing in which the composition is similar to the studies of Ernest Haeckel or Albertus Seba. Ernest Haeckel was a naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist. He published a book titled Art Forms in Nature which included over a hundred detailed, multi-colored illustrations of animals and sea creatures. Albertus Seba was a pharmacist who collected numerous amounts of natural specimens. He engaged several artists, engravers and writers to help catalog these specimens into a book titled A Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. If you do a search for drawings from these books, you will find many of these drawings have been made into wallpaper, wrapping paper, textiles, etc.

I have modeled my drawing after several by Ernest Haeckel, drawn on black paper with white pencil. The drawings are so beautiful and intricate, I decided to create my own. I chose moths as my subject and did some research to find different types and views of moths. I never realized there were so many and so many beautiful colors. This is my layout on black Stonehenge paper.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nine Bugs

On Monday nights I have been taking a sketchbook drawing class at RI School of Design which I am really enjoying. Our instructor, Johnny Adimando has been encouraging us to incorporate different art mediums into our works along with drawing. We've been experimenting with image transfer, relief printing and graphite rubbings. I've found the class projects a great way to kick up my creativity a notch! I took it one step further and decided to create some works beyond my sketchbook. This is a series of bugs on 4x4" wood panels, I began each with Xerox image transfers for each insect then added colored pencil on top. I'm going to present this series of nine pieces as sculpture, on a table top rather than hung on a wall.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Latest News and Newest Work

I haven't posted for a while as I've had several things going on; I'm taking a sketchbook drawing class at Rhode Island School of Design; the mother of one of my closest friends has just passed away and we have family from Arizona staying with us. So I am finally sitting down to put together a blog entry of my art news. Above are two of the three pieces I am currently showing in the Works in Colored Pencil Exhibit at Sharon Art Center in Peterborough, NH through August 7th. My piece on the left Splendor won second place in the exhibit and my piece on the right Joyous Spirits was sold at the opening. Joyous Spirits is also featured in Art Scope Magazine's email newsletter. I don't know which I'm more excited about, the Splendor award recognition or Joyous Spirits going to a new home! These are two of MY favorite pieces.

Here is my newest colored pencil piece in which I just finished, it is the second in a series from the photos I took while in Hungary and Austria. I've titled it Keepers of Mystery and the piece is 16"x23" and is worked on UArt 800 grit paper. Keepers of Mystery is taken from a photo I took in Koszeg, Hungary of a shrine to the martyr saint St John of Nepomuk (also referred to as Szent Janos). St John was born in the Czech Republic in 1350 and (it is written) because of his "humility and hard work of virtues" was later appointed canon of Prague by King Wenceslas. The Queen chose St John in which to confess her sins, the King demanded St John divulge the Queen's sins to him. St John refused to talk and was threatened, tortured and later killed because of his silence.

In the original photo, St John is holding a cross. In my drawing, I chose to put a raven in his hand, a raven which is looking directly at St John. In mythology Ravens symbolize negative or dark connotations, however, ravens are also known to be intelligent beings, messengers and keepers of mysteries as was St John of Nepomuk.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CPSA Silent Auction Piece

This is the colored pencil drawing titled "Flying Away" that I created for the CPSA silent auction which is held during the annual exhibition and convention August 1-4, 2012 in Covington, KY. I worked the drawing on felt gray Canson Mi Tientes paper, although it probably didn't matter what color I used because I covered every little bit with pencil. I used the Icarus Board to help me blend and layer the intense color. I love bright colors and so my blues and greens got quite a work out on this piece. When finished, I mounted it on 8x10" 3/4"-cradled clayboard with archival double tack film. I decided to leave the edges natural wood so I stained them and am varnishing the piece with Golden UVLS polymer varnish to preserve the bright colors.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Uplifted" 16x24" in colored pencil. I was inspired to draw from a photo I took in the medieval town on Koszeg, Hungary. It is a statue of an angel against the blue and gold wall of St James church built in 1403. I liked the textured peeling paint against the softness and intricate design on the statue. I chose to work on UArt 800 sanded paper in order to get good color coverage and some texture in the piece. I burnished background areas with a brush where I needed it to be smooth.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Celebrating 150 Years of Gustav Klimt in Vienna

Gustav Klimt, Head Study for the Reclining Girl for the Theater of Shakespeare, 1887

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Klimt and in celebration several art museums in Vienna are having special Klimt exhibitions. I was fortunate to be able to see 2 of the exhibits while in Vienna last week; The Painter Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere art museum and Gustav Klimt The Drawings at the Albertina. I went to see the Belvedere exhibit first but if I were to see the exhibits again I would view the Albertina show first as it consists of many of his preliminary drawings for his paintings at the Belvedere. In the start of his career, Klimt studied as an architectural painter receiving numerous commissions and specializing in interior decoration, especially for theaters and worked on these projects along with his brother and a friend. Many of Klimt's figure and head sketches for the theater paintings are on view at the museum, and as an artist who loves to draw with a pencil, I found these early works so inspiring. Each is beautifully rendered and he has captured the essence of his subjects so well in these small sketches, one can feel the emotion or personality of his subjects. In later years Klimt began drawing the female body more loosely as perquisites for his paintings. These drawings are worked with more fluid line and less shading and detail than his earlier works. This is also the period when Klimt's drawings of women took on a very erotic nature. What I really enjoyed seeing was how well he thought out each of the many figure sketches for each painting, Klimt worked out things like facial expressions, position and composition in his sketches for each painting.

The Albertina as it is mainly a museum that exhibits works on paper; drawings, watercolors and prints which are a delight to see. I won't detail all of the exhibits except for the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist exhibit featuring paintings, pastels, drawings and watercolors of so many well known artists, the description read the artists painted and drew sketchily and preferred light and brilliant colors. Monet preferred pastel for his small plein air sketches, Pissaro often worked in gouache and Degas' pastel work was wonderful also.

In the Belvedere galleries, the exhibit is of Vienna in the succession years, 1880-1914 and Klimt's paintings are exhibited with several of his contemporaries Schiele and Kokoschka as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era. All wonderful galleries of work but I enjoyed seeing the Klimt paintings the most especially his golden phase, in which he is most well known, he influenced by Japanese art, Byzantine Mosaics and medieval paintings. In his portrait works, he delicately rendered his subjects flesh with beautiful pink and green tones while surrounding them with gold leaf and a design-like colorful quality. Viewing these paintings up close was a delight for me.

The remainder of the Belvedere is also not to be missed, I especially enjoyed the Realism and Impressionism exhibit and the Modern Art - Interwar Period exhibit. And there are several other exhibits in which I unfortunately had to just glimpse because I spent so much time at the others!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Austria and a Side Trip to Slovenia

Continuing with our photo workshop, we've had a busy itinerary. From our hotel in Felsoszolnok, we took a few more day trips to Graz, Austria, and Maribor, Slovenia which was one of the highlights on the trip for me. Graz is the second largest city in Austria after Vienna. A busy university city with many students, buildings and architecture styles in the Old Town are beautiful. We took the funicular (tram) to the top of Graz, Castle Mountain and wandered around the Old Town. Our next day trip was an hour and a half ride over the border to Slovenia. We visited Maribor and enjoyed it immensely. Another university town, the streets are busy and people are friendly. Red tile roofs contrast with the blue of the sky and earth tones of the buildings. Again we visited the old town section, smaller than Graz but beautifully located along the River Drava. We've now been in Vienna for three days, leaving this afternoon. One of the highlights of this city has been the Klimt exhibits. The city is celebrating 150 years of Gustav Klimt's work in several exhibits around the city. I will write about what I've seen in the next blog entry as I am heading out to see one more today.

 Hofsburg Palace gates with fascinating skies.
 Old Town Graz Austria
 Roman ruins sculptured at the Hofsburg Summer Palace
 Just outside of Maribor, Slovenia we stopped to photograph the landscape and wonderful skies.
 St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
 One of the many beautiful domes in Vienna
 A main street in Vienna
We traveled just outside of the city of Vienna to dine at one of the heurigers, wine gardens where wine from local wineries is served with a variety of buffet style or kitchen cooked Viennese foods. There is live music, background music is not permitted! The balsam branches hanging under the sign means guests are welcome. We had a really fun dinner and I enjoyed the area so much.