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.