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.