Saturday, January 8, 2022

Lioness Drawing from My Safari Trip

In October my husband and I were fortunate to go on an African safari  and travel to to five wildlife preserves in Kenya and Tanzania. It was an amazing trip and I came home with an incredible amount of wildlife photos. Covid made it a little more difficult to travel however we were tested frequently and wore masks indoors. And we were mostly riding in open air safari jeeps in the company of more animals than people. 

We had just landed in the Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve and were traveling by jeep to our camp when we came across four sleeping lionesses near the side of the road. We pulled up quite close and sat watching them for close to an hour (they are so used to safari jeeps it is possible to get that close). They rolled around a bit, yawned, got up and spun around (just like a house cat), laid back down and went back to sleep. I was taking photos and just happened to catch this lioness with her eyes open looking at me. 

Here are three stages of the drawing that I created from my photo. I worked with Faber Castell Polychromos on Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper, Maize colored (pictured below). The Pastelmat has a textured but velvety surface to softly layer the pencil. The Polychromos are a harder oil based pencil that adhere to this surface and blend very easily. I was able to apply multiple layers of color to different areas.

The Pastelmat comes in several colors and I am anxious to order and try a variety of them. 


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Colored Pencil Pet Portrait of Gabi

Here is Gabi, I was asked to create her portait in colored pencil for her parents holiday gift. I am working on 8x10" blue/gray rag mat board. I like the subtle color and texture of the board against her black fur. Notice the white lines on the top of her head, those are made with a sgraffito or embossing tool (something that looks like this). I press the tool into the paper where I want the lines to be. When I color over the lines with colored pencil, the embossed lines remain the color of the paper. This makes it much easier than trying to add light colored lines later on.

I began with Gabi's eyes, nose and face because they are the most important features to get correct. Moving on, I worked mostly with black colored pencil at first to establish the dark areas and the different areas of texture in the fur.

Black dogs are difficult to draw, you have to look closely in order to be able to add not only different values but also different colors into the fur. Besides using various shades of warm grays, I also used shades of blue, purple and browns.  

 I wanted to add a background that wasn't distracting to Gabi. In the photo I worked from, Gabi was sitting on the grass so I decided to subtly add a grassy area beneath her.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Colored Pencil Pet Portait of Ziggy

 This is an 8x10 colored pencil commissioned pet portrait of a long haired Dachshund, Ziggy, I created for his parents for the holidays.

This first portrait is of Ziggy. I'm working on a paper called Ingres, I believe it's made by Canson. I really like the neutral tones and texture of the paper for the pet portraits. You can see the texture on these closeups. I always begin with the eyes, nose and the head. The features are the most important to be able to draw correctly and get the pet's personality.

I continue on with the fur, working small areas at a time almost to completion. I'm working downward and also putting a piece of clean paper under my hand so I don't smudge colors. Ziggy has a lot of color and texture to his strands of fur, I had to take breaks after drawing for a few hours, my eyes were crossing! 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pet Portrait of a Little Yorkie

I’ve been working on this pet portrait of this little Yorkshire Terrier, Barrington. I am using primarily Prismacolor colored pencils and working on Canson Mi-Teintes paper, the color is called Hemp. I use the Mi-Teintes paper on the smoother side, not the textured side which works better when using pastels. 

I always start with the eyes because they’re the most important feature then work to the nose and mouth. Once I have the sparkle in the eyes and the facial features correct, I can start working the rest of the head and body.

Working on the body and all the little strands of fur. I start by adding my white highlights first so I don’t cover over them and then go to the darkest color and place it in the darkest areas of fur. Putting in those values helps me to define the lightest areas and darkest areas of his fur. From there I worked on the gray tones then added the tans and brown. I work one section at a time and then move onto the next section of the fur. For instance, one ear or one leg at a time. 

Barrington’s favorite spot is to sit in the laundry basket so that is how his owners wanted me to draw him. I’m working on the background, adding in the different bits of laundry but have to be careful that all the patterns and textures will detract from the dog. When I finish the background I will go back and make adjustments to the fur, especially around the edges. I may need to intensify some colors to bring him forward, and gray some background colors to make background elements sit back.

These are my color notes on the back of the paper. Colors always look different on a colored background than they do on a white background. It helps me to label the ones I plan to use on the fur, some of the browns and tans are so close in value and color that it’s hard to determine which is which just by picking up the pencil.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Featured on the Sharpened Artist Podcast

 John Middick host of the Sharpened Artist recently asked me to be a guest on his Podcast to talk about my start as an artist, how I got to where I am and talk about my work in colored pencil. I was nervous leading up to my interview but really enjoyed talking with John and discussing my work. 

The podcast is just over an hour, it is Episode #327 - here's the link - hope you enjoy if you decide to listen! By the way, John has 328+ additional podcasts you might want to check out. He talks about lots of subjects such as materials or artist resources and hosts many other artist interviews.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Handmade Concertina Star Book

I created this handmade star concertina book using colored artist papers, mulberry paper and cut and collaged paper relief monoprints. Adding a piece of nostalgia, I used my mother's old buttons from her collection for the ends of the ties. The book closes flat and opens to the star formation. 

I am exhibiting this book at Bristol Art Museum the All Types Exhibit in conjunction with the Providence Art Club printmakers portfolio exhibit. 

There are twenty-five original prints in this portfolio representing a range of print techniques from traditional methods to twenty-first-century technology and materials. Each print is on the artist’s choice of paper measuring eleven by eleven inches. The original prints in this portfolio are signed and numbered by the artists, and were created exclusively for this project. The prints in this portfolio speak to both personal and national issues.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Colored Pencil Squares!

This is a class project I taught with 3 students and I would like to teach it in more classes. This was kind of a "warm up" for me, I haven't taught this method in quite a while.

 This first turtle drawing is mine as I want to show the progression of work. As a surface we used 8x8" cradled DaVinci Pro Medium Texured Gesso Panels from Jerry's Artarama art supply company. I coated the panels with Art Spectrum Liquid Colourfix pastel primer which gave the panels a very textured sanded surface. I chose a neutral background color, it will end up being covered with colored pencil but will show through the colored pencil in areas. You can draw directly on the primer with colored pencil.

I pressed hard with the colored pencils to fill in the sanded texture. You'll see as I'm working the background how textured this surface can be. To burnish the pencil into the shell of the turtle I used Prismacolor Colorless Blender Pencil. You can find these blender pencils at most art or craft stores. 

To smooth out the textured background, I brushed Gamblin Company Gamsol odorless mineral spirits onto the layers of colored pencil. The mineral spirits will dissolve the pencil and allow it to flow like paint. 

I sprayed Krylon UV Resistant Clear coating over the drawing. Then painted the sides of the panel with acrylic paint in a blue that would compliment the drawing. The entire piece will be varnished with Krylon Kamar Varnish .

These three following images are student work. Two chose the turtle design and the third liked the tomatoes on the vine. Below, the student who created this turtle chose to change colors to her own palette and paint around the turtle in acrylic. She also added a few "splashes" of acrylic to the turtle for interest. These two turtle drawings were done in Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. 

This student used Faber Castell Polychromos pencils with Prismacolor Pencils. The Polychromos are oil based and have a harder point so they help push the pencil into the grooves of the surface. 


Monday, August 23, 2021

Cape Cod Art Center Workshop

I taught a 2-day colored pencil workshop at Cape Cod Center for the Arts in Barnstable, Massachusetts. After an introduction to working with colored pencils: materials and techniques, students worked on small still life drawings to get used to the medium. One the second day we worked the sunflower drawing with colored pencil on UArt 800 sanded paper. I wanted students to become familiar with colored pencil drawing on sanded paper and how it differs from non-sanded (traditional) papers.

Small class and still paying attention to Covid social distancing but it was really fun to be able to work together in person!


Friday, July 23, 2021

Altered Book Workshop

I taught a really fun altered book workshop at Warwick Center for the Arts in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Students brought books and ideas to the workshop and I helped them create a piece of art from an old book. There was lots of cutting and gluing all day! We also had visitors in the Art Center to look at the Altered Paper, Prints and Books exhibit that coincided with the workshop.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Sailing the Seas Book Sculpture

I have an Ocean Racing & Offshore Yachts book that someone gave me and had an idea to recreate a similar book sculpture I created a few years ago. I hand colored that other book sculpture with watercolors and later wished I had let it remain the natural whites of the pages. I created this piece with sculptures cut and folded from the pages in this book. Wow! It really is fun when I get going and good use for old books and old plastic drinking straws so they don't end up in the ocean!

I am part of an Altered Paper, Prints and Books exhibit that opens June 23rd, 2021 at Warwick Center for the Arts, Warwick, Rhode Island. The exhibit runs through July 24th with an opening reception on July 1st, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Here are a few of my altered books.