Friday, December 4, 2020

Book Sculptures at Providence Art Club

 Pictured here are the twelve upcycled book sculptures that I made this year and are currently on display at the Providence Art Club Little Picture Holiday Show, Providence, Rhode Island. Over 100 artists are displaying small pieces of artwork in all different mediums and all under $300. This year I decided to add my book sculptures to this exhibit. The exhibit is open until December 23 and is open every day from noon to 5 pm. 

In the past I have shown my colored pencil works but this year I had been creating book sculptures and decided to enter these pieces of art into the holiday show. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Swirl

This is a new piece I just finished titled The Swirl. I had been sketching shells in a small sketchbook and thought I might put several together in one interesting type of still life. I chose and positioned the shells on a white board secured with putty. I drew each one individually. But first I started with an underpainting in Derivan Liquid Pencil diluted with water applied using a small watercolor brush. I worked on Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board which is very sturdy and could hold the water and liquid graphite pencil without buckling. I worked tones/values in black and white and then layered colored pencil on top of the graphite when it had dried. 

This shell (top) has only two colors of blue applied over the graphite. The liquid graphite underpainting helps me establish tones of gray and characteristics within each shell before adding color. My brush and the tube of liquid pencil is pictured below.

Below is how I worked on the piece, adding all of the underpainting in liquid pencil before adding color. I did skip around a bit to draw different shells. My reason for working with these two mediums is to experiment with combining the mediums and also I have been curious about adding an underpainting to the colored pencil. To draw each shell I used a variety of colored pencils: Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Luminance, Faber Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Verithin. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Two Prize Winners & One Happy Artist!

I am really excited because two of my works of art have received recognition in art competitions in November! I've been staying home so much more this past year due to Covid as I know everyone else has been doing. No traveling and social distancing has given me much more time to focus on creating art in my studio. As I mentioned previously, I have been focusing on my collection of tea cups and setting them up in different ways in which to draw.

My colored pencil drawing A Fresh Start (left) was accepted into the Colored Pencil Society of America 28th Annual International Exhibition in the summer and in November it was also accepted into American Artist Professional League 92nd Grand National Exhibition. I was even more thrilled when I learned that it had also been awarded the Alma M. Preede Memorial Award for Graphics in the exhibit. 

There are some incredible works of art in the AAPL 92nd Exhibition in all different mediums. You can link and view the exhibit here. You can link to all of the award winners here.

This past week I learned that my colored pencil piece Hot Spots (right) was one of only 25 pieces accepted into the UArt 2020 on line Colored Pencil Competition. The contest is sponsored by UArt Sanded Paper Company and was open to any artist working with colored pencil on UArt sanded paper. You can view the 25 accepted entries here.

I send my congratulations to all other artists accepted into art competitions, working hard to create and exhibit!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

A Book Sculpture Inspired by Autumn

I created this book sculpture from an old medical book that someone gave me. The pages are cut and made into a half flower vase glued onto the binding. I created the piece using decorative paper, an orange paste paper I had leftover and hand watercolored book pages. I watercolor the pages first before cutting and folding them into the flower and leaf shapes. 

I keep all kinds of scraps of paper and book pages for use in future creations, I have a big bin of all kinds of materials to use! The butterflies came from a butterfly book that I created awhile ago and kept the remainder of the pages. 

I really have fun with these book sculptures. This particular sculpture took me several days as I will cut and place shapes on the vase before gluing so I can view and contemplate if I want changes as I go. In between book sculptures I work on my colored pencil drawings. After sitting and drawing for several hours, I find it relaxing to cut and create something three dimensional! 


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Newport Art Museum Tiny Tours Feature

I posted and wrote about my handmade book Amsterdam earlier in the year (blog link here) when it was accepted into the Newport Art Museum Annual Juried Member Exhibit in January. Unfortunately, the exhibition was unable to be viewed when the Art Museum closed for several months due to Covid. So the folks at Newport Art Museum created what they called Tiny Tours, one for each exhibiting artist in the exhibit. Each Tiny Tour is a narrated and recorded video so folks could still view and enjoy all of the artwork on-line on Vimeo. NAM is also using these videos as teaching and learning resources for students. I am really thrilled to be a part of this sampling or artworks!

I am sharing a link to the tours here, scroll down to find my tour. Hope you enjoy viewing them:

Newport Art Museum Tiny Tours

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Balancing My Tea Cups

I haven't been writing on my blog too much lately and mainly because I have been working on my colored pencil drawings and a few other things. Since the Covid began and I found myself spending more time in the studio, I decided to work on a series of drawings using tea cups as my subjects. I am working these drawings where I am stacking tea cups and also another group of drawings where tea cups are reflecting polka dots, linking to a previous post here.

Many of these tea cups belonged to my (late) mother in law who had them displayed on a shelf in her dining room but later on dismantled the display and gave me the cups. I kept them wrapped and tucked away for many years with thoughts of drawing them in colored pencil. My favorite is the Dragon Tea Cup which is at the very top of the above drawing. Over the years I have collected several others including the colorful bull (just below) from Barcelona Spain and the butterfly cup sent to me by a favorite cousin. 

The first drawing A Fresh Start (19x11") was accepted into the Colored Pencil Society of America's 28th Annual International Exhibition (click on the link to see some incredible colored pencil artworks) and sold shortly after the exhibition came on-line. The second drawing (below) Precarious Balance (18x10") was shown at the Providence Art Club Fall Member Exhibit. 

Both drawings were worked on Strathmore Series 500 Illustration board using a mixture Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Luminance and Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils. The Polychromos are a harder pencil and good for rendering smooth glassy surfaces by filling in the paper's "tooth". Prismacolor and Luminance have such rich color, Luminance being more fade resistant so I tend to use them more. 

Here I go again with a third drawing. This time I attempted to stack nine tea cups and photograph the stack. I use my hot glue gun and fishing line to hold the stack of cups in place. I glued the spools of thread between cups in order to give each one the correct height. As you can see, this group tumbled and I had to superglue one tea cup back together. As I draw, I work from my photos and shortened stacks of two or three cups to get perspective, color and shading. 

This is a quick photo of my start for this drawing, beginning with the top cups. I draw the design and shading on each but I will go back later to adjust and evaluate each cup before the drawing is finished. For this drawing I decided to try Arches Aquarelle Hot Press Watercolor Paper to see how it would compare to the Strathmore Illustration board. 


Monday, September 28, 2020

I am a Contributing Author of this New Book!

I was very excited when asked by GMC Publications to be included in the newly published Painting & Drawing Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner book. Some of my tutorials and lessons from my previous colored pencil book have been included with the works of five additional artist authors Paul Clark, Adrian Burrows, Noman Long and Richard Rochester

This book includes some really good information with beautiful illustrations and easy to follow steps about how to draw in charcoal and pencil, and how to paint in watercolor, acrylic and oil painting. It is a great resource for artists who wish to learn about these different mediums from supplies to lessons and it's all included in one book. 

This book is available through at this link.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Colored Pencil Shell Study on Wood Panel

I drew this colored pencil piece on an 8x10" Blick Studio Wood Panel  with a 7/8" thickness. I like the smooth surface of the wood and it does not have to be sanded or primed to accept colored pencil. I selected three shells with different shapes and colors and decided how to arrange them on the surface. It took a little bit of figuring how I wanted them to look compositionally. 

First I drew the outlines with lead pencil and added some of the details to help me when adding color. I used Caran d'Ache Luminance and Prismacolor colored pencils to create this piece. The wood is soft so a softer pencil works really well on the surface. I was also able to build up layers easily. 

My drawing kind of evolved, I intertwined the shells and later put in a soft background suggesting sand and sky. 

The fixative/varnish is a three-part process. First I spray the drawing with Krylon UV Resistant Clear, two coats letting the first dry for 15 minutes. Secondly I spray the drawing with two coats of Krylon Kamar Varnish letting each dry for about 30 minutes in between. You may stop here and perhaps spray one more coat. I like a glossier finish so I add a third step. that is to apply Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS. I mix one part varnish with two parts of water to thin the varnish so it can be easily brushed on with a soft bristle brush. I work in one direction when brushing on varnish and let it sit for about two hours until completely dry before adding another layer. The layers are thin and I keep adding additional layers until I like the shine. This drawing probably has about 8 layers of the polymer varnish. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Studio!

I had to take a little break from creating art because we moved in June into a wonderful new house and I am even more excited because I was also able to move my art studio back and right in the lower level of our house. I have two big rooms and a covered patio outside. In the past two months, walls have been painted, cabinets and shelves installed and I have bright new lighting. I also have an inspiring view of the water and lots of inspiration in our yard. I'm hoping to offer small group art classes in the near future while still being careful during Covid.

Our dog Bandit is still a little unsure of the new space, I think he misses the old studio and seeing the other artists!


Other sources of inspiration - we have a koi pond and lots of colorful plants and flowers!

Monday, August 24, 2020

One Week Remaining to See My Exhibit

I am exhibiting artwork and illustrations at the Barrington Library in conjunction with my Colour-Pencil Drawing book through the month of August. The library is open and limiting capacity of guests. Please wear your mask and practice social distancing while viewing the exhibit. 

Hope you are able to see the exhibit and enjoy it!


Monday, May 11, 2020

Reflected Dots - Colored Pencil

At my studio and wondering what to draw next. I really had fun with the tea cups and polka dots that I finished recently and posted here on my blog so decided to try another. I put a few reflective and shiny objects together for a small still life and positioned everything to reflect the dots over and over. I thought the green leaves and organic shapes were a good contrast to the other objects.

I am working on UArt 800 grit paper and my own reference photo (see bottom) as well as working from the objects themselves. I started by layering Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and blending them into the surface with a bristle brush. The Polychromos are an oil based pencil so less waxy and blend better as the surface layer. As I continue to add color, I will use Prismacolor Premier Soft Core colored pencils and Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils along with the Polychromos. Both Prismacolor and Luminance are waxy and build strong color as they are layered.

This sanded paper is so textured that it smudges easily, so I have to clean often with a kneaded eraser. I keep a piece of blank scrap paper under my drawing hand to keep my from smudging colors while I draw.

To work on the surface I put down a layer of Black Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft  watercolor pencil and then blended it with water for a smooth surface with no paper texture showing through. 

I did the same for the background using Grey Supracolor Soft watercolor pencil and blending it with water. The Grey took a little more work to even out than the Black. 

Here is my finished drawing, I used several blue, gray and violet pencils to complete my background. I also added a few dark gray colored pencils to the black surface in order to lighten it up. I also added the whites to the dots. The piece is almost complete so I can punch up some of the colors, add light and dark values/tones to different areas. I also used Prismacolor Verithin pencils on top of a few of the areas where I wanted rich darks and no paper texture showing through. These are the darkest areas on the coffee pot, the black cup in the front and the two red vases.

This is my reference photo, I chose to eliminate the blue reflections in the coffee pot. I found them to be a bit distracting to the rest of the composition.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Book Sculptures: Fold • Cut • Glue

Here are a few old books that I have been creating into book sculptures. The first is a book about fresh and salt water fishes. I cut out many of the fish illustrations before I folded pages. 

The fold pattern for this book is to alternate: 1.) page folded in half vertically with 2.) page in which corners are folded inward from the edge to form a triangle. Keep folding these two patterns until the whole book has been folded. Below is my sample book to demonstrate.

I glued decorative paper to the end pages of the book, then positioned and glued on my fish. For glue, I used a glue stick for fish on the end pages, white craft glue and a glue gun for other areas. I also added some fishing line, lures and bobbers for embellishments. 

I had been thinking about a circus tent of a a book and finally found this fun circus book in which to create it. I liked the end pages so I didn't have to cover them with paper. I cut out many of the illustrations to use and glue back on. The pattern for folding is to fold down the tops of each page to form a triangle creating the point. To make the entrance, I folded some of the middle pages inward. I created red flags out of paper and added a gold ribbon to hang the flags. I really like the way this one came out!

I had found an aquarium book with colorful fish and corals so I wanted to make a book that appeared to be an aquarium. First I glued all of the ends of the pages with gel medium and when the glue was dry and the pages glued into a "block" I could hollow out the insides with a utility knife. This is not easy and takes a while to do. Your hands will tire quickly! Next I glued turquoise Lokta paper to the backgrounds and started adding in fish. 

 Here I have added black handmade paper with gold flecks running through it (I'm not sure of the name) and glued more fish on top of the black paper and coming out of the cut pages inside.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Spring to Life

I created this book sculpture using one of my dad's old engineering books from college in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I had saved several of old books that belonged to my parents that didn't seem to be classics and have given them another life by creating book sculptures out of them.

I cut a template for my flower vase/base and then cut sections of book pages with a utility knife (see below, template on the right). This can be a tedious procedure and take a while, I needed to use about 3 paperbacks for this vase, I could not use the pages from the engineering book because they were too thin. I tore them out and saved for another project.

I used marbelized paper I had previously created for the end pages and put together paper flowers cut and folded from other book pages, some previously colored with watercolor paint. I construct a variety of different flowers and some curly leaf shapes to compliment them.