Saturday, July 13, 2024

Mounting a Watercolor on a Panel

I taught a colored pencil workshop this week and was explaining to my students how I often like to mount a drawing or watercolor on a panel rather than framing it with a mat and under glass. It is a bit complicated so I thought I would put it on my blog for future reference. I have been using DaVinci ProPanels as a surface in which to mount my artwork. This acid-free archival panel is coated with a textured gesso. I haven't tried the smooth textured panel but I'm sure it would work too. I have also used Ampersand Art Claybord or Gessobord in the past. To adhere (or glue) my artwork to the panel I use Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film which is also archival and non yellowing. I sell my artwork so I want to be sure that I use the best quality materials that will last many years.

Today I am using a 16x16" DaVinci Pro Panel and a watercolor painting of a blue crab on Arches 140 lb watercolor paper. I have cut my watercolor painting to about 16.5 x 16.5" so I have a little bit of extra paper around the edges. I found out the hard way not to cut my artwork exactly the same size as my panel because it can move while being pasted down and the mounting film is not repositionable. Then I cut the piece of mounting film the same size as the artwork.

Next I pull off one side of the backing paper and carefully adhere the sticky side of the mounting film to the back side of my artwork. 

I lay my artwork face down on a flat clean surface and burnish the mounting film with my bone folder. I start in the middle and move the bone folder outward to the edges to remove any air bubbles and make sure the mounting film is securely glued to the back of my drawing. Now I have the mounting film on my drawing and have to adhere the drawing to the panel.

I lay my DaVinci panel on a flat surface and make sure the surface of the panel is clean and free from any debris. I peel off the other side of the backing paper on my artwork and, starting with one side edge, line up the panel and edge of artwork while paying attention to the top and bottom edges then lay down the mounting film as carefully as possible. It is not repositionable once stuck to the artwork so be very careful. (When I first began this process, I practiced using a small panel first.)

Now I turn the artwork right side up, take a piece of waxed paper or one of the waxy sheets I peeled off the mounting film and put it on top of my drawing. Again, burnish with the bone folder from the center outward to make sure it is firmly glued and to alleviate any air bubbles. 

Seeing that I cut my drawing a little larger than my panel, I have to trim the sides to fit. Turn the piece back over. I use a sharp X-Acto knife and carefully trim the excess paper close to the edge of the panel. After cutting, if the edges are jagged, lightly sand with a piece of fine grit sandpaper. 

 Here is what my piece looks like when mounted on the panel. It is completely flat and professional looking. Erase any marks or sand any edges that aren't even. The next step is to apply a varnish or fixative to the drawing and I will show that in the next blog post. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Two Upcoming Summer Workshops

I have two in-person colored pencil workshops scheduled this summer. The first one is two mornings in July at Portsmouth Arts Guild in Portsmouth, RI and the other is a weekend workshop at Cape Cod Art Center in Barnstable, MA in September. 

We will create vibrant drawings with the simple tool of colored pencil by layering, blending, burnishing and creating rich darks and color. We will have discussions, demos, practice and then work from still life subjects or reference photos. Finishing the workshop with a review and sharing of our work.

See both websites for more info or to register, you can always contact me with any questions too.


Friday, January 19, 2024

Featured Artist in Endangered Exhibit

 I am excited to have been chosen to be the Virtual Artist in Residence for the exhibit Endangered promoted by the non profit group Art4Apes. Link to my bio and information is here. Link to the virtual gallery is here.

Endangered is "a team of art and photography lovers who believe that art, in all its forms, can reach people all over the globe and win hearts and minds for the cause of preserving all forms of life and the environment. To this end, we organize exhibitions, contests, and other events to focus attention on all that is ENDANGERED in our world.

We believe that reaching out to Young Artists and encouraging them to express their concerns for the environment and endangered species through art is important if we are to safeguard the future of our planet."

The Center for Great Apes is a non profit corporation whose mission is to provide a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or who are no longer wanted as pets. The Center provides care with dignity in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment for great apes in need of lifetime care. Please visit the website to learn more. ALL donations go directly to support the Center. 

I am also thrilled to have won 2nd Prize for my colored pencil drawing Endangered White Rhinos and 3rd Prize for my colored pencil drawing Majestic in the Endangered Exhibit. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

 The members of 19 on Paper artist group are celebrating our 35th anniversary with an exhibit at Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI. A selection of past members with be exhibiting with us. Exhibit opens Sunday November 12, if in the area please join us for the opening reception Sunday, November 19, 2-4 pm.

Included below are three of my works in the exhibit. The Invitation is a colored pencil drawing of stacked tea cups with inspirational sayings on the tea bags. Fly Fish Round Up is an altered book sculpture featuring a fly fishing book with embellishments. Shell Swirl is a colored pencil drawing of a variety of shells in a circular pattern.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Holiday Little Picture Show at Providence Art Club

I am exhibiting at Providence Art Club Little Picture Show & Sale on until December 23rd, 2024. There are over 160 artists exhibiting and all artwork is priced at $350 or less. Here are a few of my artworks that are available for purchase in the show.  All are colored pencil on paper except for the lighthouse which is watercolor on claybord. 


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Portrait of Murdock

 This is Murdock, I drew a portrait of this sweet dog for his owner. I don't know Murdock's whole story but I do know he was a rescue who ended up losing one eye and lived a short life. In every photo I saw, Murdock looked so happy and I know his owner loved him very much. I think Murdock loved his owner very much too. I was asked to draw a portrait of him and given several photos. In one of these photos  Murdock was standing in water on the shore looking very happy, so I chose that pose. I found inspiration with seafoam-y water flowing onto the beach and surrounding shells so I chose to draw Murdock in this serene environment. I often don't add backgrounds to my pet portraits however I realize the surroundings can give character or a sense of serenity to the composition so I may try this now. RIP little Murdock, you have been loved.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Art Fluent Award

 An artist friend suggested I enter the Art Fluent Animalia exhibit so I sent in a few of my safari drawings. I was really excited when I learned that this drawing Majestic won one of the two Director's Choice Awards!

We met this beautiful elephant in Amboselli National Park in Kenya. We were riding in our safari jeep when he came out of the bushes and stood in a field not far from where we parked to observe. This elephant proceeded to put on a show for us by throwing dirt on his back to cool himself off as well as swaying and moving around. We must have stayed right where we were and watched for at least thirty minutes. I had plenty of time to study and photograph this beautiful creature. 

Image size is 13x14", colored pencil on rag mat board.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

My Exhibition 'Into the Wild'

Here are several photos from my exhibit Into the Wild at the Providence Art Club Dodge House Gallery. The exhibit ended in mid April but was so rewarding to me. I spent over a year preparing and pretty much spent the last six months drawing, painting and framing. It was quite a journey, at time frustrating but in the end, very rewarding!

The opening was well attended by family, friends, colleagues and new friends. I was so thrilled to talk to the guests about my work and my safari travels to Africa. 

The last two photos are of my artist talk a few days before the exhibit ended, which was also well attended. Again I enjoyed talking about colored pencil, my work and my experiences on safari. 

I was thrilled to sell eight pieces during the exhibit and I am donating a portion of my sales to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy  Lewa focuses primarily on conservation of the white and black rhinos, Grevy’s Zebra and elephants. Lewa also promotes things like education, healthcare, clean water and youth empowerment for its community.

I thank everyone who came and supported me and my work and also to you reading this post!


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Solo Exhibit at Providence Art Club

I'm excited to have been asked to display my colored pencil drawings in a solo exhibit at the Providence Art Club Dodge House Gallery. The exhibit opens on March 26 and runs through April 14. My exhibit is titled Into the Wild and features drawings of animals and scenery from our safari trip to Kenya and Tanzania, Africa.  I am donating a portion of sales proceeds to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy  an organization that works toward to conservation and protection of its animals particularly the white rhino. 

See the invitation below for more information about the show, opening and artist talk.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Fall Colored Pencil Workshops

I will be teaching two colored pencil workshops this fall. The first will be on Tuesday, October 4 from 9 am to 3 pm at Portsmouth Arts Guild, Portsmouth, RI. We will be drawing from still life objects and learning about layering, blending and burnishing techniques as well as working with value and form. Students will also learn different techniques and approaches to create a vibrant drawing while drawing from a still life. 

Colored pencil is a versatile medium that is portable, inexpensive, and great for combining with other types of media such as watercolor. Through layering and mixing translucent colors directly on the drawing surface, a luminous image is produced.  Experience with drawing in any medium is required but beginners to colored pencil are welcome.

Information and registration can be found on the PAG website (link above) or you can email me at for more info. 

The second workshop is a 3-hour workshop at Bristol Art Museum on Saturday, October 22 from 1 to 4 pm. This workshop focuses on Drawing the Autumn Landscape. We will work from photos and/or still life objects such as colored leaves to capture the glorious colors of autumn in colored pencil. We will also learn about creating values, textures and composition as well as layering, burnishing and blending techniques. 

Because this is a short workshop, this is only for students with some drawing experience in any medium. See the website for more information and to register. Or contact me. 

Looking forward to the workshops and hoping to see lots of wonderful students!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Safari Drawing in Colored Pencil

I used a variety of reference photos from my safari trip to create this scene for customers who were looking for a custom wedding gift for their son and his wife. The newlyweds are very fond of cats so the lioness and her cubs were fitting as the main subjects. We decided on the other supporting animals and landscape for the middle and background. I used warm colors for this piece to depict the beautiful light of the Africa afternoon. My reference photos were taken from Kenya and Tanzania.

This drawing is 18x24" in colored pencils and drawn on cream Canson Mi-Teintes paper. I used a variety Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Luminance and Faber Castell Polychromos pencils for this drawing. I choose different pencils because I want to use both lightfast pencils and certain colors to create my work. 

I sweated this one out because I hadn't worked on a piece so large in quite a long time and also because I had the concept in my head but could I put it on paper? My biggest struggle was what to do with the midground beween the animals to make it interesting yet still add some 'quiet' areas for the eye to rest between subjects. My second biggest struggle was depicting all those blades of grass in the foreground!! All in all I am happy with the result. 

Below is my beginning of the lioness and cubs. I may recreate them again just by themselves.


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Weekend Workshop at Cape Cod Art Center

I will be teaching a 2-day colored pencil workshop at the Cape Cod Art Center in Barnstable Massachusetts on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 & 31st, 10 am to 4 pm each day. Cost $220/members and $250/non members. 

In this studio workshop we will focus on creating drawings of exciting seascapes. Learn how to capture the atmosphere of smooth water, sea foam and waves. We will cover the transparency and reflections in water as well as building form, light and shadow and working with surrounding beach and land formations.

For more information or to register follow this link to Cape Cod Art Center website. 

Material list is below.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Drawing at the RISD Museum

The spring semester of 2022 I took a class through the Providence Art Club which was Drawing in the RISD Museum (Rhode Island School of Design) lead by instructor Frances Middendorf.  Frances has been living in Italy and teaches at the Rome Art Program so we are fortunate to have her teaching through PAC. 

For our class we were given assignments and a group of artworks from which to select one or more to draw in pencil while observing and studying these work(s) at the museum. Each week we had a different assignment and each week we were to incorporate our lesson into a piece for homework and critique. Below are some of the my drawings from the 8-week class which I really enjoyed and I feel this class has helped my artistic style to grow. 

This Mary Magdelene (left) was painted by Lippo Memmi in 1330. On the left is my drawing of this painting. I chose it because I like this style of gothic painting inset in the fancy gold leaf panel. This panel was once part of an alterpiece in a church possibly in Siena.

This sculpture in the RISD Museum called Standing Figure was created by artist Arnold Price, carved from soapstone. For my homework project I chose to draw it among a grouping of vases.

For our landscape assignment I chose to draw this Louis-Jules-Frédeéric Villeneuve painting titled Aqueduct near Tivoli, 1827. I wanted to portray the beautiful light shining on the stone arches against the dark of the sky.

This lesson was in conjunction with an exhibit called Trading Earth, Ceramics, Commodities and Commerce. The exhibit focuses on global trade, ceramics made to store and serve, and luxuries of commodities such as sugar, tea, tobacco and alcohol. It looked at the trade routes for production, trade and consumption and the diversity of classes. We talked about oppression, slavery and exploited labor. In my drawing I have included three of the objects in the exhibit as well as the wealthy persons turning away from the realities of slavery. 

For this small colored pencil drawing, I chose to put my small still life objects on a print out of tapestry we studied and drew in the RISD museum. 

The top pencil drawing of the tulips is from an etching we studied by David Hockney. The vase of tulips were in front of a window. In my bottom drawing I have recreated the tulips in front of a window and added a scene. Our assignment was also to show the tactile qualities and textures of the objects we drew.

I drew this Japanese print by Utagawa Hiroshige in pencil then in colored pencil. The original print is a long vertical but I chose to make it into more of a rectangle or square format. Below is an Indian (attributed) drawing called Circle of Rabbits.  I recreated this drawing with colored pencils on textured paper. 

My final drawing (below) is one by Vincent Van Gogh titled View of Auvers-sur-Oise. I chose to draw this piece because I liked the contrasts of the rigid buildings against Van Gogh's traditional dramatic brush strokes in the sky and foreground. Drawing this colorful painting in black and white pencil can be a challenge getting values to correspond with colors in the painting.