“Lucy” | colored pencil | 8″ x 10″

20131024-085811.jpg

My favorite thing about this is the cow’s expression! Using a black sanded surface, my intention for this was a simple “white drawing”. The other colored pencils were added before I reminded myself of my objective.

My 7 year old daughter would come in and critique it along the way, but it never met her full approval. Now I know why… Her favorite of all my paintings and drawings is “277” (a pregnant Belted Galloway at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC) because of all her fur.

This one is definitely cuter, though!

Newspaper Article

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a local newspaper looking to do an article on me and my art.  The writer left me a message on my phone and also sent me an email. I was typing up my email to respond to her (thinking out my answers so I wouldn’t have to worry about how many times I said “ummm” and “you know”). My plan was to call her back and use my draft email as notes (doesn’t everyone do that?). But before I could finish, she calls me again. And wants to come by my studio NOW.

If you like my facebook art page, you might have seen a post saying I was rearranging my studio just the night before. Do you know how organized artists typically are? Can you imagine what my studio looked like the day the reporter wanted to come over? Most of my art was still hanging at the Roasted Coffee Depot in Graham, so I had limited inventory in my studio as well.

After she explained she only needed to take a picture of me and could crop out everything else…I said “OK, come on over.” I’d love to say I was completely ready for someone to come over, but my studio and I were far from it. After frantically getting presentable, I stuffed all the junk in cabinets quickly reorganized my art supplies before she arrived. (I really need to start following flylady more…CHAOS!)

I don’t remember saying ALL of this and in those EXACT words, but it’s consistent with what I have on my website and SOUND like something I would have said.  In case anyone familiar with the two pieces on the second page catches these errors, the “Woolly Malamute” and “Lesser Kudu” (it does have a title) are pastel, not colored pencil.

All in all, it was a good experience! Anyone interested in doing a follow up article, I can now say my studio is back in one piece and my paintings have returned from the coffee shop.

Alamance News

Alamance News page 1

Alamance News page 2

Alamance News page 2

Boxed In

Of course, it’s called “Boxed In” because it’s a box turtle, right? There’s actually a pretty cool story behind it.

“Boxed In” | 6″ x 18″ | Colored Pencil and Neocolor II on pastelbord

Close-up of "Boxed In"

Close-up of “Boxed In”

We have this black tube attached to our gutter drain to direct water flow away from our house. It’s VERY long – like maybe 50 feet. One day as Mike and I were doing yard work, we heard a scratching sound that sounded like something was in the drain. When we (Ok, Mike) pulled off the black thingy to see what it was, (I was cringing because I imagine something would jump out at us), we saw a turtle. Stuck. For who knows how long?!?!?!

The turtle made a long journey from the tube opening and I guess got stuck as the tube joined the gutter drain. Just like my grandmother did when she ran to get her camera before rescuing my brother who fell into the toilet, I grabbed my camera and took some closeups before we freed him (or her…I think it was a her after reading up on them).

Image

Poor turtle…

Image

Finally free to roam the overgrown lawn. (Don’t worry – we are careful when cutting the grass…I mean weeds).

What is the Definition of a Portrait?

Flower Portraits? Why Yes, I Do That Too…

If you’re familiar with my work, you would know that I like to paint and draw animals, people, flowers…so as I was writing this post about portraits and what I like to focus on, I realized that what I’m really painting is portraits. Portraits of people, animals and flowers.

In my bio/statement/about me sections that all artists should have, I say the same things…that I’m drawn (hahaha) to the details of a subject. It makes sense when I put my portraits together…

Portrait of Alex | charcoal | 16×20

Bovine Curiosity | charcoal | 18×24

Himalayan | pastel | 16×20

Even when you look at the flowers I have done, you see the same thing…close enough to see some detail, but not too close that it becomes abstract.

 

Violet | colored pencil | 8×10

Antique Rose | colored pencil | 8×10
Carnation | colored pencil | 8×10

Reference Photos

Here are some of my photographs that will someday be “portraits”…not all of them are great photos, some are blurry, but I’m not a photographer. I just play one for reference photos.

Dairy Cow in Chapel Hill NC

You would never know it, but this is a Belted Galloway at Fearringon Village, near Chapel Hill NC

Some cats have it made…this one hangs out at the Westin, St John, USVI

Baby monkey at the NC Zoo in Ashboro NC

Our cat, “Chopper”

The walkway the zoo has now is amazing! You can feed the giraffes and be eye to eye with them!
Flower (petunia or pansy? I always get them mixed up)

OK, I’m pretty sure this is an orchid. I’ve been known to take photos at random places.

So, there it is. I have a problem. As much as I LOVE landscapes and trees and all that purdy stuff, I think I just get on autopilot when I see something I like.

Regrets? Yes and No

Whenever anyone I work with learn I have an art degree, I get the eyebrow raise. My job is in clinical research and really has no place for art. Do I have regrets? Maybe, but not for the reasons you may think.

I will always be thankful for getting an art degree. Even though the “art” doesn’t help me with my current profession, I’m thankful for two reasons:

I Learned How to See

An EARLY sketch of boxes, plates, cups

As much as I hated drawing box after box, or the constant measuring – once I got it – not “oh, this is how I do it”, but “oh, this is WHY I am doing it”, it made perfect sense! It’s something I wish I did in high school or even earlier than that. As simple as drawing boxes made me see the angles and measuring made me see something as simple as eye placement on a face. I was able to see objects as they truly are and not see them as I think they are. I was and continue to be thankful.

A later sketch of fabric draped on a cylinder

I Learned How to Think

Yes…to think about society as it relates to history, as it relates to the world, throughout history. I was a sponge when it came to learning about cultures and historical facts. I fell in love with ancient history – Greek, Roman, Ancient Sumerian, Japanese, Chinese, etc… not ancient, but still fascinating was the Moghul Empire.

I also took classes on the history of religion, where I learned aboutAncient Sumerian culture and then later took several classes on Christianity through the ages. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.

One of my favorite classes (looking back of course), was a course on Abstract Expressionists. This was the perfect combination of my interests. It wasn’t just about art, but also about the historical, political, and cultural events that surrounded the movement. It was a great class that I remember 15 years later. And I still have the books.

Helen Frankenthaler: Mountains and Sea (1952)

The classes I took weren’t really taking me anywhere successful career-wise. I wasn’t taking law classes, or statistical classes or even design classes for a lucrative profession. I wasn’t interested in those careers. I wasn’t interested in a career at all. Maybe I needed a little more guidance in that since there was a moment after graduating where I thought, “Oh. What now?”

(source)

Looking Back…

I would do the same thing, take the same classes, but would add to them. Take more liberal arts classes (yes, more!)…but it would have helped to have taken more practical classes on being an artist, like framing, printing business cards, brochures, etc. and a stress of KNOWING YOURSELF ENOUGH TO EXPRESS YOURSELF – being more comfortable in the world AFTER the degree may have steered me to this earlier on. But maybe…I just needed to learn this in my own time as a “student of life”. 😉

New Pastel Painting: Alaskan Malamute

So the original post disappeared shortly after it was highlighted on another webpage. Sorry it’s taken a few weeks for me to get the energy to piece it back together. (Very strange and since I don’t know WHY it happened, or even know HOW to find out why, I’m just going to add the photos back and go from there).

The beginning didn’t start out the way I wanted and I quickly discovered that my sketch wasn’t right. I remedied that by covering the entire panel in charcoal and then bringing out the lighter pieces with a kneaded eraser. At this stage, it’s pretty loose and messy looking.

Beginning stage using vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser

Now I’m adding more detail now that I’m satisfied with the placement, but still using just charcoal and eraser. (There might be a little bit of pastel on the right ear).

Refining the detail

It becomes more obvious that I’m adding color now, mainly a soft blue – both to the background and to the fur.

Next step, adding pastels over the charcoal

Adding a second color, mostly a peach color to the fur, to play with the warm and cool sections. Blurring your eyes on the photo helps pick out different colors. I also take a piece of paper with a hole in it and hold it over the photo to identify colors. It’s amazing what you see there that your eye didn’t pick up before.

Adding peach

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the painting, playing with the colors and adding more local color to the nose and eyes.

Playing with the peach and blue. Also added some pink to the nose and orange to the eyes.

Is this like watching paint dry? I can’t help but take tons of photos. I’m adding more black, darkening sections of the fur. I’ve also refined the nose a little more.

Darkening the fur and softening the nose

The final step…you can see that I’ve softened the fur a little. One of my favorite spots is under his chin. It’s really soft there, almost as if he’s shedding and you can gently pull the hair right out. (Does anyone else love to do that? I could do that to these long-haired dogs for HOURS!)

“Wooly Malamute” | 16×20 | pastel