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

What I Did on My Vacation

Some of you are aware that I have a full time job that is NOT related to my art. AT. ALL.

So in February, I decided to take a week off and not go anywhere or do anything but work on my art and art related marketing. This was a big step for me, because while I’ve been involved in the art community for a few years now and see myself as an artist, I see myself as a part-time artist who can’t spend a lot of time doing art things. I have excuses galore!

My productivity isn’t anywhere near what it would be as a full time artist, but I think I did pretty well on my week “off”.
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I started off by going to several galleries in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Pittsboro with my sister (check out her blog here).

We visited Fearrington Village and took pictures of the Belted Galloways (rare breed of Scottish beef cows), Of course I only had my iPhone with me. I need to learn to keep my camera with me at all times. I always see things that are be “picture worthy” when I don’t have my camera.

We then went to a gallery in Pittsboro, Liquidambar Gallery, where many pieces of art were being auctioned for “Art for the Animals” – a benefit for the Carolina Tiger Rescue. (A place I need to go to WITH my camera!)

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Agh! My first official day off, and it’s a snow day. Snow isn’t unheard of in the piedmont NC area, but it was the only day this winter it snowed. The kids had the day off and spent the morning making a snowman that would quickly melt by early afternoon.

I had an appointment at the NC Crafts Gallery, and ended up leaving behind some magnets for the gallery to sell. The gallery is exactly what the name says– a great collection of art and crafts spread throughout.

I loved these watercolor paintings attached to panels here.

During my vacation week, I went to a few artist meetings, one that I’ve participated in for a while, the other I was recently juried into.

I also went into Raleigh which isn’t TOO far, but far enough to wait until I had a few other errands. I picked up my violet painting from the Visual Art Exchange where it was hanging for a month. I then went to Jerry’s Artarama…anytime I am in a 30 mile radius of this place, I JUST HAVE TO GO! Plus, if you check in on Facebook, you receive a 10% discount on any item. Not bad. After stocking up on a few things, I then went to “A and B Store Fixtures”. I talk about the place in this post.

On Saturday, I went to a pastel workshop that I was looking forward to for a long time (I talk about it here). It was great that I was able to bring home three small pieces. I promptly re-framed one of them once I got home.

OK, so it doesn’t look like I was THAT productive, but at the end of the week, I finished a malamute, a goat, a donkey, started an elk and a lesser kudu. AND I received quite a few interested emails from my revamped blog, facebook, and twitter accounts.

I’m fascinated by the daily activities of those who create art full-time and would love to hear how you go through your day!

"Painting" a Himalayan Cat

I recently painted a Himilayan cat who passed away unexpectedly. He was definitely the king of the house as can be seen by the photograph below.

The owner is a dear friend of mine and a photographer. I chose this photograph, even though it looks a little dark and doesn’t show his eyes as well as another photograph I had. Sometimes, I just go by feel what I think would work better as a painting, but having several photos is always a plus when doing a portrait.

I used Mi Tientes pastel paper cropped at 16″ x 20″. Of course I have to provide you with the work in progress photos!

You can see the color of the paper in the first step. I cropped the background to concentrate on his face and body. How could I crop out his paws? This was part of his personality and was told he loved to hang out “at the bar”.

Obviously, I added more cream color in the fur, blue in the background and darkened the chair.

I decided not to show a clear distinction between the floor and wall and instead started to work on the transition.

I played with the colors for a while, trying to pull out the highlights and push the darker colors, while keeping a believable shape to his face and paws. I’ll save you the hundreds of photos I took in this process. For some reason, taking a photo with my phone as I go helps me to see the mistakes.

Here it is finished before I framed it.

And one more framed and in its new spot…

WIP: Elk

This is the WIP for the Elk. In order to depict the massive rack, I wanted to do this on the largest surface I had in the studio. So, I used my only 18″ x 24″ pastelbord (gray). If I had something larger, I would have used it. I’ve found I like to work large when working on animals…maybe it’s because I prefer to stand when using charcoal and pastel, maybe it’s because the nature of the subject warrants to me really get in the fur without getting bogged down with the detail. 
On the other hand, the colored pencils are the opposite. I prefer to sit down, work smaller (for now), and concentrate on the details.
So let’s get back to the elk…I’ve added captions to each step. I guess I didn’t take a picture of the drawing, but my favorite step is below…right after I’ve drawn in the subject, and I pick up the first and second color. It’s just magic. 🙂
Blocking in the elk and background…
  Adding detail…
  Here’s a good photo of the easel and reference photo. Not the best placement for the photo, but I haven’t figured how to affix the references without looking away from my easel.
  Working on the horns a little more…
  Softening the horns further away, working on the chin contour, correcting the ear

WIP: Domestic Longhair Cat

I know…I’m obsessed with taking progress photos. But really, it’s more for me than you. Looking at the photo after I take it helps me see the big picture so I can easily see where I am and what I need to correct.
It’s sort of like blurring your eyes to see the values, or walking far away to look back at your work in progress.

Plus, it gives me more information to post…because I am not that verbose (but I can impress you with my vocabulary).

So, the first step…sorta. I used vine charcoal and the yellow at the same time to block in the darks and lights. The background was the next step. I’m trying to REMEMBER that backgrounds are as important to the painting as the rest of it. I can’t pretend it was that hard here…there’s not that much background.

 
Adding green and pops of yellow to the background, but keeping it blurry.
 
 Adding white, black, orange and light purple/lavendar.
 
Smoothing out areas and adding detail to others…
 
Filling out the face, adding whiskers…and repeating the dance of smoothing out areas and adding detail to others.
 
Add a few more black and brown areas to the face. Added more lavendar to the bottom right to balance this color with the top left. Cropped the painting to how I think I will frame it (minus the tape on the bottom and right).

Pastel Workshop

I went to a pastel workshop this morning taught by local pastel artist Bill Gramley. I was so excited, not only because of my recent fascination with the medium, but also because I realized this was the same artist of whom I previously purchased 3 mini paintings!

There is another class on March 31st at Fine Art Carolina Gallery in Mebane if anyone is interested.

Bill demonstrated 3 themes: pears,

an autumn tree,

and a seascape.

It was amazing to see the paintings appear so quickly. After each demonstration, we were left to do our own version, either from a photo or our imaginations. Here are my versions…I need to provide better photos once I take them out of the “class provided frames” (except for the seascape, that’s my own frame).

The pear… (I don’t eat pears, so I struggled with this!)

Autumn tree…I wanted to do a horizontal image, but didn’t realize the mat would cut off so much on the top…a new photo to come soon…

Seascape….I’m not worried that the photo is blurry and too reflective for you to figure out the highlights on the clouds are wrong…(did I just say that out loud?). No worries…it will be corrected.

The class was very inspirational and made me realize that maybe I can do some landscapes/seascapes, etc…

Stay tuned for an update to the alpine goat…and a new pastel painting of an East African animal. Here’s a hint…

Art Updates…

The writing gene apparently did not rub off on me, which is probably why I don’t post more…yep, that’s my excuse. Maybe I need to write less and post more pictures.
I’ve been working on quite a few pieces since I last posted here, so I’m going to update everyone!

Let’s see…I finished a charcoal drawing of a local dairy cow… this is 16″ x 20″ on pastelbord

I finally finished the Lily of the Valley (it’s a Flower of the Month for May). It’s 8″ x “10” on Stonehenge paper…and yes, it was white paper that I painstakingly darkened. (Reminder to myself that there are other papers to choose from!)

I also finished the tiger lilies here, that I believe is on Aquabord (Ampersand). It’s 10″ x 8″ and is framed without glass.

The poinsettias are actually small – 4″ x 4″, almost coaster size, which is exactly what my family thinks it should be…

Another flower of the month, this time for June…an antique rose.

This is a 16″ x 20″ pastel of tropical flowers…I keep forgetting what they’re called. I can’t decide whether or not to leave it as is, with part of it incomplete, or work it a little more. That’s why I haven’t framed or named it. 

And finally, the autumn berries – on aquabord, 7″ x 5″, framed without glass. (I may have already added this to a post, but maybe not?)

I do have another colored pencil flower I’m working on…I promise to add this as I work instead of posting the finished product.