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
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”.___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 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
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.
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,
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
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
I finished and framed the pastel painting above. It’s never recommended to take a photograph of your work when it’s already framed, but I forgot I didn’t have the updated image. During my long shift at the gallery yesterday, I took quite a few photographs of the building, and some pieces of mine that are framed.
9×10, Strathmore Charcoal Paper I’ve been fascinated recently with pastels and how they glow with any subject. I purchased a small set of Nupastels months ago and never worked with them until tonight. On a whim, I decided to open them up. I took some Strathmore charcoal paper (md beige tint), a photo I tweaked in Paint Shop Pro and just started to sketch it out on the paper. There was no planning, so I’m sure the more I look at the piece, the more unstatisfied I will be…it’s a work in progress, and I’ll probably fix the colors, the backgound, blend a little, etc. It’s my first try with pastels, so I’m really just playing around with it. It’s another bad photo, but what can I say? I didn’t start doing this until 8 tonight when our kids were watching “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.