Monday, January 16, 2017
"Who?" Colored Pencil on Suede Mat Board 8" X 10"
Available for Sale
The title if this painting has more meaning than the obvious subject of this piece. You may have noticed I've been MIA for a few months. And believe me if you haven't you weren't missing much.
Has been an ongoing question in my life for the last few months. I love owls and the obvious is the lovely sound I hear from my home in the woods of VA on warm evenings. Secure and calming my soul. They even call back to you if you mimic them, something my oldest son does better than I. We have many owls who call from the security of our wooded lot along the creek behind my house. Several different types but they have evaded my attempt to photograph them.
My reference for this piece is not my own but from a great website called Paint my Photo, the photographer James Smith at Chasing Myths Photography
contributes to Paint My Photo. Visit the site above to see some wonderful sharing photographers who have provided artists reference photos for use in their paintings.
A quote from their website: Paint My Photo (PMP) is a social networking site dedicated to sharing photos for artistic inspiration without fear of infringing copyright.
Now back to that ongoing question, "Who?" the owl is asking - it's one I have been asking myself over the last few months. The new year usually has us evaluating our lives both past and future as we make plans for the new year. Internally the Who asks me if I'm being the artist I want to be? Have I planned for "Who" that artist is?
Planning for an artist involves many aspects, and if you sell and promote yourself it's a vital part of your brand and upcoming yearly tasks.
Planning for me had me evaluating new goals (some old ones not yet accomplished) evaluating time spent on creating art and teaching as well as the new work itself. You see most of us reflect on what we did wrong instead of what we did right over the course of the year. To keep me from going too far down that rabbit hole, I always create a new goals list each year. It's a great habit to get into if your an artist and can incorporate the practical along with a few lofty goals. I personally have to watch how lofty I get, as an optimist, I can get pretty carried away!
The Goals List enables you to look back occasionally over the year to see if your on track. A sort of report card on how you are preforming according to your goals. Giving you the chance to refocus your efforts if those goals are still in line with where you wan to go. I always surprise myself how much I have accomplished when life seems to get in my way.
While I'll not share my personal list here I will tell you that keeping up posts on my blog is very close to the top of the list. Along with making more time for my own art creating while cutting back on my teaching schedule a little.
What's your 2017 Goal List? It's not too late to make one! Make a comment and tell me what you think? I appreciate knowing if this post resonated with you!
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
"Friends - A Collaborative Exhibition" - Opening Nite and more about working a Duo Exhibition Oil Paintings and Colored Pencil Paintings
For Arts Sake Gallery - Sept. 1 thru Oct. 3rd, 2016
|Garlic - 4" X 8" WS Oils on cradled board|
|Scallots - 4" X 8" WS Oils on cradled board|
My exhibit partner, oil painting friend Kathy Scott, also sold a painting before the show was hung, which had us both off to a great start.
I've participated in many opening nights, group shows, solo shows but it's great fun to be in a Duo Show. As my regular readers know I am primarily a colored pencil painter who also works in water miscible Cobra oil paints. (Due to sensitivities I have to solvents and the aroma of most oil paints, even other brands of water miscible or soluble oils.)
The slow nature of 20-25 layers of colored pencil paintings makes for a less than optimum output to create in a year's time. Galleries and shows generally need well more than 20-23 pieces to hang. Especially if you work in sizes 18 X 24" and smaller sizes. So working with another artist to create a show in a shared space is a great solution. It doesn't hurt either when you have a friend who's palette compliments your own, even in another media. Kathy and I frequently paint plein air (in the open air) and her use of the Cobra oils enabled me to spend the day painting and traveling without the migraines I would have had if she hadn't. Now that's a good friend!
|Kathy Scott's Oil Painting Don't Fly Away|
Her work and wonderful bird paintings can be found here at Kathy Scott Art. Having a friend who's work compliments your own and who's working style is unique into itself makes combining efforts for a show much easier.
What we planned for in advance:
-A show title is a must, and we knew from initial talks about what we wanted to produce, that nature would play a big part. Plein air work in both my mediums as well as hers was part of who we are, after all it's what we do together to have fun!
-Framing for our work, had to compliment the work but also be of a certain quality, check!
-Playing on both your strengths, enhances each other's work. This is not the time to complete, support and encouragement is the power of all friendships and should be respected.
-Plan on a location that will showcase your work combined. For Arts Sake Gallery was the perfect location for us both, convenient and appreciative of our Duo approach!
-Working in sizes similar to each other also helps for a pleasing exhibit.
Now since I teach Colored Pencil Painting Classes at For Arts Sake Gallery, so I wanted to showcase the many different surfaces colored pencil can be worked on. Travertine Stone Tile, pastelboard, mylar, suede mat board - I'm always trying to convert new artists to the medium! If your curious about the gallery you can find their website here!
|My model for Shauna - Mona Lisa's Smile posed for photo's at the opening.|
And of course two additional sales on opening night were so appreciated. My focal point painting: "Peaceful Skies - Poppy Collection" 18 X 24' Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard SOLD that evening to a favorite collector! See my previous blog post to read about the "two medium series". As well as another oil painting, Fleurs 6 X 8", below.
Working together to help each other's collector base grow and providing a cohesive exhibit presents artwork without waiting until you can fill a show. We each had 23-24 paintings, that were able to fill the gallery's available space. Thank you Diana Robinson, from For Arts Sake gallery for hanging and selling our work. We both appreciate the hard work your gallery does on our behalf!
Now back to more color!
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
|Peaceful Sky - Poppies|
12 X 24
WS Oil on Canvas
Peaceful Sky - Poppy Collection, 18 X 24, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
For a while now I've been MIA from my blog and I'm sorry about that. I really appreciate my readers and hate to have disappointed anyone with the lack of posting. I wonder how many of you have the same issue as I do? Finding it hard to multitask as well as I used to. I seem to be dropping balls more so lately.
|Me demoing the CP Poppies at a local art event in Richmond|
Since I have been working in two media (my beloved colored pencil and water miscall oils) in the last year and a half, I wanted to combine them for this show. And I felt they would blend well with my co-exhibitors work. An important consideration when your doing a duo show. I also had a specific style and series in mind for this show. I've termed it Peaceful Sky but eventually some Stormy Skies may show up in the series. Stay tuned.
As you can see from the vertical piece above on the left, the poppies are in oil and on canvas. And the Poppy Collection (on the right) are in CP and on Ampersand Pastelboard. I do not enjoy working on canvas when oil painting, I think it's the bounce of the surface and the texture of canvas. But I knew I needed some larger pieces and could not find board in the dimensions I wanted. I much prefer working on board no matter the medium!
|Backlit Poppy 5 X 7 Colored Pencil|
on Ampersand Pastelboard
Two of my favorite things - Skies and Flowers. I love Poppies, always have, they remind me of the ones my grandmother grew back home which originated in her hometown in Italy. Brought to America by seed and nurtured thru the years by she and my mother. In PA they always bloomed around Memorial Day. Here in VA, the heat and humidity seem to challenge them to growing for more than an annual. So planting them in my art seemed to be a splendid idea!
The Backlit Poppy was done as an study for whether the poppies would look good on a dark or light background. As much as I do love backlighting, and I may explore this more, I wanted to combine the sky and flowers instead for my larger pieces.
|Developing the Poppy Collection|
If your me, somedays it's hard to pay attention when driving when the sky is so fascinating! I wanted to capture the clouds in volume and lighting. I wanted the lit backsides to shine and glow as well as capture the softness and sometimes crisp edges. Placing the flowers on such a sky in a view from underneath, looking up was exactly what I had in mind. Almost as a child looks up thru a flower field. Innocence and bright color.
There is one more Oil Peaceful Sky piece in the works, but alas the drying time of my Cobra Water miscible oils
has me on a learning curve, so it did not make the show deadline for turning in. Check back as it's a big one!
Colored Pencil classes moved in June from my home studio to For Arts Sake Gallery 804-740-1400, 9770 Gayton Road, Richmond, Va 23238 www.forartssakegallery.com and will continue in an ongoing monthly schedule for Thursdays, in two sessions 9:30 - 12:30 & 1:00 - 4:00. Please contact Diana at the gallery if you are interested.
In the show are Plein Air Paintings in Colored pencil and in Oil, as well as several Studio still lives and other work, I will highlight more in my next post.
Enjoy the last of summer and stop to look up and enjoy the summer sky!
Friday, April 1, 2016
|Shauna Lily - Mona Lisa's Smile, 16" X 12" |
Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
Well she's finally done, and submitted as this years 24th Annual CPSA International (Colored Pencil Society of America) entry. A portrait of my youngest granddaughter Shauna Lily. The story of this portrait is tied to my CP art classes in a way and to the portrait of Cora, her older sister.
A few years back I taught a class to my students for recreating a master in colored pencil. You can see that image below of "My Girl With A Pearl", my personal tribute to Vermeer's "Girl With A Pearl Earring" and my post of that painting here.
And of course when you do one grandchild's portrait you know your going to want to do all of them eventually. As young Shauna watched me do Cora's piece she asked about which Old Master her portrait would be? And with her coloring and the influence from my own mother's favorite painting we came up with a plan. It had to be the Mona Lisa. And she liked that Mona Lisa and Shauna Lily kind of sounded the same. While I didn't want to do her as I did Cora in the same clothing and setting, I did want the feeling of Mona's gaze and eyes that seem to follow you. And of course the notorious smile had to be there. Thus the title!
Next we had to take a photo as reference for her portrait and that meant a photo shoot! Now what little girl doesn't want to model? So we set up on a very rainy winter's morning to snap some pictures. Below was the one I chose to work from.
I always start a portrait with completing the background first so that the fine hairs which surround a person can be brought out and over the background.
|Initial layers of pale skin tones defining the features.|
I first lay in the pupil and iris, as adding them first help me decide the values of the skin tones better*. The initial layers of pale skin tone colors are added to lightly define the features. I continue adding layers of skin tone colors, varying degrees and going darker as I am contouring the features.
*Since my reference shot did not capture the warm colors that make Shauna's eyes so lovely I could not go dark enough until I had my son send me close up photos of her eyes in better lighting. I find the eye color to be crucial in capturing a likeness as well as expression. So I continued with the skin a little before finishing the pupil and iris areas.
The photos below shows how I develop the skin tones further going into more detail as I go. The shadowy right side of her face needed soft edges and working in that area one has to be cautious to not "dirty or make mud".
|Excuse the iPad shadow here, oops.|
Completing the hair takes a while and I'm working in clumps and groups of strands as I go. I ultimately wanted to keep the light blue highlights from the window light on her hair. They look a bit white here but in the finished piece they are a bluish.
Now I'm happy with her skin and hair at this point but small tweaks and more softening of the right side of her face are going along as I begin her clothing.
At this point "knitting" her sweater has to happen and although I knit in real life I'm not sure I really want to do it in pencil. But at the time this was a favorite dress for her so here goes. I started to lay out the shadows and rumples in the sweater.
Purl stitches on the shoulder cap, stockinet stitches below.Knit 1 purl 2. etc. on and ooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!
I wanted to get the garment finished because I knew that the pencil crumbles that always appear as you work (and especially on sanded board) would get onto her arm colors. And speckles of teal/turquoise do not look good in skin!
As it was a few managed to get there anyway after I finished her arm. !!$%&!!
Well there you have it she's finished! I hope you enjoyed a small example of the over 6 weeks this piece took. I had shared the progress photos with Shauna and she was pleased.
|Finished Piece "Shauna Lily - Mona Lisa's Smile"|
Thursday, March 31, 2016
"Andre's Garden" a Plein Air Study, 5" X 7" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
The delays that life brings to an artist's schedule have kept me from posting new work and updates on my Blog. I hate to just post a picture and not let you know about the process, inspiration and possible difficulties in the completing of artwork. Rest assured that my absence has not been due to inactivity but on the contrary. I have been working on a colored pencil piece which I will reveal soon, along with photos in progress, as my entry into the 2016 International CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) show. Stay tuned.
The small plein air works in this post were started on a previous plein air outing season and set aside since they needed a few last minute tweaks and touches before I could call them complete. They can be seen or purchased, currently at Crossroads Art Center in my exhibit space. The first, "Andre's Garden" above, is the home of popular nurseryman and national call in talk radio personality Andre Viette, a local icon known for his gardening expertise, in Fishersville, VA. My intrepid Plein Air partner in crime Kathy, and I ventured there while out on a painting weekend and we found the gardens to be a pleasure. Finding it hard to position ourselves in one spot as there were so many to choose from. We eventually were rained out that day, thus the delay in finishing. Andre Viette's Garden.
"Lazare Pond" a Plein Air Study, 8 X 6" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
The above small plein air works were started on a previous plein air outing season and set aside since they needed a few last minute tweaks and touches before I could call them complete. The first, "Andre's Garden" was at a popular home of nurseryman and national call in radio persise in Fishersville, VA. My intrepid Plein Air partner in crime Kathy, and I ventured there while on a painting weekend and we found the gardens to be a pleasure. Finding it hard to position ourselves in one spot as there were so many to choose from. We eventually were rained out that day, thus the delay in finishing. Andre Viette's Garden
The second piece, "Lazare Pond" was from a great Plein Air paint out with several Moscow School of Painting masters who schooled us in Russian oil painting techniques when working in the fresh air. Located and hosted by Lazare Gallery in Charles City, VA. If you haven't enjoyed the works of Russian contemporary painter's you really must look them up. You can find their website here: http://www.lazaregallery.com/gallery/welcome.html
Kathy and John Wurdeman's gallery and home are on the scenic banks of the James River and do not disappoint. Lazare Gallery is beautifully decorated and the wonderful collection of Russian painter's they represent here are a must see if your in VA. Their son Jonathan is one of the Russian painter's who demonstrated his style and technique that day, and he acted as translator for us for the others Russian artists. Experiencing the gorgeous lighting in the paintings of these Russian master's at the gallery brought warmth to the cold November Day we were painting in.
Now at the time I had not started painting in water miscible oils, so I was working in "crayons de couleur" (the French term for CP), which is what they used when referring to my media. All of the Russian masters looked and commented with a nodding head as they reviewed my in-progress work, not speaking very much English. And I had to wonder what their impression was of my working in colored pencil..
You see at the Moscow school of painting, children to teens work for 4 or more years copying and drawing only, not painting when they enter the school. First mastering their rendering skills. So I think they thought I was a newbie and student. Not realizing I use this as my final media when working Plein Air. They also seemed interested in the fact I was using my trimmed off bristle brushes to blend and fill the sanded surface of my Ampersand Pastelboard. Well they we partly right as aren't we all life long students LOL ;))
It was a cold windy day so blending the wax of my Prismacolors was not easy. Usually in warmer weather the wax blends easily and with little effort. Which is one of the perks of doing Plein air work in colored pencils in my southern state of Virginia. Use this link above to see Lazare's website and read about the fabulous work of the Moscow School of Painting as well as to see beautiful examples of their work.
I hoping to post a little more frequently as life permit's, check back in for views of my current piece on the drawing board.
Waiting for Spring's colors,
Friday, September 25, 2015
Last weekend I did a great workshop with members of the Old Dominion Decorative Painters in Richmond. This is a great bunch of ladies who are accomplished in many differing media and who know how to enjoy a workshop. What a lunch they put out! YUM! We started the Two Day workshop in Colored Pencil on Friday with the basics of CP on paper and finished Saturday with colored pencil on Travertine Stone Tile.
The Trio of Cherries #3 (5" X 7") is a small little still life I used to teach transferring the image, stroke, blending and burnishing of CP onto Stonehenge paper. It's a great little piece that combines bright colors, lighting effects with shadow, and enjoying the process with like minded artists. I worked up a YouTube video for the artists who participated and have attached it below:
If you can't access the video directly click on the link below.
If you stop by YouTube give me a thumbs up so I know to continue making videos.
Here are their cherries, didn't they do great!
Travertine only takes about 4-5 light layers. When you have completed your first pass of all colors on the entire piece and a spray of workable fixative allows for minor tweaks for deepening the color saturation of the CP. (Adding an additional light layer.) Prismacolor pencils and their wax based color work well on the travertine. Blending is accomplished with the pencil layers and stroke, but a paper stump will move things around a bit to blend also.
Here are a few tips for working on travertine tile:
1. It needs to be unglazed, unpolished stone tile. Look for the terms "Honed and Filled" when looking at tile stores. Often they have sample tiles for sale, buying a small one will give you a good idea if there is enough tooth. I used tumbled for the workshop, doing so will lesson the tooth but give you rounded edges on the tile which makes for easier handling. Keep your hands free of lotion and use a slip sheet to keep hand oils off the tile. (I use tracing paper.)
2. One always learns from teaching and although I purchased samples and tested them, the heavy cases of 24, I purchased were not the exact same as the samples I bought. Shock! So in order for the CP to grip the tile, meant I had to fill some of natures wholes and sand the tile with a wet fine toothed sanding block. I used sand-less off white grout to fill the wholes. Nature gives each stone a unique surface and the minerals in the locality give various colors to the stone. Working on the lightest colored stone will be easiest for working with transparent Cps.
3. When your finished 2-3 light sprays of the workable fixative and then 2-3 coats of UV acrylic varnish will seal and protect your tile. Display it on a table easel for all to enjoy. It can also be framed in a floater frame. I'll do an example of this in a future post.
NOTE: This tile can not be used as a trivet for hot pots or dishes as they are not glazed but varnished. Varnish will melt if a hot pot is placed on it, ruining your artwork.
I have plans for other travertine stone pieces, (I'm currently working on a large 18 X 18" tile) so stay tuned for future posts. And as always is your interested in my doing a workshop for your group contact me here or on my website: www.gloriacallahan.com
And as always do something colorful today!
Friday, August 28, 2015
Workshops and Motivation To Do What We Love - Paint!
In other words: Conquering doubt and the pains of stretching in your skill set.
"Late Summer - Plein Air Study" - Oil on Gessoed Hardboard 9" X 12"
The above oil painting is from my most recent plein air outing at Powhatan State Park along the James River this week. All but the clouds were done on site since they seemed to be everywhere except over the field I was painting. And my goal was for this to be a sky painting! I haven't done many with the Cobra water miscible paints but I'm happy with this one.
But I digress from the reason for this post. Note this is a long blog post sorry;((
It’s funny how ending one large time consuming project in your life - leads to self examination and sometimes an inability to get back to the art you love. If your like me, you channel yourself in household chores that we may have left for “the project”. Or you keep yourself busy with the "office to do’s" in an artists life. Computer work, website updates and getting caught up on the accounting of your business, can provide necessary distraction..... Errr Umm procrastinations..... All the while dabbling in but not really completing any of the works you have on your easel.
Knowing this about myself I had signed up for a wonderful workshop from an artist who’s use of color is inspiring, clean and just plain makes you happy. And HAPPY is what I needed to get much more of lately. Her name is Dreama Tolle Perry and you can find her joyful paintings and workshop info HERE.
Dreama'a 3 Day Workshop in Paris KY, is in oil and for me this was the first workshop I’ve actually done in oil. Even though I have studied with other wonderful accomplished oil painters - Charlotte Wharton, (who’s plein air insightful workshop I did in pastel) and Barbara Nuss (who’s plein air workshop I did in my usual colored pencil). (Click on their names for links)
Out of my comfort zone and into the fire was how I felt. After all I had only completed one oil plein air sketch to date before I went on this adventure. Dreama’s lovely loose brushwork is much different than the tight style I’m known for. Her easy going start to her casual paintings is completely opposite from my controlled composition and exacting line drawing whether “en Plein Air” or in the studio. Oh and did I say her expressive brushwork is just short of gobsmacking!
All of this coupled by her enthusiastic “joyful” demeanor was contagious. So on Day One - I laid out her translucent color palette in my water miscible oils, picked up a brush too big for my comfort zone and started on this lovely image provided by Dreama. I was thinking, learning to use her format of working thru a painting "alla prima” (fresh - wet on wet) shouldn’t be hard, since I had only tried 2 other paintings in the oils before. After all I had no bad habits to unlearn, and Dreama made it look so easy. However day one provided a big challenge for this detail oriented mind. But I love her joyful use of color and I was determined to “Get” this new media.
Day Two - Da Dun Dahhhhhh (Cue: doom and gloom sound effects) Let’s just say day two enabled me to have a refresher course on what it was like to start a new media, no matter how experienced you are in other media.
Humbled and grappling with how to control my brush and this new oil media left me frustrated and feeling defeated. I was trying to channel Dreama’s style and failing big time! I looked around and saw 17 other artists enjoying the day and their paintings and wondered what was wrong with me? Even my supportive friend Kathy Scott, oil painter and roommate for this trip, was having a great time. Day Two's painting was a complete “wiper”. Or at least one that will never see the light of day! I went back to the hotel whipped and feeling defeated. It took more than one glass of wine Kathy so wonderfully provided before I felt better.
That night I had to dig deep and think about the “why” and the “how” I was going to recover from Day 2, and get thru Day 3. We had some really good artists in the group from all over the US and one from Israel! And they could do it. Then it dawned on me……Cue: Light bulb symbol…... What I realized was that all of the other artists were working with Dreama’s palette but in a style they were comfortable with, their own. I was not. This was no failing with Dreama’s teaching, it was I believe, a result of the inner conflict I’ve been having with where my art is going. After all I was new to oil, I didn’t have “a style” in this media yet.
So Day Three - Paint from our own reference. I needed a new outlook. And Dreama’s words of wisdom on that very Day, helped me realize "I needed to fill myself with the joy to create and work in my own style and however that developed would be just right for me”. (Paraphrasing here but she said something like that).
Sometimes what we need to hear, comes at just the right time to be heeded in all areas of your life. And for me this was truly one of those times. (Cue: angelic singing)
"Fleurs" Oil on gessoed hardboard 5" X 7"
My piece for Day 3 came out much better than I had thought it could have on Day 2. More importantly I learned how using transparent colors keep your colors clean and bright. Dreama's approach is truly a great start to my oil painting future, from her palate to her infectious optimism. I may bring forth more detail because that’s what I love, and it’s OK, but I will heed her words as I find my future in my art.
If you can't see it below, Here’s a link to Dreama’s video of our workshop. HERE
Thank you Dreama Tolle Perry for being an inspiring teacher, artist and the voice of "what I needed to hear when I was ready to hear it" at your very special workshop. Oh and for exposing me to Paris, KY! ;)))