Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Powhatan Inspirations - Osage Oranges Still Life

                                    Osage Oranges Still Life 14 X 11 Colored Pencil on Board SOLD

I created this still life for a local Show of Fine Arts of Powhatan, my local art group.  It was to be exhibited at the local library but alas was not finished until after the show hung.  Fall has a way of getting too busy and life has it's normal way of getting complicated so "things" can't get done.  So I'm now just posting this entry as the work has hung at Crossroads Art Center since it's Nov.  reception.

The reference for the work was taken at Belmead Plantation which used to be Blessed Sacrement Cathlolic School and before that a school for Black youths dating way way back before there were any decent schools for them to attend.  The old Gothic building is in a state of disrepair that the community is trying to save.  Still owned by the Catholic sisters who ran the school, Belmead deserves to be preserved.

The still life was from a tour the Powhatan Historical Society gave and was graciously adorned with flower arrangements from the garden club.  Not sure if this is a shoe shine box or a tool box, it was set out on the front tiled entry portico.  The wall behind shows the peeling paint of the white washed exterior wall that is grey blue with age.  But just as the lumpy osage orange fruit here it has a beauty of it's own.  The pink sedum buds, green hydrangea blossoms and mum daisies dress up the wooden box.

My latest more contemporary still lives were sleek and backlit, but this piece had a time worn softness and beauty I wanted to capture.  Much like the Powhatan County I know and love.  

Colored Pencil Class schedules are ready for sign ups, starting thursdays Jan. 17th - Feb. 21st 2013.  Mornings are beginners classes 9:30 - 12:30 and afternoons are for continuing students 1:00- 4:00.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Provence Windowsill a studio work from my 2012 summer trip to France

                         Provence Windowsill 12 X 16 Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

The typical VA creeper we have in here seems to take on a much nicer appearance in France than in my our back yard.  Not sure if it's the ambiance of Provence or the variety they grow there.   The windowsill here from the beautiful town of  Lourmarin in Provence was a striking image and the photo of my piece appears to be a bit washed out here.  The original has much more depth of color, trust me.  I may have to redo the photo.  But needless to say the piece is finished and will be part of the UNOS Gallery show Nov. 2nd thru Dec. 29th (United Network of Organ Sharing) called A Splash of Provence. The group of 19 artists I traveled with to France this past summer will all be showing some of the work we produced as part of the exhibit.  A portion of the proceeds of each sale go to UNOS.

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the private, non-profit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system under contract with the federal ...

700 North 4th Street  Richmond, VA 23219 (804) 782-4800

A very worthwhile cause to be sure and we are very proud to be showing there.  Some of the pieces are the very plein aire paintings produced in France and there will be some studio pieces also.  I will have both in my shown works at the gallery.  We have artists of all media showing and I hope it is a great success.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Backlit Cuties Added To Backlit Series

                             Backlit Cuties 6 X 12 Colored Pencil On Ampersand Pastelboard

Just before my final outdoor show this year and the one I co-chair for Bon Air Artists Association, I completed this addition to my series.  The 20th Anniversary of Art Affair Fine Art and Fine Craft Show is a labor of commitment for my local art group in Richmond.  I have chaired this show for 3 years and it truly is a show that not only benefits our local artist community but we give 2 VCU Art Dept. scholarships as a result and Art 180, a Nonprofit organization that provides art-related programs to young people living in challenging circumstances, encouraging personal and community change.  Located on Mary Munford Elementary School grounds on Westmoreland St. and Cary St.,  Sat. 10-5 and Sun. 11-5. 

Sorry for the brief advertisement, but this show is a nearly year round job, and has taken up much of my production time.  Although the show is a great event and we as the BAAA are the only Richmond based art group that produces such a show.  We provide an opportunity for local high school honors students a competitive exhibit opportunity where they can show with many local professional artists as well as those from out of state.

Continuing the series of backlit fruit in this format has been great fun for me and I have at least a few more up my sleeve.  Capturing the juicy water droplets on the surface of the orange skins and tray surface added to the fun.  And with the last outdoor show for this year coming up this weekend, I hope to get more work produced.  My students have enjoyed the series and as they are just now learning my techniques on sanded board I hope to pursue more kitchen art. 

I hope you like it and if your in my area you'll drop by Art Affair this weekend.  Have a colorful day!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Car Show and Wine Festival - New Work

                     1954 MG TF Landscape  12 X 16 Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

I finished this piece last Wednesday just in time to get it photographed, varnished and framed for our local British Car Club Car Show at New Kent Winery this past weekend.  We have and arts and craft area in which I show my art.  My husband and I are members of the club but currently our 1953 MG TD is in many parts and pieces as it undergoes a total renovation.  So until it's completely done and road worthy I draw other great cars from our club.  This one is our club president's car and it certainly is a beauty.  (our TD is much the same style)

Creating this work involved a few changes to the original photo so I thought I'd show you what I had to work from.  The day the photo was taken in Aug. 2011 was very sunny and a typical VA warm humid one.  The meeting was during the mid day when sun was not the best for photos.

I removed the large white tent behind the car on the right and added more of the vineyards like on the upper left.  I chose to create a more fall-ish coloring starting on the trees since our show is a fall show and also to add some warmth to all the greens in the reference.  The photo made the car look so much blacker of a green than it really is, due to the lighting on this day.  Working on the sanded surface helped me quickly create the gravel surface, by just skimming over the surface with Prismacolor sticks and using some stippling with CP's.  I went for a warmer gravel than in the photo to keep color harmony in my work.  Being a slave to the photo is not always a good thing, so remember to compose your piece to make a better painting than photo.   As you can see the sky was a complete wash out in the photo so I made this one up from all of my observations of skies and clouds.  Mental photographs are a great resource and you always have them in your head.  All you have to do is take the time to really see some of the great skies we take for granted.

The show was a great success with over 250 classic European cars.  And I made some great contacts for Car Portraits!  Which is really just a still life in a landscape.  Enjoy your colorful day and next on to a new piece from my Provence Trip.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Continuing the Backlit Series

                                                               Backlit Kiwi  6 X 12

Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard again, this is the same size as my Backlit Citrus piece and will be framed the same. (A black 2.5" frame with gold band on the inside)    The series will have one more this size in it, stay tuned for # 4 and one more in the 6 X 18 size #5.  The series will make their debut just in time for the fall art show season.   Although I have just finished 2 other works not in the series, and will post them soon, the sequels may get put on the back burner until I can get a few of my France trip pieces done in time for the group show.

So I'm off to finish spraying this with UV Varnish and then to frame.   
Enjoy your colorful day!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Provence Trip and a few Plein Airs finished

                                                   Lourmarin Plein Air Study 5 X 7

                                                   Roussillon Plein Air Study 5 X 7

Well finally I've scanned two of the Plein Air pieces done almost completely on site.  Both are on
Ampersand Pastelboard this first one on white and the 2nd one on the green pastelboard.  I prefer the white as the green or colors make bright whites a chore.   The Lourmarin turret turned into a home was completed with a underpainting of Watercolor Colored Pencils (Caran D'Ache) with layered  Premier Prismacolors completed on top.  Before starting the piece I photographed the scene and did a quick graphite study for composition purposes in my sketch book.   (I tried to scan it but the sketch doesn't want to show up well, sorry.)  I used the wc cp's to quickly tone the background area leaving the sky untouched.  When the wc cp was dry which happened quickly on site because of the dry warm day in July.  I then worked the sky.  Wanting to capture the atmosphere from morning haze still in the Luberon mountains behind.  Working small in Plein Air cp has become a must for my getting near completion in one day, but the sanded surface helps work much more quickly.

The Roussillon piece was started on a very windy morning sitting in the parking lot across from this hillside town.  Roussillon is where natural sienna pigments are found in the ground and the hues are amazing.  I did not do a composition sketch before starting this, nor did I do a WC CP underpainting, just straight Prismas onto the board.  Because this board was green to start with I mapped out a sketch with white cp lightly to build the drawing.  The day was so windy I had to leave halfway done and finish back at the hotel.  Building the colors due to the green Ampersand base coat, first with white.  Final finishing came when I came back to the states, but mainly tweaks and small details.  There was so much to get into this small 5 X 7, but the feeling of the village and it's colorful earth pigments is there. 

So there you have it, a recap of 2 of the pieces I did while on my France Plein Air Trip.  Colored pencil really is better thought of as a sketchbook media when on site.  But when you use a sanded surface, work small and use an underpainting of WC pencils things can move faster.  Perhaps not as fast as other media, but getting a saturated look is possible.  When wanting to work bigger I still use pastels, but  I do not love the mess I create nor are my pastel skills highly evolved.   And taking pastels on this long France trip would have meant more weight for my luggage.

Soon to post my Central VA British Car Show piece, just have to get it photographed.   Have a colorful Day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Framing and getting started in showing your work.

I know it's been a little while since I posted here, trying to get my life back in order after the trip to France took a little while.  I have much to post here so look for several up coming with a few France trip Plein Air pieces and newly finished work.  But first I had a question from a student asking about framing for just getting started in showing or competing with your work.  By the time I answered her I had what looked like a good blog post so I'm copying my answer here for anyone alse who may want to know.  I wrote to her:

Framing and getting started in showing your work whether it's in competition shows or galleries, or for jurying into art groups, can be one of the most difficult decisions for an artist. I've done it myself and many other artists start the same way.   You first frame things for yourself/home/friends.  Then if you enter a competition or jury process, you have to take into consideration what their requirements are.  Many have distinct regulations, such as the CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) and other large shows require plexiglass for glazing to minimize breakage issues.  They also stipulate simple lines for frames or no heavily carved ones.  Neutral matting, suggesting a minimum of 2"  margin with 3" being the norm and other criteria. 

At BAAA (Bon Air Artists Assoc. my local art group) some on our jury team believe you should have all 5 pieces in similar or like framing, along with the simple lines and neutral matting.  I believe many artists jurying in for the first time are not going to reframe something on the chance they get in to the group, especially if this is their first jury in attempt.  But in laying out your display for the jury process or show, you can place like frames together and group the display.  Like if you had some gold frames, then some black with gold trim, and then a dark chocolate/expresso frame may make the layout look OK. 

If you have a piece that was done say in a purple mat for a special room but a basic frame, I would re-mat the piece with an off white or neutral mat to jury in or show.  I've been on the jury committee and this person had a bright green matted piece and purple mat one mixed in with others, well lets just say it didn't go over well with the committee. 

Many of us start out with a mixture of finishes, or styles that change over time.  Richmond for some time now has been a gilded frame town.  But things are changing here to match other areas of the country.  Many of my professional artist friends along with myself, reevaluate our framing frequently.  Most can't afford to completely redo them so we figure out a way to make a gradual conversion to a switch.  And of course it never fails, I'll find a great frame I'm changing to, only to find out the company has discontinued that style or color/shade.  As starving artists or new to selling, we may buy on sale at local shops, as we're testing our worth in the art sales arena.  But eventually we learn to standardize and realize you can't frame for every taste.  Neutral in all realms works well for a client, judge or gallery to evaluate the merit of an artwork.  Letting the art speak for itself is my motto.  But I do believe on not skimping on quality when it comes to framing.  I try to give my clients a good value quality frame.  Except if they specify a certain frame or ask for it not to be framed, although I do not like to sell unframed work at shows.   I have given a frame away just so the sold artwork had a safe vehicle in which to be transported to a clients home.  

Besides the fact that many clients choose to re-frame a piece for their decor, working in standard sizes for mats and frames makes this framing thing much less of a daunting task.  Sometimes you can pop one out of the frame and pop it into another more suitable if you work in standardized sizes.  Of course I learned how to cut my own mats and do my own framing to keep the cost of framing a piece low and the value high on a finished work.  Do I like to cut mats NO, but hey it's all part of owning your own business as I see it.  Or until you make it big with high sales volume and big prices tags $$$$$ then you can have it all professionally done.   One of the reasons I have moved to working almost exclusively on Ampersand pastelboard is the no mat, no glass is needed.  They hang like oil paintings making self framing easier and allowing for quick frame changes.   Inevitably a frame can become damaged by dragging it to shows or in shipping to competitions so then it's always good to re-frame in a your new style keeping your exhibit cohesive. 

I do have a few high priced framed pieces in my private collection that I may never sell or that I will re-frame should I decide to enter in a show or to sell. 

Oh by the way, she also asked if it was OK to use complementary colors for a mat.  Since we have talked in class about using complementary colors I needed to make sure what her understanding of complementary was and to be clear on my answer to her I asked her what she meant.  For the rest of you I thought I'd make clear the differences. 

The dictionary definition of complementary is: 
complementary |ˌkämpləˈment(ə)rē|
1 completing; forming a complement : backyard satellite dishes and the complementary electronic components.
• (of two or more different things) combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize each other's qualities : three guitarists playing interlocking, complementary parts.

While the definition of complementary colors is:  
complementary colors
plural noun
colors directly opposite each other in the color spectrum, such as red and green or blue and orange, that when combined in the right proportions, produce white light. The effect is not the same when mixing paints.

If she meant "this compliments you artwork in like colors".   Neutral usually does show well, off white, white, tan, light grey, black, brown, etc....are good choices.   If she meant complementary as in the first definition above my answer is the same.  I hope she didn't mean complementary colors as in the second definition.  Although this might work for a decorator or in a special room this would not be a good choice for framing if exhibiting in shows galleries or for a jury in process.

Well there you have it, framing per Gloria.  Have a colorful day!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Last day in Paris and Monet's Home and Garden

 Claude Monet's garden is about 1 hour 15 min., from our hotel via our special tour bus, and was everything I had hoped it would be and then some.  The artist's home is inviting with the rose arbors lining the garden side of the house.  And the gardens it over looks are so filled with blossoms you hardy knew which direction to look.  My only disappointment was it was so busy (we got there when it opened) there really was not a place to even do a quick sketch.  And we only had 2 hours to see it all.  Inside no photos are allowed but for those who have not seen it, it's decorated to the exact duplicate of the photos displayed inside. With replicas of his paintings hanging in his studio. My favorite part of the house was the blue and white kitchen.  His bedroom was a cheery space that's windows opened up onto his magnificent garden.       
The bridge view today is much the same as in some of his famous paintings but appeared to be lower than I expected.  I suppose it's because he painted from his boat in the water, giving it a higher angle and view.  But again many crowds to contend with thus no drawings ala Plein Aire.

We concluded our afternoon with a trip to the Musee de l'Orangerie  on the grounds of the Louvre gardens.  Containing a tribute to Monet's Water Nympheas series that took over 4 years for him to paint. They fill the walls of 2 long oval rooms. The link here will give you a teaser. www.musee-orangerie 

So that was a good ending for our Monet day.  
Au revior,


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Louvre's Mona and the Eiffle Tower from my hotel room tonight.,

 At the Louvre to see Mona, my Italian mother's favorite painting.  Hectic and crazy today because Sunday's are free admittance to museums in Paris.  Wilma and I had a great time on the Batobus (a river boat that transports you to many of the sites all day along the Seine River.  Unfortunately we did not get to see the Museum D' Orsay due to extremely long lines.  No drawing or painting today it was our free day and art appreciation day.     
After a lovely dinner that cost way too, much we're back to the hotel and our rooms view of the Eiffel Tower at night.  Now to get a good nights sleep before our painting day and tour of Giverney tomorrow.  (our last day in Paris and France).

The one thing I've learned on this trip to France with other media Plein Aire painters is that the still life artist in me and the vignette lover in me has much to practice in my landscape cp work to feel comfortable.  I did stick to my guns and worked small the whole time 5 X 7 or 4 X 6.  A few I've shown here or will how in the next few weeks to come.  So stay tuned for more.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

We left Bonnieux very early for Paris today, arriving at our hotel very near the Eiffel tower by 2:00 pm.  A bus tour of the city's highlights prehotel check in.  Hotel internet here is free but very spotty for access and slow so uploads of email are taking forever.  I will try to send you a photo from Paris when I can.  Tonight will be an early one as we are tired.  Dinner first-and a brief walk around on our first evening here.

Au revior,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Provence Plein Aire - Roussillion

View of Roussillion, France and it's Ocher  pigment in the mountain.

Yesterday was our trip to the perched town of  Roussillion, where the ocher pigments
My beginning for the view of Roussillion.
were mined, in all shades.  Finding the town which is only about 15 min. from Bonnieux was a little tedious as 2 of the roads were washed by mud slides.  So the third option 25 minutes later panned out.  Climbing in switchbacks the whole way up "Bubba" our new vehicle made the trip up smoothly.  Such a change from the vehicle I started out with.  Thank you Hertz!  
Lavender fields in many areas were out (not as much as farther south) and proved good photo ops.  As the driver I had to stay in the vehicle so I'm waiting for the copies my car mates ran out to get while I hung on to the edge of the road.  Look for them in follow up posts when I get back.  Being the designated driver has it's downfalls as I can't shoot so many of the quick shots of this wonderful landscape while driving, like my car mates can.  
As you can see my start for the view of the town was slow to develop.  The Mistral winds were at first a thankful gift for this hot day but soon became.a force to be reckoned with.  As the ochre colored sand and dust blew across the parking lot where I sat in the shade, I soon had more grit in my eyes and teeth than I could stand.   Here I'm working on a 5 X 7 piece of green ampersand pastel-board. laid out initially with 10 % french grey.  The drawing needs corrected some but the various little buildings are at varied angles which I observed first hand while in town.   This is as far as I got in about an hour and 15-20 minutes.  It was difficult to not loose your place while doing the sketch, while holding on to your supplies n the wind.   I hope to add some more to it from my photos.  More to come.  
Have a colorful day! Au revoir,
Le Clos du Buis's garden by the pool inspired this drawing as the Luberon hills an Mount Ventu beyond the inner hedge roll out beyond the outskirts of Bonnieux. This very large glazed urn filled with their version of red geranium (has very tiny blossoms)looks out on the pool level before the grounds fall away into the lower garden.  I worked o this two afternoons in my multimedia sketch book.  No wc cp under-painting 100% cp.

The day before we went to Arles (a 1.5 hour trip) to see the Van Gogh Museum and had lunch at the Cafe name after the painting he did of it at night.  I had the Van Gogh salad and it was as colorful as his paintings. The museum was closed and with the warning symbol written in French on the Peugeot I was driving (saying "Get your engine fixed now!") had us having a difficult day..  We located a Hertz office in Arles which had us driving to Neems airport (farther west) to exchange it for a brand spanking new Chevy Captiva.  Ya!!!!!! American!.  It drives so much better but is so much bigger that we named it Bubby.  I'm the largest car in our hotel parking lot..  Scary to drive these perched towns with when you meet a bus/truck or fast driving car in your lane but it handles the mountainous country roads so well with our foursome.  As the appointed driver I am the one who has to maneuver these roads but without Kathy our only French speaking artist navigating for us we might never get there.

Oh, and I am now along with my car mates working on finding the best sorbet in Provence.  So far the best has been here in Bonnieux with the tea shop down the street and at the La Flambe restaurant..  The tea shop has Lavender sorbet which pared with raspberry is lovely., La Flambe has Cassis (Kir liquer) flavor and paired with lemon or citron sorbet is the best palate cleanser after a meal.

There you go one post to catch you up and another one yet to come with yesterday's trip and drawing.  Have to charge both the battery on the notebook and by tummy.  Have a colorful day!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Hotel/B&B "Le Clos du Buis" front view.  Today we recovered from several sleepless nights, jet lag and scoped out Bonnieux our temporary home town.  A hilltop village is so picturesque, friendly  and so  quintessentially French.  As typical, the streets are narrow and busy, but the pedestrian streets may offer some good set up areas for Plein Air painting tomorrow.  Or at least the quaint doorways along it were easy painting targets.  Lunch at a terraced brasserie was a salad with small crispy tomato pizza on top, looking over the Luberon valley below.

We were invited into a home with a rental apartment in it which was 12th century and part of the original ramparts of the walled town.  Most of the place was below street level (down 3 levels), the rooms were catacomb like and a cool earthen temperature.  The woman/owner had the cutest little Jack Russel terrier was very interested in our group of painters.  Her rear balcony overlooked the valley and the hill-town across named Lacoste.  A view to savor with a cup of morning cafe'.       

So there you have it my first full non travel day in Provence.  Dinner tonight is at the Hotel, family style with all 20 of us and the kitchen is smelling wonderful.  Garlicky yummy! Mmmmm.  I think my all day walking up hill has made for a good appetite.

Au revoir my followers,


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pre-Plein Air trip to France Carry Ons for a Colored Pencil Artist

Here's what my large carry on bag looks like packed with my takings for the Plein Air Painters trip to Provence, France.  And if you notice the time of this posting you'll realize I'm having one of those sleepless pre trip nights.  So I got right to starting my trip Blog with a "Here's what I'm taking for colored pencil art".

Carry On Luggage to France has to be an exact measurement (which I won't boar you with here) but suffice it to say, my laptop/camera backpack meets that and bags also can weigh no more than 26 lbs.  Fully loaded it is 18.8lbs. so far, but I will add my ziplock bag of liquids (via TSA requirements) and maybe an additional treat for the trip.  The laptop part holds my notebook easily and the padding protects my Prismacolors.  And since they can't be purchased in Europe I need them safe.

The camera is missing as I'm using it for the photo, but you'll see my hot pink camera bag with sd cards, extra battery with charger and a bigger lens next to it.  This all fits in the camera location of the bottom of the bag along with some power bars, Garmin (loaded with Europe Maps) and it's cords, card reader, and French power converter.

My Prismacolor CP pencils are in a 120 count leather organizer, and working clockwise around the table top is:
A few scrap sheets of UART in very small sizes;
Several 5 X 7 ampersand pastelboards and (2) 6  X 12 ones;
My little notebook (for blogging to you all and sending much needed responses to home that I'm doing fine);
A 5 X 8 multimedia sketch journal, with envelope glued to the back inside cover for ephemera from the trip;
A few loose sheets of watercolor scraps to use as a palette for the watercolor cp's;
In the black organizer, a set of 40 Caran d'Ache Supracolor wc cps (I'm trying these out since they wet nicely and also layer dry nicely too!);
Some dry cloths for blending;
Michelin map of Provence, France;
Small bundle of brushes for blending;
Extra Prismas in my favorite colors;
Battery eraser;
Extra batteries for my last Panasonic battery sharpener;
Scotch purple tape for lifting color and watercolor tape for taping down drawing paper;
Small kit with stumps, eraser, mounting putty and 2 Caran d'Ache Neocolor water soluble crayons; Garmin;
Bug wipes and Wetwipes and more Power bars.
Oh and a nifty little hat behind the green kit that stuffs into itself and can clip onto my pack.

If your wondering I have an assortment of papers and a small drawing board in my large check in bag.  I'll add sunscreen from my ziplock bag of liquids when we get there.
And for my personal items (see left hand upper corner) I'll carry my hip slung mini purse loaded with a watercolor cp mini set in the small pencil tin with water brush and larger travel brush for washes, mini journal book, sunglasses, passport, Intrn'l Driver's License, tissues and a few personal items.

In my Italian large bag (on the right) will fit my small mini purse, Paris travel book, hand sharpener so I don't wake sleeping passengers, ziplock bag for pencil shavings, vitamins, business cards ( you never want to miss a chance for a connection) purse size toothbrushes for a fresh mouth during the long 9 hour flight, mini hair clip and 4 X 6 multimedia journal for on plane journaling. 

There you have it, no kitchen sink but enough to keep me busy, drawing, and manageable.  I haven't shown you a few personal items in the big bag but then again a girl has to keep a few things to herself.

Until I sign on in France to tell you about our trips beginning, have a colorful day!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Backlit Berries 6 X 18 Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

OK everyone you get 2 entries on the blog today due to my lack of getting anything posted in a while.

Second in my Backlit series to be completed, although this one took me a while since I've had 2 classes running for the last 6 weeks.  Amidst many family obligations this was a fun one to work on.  I again like the size of this piece as it looks great on a small easel on my kitchen counter while I wait for the frame to be delivered.  A more stretched out version of this one at 6 X 18 versus the 6 X 12 of the citrus piece a few months ago was also intriguing.  The glow of the light through these strawberries and the juice droplets on the surface plane convey everything I love about strawberries.

I hope you like them!  Have a colorful day!


Spring Colored Pencil Painting Class Finished

These are just a few of the finished or nearly finished "Pick A Pepper" projects from my spring students in the beginner colored pencil classes.  All with their own unique style and variations.  I can't tell you how proud I am of these adult students.  And also how wonderful they all are as artists and people.  It's the best part of teaching getting to know other artists, despite what they are constantly teaching me.  I am also constantly thinking what else can I show or teach them?

They will currently be working on their 3rd project, their personal one.  Each with an image of their choosing.  Many will continue until mid June when my open studio session is over.  And I can't wait to see how they finish their work or start another.

New classes for beginners Painting In Colored Pencil will start in the fall (Sept. 6 - Oct. 11 1:00 - 4:00 pm) and for my continuing or experienced students a new class in Sanded Surfaces with Colored Pencil, Sept. 6 - Oct. 11th 9:30 - 12:30.

Contact me at my gloria@gloriacallahan.com email address if you'd like more information.

Have a colorful Day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Backlit Citrus

                                            6  X 12 Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

Here's a new piece I finished right before we took a short trip to Florida and my spring classes started.  A small one, that really looked good in the black frame with gold inside trim, I placed it in.  And especially on an easel on my kitchen counter top.  I left it there for a few weeks, one because the under counter lighting made it look so luminescent and two because I've been very busy working on teaching my current two classes of new colored pencil students.   And I have some great students!  Who are 2 classes in and doing so well.

I'm currently working on a slightly longer new piece with the same theme of back lighting.  One that I've worked on setups for during the last 4 months.  The thin format should make these great pieces for kitchens, under cabinets or in a grouping.  But really I'm playing with this layout and lighting,  planning for a larger work yet to come.  No drama here, I'm just working things out in my head and in photos first.  Testing palette colors and playing with my cp's. 

I hope you enjoy this piece and I hope to be posting the new one soon.  Oh, and have a colorful day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shrooms and 8 X 10 Colored Pencil on Pastelboard

This small new piece was finished last week.  The reference came about on a wonderful August day which was spent with my oldest Granddaughter Cora on her first Plein Air Painting day with me.  At the time she was just 7 and really enjoyed our day at Sunday Park in Brandermill.  These colorful little mushrooms were growing after a pretty wet week here, just loving the moist understory of oak trees sharing the spot with a small creeping ground cover.  (of which I haven't identified)

I actually started this piece as a demo back in Sept. at an outdoor art show, and worked on it for just minutes that day and on each of the 3 consecutive shows thereafter.  I find that having a sample of my artwork helps people to understand that it is indeed colored pencil on board.  Some have actually argued with me that it's not.  So this is much easier.  Since I was busy with the holidays and commission pieces this little gem was neglected until now.  The original reference was great on the details of the mushrooms but really bad on the dark forest floor, so I had fun winging it, and just plain old recreating the area from my mental notes and sketches from that outing.  I just love turning a leave and drawing folds.

So here you go, it always bugs me when I don't immediately finish a piece.   Enjoy the small things in your life today!   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Maymont's Three Graces

This is a 16 x 12 Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard piece that was finished a few weeks ago.  The reference for this was taken at Richmond's Maymont Estate a wonderful Victorian manor and local wildlife park.  The sculpture of the 3 Graces is one of my very favorites and with a setting overlooking the James River here on this cold day in early spring was just magical.

Still working on my landscape skills with colored pencil on board and finding my way to my landscape style.  Not sure this is it but when I started this blog I didn't want to show just my well done works but how the process of developing and growing as an artist goes.  Stumbling along the way when you try new genre or techniques is all part of stretching as an artist.  I have completed a several landscapes that I am happy with, and hope that I create many more.  For me still life and botanical work comes much more easily, but easy doesn't lead to new discoveries.

As I remain committed to colored pencil work as a painterly media I must learn to embrace experimentation in order to achieve my goals as an artist.   So here you go, one of my experiments.
Keep creating and stretching.                


Monday, January 16, 2012

First Date - A Christmas gift commission 12 X 12 Colored Pencil on Cradled Hardboard

This is a commission piece I did for a customer reflecting on his first date with the woman he was about to ask to marry.  He wanted something similar to my recent "Wine By Candelight" piece he had seen at my Cooper Winery Show, but using the wine they had, flower on the table and their hands.  He sent me several photos of all the separate elements for me to place into a still life.   I waited to post it until now so the big event would have happened and she had her surprise gift and I'm sure said "Yes."

I primed a cradled hardboard panel on the top and varnished the natural wood sides so it could hang without framing.  This gave the piece a more contemporary look, and enabled me to leave it unframed.  Priming was with Colorfix pastel primer in a skyblue color, this primer has marble dust in it so the resulting finish is that of a sanded surface.  I chose the light blue since that was the color of the booth from the restaurant in his pictures and I had this also in stock. 

I worked up a lay out of the entire piece as a sketch and emailed it off for approval.  In order to get the glass ware reflections and shapes I set up my own still life with a similar white wine, glasses and a red flower (but not the same kind as he wanted used).  I did this so I could see the reflections of A flower in the glasses, and tablecloth and also to have a live set up to work from.  So I used about 5 of his photos and my own set up to come up with the sketch and resulting work.  After completing the piece all in colored pencil I sprayed it with a UV Archival Varnish in 8 layers so it can hang without glass.

The fun in this project for me was creating a piece that would later be the documentation of their first date, and something they will look back on as their marriage grows.  I was honored to have made for such a wonderful young man in love. 
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