Monday, May 15, 2017

50th Anniversary Commission: 10" X 8" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

50th Anniversary Commission: 10" X 8" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard SOLD,
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Jenkintown, PA
Working on a commission is always an exciting experience for an artist.  Especially when the family of an artist friend is the commissioner.  Which was the case for this commissioned painting.  The children of a dear friend asked that I create a commission painting of the church their parents were married in 50 years ago.  And they needed it F-A-S-T (4 days before varnishing!)   Current photos would not have been appropriate to use since the church had undergone renovations during those 50 years.  So the photo they provided me to use was needless to say small dpi and a bit grainy.  (I've attached it below.)  

I changed the composition a bit instead of just drawing straight from the photo.  Leveling out the camera distortion a bit for the church, and playing up the spring blooming tree to the left.  I felt by making the tree more important it would soften the hard edges of the architecture as well as help to settle the building into the scene.  Down playing the street presence.  Although the reference photo provided to me was old and a little desaturated from time I wanted to make this a bit more colorful.                             

Knowing this would eventually end up in the hands of another wonderful artist and friend, was a bit unnerving.  We all want to do our best for any commissioner.  Although I'm comfortable with perspective drawing,  and love other artists city scenes, architecture is not my favorite thing to do usually. (I enjoy more organic subjects as a rule.)   

Size suggestions were obvious, they wanted smaller but 6 X 8 would have been a little too small to develop a likeness, in my opinion.   So we settled on 8 X 10 in a vertical format (10 X 8).  

So there you go, a short show and tell about my latest commission.  Happy Golden Anniversary Suzzie and Frank!  Many many more to come! Oh and their daughter reported "Mom cried when she saw it" made me feel like I did a pretty good job for them.  Although I never strive to make someone cry as a rule. LOL

Now back to my current project which has seen way too many distractions!

Friday, March 31, 2017

CPSA Entry for 2017 Convention finally done!

"Happy Tequila" 12 X 16" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Board

Entry into the CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) International Exhibition is always a stressful choice.  I often find myself thinking of a brand new piece that is ripe for competition as an image.  WE all hope that competition pieces are also salable pieces but the true fact is that most images that are great selling subjects just don't have the "It" factor for most large shows.  One judge selecting your work out of 870-900 entries from around the world, is quite a gamble.  Some artists would think the odds out weigh the gain.  And there is the cost also, entry fees, packaging costs, shipping fees, cartage fees and return fees should it not sell at the exhibition.   But I know no other way to build your artistic portfolio without entering the gamble.

Sure there are many folks that say you why go thru this expense, nerve racking process just to have One Judge determine your fate?  I know artists who have entered their work up to three times (a piece can only be eligible for entry for 3 years from completion).  Some may have been turned down 2 of those 3 times.  But get in on the third try!  Yay!!! Hands Clapping!!!!! ;))  After all it's one person's opinion each year.

Seashell Treasures 1 - 6 X 12" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Board
The thrill of being accepted is like no other and I have had that thrill 3 times, thus getting my CPSA Signature status in 2013.  (You have to get into the International show 3 times in 10 years)  I did it in 5 years.  After that when you get in you can earn 5 year Merit status, 10 year and up.  The works have to be on a surface without preparation, 100% Colored Pencil and of the artist's own  photo reference!

The Seashell Treasure 1, above is my second entry, as you can enter up to two works.  Opinions vary but it has been said that works in similar subject matter, stye and feel help your work get noticed.  I created two Seashell Treasures for our local Bon Air Artists Assoc. fundraiser show (Artful Healing) last weekend, see 2nd one below.  "Artful Healing" sponsored by Bon Air Artists Assoc. benefits the World Pediatric Project's efforts to bring medical care to countries in Central America.  And in reality it is my second and third piece in the collection.  The first one SOLD to a collector a few years ago. 

Seashell Treasures 2, 6 X 12" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Board

Now that the my entry is complete and the show is over,  (I was treasurer for the BAAA project), I have a few days to get ready for my April classes.  But the best part is that the weather is getting to be more like Spring and I'm ready for some "Plein Air" painting!  What's on your easel?

Friday, January 27, 2017

4th Annual Colored Pencil Student Show - At Crossroads Art Center Gallery

January 2017 "4th Annual Colored Pencil Student Show"

Animals, Wildlife and Figure Portraits
 Botanicals & Landscapes

For the last 4, of my 7 years teaching I have had the great joy of showcasing my students art in an Annual Show with in my exhibit space at 
2016 Staples Mill Road

Richmond, Virginia 23230
Telephone 804.278.8950
Mon–Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sun: Noon – 4:00 p.m. 

I remove most all of my work (except a few pieces) and hang an example of the work they have done in my classes during the previous year (2016).  It's such a great pleasure to see their work hanging together opening night!  Some are artists of other media and so many of them have not had the opportunity to see their work hang in a gallery setting.  The smiles and excitement is contagious.

Some work on paper surfaces, pastel hardboard, suede mat board, Mylar and much more.  An example of one of my colored pencil pieces on travertine tile sets on a tabletop easel.  Showcasing the many surfaces colored pencil is appropriate for helps to educate the public on it's use as a fine art media.  

Helping students find skills and hopefully their voice and style within this media often brings me back to why I choose colored pencil as my favorite media.  They never cease to tickle me when the light goes off of understanding or they amaze themselves and what they have created.  

Enjoy the gallery below of a few of my students and their exhibiting work.

Some could not attend the opening but 17 student's work is  represented in my show.

The show will continue to hang thru Feb. 17th.


Some of the paintings  are in their own private collection and some is offered for sale.  

I wish you could have seen some of the Christmas presents they gave as gifts this year, most could not hang in the show.  

Let's just say there were some very lucky gifts received by new collectors of their work.

Check back here to see what's on the easel & happy creating! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 A New Year - With the last finished art of 2016 and Artist Planning

"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!  

Creatively Yours,
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