- Recognize the best realists working today.
- Create gallery and museum exhibition opportunities.
- Provide advertising and marketing support for IGOR members.
- Offer a bridge between art collectors and the highest quality realist art, created by our members.
Friday, August 3, 2018
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"Happy Tequila" 16" X 12" Colored Pencil Painting on Ampersand Pastelboard
Being MIA from the blog apologies and fantastic news! While still working and teaching in colored pencil I've been a little preoccupied with all that summer brings into your life. A too long break from this blog is one of them. So sorry all if you've been waiting.
And the big news is I finally got out of my comfort zone and actually applied to The International Guild Of Realism for membership. This was a career goal for me and one I had been putting off for all the reasons we do such things. Fear of not being good enough and procrastination come to mind as just a few reasons. I know this may sound odd if you have been following me for a time. After all, I have my signature status in the CPSA, I've been showing around the US since 2008, teaching and demoing my techniques for 9 years. Not to mention blogging about it for almost as long.
While I am a member of several art associations and have held office in some of them, I like you have that little voice that whispers into my brain............ you know the one....... the one that says unkind, un-encouraging phrases.
I find it best to apply to art shows, competitions and professional organizations with no expectations at all. Put it out there in the universe or internet and promptly forget about it. Well kind of, if it's a show I need to track where I have entered my work for commitment to show. But other than that give it up. After all there's not much use in worrying about it after I hit the enter button is there!
Well to my absolute delight I was accepted!!!!!! Woooohoooo!!! ;))
After paying my dues I am now listed on their member page and will be able to apply to their future show calls for entry. The next show for me to apply to will be in 2019, since they request you not apply during a current show process. But they do have a show curated or juried this fall at:
IGOR 13th Annual
Juried Exhibition at
Sugarman-Peterson Gallery in Santa Fe, NM
Oct 5 - Oct 29, 2018
I do hope you will check them out and if the show is near you please check it out. I am so honored to have been added to their membership roster. In an effort to let more people know about this wonderful group, I have copied from their home page this about the organization:
The International Guild of Realism's primary mission is to advance realism in fine art through museum exhibitions, art gallery shows, workshops and education programs conducted by our members, marketing support, and internet exposure.
For us, "realism" ranges from the classical based upon traditional, academic-style painting to the contemporary where cutting edge techniques and a wide variety of subject matter are used to comment on today's world. Our members represent a wonderful spectrum of styles including (but not limited to) Trompe l'Oeil, photorealism, surrealism, and super-realism.
The International Guild of Realism was founded by a group of leading professional realism artists from around the globe in 2002 with four goals:
We know that as greater numbers of art lovers have access to high-quality realism, the value of these paintings will increase — not just in monetary terms, but in appreciation, understanding, and international attention.
For art collectors, we have juried exhibitions in museums and galleries that span as many aspects of realism as possible, providing incredible panoramas of international work. For museums, we curate themed exhibitions that capture a snapshot of where realism is today. For fellow artists, we gather and share information about workshops conducted by members, and magazine features about realism techniques. It is our passion and our privilege to continuously grow and share this beautiful art form.
Not back to finishing a long project.......soon to be posted here on the blog.
Smiles and have a colorful day! Gloria
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
|On Glove - Eurasian Eagle Owl 16" X 12" Colored Pencil On Ampersand Board|
I'm not a stealthy photographer, even in my own yard I scare away the birds from the feeder. Unlike my friend Kathy who sits calmly with her glass of vino and gets fabulous photos to paint from. I need the "sure thing", the guaranteed close up shot, the it can't run, fly away, scamper off - shot. And I have paid dearly for these opportunities. But what adventures! From game reserves, to tours and class lessons.
The Male Eurasian Eagle Owl in my recently finished piece was an amazing specimen. Several years ago my husband and I spent a few days over the Thanksgiving holiday at The Homestead in rural western VA. On the blustery Friday after, we decided to take the Falconry class they offer on the estate. "Sure bet" remember. Hoping for some up close and personal photo ops. We started with the smallest raptor an American Kestrel, which I had the pleasure of having a private moment with.
|That's me before I let my natural silvers come in.|
He was ruthless in his gaze, as the handler had him "On Glove". This woman was fearless! His wing span was immense by my standards (almost 6 feet). He had confidence in letting us know with a penetrating gaze, that he could rip us to threads easily.
Working on rendering him I wanted to blur out the background to simplify and put focus on "his majesty". I debated taking out the glove and placing him on a branch. But the fearless stance of the woman handler just had to play a part in my piece, and as I thought of a title, it just had to be there also. Plus it was great fun to capture the leather texture of the glove and it's stitching. (It was little protection for his talons or beak.) The windy November day had his ear tufts and facial feathers moving and ruffling. I loved the movement it lent to the stationary composition.
Living in rural VA we have wonderful Barred and Screech owls serenade us at night from the stream at the back woods of our property. They call back when you mimic their calls. When I listen to them each Spring I remember my encounter with this Male Eurasian Eagle Owl and respect their space. I do love when they perch on the top of our conservatory's roof and serenade me to sleep.
Where can you find adventure, original photo references? In the weeks to come I'll be listening for my owls, Spring is on it's way!
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Dreamland - 8" X 10" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
As 2017 came to a close I found myself trying to finish some abandoned pieces in the studio, ones that had their starts for various reasons and were set aside for a moment, then another moment.... and so forth. Commissions get in the way, teaching and so does life it seems. When my work takes a back seat, it always seems that "artist block" has a little more to do with my not getting back to "it".
This little portrait study was intended to be an exercise in the shadowed skin tones on an infant as well as a subject for a demo I did at the gallery I show my work at, Crossroads Art Center. The sweet little guy in the photo is not a grandchild but a family friend's baby. An innocent sleeping babe's photo whose devoted mother posted on Facebook. It was a photo that I found very intriguing, as well as full of softness. After commenting on her sweet photo that I would one day like to paint her sweet baby boy, I couldn't get it off my mind. She of course gave me permission to use it as a reference for a future piece. (Getting approval before using someone else's photo is a MUST, I wouldn't have otherwise.)
|Demoing at Crossroads Art Center Reception|
My intrigue was a self imposed challenge of sorts, one I have mixed feelings whether or not I have succeeded. But of course we artists have always been afflicted with the "Artists Curse", self critical to the tenth degree, as well as the plague of "Am I finished----no wait-----maybe just one more ---- tweak". We all suffer from it from time to time, oh yeah, how many years and paint over's did the Mona Lisa get? Even Leonardo had the curse. But he had the luxury of using oil, usually an opaque media that can be painted over or wiped off.
Colored pencil is not as forgiving. Depending on the surface used you can make some major corrections but rarely do they completely go away. The sanded surface of Ampersand Pastelboard can successfully be erased with a vinyl eraser with the hopes that only a ghost of an image remains. See my older post: "Powhatan's James River Plein Air Study - Sticking It Out In The Rain" for a sampling of what can be painted over in colored pencil on this pastelboard.
But I digress, the conundrum for me on this piece was NOT major erasing or corrections at all it was the later, endless tweaking. You see the challenge for me was "Can I create a painting in colored pencil of this sweet baby softly sleeping WITH all the dark shadows caressing him as he sleeps, WITHOUT creating skin tones that make him look ashy or dirty????? For colored pencil the translucence of layering skin tones on my normal white background isn't too difficult, but settling the figure INTO the shadows of a sleeping baby's crib? Well that was it!
I did lighten the image up a bit from the photo his mother sent me. And made it a tad larger so I could see all the gradual changes in tone. I cropped in to focus on the highlights and then shadows under of his lashes and to the light that catches on his rounded sweet features. My rendition is lit a little more yet, but I think doing so helps show the internal glow of this innocent soul.
I actually love creating skin tones on the sanded surface because it takes so much of my waxy Prismacolors. With the combination of my heated Icarus Board* and brushes to soften the waxy pigment and blend the pencils "like buttah". Applying many many layers, building numerous colors lightly, brushing, and building over again, the sanded surface slowly fills with pigment and the shades blend into skin. You see it's the filling of the surface for me that helps with the painterly look which is my style. No surface speckle remains. And when sprayed with fixative and then several layers of varnish the sanded board is completely smooth to the touch. Thus making it difficult to tell what the media is. I love that!!!!
*The Icarus Board invented and patented by Ester Roi and built by her husband Mario, is a godsend to colored pencil artists who love wax based pencils. No solvents are needed, no odors, toxic fumes to blend the pigment, just warm heat. And in January this is a welcomed thing. Please click the link above to her website and enjoy the art and information she shares about it's use. I recently purchased the larger fully heated board that can strap to my drawing board or easel if needed. The larger heated surface helps me work faster and bigger as needed. I used to use my previous board only when I need to blend backgrounds, make highlight corrections to soften edges at the end of my process. But I have found that I love the larger board over my older version (half hot and half cold).
I had great fun creating the woven thready look of the baby's trusty companion bunny, snuggled up close to his face. And it was a source for noodling and fiddling to get the sewn on eyes to look thready and stitched. I've since learned this bunny had a washer/dryer debacle and I think lost the battle.
If you feel I have accomplished my goal of a "soft shadowy portrait without an ashy look" let me know in the comments below. And as always your comments are appreciated.
Friday, July 21, 2017
|"Pretty In Pink" - Flamingo 12" X 16" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Board,|
Available For Sale
Generous photographers share their photos for artists to use as references for paintings. While I usually work from my own photos, from life, or a combination of the two (99% of the time) the reference photos on this site are copyright free to use. However the artwork created is the copyright of the artist who painted it. Lynton Bolton was the kind photographer to up load this image. Go check out the reference photos there when you need ideas or a good shot to work from.
Which leads me to Creative Blocks and Trying to get your Mojo back!
Finishing a new piece during trying times is a challenge and especially when "Life" as we know it gets in the way! Try as I might to stay on a daily painting schedule, things like my recent knee surgery get in the way. As well as family health issues and TIME........ T I M E! Well, the lack of it for that matter.
This spurred me on to write a little about creative blocks and staying motivated when life doesn't want you to be. Although I am working on the composition of a new larger piece for my drawing board, I thought readers might find interest in some of the info I have realized myself or found thru periods of struggling.
Creative Blocks and the Fog that keeps us from the Doing!
It seems many of my artist friends and students also have issues with Creative Block, Procrastinating etc. If you search the internet their are many articles by creatives that talk specifically about it. Blogs, VLogs you name it. You may have actually found this article by web searching, because you find your self floating in this deep sea of frustration right now!
If your a writer or other creative, substitute writing for painting and my ideas may help you too. Or whatever word is your creative “Doing"
I find when myself or other art friends have a block it comes at times of frustration with their skill level, a critic’s or instructors unkind comment on their work or other emotional upheaval, health issues and burn out from over commitments in various facets of life. Many of my students never unpack their art bag until class the next week. And that’s fine but if you have intentions for being an artist or being productive in any creative process read on.
Being a late comer to making art full-time (in my early 40’s) I often felt a sense of not having enough time to learn to paint all I want to. Enough time to get “good” and build a resume as an artist. Frankly I still hear the clock ticking! When the creative block hits, and the fog sets in, (and believe me, it usually does) I feel like I will never get “There”.
“There” for me is being a professional artist. If it’s the same for you or you just want to make some art without blocks this article may help you.
So this little blog is for you, my students and myself. Yes, sometimes when your as thick minded as I am, you need to nurture or remind “You” often of 4 Essential of being an artist and the list of #10 Block breaker tips that will follow in a 2nd blog post yet to follow. You may have read some of this before however really knowing it and “doing” it are two very different things.
4 Essentials of being an Artist - Or Staying On track if you are one.
SPACE #1 - Have a special place just for you and your art. Studios are wonderful and I love mine. But before I had one, a small place to work, cabinet, tub tote bag for storing your supplies is essential. Your art deserves that! You deserve that! Caution! Make sure you see it everyday, and don’t close it behind a never opened door. One of the great things about art supplies is they are colorful and can be displayed in an artistic manner. Colored pencils in cups or mugs showing their rainbow of colors just beg to be used. Brushes in an urn filled with pebbles on display. Art pens in a roll ready to pick up and go. Decorated journals at the ready and inviting to use are just a few ideas. (Drop a small one in your purse or computer bag!)
If your lucky enough to have a studio for your art make it an inviting place. After all it’s your Art Home-Space, you will want to be there. Not a hot attic or cold dark basement, temperate, with good lighting, and don’t forget a comfy chair for the next #2 is essential.
Neatness - Keeping my studio neat, clean and where I can find things helps me feel like going into my space. No one wants to try working when they cannot find their easel or drawing table. I usually pick up as part of my finishing a painting ritual. Put on some celebration music and go to town. I actually have my own playlist for the process, “cue" Ferrel William’s song “Happy”. Yours may not be as goofy as mine but for me being happy about finishing a piece leads to making more art.
Caution: I often find it’s very easy to make myself busy by re-orgaizing my studio, which can lead to procrastination.
INSPIRATION #2 - Going out to experience Galleries, Museums, Nature walks, Your Garden, or People watching. The obvious things like finding new Art Books and Magazines or using the Internet (caution see #4), or your journal (see #4) are always helpful.
I even find home decorating magazines inspirational. Pick up a decorators magazine and envision one of your paintings above the mantel of a grand house. How big would it need to be to have presence? What colors would it need to have to go with the current trends? Is that your palette? Perhaps updating your palette may change it up enough will spur on your flow! Perhaps working bigger or zooming in and blowing things up may change your work in an exciting way. Clientele that can afford to buy original art have homes to decorate. And while I’m not advocating you paint to match someones sofa it is a fact of life. Higher priced art sells to collectors with larger spaces and new homes to decorate!
Paint for you, if you like it you will do your best work! If a subject inspired you it will show in your work and inspire others.
SPIRIT #3- Attitude :))
Your art spirit is a precious commodity. Nurture it, protect it and mother it, just as you would a small child. We are our own worst enemy, those dark voices come at us when we feel like a piece is not working out or doesn’t sell. While a little self critic is part of the process of making good art, self doubt is it’s enemy. Hopefully your parents or a good teacher encouraged you and gently reminded you of the how to’s and said it’s all in your attitude. :)) So BE that positive voice in your head! An artist I love for her great attitude is Dreama Tolle Perry is a master of feel good, you can find her at:
http://dreamatolleperry.com. It's in her art and her teaching.
Be positive, non-competitive, inspire others, and above all else kind to you. Compete only with the artist you were yesterday, last week or last year. When you keep working, the negative chatter loses its power. Inspire others, teach what you know to new beginning artists. Sometimes I hear myself telling my students an art concept or tip and I realize I needed to hear it too! They make me a better teacher.
Be Resilient and Kind to you, don’t let anyone take you art away from you by believing what they have to say. Take in criticism but don’t let it take you over. When your ready to look at your work kindly and critically, note the comments made and decide for yourself if it’s a quality issue, a style thing or what you put value in as a goal to correct. I had a nationally acclaimed workshop teacher once make negative comments on a piece I had done outside of her workshop. She didn’t like my application of over 25 layers obliterating all signs of paper speckle, saturating like paint with my dry media. Only to find out it’s what my buyer’s and students loved most about my work. It’s what made my work unique in style and not like her’s. Subsequently I earned an award for the very piece she critiqued so harshly.
Be Curious, be a Seeker
I hate the phrase "curiosity killed the cat”. Being curious, ready to learn and Observe makes any professional better, no matter what your field. Take a second look at your subject from life and don’t rely on what the photo says. Be curious to say "what if”, I promise you good things can come from it. Experiment, It’s only paper if it’s a sketchbook (insert your surface here), you can start over, wipe it off, try again. The “doing" is all in the trying.
When I'm in a museum of really exceptional work, I bring along a my mini purse size sketchbook to make notes of how an artist handled a goal I have. Or to note an artists name to research their work further. Actually I carry this little journal everywhere! see #4.
Create Quality Art
Use quality, archival and artist grade materials to create confidence in your buyers. Frame well and neatly. Know your process and go back to it when your in doubt.
Confidence comes in the doing, doing and doing again. Keeping a sketchbook helps you build confidence. Dating your pages can help you realize you really are making progress in your skills as you get to the end of the book. Drawing, watercolor, gouache, even oils can be done on sketchbooks or pads of paper. (Specific media paper sketchbooks are very easily obtained by art suppliers.)
Gain or have respect for the Job! In my life I have been a Yes person way too much, always hating to disappoint anyone especially my family! Children, grandchildren, siblings, friends and students. Being a self employed artist and teacher is hard work. Gaining respect for working from my home studio is not easy, even in my own loving family. I had to stop saying “Sorry I’m painting tomorrow", and say "I’m working" instead. Folks outside of the art/creative field often see the "making" not the hard work it is. They may say “oh I can’t draw, wish I could” but they don’t see that the “doing” of it is hard work, practice, many many hours, failure, frustration, all before it’s successfully done. Then there is the marketing, sales, inventory, bookkeeping, website updates, social media and all other hats to wear being a sole proprietor. PHEW!!! A company of ONE is not easy. Teach others to respect your art business as just that.
TIME #4 - We all think we’ll have all the time in the world of “someday". I have an eye condition in my retinas, and when I found it could change my someday - I finally took a pay cut and left my corporate job to pursue ART. I was fortunate to be able to have a spouse who encouraged me to do it.
When I'm are not in a place with my supplies I do"Mind Painting". Purposely observing details, shape, light, shadow, color as if I were painting it but without supplies. Murphy’s Law - "Something awesome is in view right ahead and I’m driving or don’t have my phone/camera with me." I so wish I had photographic eyes where I could just blink and have it saved for future reference. But it can also be a good practice to do before you begin to “Plein Air Paint” (Open air paint), as a planning sort of observation, or anytime you start a work from life. It helps to settle your thoughts on what’s in front of you.
Example: We are stuck in traffic and my sweet hubby is driving (key point here is your NOT driving! NOT GOOD or SAFE!) Hubby is frustrated but I make good use of my time by r-r-r-e-e-a-al-ll-yy looking at those clouds ahead. Noticing how the light hits just the right spot from behind and making the glow of some edges and the billowy softness of other edges. How purple-ish grey from the buildings or how greens bounce off from the trees on the ground into the cloud's underbelly.
I find the more "I mind paint" the more I remember a subject for future paintings. Using this technique can help when your sketching from memory too. So if you catch me starring off into the air now you know…..I’m not crazy, I'm painting. Many of the items in the next blog post are part of my Block Breaker List may help you by finding the time to be creative.
A word about Journaling or Sketchbooks
I hate to say it again but…ah….sketchbooks.......
They can go anywhere you do, waiting in the car or Dr. office? Instead of pulling out your phone and playing a game, re-checking email or Facebook use one! They can be pocket size or purse size. With as little as a pencil or pen to render with, or a few watercolor pencils and a water brush. Or you can always hit them with water when you get home. I have a small one in my purse all the time, another in my car for when I’m waiting for an oil change and I have a travel kit for vacations. Travel journaling informs me of colors, location names, dates of reference photos I take intending to paint from later. In short they actually make me remember a “Place” thru my artist eyes and thus I get more immersed in a trip or location.
Monday, May 15, 2017
|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
|Seashell Treasures 1 - 6 X 12" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Board|
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.
Friday, January 27, 2017
|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
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!